Thursday, November 02, 2006


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Rev. Sharpton faults Christian right, says black churches must return tosocial justice issues

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 1, 2006
By KEN KUSMER Associated Press Writer

(AP) The Rev. Al Sharpton criticized the Christian right Tuesday forfocusing too much political discussion on abortion and same-sex marriage andsaid black churches must talk about fighting poverty, equal access toeducation and other social justice issues.

With comedian/activist Dick Gregory at his side, Sharpton also condemnedIndiana's new voter ID law requiring people to present government-issuedidentification at the polls.

"We have been inundated in the faith community with bedroom sexual moralityissues and not dealing with the broader moral issues of poverty, ofinjustice and of health care," Sharpton said at a news conference amid atwo-day meeting of talks and revivals.

"We can no longer be misused by some in the Christian right that will notdeal with the broader issue of injustice and fairness and inequity in oursociety," the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate said.


Staying the Course, Win or Lose

By Robert Kagan
Thursday, November 2, 2006; A17

BRUSSELS -- Here in Europe, people ask hopefully if a Democratic victory inthe congressional elections will finally shift the direction of Americanforeign policy in a more benign direction. But congressional electionsrarely affect the broad direction of American foreign policy. A notableexception was when Congress cut funding for American military operations insupport of South Vietnam in 1973. Yet it's unlikely that a Democratic Housewould cut off funds for the war in Iraq in the next two years.

Indeed, the preferred European scenario -- "Bush hobbled" -- is less likelythan the alternative: "Bush unbound." Neither the president nor his vicepresident is running for office in 2008. That is what usually preventshigh-stakes foreign policy moves in the last two years of a president'sterm. In 1988 Ronald Reagan had negotiated a clever agreement to get thedictator Manuel Noriega peacefully out of Panama, but Vice President GeorgeH.W. Bush and his advisers feared the domestic political repercussions ofcutting a deal with a drug lord at the height of the "war on drugs," so theynixed the plan. The result was that Bush had to invade Panama the very nextyear to remove Noriega -- but he did get elected.


Female Voters Courted in Affirmative-Action Fight

By David S. Broder
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006; A06

DETROIT -- The women are having their say in Michigan politics this year.With Democrats trying to reelect Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and Sen. DebbieStabenow over their male Republican challengers, no state has a morefeminist cast to its ballot.

And, in a referendum fight over affirmative action, female voters willprobably decide whether Michigan becomes the third state to outlawpreferential treatment for minorities and women in education, stateemployment and public contracting.

Ward Connerly, the Californian who sponsored successfulanti-affirmative-action initiatives in California and Washington stateduring the 1990s, has brought an identical measure to Michigan.


Military Pressed Over Expressions of Faith

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006; A03

The U.S. military is being buffeted by dueling legal claims over religion,with one set of plaintiffs contending that the Pentagon is suppressingevangelical Christianity and another set arguing just the opposite -- thatthe brass gives the most aggressive evangelicals free rein to proselytize inuniform.

Although Congress intervened this fall, directing the Air Force and Navy torescind controversial new policies on religion, chaplains on both sides ofthe issue said the congressional action only muddied the waters.

"Congress took action, but who won? I'm not sure. The only thing I cansafely predict is, get ready for new controversies over the place ofevangelism in the armed forces," said retired Navy Capt. Gary R. Pollitt,executive director of the Military Chaplains Association, a private,nonprofit group representing chaplains in all the services.


The New York Times

November 2, 2006
Democrats Find Religion, Churchgoing Voters
Filed at 8:16 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic politicians have found religion and thatmay help explain why they are suddenly more popular among churchgoingAmericans.

As they push to win control of the U.S. Congress in Tuesday's elections fromRepublicans, who have long enjoyed support among conservative religiousvoters, more and more Democrats have shed a reluctance to talk about theirfaith.

``What we're doing is paying real dividends in the faith community,'' saidRep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who heads the House of RepresentativesDemocratic Faith Working Group, an outreach effort by lawmakers to ministersfrom the left and right.


The New York Times

November 2, 2006

Political Memo
Flubbed Joke Makes Kerry a Political Punching Bag, Again

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 - He's back.

Senator John Kerry had been carefully and quietly building himself back upafter his failed 2004 presidential run, campaigning for Democraticcandidates in places where he could forget about his sometimes strainedrelationships with his peers back in Washington.

But with a single word - or a single word left out of what was supposed tobe a laugh line directed at the president - Mr. Kerry has become a punchingbag again, for Republicans and for his own party.

"Please stop it," Mr. Kerry's friend, Don Imus, the radio talk show host,urged him on his morning broadcast. "Stop talking. Go home."


The New York Times

November 2, 2006

As Investors Covet Ethanol, Farmers Resist

MALTA BEND, Mo. - Farmers do not see fast money very often. But with bigprofits gushing forth from ethanol plants, dozens of Wall Street bankers, inloafers and suits, have been descending on the cornfields of the Midwestpromising to make thousands of farmers rich overnight.

Most of them, though, are proving surprisingly reluctant to cash in.

In this sleepy town of 250, for example, people have lived on the edge ofdespair for decades, dreaming of a way to make their corn worth more than $2a bushel. Seeking a way out, a group of farmers from here and surroundingcommunities scoured the state three years ago to raise the money for a $60million plant that would turn some of their corn into ethanol for cars andlift their incomes.


The New York Times

November 2, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Same Old Demons

Policy makers are again considering fundamental changes in our Iraq policy,but as they do I hope they read Elie Kedourie's essay, "The Kingdom of Iraq:A Retrospect."

Kedourie, a Baghdad-born Jew, published the essay in 1970. It's a history ofthe regime the British helped establish over 80 years ago, but it capturesan idea that is truer now than ever: Disorder is endemic to Iraq. Today'scrisis is not three years old. It's worse now, but the crisis is perpetual.This is a bomb of a nation.

"Brief as it is, the record of the kingdom of Iraq is full of bloodshed,treason and rapine," Kedourie wrote.


The New York Times

November 2, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Punished for Being Female

Bride burnings, honor killings, female infanticide, sex trafficking, massrape as a weapon of war and many other hideous forms of violence againstwomen are documented in a report released last month by the United Nations.

The report, a compilation of many studies from around the world, should havebeen seen as the latest dispatch from that permanent world war - the waragainst women all over the planet. Instead, the news media greeted itsshocking contents with a collective yawn.

The war analogy is not an overstatement. In many parts of the world, menbeat, torture, rape and kill women with impunity. In Ciudad Juárez, aMexican city on the Texas border, 300 to 400 women have been murdered overthe past several years. Many were raped and mutilated. The widespread beliefthat punishment for these crimes was unlikely was a "key factor" in theiroccurrence, the report said.


The New York Times

November 2, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

Winning Small
Saranac Lake, N.Y.

WITH the midterm election just a few days away, Republicans face a toxicpolitical environment, fouled in large part by growing bitterness over thehandling of the war in Iraq. By almost every measure, voter discontent isdeeper than it was in 1994, when Democrats lost nine seats in the Senate and54 in the House.

Surely, the Republican Party is facing an electoral drubbing. And yet,President Bush and Karl Rove baldly assert that Republicans will retaincontrol of Congress. The rationale?

Majorities in Congress aren't formed by the national zeitgeist, as Mr. Rovecheerfully points out. They are built one race at a time. And in dozens ofclose contests this fall, the outcome will be determined largely by oneoften-overlooked minority group: the mostly white and mostly conservativevoters who live in America's small towns.


The New York Times

November 2, 2006

Voting for Judicial Independence

Nearly obscured by the struggle for control of Congress, there is anotherimportant battle in a handful of states over measures aimed at punishingjudges for their official rulings and making them more captive to prevailingpolitical winds. These measures all hide behind the superficially appealingbut profoundly misleading banner of judicial accountability. And, takentogether, they add up to an assault on a fair and independent judiciary.

In Colorado, voters will decide the fate of a far-reaching stateconstitutional amendment designed to kick a huge percentage of top sittingjudges off the bench by setting a term limit of 10 years and applying thecap retroactively. A measure on the ballot in Oregon would create newgeographic districts from which appellate judges could run, as a backdoorway to oust judges from the Portland area.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Nov. 02, 2006

Ann Coulter voting case escalates

Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH - Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has refused tocooperate in an investigation about whether she voted in the wrong precinct,so the case will likely be turned over to state prosecutors, Palm BeachCounty's elections chief said Wednesday.

Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson said his office has been lookinginto the matter for nearly nine months, and he would turn over the case tothe state attorney's office by Friday. Anderson's office received acomplaint in February that Coulter allegedly voted in the wrong precinctduring a Feb. 7 Palm Beach town council election. Since then, Anderson, aDemocrat, said he has made repeated attempts to resolve the matter withCoulter and her attorney but has been rebuffed.


Forwarded from Susan Fishkorn
Tri-County -

Scandals Alone Could Cost Republicans Their House Majority

By Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 2, 2006; A01

Indictments, investigations and allegations of wrongdoing have helped put atleast 15 Republican House seats in jeopardy, enough to swing control to theDemocrats on Tuesday even before the larger issues of war, economic uneaseand President Bush are invoked.

With just five days left before Election Day, allegations are springing uplike brushfires. Four GOP House seats have been tarred by lobbyist JackAbramoff's influence-peddling scandal. Five have been adversely affected bythen-Rep. Mark Foley's unseemly contacts with teenage male House pages. Theremaining half a dozen or so could turn on controversies including offshoretax dodging, sexual misconduct and shady land deals.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Don't Blame the Scorpion, Blame the Turtle
by Charles Karel Bouley

President Bush has turned the only trick he, agnostic Karl Rove, and the GOPfeel they have left to garner votes on November 7th: gay bashing. While outstumping for anyone that will invite him, the President was quoted Monday,Oct. 30th as saying "For decades, activist judges have tried to redefineAmerica by court order," Bush said Monday.

"Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a rulingthat raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage isa union between a man and a woman, and should be defended."

I won't go in to the hypocrisy of a man that screams about activist judgesand then makes sure he seeds the highest court in the land with judges thatwill rule the way he feels appropriate, a man whose first victory was whatmany deem a criminal overstepping of juror's prudence on behalf of theSupreme Court when they handed him the Presidency. This administration hasturned to the courts time after time to get their way and then scream when acourt actually makes a just ruling.


Inside Higher Education
November 2, 2006

RateMyProfessors: Hidden Camera Edition

There's a new reason to worry about students with cell phones in yourclasses., the Web site whose popularity with studentsis matched by the grief it gives professors, has launched a new feature,encouraging students to shoot photographs of their faculty members and topost them along with the anonymous ratings of professors.

Think RateMyProfessors is going to ask your permission to post a photographthat you may not even know was taken (camera phones are being recommended tostudents)? Of course not, although RateMyProfessor asserts that it has otherquality control mechanisms in place.

In the 48 hours since RateMyProfessors posted information about this newservice on its site, it has received more than 1,200 photographs ofprofessors and it is in the process of reviewing and uploading them.

"Camera phones in the classroom have a new meaning," exulted Patrick Nagle,president of the company, in a press release.


Displeased, Not Disaffected
They've been labeled politically apathetic, but college-aged students areplanning to vote in record numbers on November 7, according to a poll fromHarvard University's Institute of Politics.

Thirty-two percent of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed in the biannual poll onpolitics and public service said they "definitely will be voting" in themidterm elections, and three in four said the likelihood that they wouldcast ballots was at least 50 percent.

Young voter turnout has hovered around 21 percent in the last four midtermelections, an institute official said. Since the voting age became 18, thebest non-presidential election turnout was 1982, when roughly 27 percent ofthis demographic group participated.

For the first time in six years of polling, the institute sought out 18- to24-year-olds who are not attending a college or university. About half ofthe 2,546 people surveyed between October 4 and 16 were enrolled in aninstitution. Among all voters in the age group, recent college graduateswere the most likely to say they "definitely" planned to vote, with theleast likely being people who never attended college or are in high school.Undergraduates and graduate students were the subgroups most likely toindicate being "politically engaged or politically active."


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