Voters Ready to Dump Incumbents in Congress: Poll
Filed at 0:11 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American voters are as ready to dump incumbent lawmakers as they were just before they handed control of Congress to Republicans in 1994, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Monday.
Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, stand to lose the most in the November elections because of strong anti-incumbent sentiment and they trail Democrats in support among registered voters, the poll showed.
Fifty-three percent of those surveyed called themselves ''anti-incumbent'' -- nearly the same as the 54 percent who identified themselves as such in the summer of 1994 when Congress was still under the Democrats' control.
Does the First Amendment protect public school students who want to bait gays?
Monday, August 7, 2006; A14
LAST WEEK a sharply divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit let stand an earlier decision holding that a public school may prevent a student from wearing an anti-gay T-shirt on campus. The case is hard -- pitting important First Amendment values against the ability of a public school system to create an environment in which all students feel welcome and comfortable. In our view, the court's answer presents serious problems. Identifying a better solution, however, is tricky -- and may be a task for the Supreme Court.
Back in 2004, Poway High School in Southern California allowed a lesbian and gay student group to hold a "Day of Silence" to protest intolerance toward gays. In response, a student named Tyler Chase Harper wore a T-shirt to school on which he had written on the front: "BE ASHAMED, OUR SCHOOL EMBRACED WHAT GOD HAS CONDEMNED." The back read: "HOMOSEXUALITY IS SHAMEFUL 'Romans 1:27.' " The shirt did not prompt disciplinary problems among the students, but school administrators asked Mr. Harper to remove it, claiming it was inflammatory and fearing altercations over it. The youth refused and was kept in the school office for the day, though not punished. He sued.
Recently, Lieberman has been struggling with some infidelity issues of his own. Last year, he was caught in a tender embrace with one other than his wife. Worse still for Lieberman, an opponent of gay marriage, it was another man - George Bush. Bush planted "the kiss" as he worked the Congress floor after his state of the union address. But for Democratic voters of Connecticut it might as well have been the Garden of Gethsemane.
In tomorrow's Democratic primary, Lieberman may well pay for that kiss with his job. Polls suggest he will lose the fight against a previously unknown anti-war candidate, Ned Lamont. Last week's Quinnipiac survey showed Lamont drubbing him 54% to 41% with only 5% of voters undecided. It has been a dramatic turnaround. Just three months ago, 91% of Democrats did not know enough about Lamont to make up their mind.
I don’t say much about the immorality of Israeli actions. They are shockingly immoral. But talking about it won’t make much difference. So I appeal to naked self-interest. I point out the obvious: Every time a Palestinian or Lebanese is hit by an Israeli bomb or bullet, it spells more risk for the safety of Israel.
Most Jews who say they are pro-Israel act as if they are deaf to the moral arguments, anyway. They do have hearts and consciences. They are not unmoved by the TV pictures of the carnage their military creates. But precisely because they are touched by the suffering of their foes, they’ve become very skilled in rationalizing Israeli violence. For every moral criticism they have a rebuttal ready at hand to ease their consciences. They and their ancestors have being doing it for over a century now, so they have a whole arsenal of moral justifications.
In living rooms, town meetings, and op-ed pages, the morality of Israeli policy ends up like a ping-pong ball, batted back and forth by both sides. Since there is no objective referee to keep score, the game just goes on forever. While we all have the right and duty to speak the moral truth as we see it, that’s not likely to change anyone’s mind very soon.
So it seems more fruitful to set the ethical issues aside and appeal to the self-interest of Israeli Jews and their pro-Israel American supporters. What they want most, they say, is for the Jewish state and all of its citizens to be able to live normal lives, free from worry about terrorist rockets and suicide attacks. It’s a perfectly understandable, indeed laudable, goal. Who would argue with it?
Bush and Blair's belief that Islamism could be bombed into submission was deluded. We need to find a middle way
by Jackie Ashley
Tony Blair is right. Tony Blair is disastrously wrong. Where he is right is to insist, in his recent speech, that the tragedy of Lebanon is not a single one-off event but part of a much larger confrontation with an "arc of extremism". I have friends so angry about Israel's behaviour that they are beginning to fall for the idea that Hizbullah is an admirable resistance army, a movement of social workers, philosophers and urban guerrillas, to be supported "objectively", as the Marxists used to say - the Guardian in the sunshine with rockets. We read admiring reports about the wit and verbal brilliance of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who is sometimes portrayed as a mix of Che Guevara and Groucho Marx.
Then there are those who think we should support poor little underdog Iran against bullying America over nuclear weapons, while taking President Ahmadinejad's effusions about wiping Israel off the map as just amusing banter from downtown Tehran. And when it comes to Iraq, many feel the Shia resistance movement has had so much provocation that it too deserves to win.
The New York Times
Shrugs for the Dead
This is the tale of two military interventions, of which one happened and the other didn’t.
Three weeks ago, with President Bush supplying the weaponry and moral support, Israel began bombarding Lebanon. The war has killed hundreds of people, galvanized international attention and may lead to an international force of perhaps 20,000 peacekeepers.
Three years ago, Sudan began a genocide against African tribes in its Darfur region. That war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and it is now spreading. There is talk of U.N. peacekeepers someday, but none are anywhere in sight.
The moral of the story? Never, ever be born to a tribe that is victim to genocide in Africa.
The Non-Working Man’s Burden
It’s too soon to tell whether the recent jump in unemployment — from 4.6 percent in June to 4.8 percent in July — is the start of a worsening jobless trend. What is clearly disturbing, however, is that for nearly a year the labor market has not been as tight as one might assume from the jobless rate. And now, the ranks of the unemployed have grown.
Contrary to popular belief, a low unemployment rate does not necessarily signify a strong economy. It can be a sign of weakness if it reflects a shrinking labor force, as has been the case throughout much of the Bush-era economic expansion. Today, nearly five years after the end of the last recession, the share of the population at work — the employment rate — is 1.7 percentage points below its peak in April 2000, indicating millions of potential workers who have dropped out of the labor force completely and are thus no longer counted as unemployed.
A certain amount of dropping out is nothing to worry about. Some people leave work to raise children or return to school, for instance.
The New York Times
When asked yesterday why the United States isn’t talking with Syria about the Lebanon crisis, President Bush replied, “Syria knows what we think.” That may be. But Syria is also unlikely to even consider doing what Mr. Bush wants — rein in Hezbollah and help halt the killing in Lebanon and Israel — unless its leaders know what potential rewards as well as punishments await them. And for that, the United States needs to offer a serious high-level discussion with Syria, and it needs to do it now.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is undeniably a bad actor — brutal, dishonest and less than competent. But he may also be more vulnerable to outside pressure, and inducements, than Hezbollah’s other patron, Iran. Driving even the thinnest wedge between Syria and Iran would be a diplomatic breakthrough for a White House badly in need of breakthroughs. Even if the United States and France manage to pry a resolution out of the Security Council, unless Hezbollah is constrained there is little chance of actually deploying an international peacekeeping force, regaining Lebanon’s sovereignty and building a stable peace.
Washington Post Company
By David S. Broder
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; A21
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The nature of their jobs keeps governors in close touch with the moods of their states' voters. There's little insulation for them; constituents unload their gripes and grievances with few inhibitions.
That's why I was so struck by the tone of the conversations among the governors of both parties who gathered here over the weekend for their annual summer conference. The common theme in interviews and informal comments was one of utter disdain for Congress.
Never mind that most of the governors are Republicans and that Republicans control the House and Senate. Never mind that a decade ago, when Republican control of Congress was still brand-new, the governors of both parties believed that the golden age of federal-state relations had arrived. Back then, with former governor Bill Clinton in the White House, with Newt Gingrich as speaker of the House, and with Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole eager to enlist help from governors for his 1996 presidential campaign, the governors found the welcome mat spread for them everywhere in Washington.
The New York Times
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
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
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
By DAN BALZ
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.
By ROBERT TANNER
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?
By KRISTEN MACK and R.G. RATCLIFFE
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.