Thursday, December 07, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST December 07, 2006

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Chicago Tribune,0,6633832.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

Not you again: Spare us reruns in '08 race

Jonah Goldberg, Tribune Media Services

December 7, 2006

Here's the matchup we're all looking for in '08: Gore-Clinton vs. Bush-Dole.Obviously, I'm talking about Al Gore as the Democratic presidential nomineewith Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate, battling it out withFlorida Gov. Jeb Bush and vice presidential candidate Liddy Dole.

Of course, I'm kidding. If I heard such news, I'd probably shoot mytelevision. Indeed, the whole country might respond to another round ofBush, Gore, etc., like those characters in "Airplane!" who commit suicidewhenever Ted Striker (Robert Hays) starts droning on about his life. Imyself would upend a jerrycan of gasoline over my head rather than listen toGore drone on about lockboxes again. And if Hillary Clinton were at the topof the Democratic ticket, all it would take for me to light the match wouldbe a giddy "Today" segment on Bill Clinton as the "first gentleman"--a firstindeed.


The Washington Post

Senate Confirms Gates as Defense Secretary
Vote Is 95 to 2 as Rumsfeld's Replacement Promises Fresh Approach to Iraq

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 7, 2006; A11

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Robert M. Gates yesterday as the newdefense secretary to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld, sealing a swiftconfirmation with a vote of 95 to 2 that reflected bipartisan confidence inhis willingness to overhaul U.S. strategy in Iraq.

Senate Democrats and Republicans lauded Gates's frankness after a day oftestimony Tuesday in which he acknowledged that the United States is notwinning in Iraq, and said that historians would have to judge whether thedecision to invade Iraq in March 2003 was correct. He also pledged to take afresh approach to Iraq in which "all options are on the table."


The Washington Post

Baker-Hamilton Does Its Job

By David Ignatius
Thursday, December 7, 2006; A31

DUBAI -- The Iraq Study Group's report achieved the goal of any blue-ribboncommission: It stated the obvious, emphatically.

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating." Of various proposals forfixing Iraq, "all have flaws." A "precipitate" withdrawal would be amistake, but so would a big increase in U.S. troops. America should set"milestones" for the Iraqi government to control all provinces by nextSeptember. The U.S. military should shift to a training and advising missionso that most American troops can leave by early 2008. But there is no "magicformula," and even if this approach fails, the United States "should notmake an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troopsdeployed in Iraq."


The Washington Post

Do-Something Congress
Could it be time to actually get some work done?

Thursday, December 7, 2006; A30

WHEN DEMOCRATS take over the House next year, the regular workweek willstretch to a backbreaking five days -- up from the now-customaryTuesday-through-Thursday arrangement. Members of the House and Senate -- nodoubt reeling from the two weeks they've worked since the election -- willhave a mere four weeks off after they leave town Friday. Hard to believe,but the new leadership actually expects them to come to work on Jan. 4rather than enjoy the usual elongated holiday break as they wait around forthe president to deliver his State of the Union address in late January. Inthe Senate, the weeklong March break is being eliminated and the two-weekApril vacation cut in half.


The New York Times

December 7, 2006

Son of Liberia's Ex-Leader Charged in Miami Under Anti-Torture Law

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 - The son of Charles G. Taylor, Liberia's formerpresident, was charged Wednesday with two counts of torture and one count ofusing a firearm in a violent crime during interrogation of an oppositionfigure in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, according to a federal indictmentbrought in Miami.

The case is the first in which federal authorities invoked the anti-torturelaw, which bans extreme interrogation methods. The law gives American courtsjurisdiction over reported abuse overseas by American citizens.


Presidential hopefuls prod Bush on Iraq
By Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writer | December 7, 2006

11 WASHINGTON --Ultimately, one of the 2008 presidential contenders will sitin the White House and have to deal with the consequences of PresidentBush's policy in Iraq.

No wonder, then, that many of them used Wednesday's release of the IraqStudy Group report to prod the president to change his policy now.

The bipartisan group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker IIIand former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., presented a downbeat assessment of thewar, urged stepped up diplomacy and called for ways to pull back most U.S.combat troops by early 2008.


Richardson Speaks Against Border Fence

New Mexico Gov. Richardson says he wants new Congress to reverse borderfence legislation

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2006
By JENNIFER TALHELM Associated Press Writer

(AP) New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says a fence at the Mexican borderauthorized by Congress this fall "gets in the way" of U.S.-Mexico relations,and he wants the new Democratic Congress to reverse the legislation.

"The fence is very unpopular on the border in Texas and New Mexico, inChihuahua," Richardson, a Democrat, said after meeting Wednesday withleaders from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. "So one of the most significantand constructive acts the U.S. Congress should take is to get rid of it."


The Washington Post

A Report Overtaken by Reality

By George F. Will
Thursday, December 7, 2006; A31

The Iraq Study Group, like the policy it was created to critique, wasovertaken by the unexpectedly rapid crumbling of the U.S. position in Iraqsince the ISG was formed in March. The deterioration was manifested in lastweek's misbegotten summit between President Bush and Iraqi Prime MinisterNouri al-Maliki, which made brutally clear how difficult it will be to applyeven the ISG's temperate recommendations to the deteriorating reality.

Summits usually do, and generally should, resemble American politicalconventions -- they should not be deliberative events but should ratifydecisions made earlier. The ISG's recommendations must be read in light ofthese facts from the week during which the recommendations were beingwritten:

Calling Iraq's prime minister "the right guy" for Iraq, Bush met him inJordan, presumably because Iraq is too dangerous a venue for discussing howto, in Bush's words, "complete" the job.


The Washington Post

Carter Book on Israel 'Apartheid' Sparks Bitter Debate
Scholar Resigns From Ga. Center

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 7, 2006; A04

A veteran Middle East scholar affiliated with the Carter Center in Atlantaresigned his position there Monday in an escalating controversy over formerpresident Jimmy Carter's bestselling book on the Israeli-Palestinianconflict.

The book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," traces the ups and downs of theIsraeli-Palestinian peace process beginning with Carter's 1977-1980presidency and the historic peace accord he negotiated between Israel andEgypt and continuing to the present. Although it apportions blame to Israel,the Palestinians and outside parties -- including the United States -- forthe failure of decades of peace efforts, it is sharply critical of Israelipolicy and concludes that "Israel's continued control and colonization ofPalestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peaceagreement in the Holy Land."


The Washington Post

The GOP's Southern Exposure

By Harold Meyerson
Thursday, December 7, 2006; A31

You've seen the numbers and understand that America is growing steadily lesswhite. You try to push your party, the Grand Old Party, ahead of this curveby taking a tolerant stance on immigration and making common cause with someblack churches. Then you go and blow it all in a desperate attempt to turnout your base by demonizing immigrants and running racist ads against HaroldFord. On Election Day, black support for Democrats remains high; Hispanicsupport for Democrats surges. So what do you do next?

What else? Elect Trent Lott your deputy leader in the Senate. Sure locks inthe support of any stray voters who went for Strom in '48.

In case you haven't noticed, a fundamental axiom of modern American politicshas been altered in recent weeks. For four decades, it's been the Democratswho've had a Southern problem.


Kilpatrick Tapped to Lead Black Caucus

Kilpatrick elected as chair of Congressional Black Caucus, vows to takemembers to new level

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2006
By BEN EVANS Associated Press Writer

(AP) The Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday tapped Rep. Carolyn CheeksKilpatrick as its chairwoman for the next two years, when black lawmakerswill wield more power in Congress than ever.

Kilpatrick, D-Mich., a former school teacher and the mother of Detroit MayorKwame Kilpatrick, was chosen unanimously. She succeeds Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C.

"Watch for us," Kilpatrick told reporters. "We will take this caucus toanother level."


Voters like two-part harmony by Democrats and governor
George Skelton
Capitol Journal

December 7, 2006

Sacramento - The voters have delivered another message: They like thebipartisan cooperation between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and theLegislature. And they expect it to continue.

This latest message is an elaboration of the one that many politicians - atleast the reelected governor and Democratic legislative leaders - thoughtvoters sent Nov. 7. It's not clear what Republican legislators thought.

The new missive was delivered through a poll of Californians who said theyvoted in the election. The survey of 2,000 voters, released today, wasconducted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

"Voters really are heaping praise on the ability of the governor andLegislature to work together," says PPIC pollster Mark Baldassare. "At thesame time, they have extremely high expectations for next year.


The Miami Beach Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006

Panel wants paper trail for touch-screen voting
A committee voted to create a national standard that could eliminatepaperless electronic voting machines.

Washington Post Service

WASHINGTON - A federal panel voted Tuesday to begin developing anational standard that could result in the gradual phasing out of paperlesselectronic voting machines.

The ''next generation'' of voting systems should have an independentmeans of verifying election results, the Technical Guidelines DevelopmentCommittee said. The standard would have to be adopted by the U.S. ElectionAssistance Commission.


Hillary's too vane to be president
It didn't matter much that Sen. Clinton is a fickle leader -- until Obamacame along.
By Arianna Huffington
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON is the editor of

December 7, 2006

WHILE THE country is urgently engaged in finding a way out of the quagmirein Iraq, Hillary Rodham Clinton is busy holding private dinners for keyDemocrats from primary states and remaining curiously silent on the subjectof Iraq. Indeed, as she has transformed herself over the last few years fromfirst lady to presumptive presidential front-runner, the profile that hasemerged is that of a politician more comfortable following than leading.

There are politicians with great instincts as leaders - those who recognizenot just the crises directly in front of them but those around the corner aswell. (And these leadership instincts come from the gut, not from amultitude of consultants, strategists and pollsters.) And then there arepoliticians with great instincts as followers - those who are the first tostick their fingers in the air and notice even the slightest shift in thewind of popular opinion.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006

The filthy rich make our home unaffordable


The luxury condo towers we hate . . . that's what we do.

We build soaring glass cylinders stuffed with ostentatious amenities andimpenetrable security and Jacuzzis and stratospheric views so richentrepreneurs and their trophy wives can gaze down on the rest of us, peonspecks scurrying in and out of our low-rise bungalows.

That's what we do. That's our special niche in the new global economy.

We suck up to the rich.


The Advocate

Results for the following question:
Do you trust the Democratic leaders in Congress to take up gay rightsissues?



Total Votes: 318

These comments are reproduced as written by visitors to this Web site. Theyhave not been edited for content, grammar, or spelling. The viewpointsappearing here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect theopinion or views of, The Advocate, or its affiliates.

D. Foster
We will probably see the most activity after the 2008 elections.

Democrats are not to be trusted on ANY issues more than Republicans or anyother party. Keep your mind open to all sides and do not vote for one partyover another based on "stereotypes" that one party is for or against acertain issue.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006

Foreign correspondents an endangered species


One group of Americans who can be proud of their work in Iraq are the printmedia correspondents based in Baghdad.

They were maligned by the White House and Pentagon as lazy, biased or worse,but their gutsy reporting turned out to be on the mark. Unlike U.S.officials, these journalists lived outside the protected Green Zone andrisked their lives daily. Even as the media were being browbeaten by DonaldRumsfeld, print reporters got the trends right.

In a sign of the times (perhaps the gullible have finally realized Fox Newsis Fox Spin?), I'm no longer getting reader e-mail asking me to write the''good news'' about Iraq.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006


Webb, be polite; Bush, be realistic


I once sat across a dinner table from Anatoly Dobrynin, then the Sovietambassador, and considered stabbing him in the neck with my fork. This wasat the home of Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador, and earlier that day Ihad run into Avital Sharansky, whose husband, Natan, was doing hard labor ina KGB prison for being a dissident.

I looked at Dobrynin having such a jolly time, thought about Sharansky, andfleetingly considered breaking both protocol and his aorta. Then I thoughtbetter of it. I needed my career and I liked Bandar and I wasn't sure thatkilling a Soviet official would result in Sharansky walking out of jail.


The New York Times

December 7, 2006

Cherry-Picking Campaign Promises

Weeks before they take majority control of the Capitol, the Democrats arereported to be wriggling out of one of their most important campaign vows:to repair Congressional oversight of the nation's intelligence agencies.Congress was found to be nothing less than "dysfunctional" on this duty bythe Sept. 11 commission, which wisely recommended a full-scale revamping ofthe committee structure.

This necessarily means a wrenching change in the budget powers overintelligence exercised by the bulls of the defense appropriations process -a monopoly that reduces the intelligence committees to secondary lap dogs.When the Republican-controlled Congress showed no appetite for a turf fight,Democrats eagerly made a campaign vow to promptly enact all of the panel'srecommendations.



Oil firms look to lawyers to tackle nationalism
Thu Dec 7, 2006 8:00 AM ET

By Barbara Lewis - Analysis

LONDON (Reuters) - International oil companies are looking to lawyers tofight their battles against a growing trend of resource nationalism as highprices and the lack of other opportunities raise the stakes.

At their disposal are some 2,300 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and amultinational Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

Foreign operators have successfully fought back against illegalexpropriation by governments and may endeavor to prove resourcenationalism -- producers seeking more control and revenue from foreigninvestors -- amounts to coercive seizure.


Hurricane center director appointed
By Larry Lipman

Palm Beach Post Washington Bureau

Thursday, December 07, 2006

WASHINGTON - Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service's
Southern Region, was named Wednesday to head the National Hurricane Center,
replacing retiring Director Max Mayfield.

Proenza's selection was announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary CarlosGutierrez, who predicted the new director would be a "calm and trusted voicein the eye of the storm."

"Bill Proenza has a proven record in this field and is a naturalsuccessor" to Mayfield, Gutierrez said.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Robert Scheer: Becoming What We Despise
Posted on Dec 5, 2006
By Robert Scheer

Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, has been tortured by his own government forthe better part of three-and-one-half years, suffering years of systematicsensory deprivation documented in his attorneys' filings and supported byphotos of the prisoner published this week by the New York Times.

In that time, Padilla, who has been judged by professionals as mentally illas a consequence of his brutal treatment, has been denied his Constitutionalright to a fair and speedy trial and was permitted no legal representationfor 21 months. The Bush administration's excuse for this betrayal of ourlegal system was that Padilla was a dangerous al Qaeda agent, a big fishcaught in the administration's successful pursuit of its much ballyhooed waron terror. In the words of then-U.S. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft, Padillawas "a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to build and explode aradiological dispersion device, or 'dirty bomb,' in the United States."Those lurid claims were abandoned when the government, faced with a belatedU.S. Supreme Court censure, finally charged Padilla with vague and lessercrimes carrying a maximum 15-year sentence.


Media Matters for America

Olbermann: Savage "Worst Person" runner-up for attack on Ellison


On the December 4 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann awardednationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage runner-up in his nightly"Worst Person in the World" segment for asking -- as Media Matters forAmerica documented -- in response Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's (D-MN) reportedintention to use a copy of the Quran during the ceremonial photo op on theday he is sworn in: "What's next, a witch gets elected, and she says she'sonly going to be sworn in with her hand over a pentagram?" Olbermann thenobserved that "members of Congress are not officially sworn in on a Bible, aQuran, or even a copy of the Worst Person in the World book." Savage is afrequent honoree during Olbermann's "Worst Person" segment and recentlyreceived "worst person" honors for claiming that his anti-gay comments wouldappear "in several of the blogs run by gays -- and they think only of that'cause they're like drug addicts," as Media Matters also noted.


Richest 2% own 'half the wealth'
By Andrew Walker
Economics correspondent, BBC World Service

The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all householdwealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute.The report, from the World Institute for Development Economics Research atthe UN University, says that the poorer half of the world's population ownbarely 1% of global wealth.

There have of course been many studies of worldwide inequality.

But what is new about this report, the authors say, is its coverage.

It deals with all countries in the world - either actual data or estimatesbased on statistical analysis - and it deals with wealth, where mostprevious research has looked at income.

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