Saturday, January 13, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 13, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Los Angeles Times,0,6696519,print.story?coll=la-opinion-center

They're refugees, not terrorists
As Sudanese Dominic Kur shows, the United States' post-9/11 asylum policiescan be unjust.
By Anna Husarska
ANNA HUSARSKA is senior policy advisor at the International RescueCommittee.

January 13, 2007

Sherkole refugee camp, Ethiopia - DOMINIC KUR is, in many ways, a typicalDinka. Like almost all the men in his ethnic group, he has had his foreheadmarked with ornamental scarification, and by custom, his bottom front fourteeth have been knocked out, which makes him lisp a bit.

As was expected of young Dinka men from southern Sudan in the mid-1980s, hejoined the armed resistance, known as the Sudan People's Liberation Army, inits civil war against the ruling government in Khartoum.

Kur fought with the group for nine years. "I felt I had to defend my countryagainst the Arabs," he explained. But he grew disenchanted with his unit'streatment of its troops, and with no mechanism in place for officiallyresigning from the guerrilla organization, he simply left and moved toKhartoum, where he worked on a construction site and married his childhoodsweetheart from the village of Madol. In 2002, he crossed the border andcame to the Sherkole camp.


Detroit News

The late Gerald Ford pulled no punches when rating presidents

Associated Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- In 25 years of interviews with the Grand Rapids Press, whichcould only be released upon his death, former President Ford had thefollowing to say about his fellow former presidents:

Harry Truman

"Look at what he faced. There was the challenge of Korea in 1951. He had nohesitancy using atomic weapons (on) Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He came up withthe Marshall Plan, which saved Europe after World War II. ... He deserveshigh marks."

Dwight Eisenhower

"The best president of my lifetime. ... The Soviets under Stalin were anaggressive, formidable military operation. NATO, under Ike, stopped them.... Overall, the economy under him was in pretty good shape for eightyears."

John Kennedy

"He had a tremendous following, but I think the substance of his presidencywas not as good as it was professed to be. ... Kennedy would never havegotten the civil rights legislation through."



CBS News

Drug Bill Passes Despite Veto Threat
Democratic House, defying veto threat, passes bill on bargaining forMedicare drug prices
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2007
By JIM KUHNHENN Associated Press Writer

(AP) Defying a presidential veto threat, the House approved legislationFriday directing the government to negotiate with drug companies in aneffort to lower prices for Medicare recipients.

Democrats, winding up an opening-week legislative rush after taking controlof Congress, said the measure would help the nation's seniors. The Bushadministration called it an unwise government intrusion in a system that isalready working well.

The 255-170 vote was short of the two-thirds margin that would be needed tooverride a presidential veto. The legislation still must pass the Senate,where it could undergo significant changes or be defeated.


The New York Times

January 13, 2007
House Democrats Propose Cut in Student Loan Rates

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - House Democrats on Friday unveiled a bill that wouldcut interest rates on federally subsidized loans to college students by halfover the next five years.

They said they would finance the $6 billion measure by increasing costs thatlenders pay to the government and reducing the largest lenders'government-guaranteed profits.

The bill, one of half a dozen that the new House majority had placed on its100-hour agenda, underscores the Democrats' all-out effort to consolidategains made in November among middle-class voters.

"How to pay for a college education has become a primary concern forstudents and families across this country, a concern that Congress musturgently address as part of our goal of strengthening America's middleclass," said Representative George Miller, chairman of the House Educationand Labor Committee.


The Washington Post

Canada Unveils Border Security Plan

The Associated Press
Saturday, January 13, 2007; 3:38 AM

WINDSOR, Ontario -- Canada plans to spend more than $368 million over thenext five years to protect its border from terrorist, economic andenvironmental threats.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced the initiative Friday at theborder crossing between Windsor and Detroit, the conduit for one-third ofthe $1.6 billion in daily trade that passes between Canada and the UnitedStates.

"I even sometimes surprise my American friends when I remind them that thetrade that comes across the Ambassador Bridge in total is greater than allof the trade that exists between the United States and Japan," Day told anews conference.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,5613597,print.story?coll=sfla-news-editorial


South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

January 13, 2007

ISSUE: Chávez says he's a Marxist-Leninist.

The saber-rattling in Venezuela predictably reached fever pitch this weekafter Hugo Chávez's inauguration for a third term. The bombastic leaderpromised to further develop his "21st Century socialism" -- and Americansneed to listen closely.

In his three-hour inaugural speech, Chávez called himself a"Marxist-Leninist." He also vowed to radicalize and further deepen the"socialist revolution" that he has been gradually carrying out by pledgingto nationalize the country's utilities.

It's necessary, however, to put the speech in context. Chávez has been anapprentice of Fidel Castro, and clearly sees himself as the ailing Cubanleader's successor as chief nemesis to the United States in the Americas. Itstands to reason, then, that he'll launch anti-U.S. rhetoric at everyopportunity.


The New York Times

January 13, 2007
Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - The senior Pentagon official in charge of militarydetainees suspected of terrorism said in an interview this week that he wasdismayed that lawyers at many of the nation's top firms were representingprisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms' corporate clientsshould consider ending their business ties.

The comments by Charles D. Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary ofdefense for detainee affairs, produced an instant torrent of anger fromlawyers, legal ethics specialists and bar association officials, who saidFriday that his comments were repellent and displayed an ignorance of theduties of lawyers to represent people in legal trouble.

"This is prejudicial to the administration of justice," said StephenGillers, a law professor at New York University and an authority on legalethics. "It's possible that lawyers willing to undertake what has been longviewed as an admirable chore will decline to do so for fear of antagonizingimportant clients.


CBS News

Obama, Clinton Making 2008 Moves
Obama, Clinton showing fresh signs of joining 2008 presidential race
NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2007
By BETH FOUHY Associated Press Writer

(AP) Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, a pair offront-runners in waiting, have shown fresh signs in recent days of joiningthe 2008 race, hiring senior aides while they court potential supporters inIowa, New Hampshire and other key states.

Obama has hired policy, research and press staff for a campaign to be runfrom Chicago, according to several Democrats. And a senior aide to thesenator, Steve Hildebrand, recently told potential Iowa supporters that wordof his plans could come early next week, state party spokeswoman ErinSeidler said Friday.

Obama also has held several conversations with Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.,according to the congressman's spokeswoman. Clinton also has spoken to theinfluential South Carolina Democrat.


The Washington Post

Jewish Membership in Congress at All-Time High

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 12, 2007; A17

While Democrats celebrated the election of the House's first female speaker,another milestone passed more quietly: The 110th Congress includes moreJewish lawmakers than any other in history, and all but four are Democrats.

About 2 percent of Americans identify themselves as Jewish. But in Congress,the proportion of Jewish members is now four times that. Six new JewishHouse members were sworn in last week, bringing the total to 30. In theSenate, the 13 Jewish members include freshmen Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.)and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), according to the National Jewish DemocraticCouncil.

Other faith-related facts: This Congress includes its first Muslim memberand, in Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), its highest-rankingMormon ever. Catholics remain the largest single faith group in Congress, atabout 30 percent -- slightly larger than their proportion of the U.S.population. Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians outnumber Jewish members,who outnumber Episcopalians.


The Washington Post

For Teachers, Being 'Highly Qualified' Is a Subjective Matter
'No Child' Standards of Content Mastery Widely Interpreted

By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 13, 2007; A01

To overhaul public education, the No Child Left Behind law required amassive expansion of student testing. But it also called for states toensure that all teachers in core academic subjects are "highly qualified" tohelp students succeed -- an unprecedented mandate that has delivered lessthan promised.

The law, which turned five years old this week, has held schools toincreasingly higher standards for student achievement. For teachers,however, standards meant to guarantee that they know their subjects areoften vague and open to broad interpretation.

Legal loopholes and uneven implementation by states and the U.S. Departmentof Education have diluted the law's impact on the teaching workforce, someeducation experts say. They say that meeting the standards of quality ismore about shuffling paper than achieving two vital goals: ensuring thatteachers are prepared to help students succeed and reducing the teachertalent gap between rich and poor schools.


The Washington Post

The War Within Sen. McCain
Vocal Supporter of Bush Is Increasingly Critical, Isolated

By Dan Balz and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 13, 2007; A01

There is no mistaking the anguish of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Sitting inhis Senate office, he is uncharacteristically subdued, his voice at timesalmost inaudible.

Although the Bush administration this week finally embraced hislong-standing call to send more troops to Iraq, McCain believes the way ithas handled the war "will go down as one of the worst" mistakes in thehistory of the American military.

"One of the most frustrating things that's ever happened in my politicallife," he said, "is watching this train wreck."

McCain, an all but announced presidential candidate, offered thoseassessments toward the end of a lengthy interview Thursday night. Nopolitician in the United States is more clearly identified with PresidentBush's new policy, and no politician has more to lose if it fails.Democratic opponents have already coined a name for the troop "surge": theMcCain Doctrine.


Capital Hill Blue

Pentagon memo predicts 10,000 or more American soldiers could die in Iraq by2008
January 12, 2007 6:27 AM

Pentagon planners this week warned President George W. Bush that his "troopsurge" plan could double U.S. casualties in Iraq in the coming year andresult in 10,000 or more American deaths by the end of 2008.

In a classified assessment memo, military experts predicted violence againstU.S. troops will increase "at a sustained pace" and concluded thatincreasing the use of soldiers for house to house searches in Baghdad will"dramatically alter" the "ratio of casualties to actions" in that civil-wartorn city, says a military source familiar with the memo.

The Pentagon report admitted battle weary soldiers are more prone tomistakes that lead to casualties and noted that military personnel sent toIraq for third and possibly fourth tours increase the odds that thosesoldiers will become casualties of war.


The New York Times

January 13, 2007

Round Up the Usual Lawyers

No one who has followed President Bush’s policies on detainees should besurprised when a member of his team scorns American notions of justice. Buteven by that low standard, the administration’s new attack on lawyers whodare to give those prisoners the meager representation permitted them iscontemptible.

Speaking this week on Federal News Radio, a Web site and AM radio stationoffering helpful hints for bureaucrats and helpful news for theadministration, Cully Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense fordetainee affairs, tried to rally American corporations to stop doingbusiness with law firms that represent inmates of the Guantánamo internmentcamp.

It does not seem to matter to Mr. Stimson, who is a lawyer, that a greatmany of those detainees did not deserve imprisonment, let alone theindefinite detention to which they are subjected as “illegal enemycombatants.” And forget about the fundamental American right that everyoneshould have legal counsel, even the most heinous villain.

[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: