Friday, December 08, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 08, 2006

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Al-Jazeera and the Truth

By Charley Reese

Global Research, November 19, 2006

Al-Jazeera, the Arab television network that the Bush administration hatesso passionately, has launched its English-language service but is, ofcourse, having trouble finding an American cable or satellite system willingto carry it.

The British Broadcasting Corp. had a man watch the first day's broadcast(it's being distributed in Europe) and gave it a rave review: accurate, butgrim.

Since American politicians have involved us so deeply in the Middle East,the American public is entitled to see the truth of what's going on overthere. The public can't get that from American television, which sanitizesits reports. Al-Jazeera shows you the grim reality. When the Israelis killchildren, they show you the bodies and the weeping mothers. They show youall the ugly truth about Israeli and American policies and actions in theMiddle East. They show you what war looks like.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Christian fraternity sues UGA

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/07/06
A Christian fraternity filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against theUniversity of Georgia and the Board of Regents Wednesday, claiming UGArefuses to recognize the organization because it requires all its membersand officers to be Christians.

University officials have held the fraternity's membership rules violateUGA's non-discrimination policies for student groups.

Lawyers with the national Christian Legal Society and the Alliance DefenseFund, the same group that filed a discrimination suit against Georgia Techin the spring, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Athens Wednesday onbehalf of Beta Upsilon Chi, which goes by the Greek letters BYX.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Report notes Bush's complete failure in Iraq
December 6, 2006 8:19 PM | Bush Leagues

President Bush's war policies have failed in almost every regard, thebipartisan Iraq Study Group concluded Wednesday, and it warned of dwindlingchances to change course before crisis turns to chaos.

Nearly four years, $400 billion and more than 2,900 U.S. deaths into adeeply unpopular war, violence is bad and getting worse, there is noguarantee of success and the consequences of failure are great, the panel offive Republicans and five Democrats said in a bleak accounting of U.S. andIraqi shortcomings. The implications, they warned, are dire for terrorism,war in the Middle East and higher oil prices around the world.


Technology Review

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Using Bees to Detect Bombs
Honeybees might one day join the front line of national security.
By Stephen Ornes

Last week, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico,buzzed with the results of a rigorous study on sophisticated bomb detectors.Their research suggests that bees can be used to identify volatile compoundslike TATP, the primary charge associated with last summer's terrorist plot.Highly reliable and precise, these next-wave detectors are cheap to produceand easy to train.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Breyer: Courts should look after minorities' political rights
BY HOPE YEN / Lincoln Journal Star
Sunday, Dec 03, 2006 - 10:12:23 pm CST
WASHINGTON - Justice Stephen G. Breyer says the Supreme Court must promotethe political rights of minorities and look beyond the Constitution's textwhen necessary to ensure that "no one gets too powerful."

Breyer, a Clinton appointee who has brokered many of the high court's 5-4rulings, spoke in a televised interview that aired one day before justiceshear a key case on race in schools. He said judges must consider thepractical impact of a decision to ensure democratic participation.

"We're the boundary patrol," Breyer said, reiterating themes in his 2005book that argue in favor of race preferences in university admissionsbecause they would lead to diverse workplaces and leadership.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Stevens: Flag Burning Change Not Needed

The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 6, 2006; 2:58 PM

WASHINGTON -- Justice John Paul Stevens twice voted to outlaw burning theU.S. flag, in memorable dissents that emphasized the flag's great symbolicvalue. Now, however, the 86-year-old justice says there is no need to amendthe Constitution to protect Old Glory.

In 5-4 decisions in 1989 and 1990, the Supreme Court held that burning theflag is protected by the First Amendment.

"Ironically, those decisions seem to have solved the problem because no oneburns flags anymore," Stevens said in a speech to the Chicago BarAssociation in September. The justice's speech was recently aired on C-SPAN.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News,CST-NWS-cit07.articleprint

Citizen test worries immigrants: 'Why make it even harder?'

December 7, 2006

BY ESTHER J. CEPEDA Staff Reporter
The tangle of red tape on the path to U.S. citizenship soon will be evenstickier due to pending changes to the naturalization process.

A lengthier test with more thorough questions, along with electronic filingrequirements and increased fees, are in the works for 2008, pending theresults of a pilot program in 10 cities that will analyze new test questionsand procedures.


Forwarded from Rusty Gordon and Davy Whims
The Whimsy Loops


December 6, 2006

The High Cost Of Electioneering

In Illinois, two candidates spent a combined $3 million in an effort to getelected. In Georgia, spending for the same type of office hit a new recordof more than $1.1 million.

But these weren't congressional or gubernatorial races.

Nor were they even common hotly contested legislative seats.

They were for judgeships.

Big money from out-of-state special-interest groups have come to judicialpolitics. Those sleepy, low-profile elections aren't sleepy-and-low-profileany more.

The voters are worse off for it.


The Washington Post

Bush Listened, but Did He Hear?

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, December 8, 2006; A39

I've been in this business long enough to recognize journalism when I seeit. The first tip-off was the way the canny old pros in the Iraq Study Group(not one of whom I'd play poker with for money) studded their report's briefexecutive summary with explosive phrases -- a "grave and deteriorating"situation, a looming "humanitarian catastrophe," withdrawal of combat troopsby "the first quarter of 2008." As an old editor once told me, hit thereaders hard at the top of the story before they yawn and turn the page.

It turns out that James Baker, Lee Hamilton and the other members of thegroup didn't have to worry about holding readers' attention. The 96-pagemain report -- an attempt to find a way for George W. Bush to get us out ofhis Iraq debacle without provoking World War III -- is full of solidreporting and analysis, with surprises along the way that make your jawdrop.


The New York Times

December 8, 2006

Blood, Toil, Tears and Nukes
When Tony Blair asked Parliament this week to approve a new generation ofnuclear-armed submarines, he was asking the lawmakers to reaffirm Britain asa nuclear power far into the 21st century.

The prime minister argued that Britain needs its nuclear weapons to deternew threats from terrorists and rogue states. But we suspect that what isreally driving Mr. Blair and his military planners is concern about oldthreats: the thousands of nuclear weapons still in Russia's arsenal and thehundreds in China's. The fact that France is holding on to its nukes - andits seat at the table of "world powers" - is likely encouraging him as well.

Frankly, we would like to see more from Mr. Blair, who has shown a flair fordefining new-think issues, as he did with his government's global-warmingreport and its call to reduce poverty.


The New York Times

December 8, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

They Told You So

Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standardpublished a jeering article titled, "The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidityof the antiwar doomsayers." Among those the article mocked was a "warnovelist" named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia.

The article's title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forgetthe nature of Cassandra's curse: although nobody would believe her, all herprophecies came true.

And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq. At best, theywere ignored. A recent article in The Washington Post ruefully conceded thatthe paper's account of the debate in the House of Representatives over theresolution authorizing the Iraq war - a resolution opposed by a majority ofthe Democrats - gave no coverage at all to those antiwar arguments that nowseem prescient.

At worst, those who were skeptical about the case for war had theirpatriotism and/or their sanity questioned. The New Republic now says that it"deeply regrets its early support for this war." Does it also deeply regretaccusing those who opposed rushing into war of "abject pacifism?"


The New York Times

December 8, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Set a Date and Buy Some Leverage

The brutally honest Baker-Hamilton assessment of the Iraq morass impliesthat we need to leave Iraq if the factions there don't get their acttogether, but it also urges a last-ditch effort to enlist the help of Syriaand Iran to salvage something decent. Both are good suggestions, but theywill only have a chance of being effective if we go one notch further andset a fixed date - now - for America to leave Iraq.

The only hope of moving the factions inside Iraq, not to mention Syria andIran, toward reconciliation is if we have leverage over them, which we nowlack. The currency of Middle East politics is pain. And right now, all thepain is being inflicted on us and on Iraqi civilians. Only if we tell allthe players that we are leaving might we create a different balance of painand therefore some hope for a diplomatic deal. Trying to do diplomacywithout the threat of pain is like trying to play baseball without a bat.


The New York Times

December 8, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

Don't Count on Iran to Pick Up the Pieces

AS anticipated, the Iraq Study Group has recommended that the United Statesbegin talks with Iran to solicit its assistance in stabilizing Iraq. Thisrecommendation seems so sensible that the Bush administration's pastreluctance to follow it is hard to fathom. Still, administration officialsare right to counter that talking to Iran is not a policy, let alone asolution to our problems in Iraq.

The real questions are these: What do we say to the Iranians if we can getthem to the table? What can they do in Iraq? What would they be willing todo in Iraq? And what will they want in return?


The Washington Post

That Murder in London

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, December 8, 2006; A39

The poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, renegade Russian spy and fiercecritic of Vladimir Putin's government, is everywhere being called a mystery.There is dark speculation about unnamed "rogue elements" either in theRussian secret services or among ultranationalists acting independently ofthe government. There are whispers about the indeterminacy of things in theshadowy netherworld of Russian exile politics, crime and espionage.

Well, you can believe in indeterminacy. Or you can believe the testimonydelivered on the only reliable lie detector ever invented -- the deathbed --by the victim himself. Litvinenko directly accused Putin of killing him.

Litvinenko knew more about his circumstances than anyone else. And on theirdeathbeds, people don't lie. As Machiavelli said (some attribute this toVoltaire), after thrice refusing the entreaties of a priest to repent hissins and renounce Satan, "At a time like this, Father, one tries not to makenew enemies."


The New York Times

December 8, 2006

Bush Backs Away From 2 Key Ideas of Panel on Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 - President Bush moved quickly to distance himself onThursday from the central recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq StudyGroup, even as the panel's co-chairmen opened an intensive lobbying efforton Capitol Hill to press Mr. Bush to adopt their report wholesale.

One day after the study group rattled Washington with its bleak assessmentof conditions in Iraq, its Republican co-chairman, James A. Baker III, saidthe White House must not treat the report "like a fruit salad," while theDemocratic co-chairman, Lee H. Hamilton, called on Congress to abandon its"extremely timid" approach to overseeing the war.


The New York Times

December 8, 2006
News Analysis

Dueling Views on Diplomacy Pit Baker Against Rice

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 - Many of the blistering critiques of the Bushadministration contained in the Iraq Study Group's report boil down to this:the differing worldviews of Baker versus Rice.

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III was the architect of the "newdiplomatic offensive" in the Middle East that the commission recommendedWednesday as one of its main prescriptions for extracting the country fromthe mess in Iraq. Ever since, he has been talking on television, to Congressand to Iraqis and foreign diplomats about how he would conduct Americanforeign policy differently. Very differently.


The Washington Post

An Ideal In Need Of Rescue

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, December 8, 2006; A39

One of the many disastrous consequences of President Bush's botched policyin Iraq is that it has given the promotion of democracy a bad name.

If the report of the Iraq Study Group is nothing else, it is a devastatingdeclaration that the administration's approach is an abject failure and thatthe United States needs to scale back its goals. Grand dreams of Iraqidemocracy and a transformed Middle East are out. The best we can hope fornow is an Iraq that can "govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself."

Cleverly, the report cited those words because they were spoken by Bushhimself in one of his least expansive descriptions of the mission. Thepresident is now stuck with a minimalist definition of what can beaccomplished in Iraq, because everything he has done since 2003 has madebroader achievement impossible.


The Washington Post

Go Long? Go Big? Go Back To Congress

By Michael J. Glennon
Thursday, December 7, 2006; A31

With President Bush apparently inclined to accept some of therecommendations released by the Iraq Study Group yesterday and rejectothers, there's an important consideration to keep in mind. Although it'swidely assumed that the president alone is empowered to decide what militaryoption the United States should pursue in Iraq, that is not the case.Congress did not, as many believe, write the president a blank check in 2002with regard to the use of force in Iraq. It still has a lot to say on thesubject.

Since its earliest days, the Supreme Court has recognized a president'sobligation to respect congressional restrictions when Congress hasauthorized "imperfect war" -- a war fought for limited purposes. In animperfect war, Justice Bushrod Washington said in Bas v. Tingy (1800), those"who are authorized to commit hostilities . . . can go no farther than tothe extent of their commission."


The Fort Report

Dec. 8, 2006, 2:12AM
Frist leaves politics behind to return to medicine

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Their farewell hug was awkward at best.

When Democratic leader Harry Reid held open his arms to the man he battledand will replace, retiring Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Tennessee doctorhesitated before returning the embrace.


Frist, serving the last days of a self-imposed two-term limit, held theSenate itself at a bit of a distance during four years as majority leader.The Tennessee Republican made no secret of the fact that his firstoccupational love was heart transplant surgery and practicing medicine ingeneral - fields in which he had already made a name before defeatingDemocratic Sen. Jim Sasser in 1994.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Dec. 08, 2006

Guantanamo detainees going to new prison

Associated Press

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - The U.S. military transferred the firstgroup of detainees on Thursday to a new maximum-security prison atGuantanamo Bay designed to restrict contact among the prisoners and preventattacks on guards.

More than 40 detainees were brought to the $37 million prison perched on aplateau overlooking the Caribbean Sea from another maximum-security facilityat the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba, said Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand.

The 178-cell prison, constructed beside another maximum-security prisonbuilt in 2004, will allow the base to phase out an older facility, Durandsaid.


The Washington Post

Ex-Detainees Seek to Sue U.S. Officials
9 Former Prisoners Want Rumsfeld and Others Held Responsible for Torture

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 8, 2006; A10

In a federal courtroom today, nine former prisoners at U.S. military prisonsin Iraq and Afghanistan will seek through an unusual lawsuit to holdoutgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and top military commanderspersonally responsible for the torture they say they endured.

Rumsfeld's lawyers will argue that he cannot be held legally responsiblebecause anything he may have done -- including authorizing harshinterrogations at the Abu Ghraib and Bagram detention facilities -- waswithin the scope of his job as defense secretary to combat terrorists andprevent future attacks.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Chronicle of Higher Education

Campus Speech Codes Often Violate Constitutional Rights, Watchdog Group Says

Most college and university speech codes would not survive a legalchallenge, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Foundation forIndividual Rights in Education, a watchdog group for free speech oncampuses.

The group examined publicly available policies at more than 300institutions -- those highly ranked in U.S. News & World Report, as well asother big public universities -- and concluded that 93 percent of themprohibit speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

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