Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 12, 2006

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



UN urges freedoms for Arab women

More than half top-scoring pupils are girls, despite disadvantages

The rise of women is in fact a prerequisite for an Arab renaissance

Arab Human Development Report 2005
Discrimination against women is holding back economic and social developmentacross the Arab World, a report by the UN's development agency says.

Arab women must be given greater access to education, employment, healthcare and public life, the report says.

The Arab Human Development Report is an annual overview compiled by Arabacademics and experts in the field.

Islam is not to blame for the problem, the report says, but rather politicalinflexibility, male domination and war.


The New York Post


December 12, 2006
Iran Opens Conference on Holocaust

TEHRAN, Dec. 11 - Iran held a gathering that included Holocaust deniers,discredited scholars and white supremacists from around the world on Mondayunder the guise of a conference to "debate" the Nazi annihilation of sixmillion Jews.

Among those representing the United States was the former Ku Klux Klanleader David Duke, whose prepared remarks, issued by the Iranian ForeignMinistry, said the gas chambers in which millions perished actually did notexist.

Robert Faurisson, an academic from France, said in his speech that theHolocaust was a myth created to justify the occupation of Palestine, meaningthe creation of Israel.

That is what Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has frequently claimed,and it was Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements that inspired the Foreign Ministryto hold the conference. The ministry said 67 people from 30 countries wereparticipating in the two days of meetings.


The Washington Post


A Battle Hillary Clinton Should Relish

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; A27

Hillary Rodham Clinton faces a maddening challenge. Many of the people wholike and admire her, who believe she has good values and would make anexcellent president, are not sure they are for her because they don't thinkshe can win.

Many of these same people, as one prominent Democrat told me, actually feelguilty that they harbor these doubts, partly because the specter that hauntsClinton has little to do with anything she has said or done herself.

In public, the doubts are dressed up as substantive concerns -- she's toocautious, she didn't stand up against the war in Iraq, she mishandled thathealth care reform in the 1990s, she's perceived as too liberal or she's notprogressive enough.


The Washington Post


Skilling's Arrival In Prison Delayed
Court Weighs Bail Pending Appeal

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; D01

Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling received at least a briefreprieve from prison yesterday after a federal appeals court said it neededmore time to consider whether he should remain free pending appeal.

Skilling, 53, had been preparing to turn himself in today and begin servinga prison term of 24 years and six months at a federal facility in Waseca,Minn. But a brief order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit,issued yesterday evening, means the brash former corporate executive willenjoy at least a few more days of freedom.


The New York Post


December 12, 2006
Iran Opens Conference on Holocaust

TEHRAN, Dec. 11 - Iran held a gathering that included Holocaust deniers,discredited scholars and white supremacists from around the world on Mondayunder the guise of a conference to "debate" the Nazi annihilation of sixmillion Jews.

Among those representing the United States was the former Ku Klux Klanleader David Duke, whose prepared remarks, issued by the Iranian ForeignMinistry, said the gas chambers in which millions perished actually did notexist.

Robert Faurisson, an academic from France, said in his speech that theHolocaust was a myth created to justify the occupation of Palestine, meaningthe creation of Israel.


The Washington Post


It's Not Apartheid
Carter Adds to the List Of Mideast Misjudgments

By Michael Kinsley
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; A27

In the six decades since the founding of Israel, there have been about oneand a half new ideas for solving the most intractable problem on the map ofthe world. In fact, ever since Britain's Balfour Declaration (1917) madeincompatible promises to Jews and Arabs struggling over the same tiny plotof land, most would-be solutions have counted on an outbreak of goodwillamong the Middle East's warring parties. This tradition continues in theIraq Study Group report, which declared: "There must be a renewed andsustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israelipeace on all fronts" as a small warm-up for tackling the problem of Iraq.

What a good idea! And then we'll cure cancer, to pave the way for healthcare reform. Why, of course all of humanity should put down its weapons andlearn to live together in harmony and siblinghood -- most especially in theHoly Land, birthplace of three great religions (so far). In fact it isdownright inexplicable that peace and goodwill have not broken outspontaneously in the Middle East, even though this has never happenedanywhere else either.


The Washington Post


Tehran's Holocaust Lesson

By Anne Applebaum
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; A27

Yesterday the Iranian Foreign Ministry held an international conference.Nothing unusual in that: Foreign ministries hold conferences, mostly dullones, all the time. But this one was different. For one, "Review of theHolocaust: Global Vision" dealt with history, not current politics. Insteadof the usual suspects -- deputy ministers and the like -- the invitees seemto have included David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader; Georges Theil, aFrenchman who has called the Holocaust "an enormous lie"; and FredrickToeben, a German-born Australian whose specialty is the denial of Nazi gaschambers.

The guest list was selective: No one with any academic eminence, or indeedany scholarly credentials, was invited. One Palestinian scholar, KhaledKasab Mahameed, was asked to come but then barred because he holds anIsraeli passport -- and also perhaps because he, unlike other guests,believes that the Holocaust really did happen.


The LA Times


Calming an anxious middle class
The incoming Congress will need to pursue policies that promote moreeconomic fairness without hindering globalization.
By Lawrence H. Summers
LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS is a contributing editor to Opinion.

December 11, 2006

A RECENT MEETING with the incoming freshmen of the 110th House ofRepresentatives made clear to me some of the forces that will shape Americaneconomic policy in the next few years. Coming from very different parts ofthe country and very different political perspectives, each of the newmembers of Congress has one thing in common: They have all heard from ananxious middle class.

The freshman class is under enormous pressure to respond not just to theeconomic insecurity that middle-class voters feel but to their resentmenttoward the disproportionately prospering corporate elite. If the newCongress sees itself as having any kind of economic mandate, it is forpolicies that "stand up" for ordinary Americans against the perceived threatfrom corporate and moneyed interests.


Orlando Sentinel


Democrats vow votes will have paper trail
Mark K. Matthews
Washington Bureau

December 12, 2006

WASHINGTON -- It may be too late for frustrated voters in Sarasota County,but Democratic leaders said they intend to change election rules next yearto require that all voting machines produce a verifiable paper record.

If the federal proposal becomes law, Florida would have to abandon all itstouch-screen-voting machines unless state election officials decide tocertify a touch-screen model with a verifiable paper trail. So far, that hasnot happened.

Recently, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Robert Wexler, D-BocaRaton, said they aim to make paper records a top priority in the nextCongress, despite concerns about the regulation's expense and questionsabout its accuracy.




Romney is fast rising as a serious contender
By Peter S. Canellos, Globe Columnist | December 12, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Until very recently, Governor Mitt Romney has been a long shotpreparing for a race -- the Republican presidential primaries -- that almostalways goes to the favorite.

But through shrewd moves and good luck, Romney has steadily risen throughthe ranks of GOP prospects. Now, almost everyone in Republican politicsranks Romney as the second-likeliest nominee, behind Senator John McCain ofArizona.

Such early soundings are a popular inside-Washington parlor game. But theycarry some weight in the Republican Party, whose leaders tend to line upearly behind presidential candidates. Preseason favorites have won everynomination since, um, 1968, when Romney's late father, Governor GeorgeRomney of Michigan, was the early front-runner. He lost to a late-enteringRichard Nixon.




Ohio Rep. Kucinich to Run for President
Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio planning to seek presidencyagain in 2008
CLEVELAND, Dec. 12, 2006
By CONNIE MABIN Associated Press Writer

(AP) Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who unsuccessfully ran for presidentin 2004, said Monday he is planning another bid because his party isn'tpushing hard enough to end the Iraq war.

In a statement, Kucinich said he plans to formally announce his candidacy onTuesday at Cleveland's City Hall, where he served as mayor of his hometownin the 1970s.

The liberal, anti-war Ohio congressman said he was inspired to run becausehe disagrees with the way some of his fellow Democrats are handling the war,including approval of a proposal to spend $160 billion more on the conflict.



Laura Berman

Could the next prez be black or female?

Barack Obama, U.S. senator from Illinois, is busily shaking hands in NewHampshire.

Hillary Clinton, U.S. senator from New York, is hiking along a seeminglyendless campaign trail.

And Jennifer Granholm, Michigan's governor, won re-election with greaterease than most, including the pollsters, thought possible.

A stunning graphic in Sunday's New York Times portrayed 43 presidents in acontinuous display of white maleness. It was a way to ask -- and beg -- thequestion: Could the next president of the United States be black or femaleor something else?

Are we ready for that?



Democrats Launch Series of Strategy Sessions on Iraq War
By Thomas D. Williams
t r u t h o u t | Report

Wednesday 06 December 2006

The House Democratic Caucus met Tuesday in closed session with threeexperienced critics of the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraqto work out a proposed war-extrication plan.

The session was closed to allow legislators to freely speak their mindabout the war, its consequences and the future, said Kristie Greco, caucuscommunications director. Its purpose was to allow the three experts tofurther educate both the freshmen and the more experienced Houserepresentatives, she said. "We hope to use this [forum] as a launching pad[for future discussions], not a formal report," she said. The caucusincludes all Democratic representatives and "seeks to achieve consensus andto ensure members have the tools to implement it," says its web site.



Obama encouraged to enter 2008 race
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press WriterMon Dec 11, 10:43 AM ET

Sen. Barack Obama says he may have to overcome questions about hisinexperience, stereotypes about his race and even a middle name that remindsAmericans of Iraq's former dictator. Despite all that, the Illinois Democratreceived plenty of encouragement to enter the presidential race during aninitial trip to this pivotal campaign state.

Barack Hussein Obama drew the kind of political frenzy that is commonplacein New Hampshire in the final month before the nation's first presidentialprimary.

In this case, it happened more than a year in advance for a man who hasn'teven decided whether he's running.

Obama said he is still "running things through the traps" as he considerswhether to join a field of Democrats that's expected to include front-runnerSen. Hillary Clinton and several other more experienced political hands.



Marc Shoffman

PinkNews.co.uk Exclusive
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has described Iran's plans to host aconference on Holocaust denial this week as an "incredible insult to allminorities who suffered under Nazism."

Since coming to power in 2005, Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hasinsisted that the Holocaust is a Zionist conspiracy, the event this weekinvites so called 'experts' to debate whether the event happened.

Around 6 million Jews are believed to have been killed by the Nazis inconcentration camps during the Second World War.

Additionally, It is thought that between 5,000 and 15,000 gay people, whowere seen as "sexual deviants" were sent to gas chambers, and forced to weara pink triangle under the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945.




Barbara Boxer, mover and shaker
California senator is at peak of power thanks to Democrats' big triumph inNovember elections.

By David Whitney - Bee Washington Bureau
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 10, 2006

Barbara Boxer sweeps into the Senate radio and television studio, cushionedby her posse of aides. The room is packed with reporters, cameras anddigital recorders all pointed at her. They are there to hear her talkabout -- bipartisanship?

It's another sign of the times.

The liberal California Democrat began the 109th congressional session 23months ago with such flamboyance that she alone challenged certifying the2004 Ohio presidential vote because of "irregularities." She later stoppedjust short of calling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a liar at ahearing on the war in Iraq. These days, though, she is sounding restrained.




Six Ways That Changing Your Life Can Prevent Global Warming
By Peter Michaelson, BuzzFlash
Posted on December 9, 2006, Printed on December 12, 2006

All of the reasons for our failure to address global warming are known. Butthey are not known widely and deeply enough to send us rushing down thestreet on bicycles or even in four-cylinder cars.

Still, we want something to be done. Are we waiting for Al Gore? Is itpossible it all depends on our own little selves?

A very simple axiom is at play: The better we understand our owncontribution to the paralysis, the freer we become to act effectively.



A fitting farewell to 12 years of corruption & arrogance
December 9, 2006 10:30 PM | Capitol Hillbillies | Comments (4)

The Republican Congress that came in with such fanfare 12 years ago went outwith a demoralized, beaten whimper Saturday, leaving behind a dozen years ofscandals, bloated pork barrel bills, out-of-control budgets andbureaucracies and a history of arrogance.

Some, like defeated GOP Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, left -- as the NewYork Times described it -- "in a huff" while others avoided reporters asthey stole away in the early morning hours.




Breaking: Articles of Impeachment filed
By Jan Frel

Posted on December 8, 2006, Printed on December 12, 2006


I just got this newsflash from journalist Matt Pascarella:

On Monday, gathering in a conference room in Washington D.C., GeorgiaCongresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her advisors worked on a draft copy ofthe articles of impeachment against President Bush.

At the heart of the charges contained in McKinney's articles of impeachment,is the allegation that President Bush has not upheld the oath ofpresidential office and is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article I states that President Bush has failed to preserve, protect anddefend the constitution.




Five Hours Watching Al Jazeera's New International Channel
By Dante Chinni, Christian Science Monitor
Posted on December 9, 2006, Printed on December 12, 2006

Say this about the people who run Al Jazeera: They are nothing if notpersistent.

Two weeks ago, the network best known in the United States for airing videomessages from Osama bin Laden launched an English-language news channel --known as Al Jazeera International (AJI) -- despite the fact that not asingle U.S. cable company or major satellite provider had agreed to carryit.

Al Jazeera bypassed the cable companies to stream on the Internet. If youhave a high-speed connection and $6 a month to spare, you can tune in onyour computer. The move is seen as a stopgap until AJI can find a homesomewhere on U.S. television.

Not surprising, given its pedigree, the new channel has already provedcontroversial. Critics argue that allowing Al Jazeera International to airon American television would be essentially giving a megaphone to those whospout anti-American propaganda. Supporters of letting the network air arguethat seeing the way the Arab world views the United States might broadenminds here.


The New York Times


December 12, 2006
Guest Columnist
The Early Show

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic establishment's anti-establishmentcandidate. She is simultaneously an insurgent, seeking to end a 220-yearreign of men, and the heir apparent - dominant in cash ($14.4 million in thebank), in the polls and in the colossal reach of her machine.

Clinton's most visible challenger, Barack Obama, is similarly an insurgent,but without the former first lady's resources. He is seeking to capitalizeon his ranking as an underdog, entering the fray as David battling theClinton Goliath.

The head of the pack is a dangerous place for a Democrat to be. Democratsexcel in cannibalizing their front-runners. Just ask those who were knockedout in the primary season (Lyndon Johnson, Ed Muskie and Howard Dean) orthose who limped from the ring after 15 rounds (Walter Mondale and Al Gore).



Judge Weighs Torture Claim Vs. Rumsfeld
By Matt Apuzzo
The Associated Press

Friday 08 December 2006

Washington - A federal judge on Friday appeared reluctant to give DonaldH. Rumsfeld immunity from torture allegations, yet said it would beunprecedented to let the departing defense secretary face a civil trial.

"What you're asking for has never been done before," U.S. District JudgeThomas F. Hogan told lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The group is suing on behalf of nine former prisoners in Iraq andAfghanistan. The lawsuit contends the men were beaten, suspended upside downfrom the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated,burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions.

If the suit were to go forward, it could force Rumsfeld and the Pentagonto disclose what officials knew about abuses at prisons such as Abu Ghraibprison in Iraq and what was done to stop it.

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