Monday, October 30, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST October 30, 2006

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Moderate Democrats hazy on Pelosi
Special to the Palm Beach Post

Monday, October 30, 2006

Local Democratic congressional hopefuls Ron Klein and Tim Mahoneyfigure prominently in their party's plans to regain control of the U.S.House, which would probably elevate liberal Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tothe speakership.

But although Klein and Mahoney have been eager to nationalize theirraces by bad-mouthing President Bush and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill,neither Dem has much to say about the national implications of puttingPelosi two heartbeats from the presidency.

Boca Raton state Sen. Klein and Palm Beach Gardens businessman Mahoneyare running as moderates in Republican-leaning districts, while Pelosi'slifetime voting record has earned a 96 percent liberal score from Americansfor Democratic Action.


100 Americans Die in Iraq During October

Associated Press Writer

October 30, 2006, 8:00 AM CST

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- At least 80 people were killed or found dead in Iraq onMonday, including 33 victims of a bomb attack on laborers lined up to find adays work in Baghdad's Sadr city Shiite slum. The U.S. military announcedthe death of the 100th service member killed in combat this month.

U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley made an unannounced visit tothe Iraqi capital where he with his Iraqi counterpart for talks on militaryand political coordination, the government announced.

It said Hadley met with Mouwafak al-Rubaie in his Green Zone office tofollow up on a decision late last week to form a joint commission tocoordinate U.S.-Iraqi relations, especially military activity.


Medicare offers more drug-plan choices, takes more time
By Phil Galewitz

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, October 30, 2006

Every time senior citizens gathered here last year to learn about thenew Medicare drug benefit, most left shaking their heads at the vast numberof plans they had to choose from - all with a dizzying array of costs andbenefits.

The federal government and the private health plans say they listenedto seniors' concerns. The result for 2007: Medicare recipients will faceeven more choices.

In Florida, the number of stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plansfor 2007 has increased to 58, from the 43 being hawked this year.


Voting machine company says probe will show no ties to Venezuela's Chavez

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. company that makes touch-screen voting machines said itrequested a federal investigation to dispel what it called baseless rumorsof ties to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. said it asked the Committee on ForeignInvestment in the United States, or CFIUS, to investigate it and its parentsoftware company, the Smartmatic Corp. The request comes after news articlessuggested improper ties.

``Sequoia and Smartmatic are not connected, owned or controlled by theVenezuelan government whatsoever,'' Jeff Bialos, a Washington attorneyrepresenting the two companies, said in a telephone interview.


A way to restore confidence

By Steven F. Freeman and Joel Bleifuss

October 30, 2006

Widespread concern over recent reports from Princeton University on Dieboldmachine susceptibility to tampering, and from New York University one-voting more generally, confirm what computer scientists have long knownand contended: There is little reason for confidence in election resultsobtained from electronic voting machines.

Yet voters in the United States are denied the one powerful technique thatmight restore confidence in election results -- an independent exit poll.

In next week's midterm elections, 90 percent of Americans will vote onelectronic touch-screen voting machines or optical-scan systems. Accordingto a 2005 study by the Government Accountability Office, these systems haveinherent flaws that "could allow unauthorized personnel to disruptoperations or modify data and programs that are critical to . the integrityof the voting process."


Posted on Mon, Oct. 30, 2006

Just say No to use of torture


Vice President Dick Cheney says he has been criticized as the ''vicepresident for torture,'' an appellation he apparently dislikes. Smallwonder. By appearing to endorse the interrogation technique called''water-boarding,'' which is banned by the U.S. Army and condemned byhuman-rights experts, he is condoning a form of torture that should never beused by U.S. forces in or out of uniform.

Old argument

Mr. Cheney was replying last week to a question about giving prisoners a''dunk in water'' (wink, wink), and said its continued use was a ''no-brainer.'' White House press secretaryTony Snow tried to limit the damage afterward by saying the question wasloosely worded and the vice president would never talk about water-boarding.

That dodge won't work. The interrogation tactic that has drawn criticism iswater-boarding, not a baptismal-type dunk, and Mr. Cheney knows it. It isdisingenuous to suggest the reference was to anything else.


Fox: I Was Over-Medicated In Stem Cell Ad

NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 2006(CBS/AP) Responding to criticism by conservativepundit Rush Limbaugh, actor Michael J. Fox defended his appearance in apolitical campaign ad, saying he wasn't acting or off his medication.

In fact, at the time he was over-medicated for his Parkinson's disease, Foxsaid Thursday in an exclusive interview with CBS Evening News anchor KatieCouric.

"The irony is that I was too medicated. I was dyskinesic," Fox told Couric."Because the thing about . being symptomatic is that it's not comfortable.No one wants to be symptomatic; it's like being hit with a hammer."

His body visibly wracked by tremors, Fox appears in a political ad toutingMissouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill's stance in favor ofembryonic stem cell research. That prompted Limbaugh to speculate that Foxwas "either off his medication or acting."


The Washington Post

Highlights of key U.S. House races

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
Sunday, October 29, 2006; 8:52 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Voters will decide on November 7 which party controlsthe U.S. House of Representatives, where President George W. Bush'sRepublicans hold a 15-seat advantage over Democrats.

All 435 House seats will be on the ballot. Here are brief looks at events ofthe past week in a few key races:

ARIZONA 8 - In a district bordering Mexico, Republican anti-immigrationactivist Randy Graf ran an ad attacking Democratic former state Sen.Gabrielle Giffords' "embarrassing liberal voting record" and cited hissupport from Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl. The district ofretiring Rep. Jim Kolbe is considered a prime opportunity for Democrats topick up a Republican-held seat.

COLORADO 7 - Democrat Ed Perlmutter got campaign help from Democratic Sen.Barack Obama of Illinois, whose appearance was moved from a small theater toan outdoor park to accommodate the large crowd. A Democratic ad attacked hisRepublican opponent, Rick O'Donnell, for once writing Social Security shouldbe eliminated. The two are vying for an open seat in a Republican-heldsuburban Denver swing district.



If Dems win, they should take care

By William Neikirk, a senior correspondent in the Tribune's Washington

October 29, 2006

WASHINGTON -- In the middle of the 1996 presidential race, with Bill Clintoncoasting toward a second term, White House adviser Harold Ickes reflected onhow his boss had achieved a remarkable turnaround in just two years.

"One of the best things that ever happened to us was losing the House ofRepresentatives," Ickes said in an interview then, referring to the 1994election in which Republicans took control of the House and Senate away fromthe Democrats.

The GOP then launched the conservative "Contract With America."

The Republican victory thrust the irrepressible Newt Gingrich into the Housespeaker's chair, where he challenged Clinton's very right to govern. Full ofideas and perhaps a bit of hubris, Gingrich proved to be a perfect foil forClinton.


The Toronto Star [Canada]

Published on Sunday, October 29, 2006 by the Toronto Star (Canada)

The Real Problem is That it is Illegal for One Country to Invade
Another Country
By Linda McQuaig

Much has changed in the way the mainstream media deal with the war inIraq. Most commentators now acknowledge the war is a disaster and will hurtthe Republicans badly in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

But one thing hasn't changed - the willingness to believe that themotives for war, however misguided, were basically honourable.

So the criticism centres instead on the Bush administration's inepthandling of the war.

Canada's own Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal leadership front-runner,tries to slough off his former enthusiastic support for the war by nowsaying he hadn't "anticipated how incompetent the Americans would be."

But incompetence is a side issue. The real problem is, and always hasbeen, that it is illegal - not to mention immoral - for a country to invadeanother country, in other words, to wage a war of aggression.


The Washington Post

The Decline Of Trust
By Sebastian Mallaby
Monday, October 30, 2006; A17

In 1995 Francis Fukuyama came out with a book called "Trust," in which heargued that a society's capacity for cooperation underpins its prosperity.The same year, Robert Putnam's famous article, "Bowling Alone," lamentedthat the United States was depleting its stock of precious social capital.The question of trust -- in government and also in communities --preoccupied politicians too. "It Takes a Village," Hillary Rodham Clintonurged in the title of her 1996 book, which became a best seller.

You don't hear much about trust these days. Instead, we want accountability.

You see this most viciously in politics. In the mid-term campaigns, nobodyhas time for trust. The name of the game is to hold opponents accountable byattacking their records -- for failings real or imagined. If the Democratscapture one or both chambers, it will be largely because they promise tohold the president accountable.

This reflects a shift somewhere around 2003 or 2004. In the 1990s, afteracademics and pundits began talking about trust, the nation did actuallybecome more trusting.


The Washington Post

Global Warming Will Devastate World Economy, Report Says

Associated Press
Monday, October 30, 2006; 8:01 AM

LONDON -- Unchecked global warming will devastate the world economy on thescale of the world wars and the Great Depression, a major British reportsaid Monday.

Introducing the report, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said unabatedclimate change would eventually cost the world between 5 percent and 20percent of global gross domestic product each year.

He called for "bold and decisive action" to cut carbon dioxide emissions andstem the worst of the temperature rise.

The report is expected to increase pressure on the Bush administration --which never approved the Kyoto Protocol climate-change accord -- to step upits efforts to fight global warming.


The New York Times

Link to Graphic - Counting the Votes:

October 30, 2006

Remember to Vote, Hope It Counts


ON Nov. 7, many voters will encounter new voting machines, new computerizedvoter lists and new rules regarding registration and ID requirements. Asprimaries earlier this year demonstrated, local officials and poll workersare overwhelmed by all the changes - some of them engineered by mischievouspartisans who have passed laws and rules that would block many eligiblecitizens from voting.

There is a silent disenfranchisement afoot - one that could affect hundredsof thousands of voters. That's bad for democracy. In the 2004 presidentialelection, some states were decided by less than 1 percent of the vote. Thisyear, dozens of Congressional races could be close enough that votesuppression would affect them.


The New York Times

October 30, 2006

The Fence Campaign

President Bush signed a bill to authorize a 700-mile border fence last week,
thus enshrining into federal law a key part of the Republicans' midtermelection strategy. The party of the Iraq war and family values desperatelyneeds you to forget about dead soldiers and randy congressmen, and to thinkinstead about the bad things immigrants will do to us if we don't wall themout. Hence the fence, and the ad campaigns around it.

Across the country, candidates are trying to stir up a voter frenzy usingimmigrants for bait. They accuse their opponents of being amnesty-lovingfence-haters, and offer themselves as jut-jawed defenders of the homelandbecause they want the fence. But the fence is the product of a can't-do,won't-doapproach to a serious national problem. And the ads are built on afoundation of lies:

Lie No. 1: We're building a 700-mile fence. The bill signed by Mr. Bushincludes no money for fence building. Congress has authorized $1.2 billionas a down payment for sealing the border, but that money is also meant forroads, electronic sensors and other security tactics preferred by theDepartment of Homeland Security, which doesn't want a 700-mile fence. Indiantribes, members of Congress and local leaders will also have considerablesay in where to put the fence, which could cost anywhere from $2 billion to$9 billion, depending on whose estimates you believe.


The New York Times

October 30, 2006

Fears of Inquiry Dampen Giving by U.S. Muslims

DEARBORN, Mich. - By the end of Ramadan last year, Najah Bazzy remembershaving more than $10,000 in cash donations to distribute to the needy, and avast auditorium ringed with tables groaning with enough free food for 400poor families to celebrate the holiday.

This year, Mrs. Bazzy formalized the good works she had been doing for adecade among the tens of thousands of Muslims who live in the Dearborn areaby establishing a charity, Zaman International.

But by the end of the holiday, charitable contributions were meager. Shesaid cash donations amounted to less than $4,000, and for the first timesince she began her charity work she bought food to feed about 85 needyfamilies instead of counting on gifts.


The New York Times
October 30, 2006

At Gallaudet, Trustees Give Up on New Leader After Protests

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 - Surrendering to months of widening and unrelentingprotests by students, faculty, alumni and advocates, the board of trusteesof Gallaudet University, the nation's premier university for the deaf,abandoned its choice of the institution's next president.

In an announcement Sunday night that followed an all-day emergency meetingof the trustees, convened at a hotel in Virginia far from Gallaudet'sNortheast Washington campus, the board announced "with much regret and pain"that it would terminate the contract of Jane K. Fernandes, the formerprovost trustees named in May to succeed the outgoing president of 18 years,I. King Jordan. The board said it was acting "in the best interests of theuniversity."

"Although undoubtedly there will be some members of the community who havediffering views on the meaning of this decision, we believe that it is anecessity at this point," the trustees wrote.


Michael Emanuel Rajner
National Secretary
Telephone: (305) 677-3506

Staying Alive '06 "Access Matters"
New Orleans, LA
December 6 - 10, 2006

On Thursday, October 12, 2006, the National Steering Committee for CampaignTo End AIDS unanimously passed a resolution calling on all AIDS ServiceOrganizations and Community Based Organizations serving the HIV/AIDScommunity to sponsor a minimum of one (1) HIV+ individual from theirlocality to participate in Staying Alive '06 "Access Matters". Thisconference is hosted by National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US)from December 6 - 10, 2006 in New Orleans, LA.

Staying Alive '06 "Access Matters" offers those who attend an opportunity toshare experiences, learn up-to date prevention, treatment, and advocacystrategies as well as enhance their leadership skills and build networks.Summit sessions (plenary presentations, institutes, workshops, and affinitygroups) are designed to cover a range of issues related to improving thequality of live for those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Perhaps mostimportantly, this is an opportunity to help set the national HIV/AIDS"agenda" for coming years. Staying Alive '06 "Access Matters" offers theopportunity to meet, network and share experiences with the most diversenational gathering of HIV positive people, allies and supporters. StayingAlive truly reflects the face of today's HIV/AIDS epidemic and bringstogether current and future leaders of the people living with HIV/AIDSmovement.



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