Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST October 31, 2006

rays.list@comcast.net and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Dear MoveOn member,

Forget the laundry. Let the dirty dishes pile up in the sink. Break out theTV dinners and tell the kids to do their own homework. This week, we've gotsome calls to make.

We've got seven days-that's 168 hours-to make our mark on this election.And for everything we care about-our kids, our Constitution, our world-we'vegot to make it huge.

We're off to a strong start. Yesterday we smashed our goal and topped 83,555calls to Democratic-leaning folks who might not vote. It's importantwork-work that could change the outcome of some races. And that means we'vegotta all roll up our sleeves and dive in.

Can you chip in an hour-or half an hour-or even twenty minutes to make somecalls? It's time to jump in. Just sign up here:



The New York Times


October 31, 2006
U.S. Drops Bid Over Royalties From Chevron

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 - The Interior Department has dropped claims that theChevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gasproduced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companiesto avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties butcould have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision alsosets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies tolower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thustheir payments to the government.

Interior officials said on Friday that they had no choice but to drop theirorder to Chevron because a department appeals board had ruled againstauditors in a separate case.


Arrest Khatami, don't honour him

Sir Ian Blair & Lord Goldsmith refuse to enforce anti-torture lawagainst Khatami

Iranian ex-President should be put on trial, not feted by St Andrew'sUniversity

London - 31 October 2006

The former President of the Islamist dictatorship of Iran, MohammadKhatami, will today be awarded an honorary doctorate of law by StAndrews University in Scotland.

"During his eight-year tenure as President of Iran, from 1997 to 2004,thousands of Iranians were detained without trial and subjected tosavage torture by Iran's secret police. Over 200 people wereexecuted," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

"Giving Khatami an honorary doctorate is the moral equivalent ofhonouring Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet.

"Well known victims of state-sanctioned murder during Khatami's ruleinclude the Iranian-Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, who wastortured and battered to death by Iranian security agents in 2003, andfour copper mine workers who were shot dead in Shahr Babak, Kermanprovince, in 2004, when they staged a peaceful protest againstredundancies.

"Khatami never spoke out against these abuses, let alone acted to haltthem.

"Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, andthe Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, turned down requests forKhatami's arrest on torture charges.

Please contact us if you would like the full article.



October 31, 2006
In Ohio, Democrats Show a Religious Side to Voters

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 30 - Representative Ted Strickland, an Ohio Democratand former Methodist minister, opened his campaign for governor with acommercial on Christian radio vowing that "biblical principles" would guidehim in office.

In his first major campaign speech, Mr. Strickland said "the example ofJesus" had led him into public service. He has made words from the prophetMicah a touchstone of his campaign.

Ohio, where a groundswell of conservative Christian support helped pushPresident Bush to re-election two years ago, has become the leading edge ofnational Democratic efforts to win over religious voters, includingevangelicals.



Inside Higher Education
October 31, 2006

Urging Presidents to Step Up

For much of the past decade, and especially in the five years since MylesBrand became the first college president to lead the National CollegiateAthletic Association, the sports group has focused its efforts on passingrules aimed at ensuring that athletes in big-time sports programs get ameaningful education.

How successful those efforts have been is a matter of some debate: NCAAofficials believe they've made serious progress, citing the association'snew system of punishing academically underperforming teams and the steadilyrising graduation rates for athletes in Division I. Some faculty leadersaren't so sure, arguing that on too many campuses, a wide gulf existsbetween the academic credentials and classroom experiences of athletes andother students.

But if NCAA officials and their critics disagree about how effective theacademic reforms have been, they concur on one point: Getting a grip onacademic issues may have been the easy part, compared to the much moredifficult challenge of trying to wrestle the financial situation in big-timesports to the ground.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Tupperware parties with a twist: Sex toys are for sale at these ladies-only



By Brian Alexander
MSNBC contributor

Updated: 5:48 p.m. ET Oct 15, 2006

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. - On the evening I visit Julie Bunton's new house in thissmall farming town that seems to grow more tract homes than crops, family isgathered inside the living room - mothers, daughters, cousins, in-laws -along with a few friends. There is diced fruit, vegetable crudités and atray with marshmallows ready for dipping into a chocolate fountain.

Brooke Reinertsen, a saleswoman for one of those multi-level marketinghome-party outfits, is giving a sales presentation. But it sounds nothinglike a Tupperware or Mary Kay event.

"OK ladies, now rub, lick, blow. Rub, lick, blow. Feel that? You can justabout breathe your partner to orgasm with this!"

Reinertsen, a no-nonsense 30-year-old suburban mom from Shawnee, Kan., goeson to demonstrate "Gigi," a male masturbation sleeve, by squeezing agenerous amount of lubricant into it, then sliding and twisting it up anddown the penis-shaped lube bottle.


The New York Times


October 31, 2006

Campaign to End Race Preferences Splits Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 25 - Three years after the Supreme Court heardJennifer Gratz's challenge to the University of Michigan's affirmativeaction policy, she is still fighting racial preferences, this time in aMichigan ballot initiative.

"We have a horrible history when it comes to race in this country," said Ms.Gratz, 29, a white applicant who was wait-listed 11 years ago at the state'sflagship campus here. "But that doesn't make it right to give preference tothe son of a black doctor at the expense of a poor student whose parentsdidn't go to college."

The ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which would amend Michigan'sConstitution to bar public institutions from considering race or sex inpublic education, employment or contracting, has drawn wide opposition fromthe state's civic establishment, including business and labor, theDemocratic governor and her Republican challenger. But polls show voters aresplit, with significant numbers undecided or refusing to say where theystand.


The New York Times


October 31, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

The Immoral Majority

As usual, Republicans are hoping that righteous voters will come through forthem on Election Day. But this year looks like the revenge of the sinners.

The sinners aren't easy to count, since they don't spend a lot of time doinggrass-roots politicking. There is no Washington lobby for the Coalition ofthe Damned. They don't like to confess their urges to pollsters. But thereare enough of them, particularly in places where Republicans are struggling,to cast doubt on the party's long-standing strategy.

Why did Republicans assume there was a Moral Majority? Where in the Bibledoes it say that the virtuous outnumber the wicked? When you definewickedness the way Republicans do, the numbers are daunting.

One of the G.O.P. Congress's few achievements this year was a law to crackdown on Internet gambling, an industry that counted eight million Americancustomers last year - about four times the membership of the ChristianCoalition. The new law hasn't stopped the online gamblers from betting, butit will give them second thoughts about voting Republican.


The Washington Post


Breaking Down The Ivory Tower
Study Finds Ed Schools in Poor Shape

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 31, 2006; A08

This should be a shining moment for education schools. Never has the nationpaid so much attention to improving the quality of teaching. Yet theinstitutions that produce teachers have never faced so much criticism.

"Teacher education is the Dodge City of the education world," said ArthurLevine, former president of Columbia University's Teachers College. "Likethe fabled Wild West town, it is unruly and chaotic."

Stanford University educational historian David F. Labaree wrote in a recentbook: "Institutionally, the ed school is the Rodney Dangerfield of highereducation; it don't get no respect. The ed school is the butt of jokes inthe university, where professors portray it as an intellectual wasteland."


The Washington Post


In Britain, All Parties Want to Color the Flag Green
Response to Global Warming Report Reveals Consensus for Urgent Action Across
Political Spectrum

By Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, October 31, 2006; A18

LONDON, Oct. 30 -- Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Monday that the world isheading toward "disastrous" and "irreversible" climate changes. Meanwhile,David Cameron, the popular leader of the opposition Conservative Party,vowed to install a wind-power generator and solar panels at the primeminister's residence if he wins the office.

Blair and Cameron are rivals, but their shared outspoken devotion tofighting global warming -- the subject of a stark British government reportreleased Monday -- illustrates the unity among leaders across the politicalspectrum here on the dangers of climate change and, in the absence of U.S.leadership, their apparent determination to make Britain a world leader onthe issue.


The New York Times


October 31, 2006

A G.O.P. Leader and Star Struggles for Traction

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 27 - There is no better snapshot of the brutal politicalclimate facing many Republicans in these final days than this: Senator RickSantorum, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, stubbornly behind inthe polls, warning with anger and growing frustration that voters shouldnot - must not, for their own good - reject him for his Democratic opponent,Bob Casey, the state treasurer.

Assailing Mr. Casey's national security credentials, the Santorum campaignhas run a television commercial that shows a mushroom cloud, missilesstreaking through the air and the faces of North Korean, Iranian andterrorist leaders. It concludes, "We just can't take a chance on Bob Casey."

Mr. Santorum began the final stretch of his campaign with a series ofspeeches on "The Gathering Storm," offering a dark, Churchillian vision ofthe threats facing the United States - like the threats, he said, that facedEngland in the years leading up to World War II.


The Washington Post


Don't Worry. Just Back Off.
The GOP Theory of Governing

By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, October 31, 2006; A21

Go ahead, people, you have your orders from Napoleon Bonaparte, I meanDonald Rumsfeld. "Back off" and "relax." Book a cruise to Chillsville. Don'tworry your pretty little heads about the debacle in Iraq, because "it'scomplicated, it's difficult." Are mere mortals going to be able to get theirminds around a problem that even Albert Einstein, I mean Donald Rumsfeld,finds complicated? Let's be realistic here.

We should all thank our lucky stars that "honorable people" are willing todo all this super-advanced thinking for us. Aristotle, I mean DonaldRumsfeld, was kind enough to phrase it that way rather than spell out whathe really meant, which was "people who are smarter than you."


The New York Times


October 31, 2006

Assessing the Damages

The Supreme Court has been struggling to address the thorny question ofwhen, if ever, punitive damages become so large that they violate theConstitution. The court made a good start when it laid down guidelines onwhen punitive damages are excessive. But eventually, it went too far. Today,it hears arguments in a case that offers a perfect opportunity to pull backto a more reasonable position.

The case involves Philip Morris's challenge to damages awarded to the widowof a smoker who died of lung cancer. An Oregon jury awarded Jesse Williams'swidow, Mayola Williams, more than $821,000 in actual damages, and $79.5million in punitive damages. Mrs. Williams said Philip Morris had engaged in40 years of publicity to undercut concerns about cigarettes, even though itknew for most or all of that time that smoking was deadly.


The New York Times


October 31, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Scandal Below the Surface

The crucial issue this year is Iraq, and the most important issue thisdecade may be the risk that nuclear proliferation results in theincineration of Wall Street by terrorists. Both topics are spurring usefuldebate this campaign season.

But one of the more important issues this century is generating no seriousdiscussion on the campaign trail. And, in place of a drumroll, let's look atthe chemistry experiment in which we're all taking part.

If you think of the earth's surface as a great beaker, then it's filledmostly with ocean water. It is slightly alkaline, and that's what creates ahospitable home for fish, coral reefs and plankton - and indirectly, higherup the food chain, for us.


The Washington Post


E-Mail Voting Comes With Risks
Pentagon Warned on Security Issues for Overseas Ballots

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 31, 2006; A19

Time was when soldiers, if they wanted to vote, had to request ballots bysnail mail, fill them out and return them the same way.

The process typically took weeks.

This year, thousands of soldiers around the world have the opportunity tovote in the Nov. 7 elections by e-mail. It's part of a Pentagon effort tomake it easier for overseas military personnel to cast ballots in federaland state elections, and it reflects how the Internet has changed life inthe combat zone.

But computer security experts inside and outside the government warned thatthe Pentagon's Federal Voting Assistance Program ignores the risksassociated with unencrypted e-mail: interception, hacking and identitytheft.


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