Tuesday, January 02, 2007


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


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Gates Disses the Troops, and the American People

Strategy means being mindful that what you do today pays-off tomorrow.

In communications, that means saying the things that build to an overallmessage.

In action, it means understanding timing and gesture so that deeds andmessages culminate with the intended outcome.

Barely a day into the job, no doubt to hit the ground running anddemonstrate the seriousness of the problem, Secretary of Defense Robert M.Gates flew off to Baghdad with a gaggle of generals and aides (includingpolitburo "minders" from the Vice President's office, but that's anotherpoint) to further his education.

Back this weekend, Gates is expected to brief the President with hispreliminary observations and recommendations.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

1st black elected mayor in Louisiana town gunned down


January 2, 2007

WESTLAKE, La. -- The newly elected mayor of this Louisiana town was foundshot to death over the weekend, less than three days before he was set tobecome the community's first black leader.

Gerald ''Wash'' Washington, 57, was found Saturday night in the parking lotof a former high school. He had been shot in the chest, police said.

Authorities said Washington was lying by his truck with a pistol nearby.Investigators were treating the death as a homicide.

Washington, who served on the city council, was sworn in Dec. 19 asWestlake's first new mayor in 24 years. He was set to take office today.


The Washington Post


The New Crowd's First Test
Are Hill Democrats Serious on Ethics?

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007; A17

This time it's going to be different.

Whenever a new crowd displaces an old guard, the promise is always the same.The fresh managers swear they understand what the tired bunch they'rereplacing did wrong and vow to make all things new.

The Democrats who take power in Congress on Thursday have been given anopportunity that has not come their party's way for a half-century: They canremake their own image -- and Congress's -- and they can begin to restorepublic confidence in government.

While control of the Senate has flip-flopped between the parties since 1980,the House has stayed in one party's hands for long periods. Democratscontrolled the House for 40 years after 1954, Republicans for the past 12.The 2006 election marked the first time since that 1954 contest that bothhouses switched from the Republicans to the Democrats.

This allows the new Democratic majority, in principle at least, to come inwith no commitments to doing business as it was done in the immediate past.


Inside Higher Ed.


Jan. 2

Delay of Affirmative Action Ban Rejected

A federal appeals court on Friday ordered Michigan's universities to stopusing affirmative action in admissions immediately - rejecting an agreementapproved by a lower court to let the institutions keep affirmative actionfor the current admissions cycle. The appeals court's analysis alsosuggested that groups challenging Michigan's new statewide ban onaffirmative action face an uphill climb.

The ruling was a blow to the efforts of universities to mitigate theshort-term effects of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, adopted by awide margin of voters in November, which bars public colleges from usingaffirmative action in admissions. Higher education leaders opposed themeasure and some groups that favor affirmative action have sued in federalcourt to overturn the initiative, which is commonly known as Proposal 2.

Friday's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit threw outan agreement that had been pushed hard by Michigan and Wayne StateUniversities and the University of Michigan. Under an accord they reachedwith the state's attorney general last month, the universities were allowedto push back the start date of Proposal 2 from December 23 to after thecompletion of this year's admissions and financial aid cycle.


The Washington Post


Fairness for Lewinsky

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, January 2, 2007; A17

In the various books I've read about the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal --a scandal because of what was done and a scandal because the president wasimpeached for it -- the same story is told over and over again. When theprosecutors or lawyers or whoever finally got to meet the storied MonicaLewinsky, they were floored by her. She was smart, personable and -- as therecord makes clear -- dignified. This is more than can be said about some ofthe people who write about her.

I will not name names. But in recent days, Lewinsky has been back in thenews. In December she graduated with a master's degree in social psychologyfrom the London School of Economics. Her thesis was titled "In Search of theImpartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third Person Effect and Pre-TrialPublicity." Her thesis might well have been called "In Search of theImpartial Journalist," because she was immediately the subject of morepoke-in-the-ribs stories about you know what. The Post, a better paper thanit was that day, called her "dumb-but-smart." It was more than could be saidfor that piece.


Cellphone Video of Saddam's hanging



The Miami Herald


Posted on Mon, Jan. 01, 2007

16,273 deaths reported in Iraq in 2006

Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - As enraged crowds protested the hanging of Saddam Husseinacross Iraq's Sunni heartland Monday, government officials reported that16,273 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police died violent deaths in 2006, afigure larger than an independent Associated Press count for the year bymore than 2,500.

The tabulation by the Iraqi ministries of Health, Defense and Interior,showed that 14,298 civilians, 1,348 police and 627 soldiers were killed inthe violence that raged in the country last year.

The Associated Press accounting, gleaned from daily news reports fromBaghdad, arrived at a total of 13,738 deaths. The United Nations has said asmany as 100 Iraqis die violently each day, which translates into 36,500deaths annually.


The Washington Post


Democrats To Start Without GOP Input
Quick Passage of First Bills Sought

By Lyndsey Layton and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 2, 2007; A01

As they prepare to take control of Congress this week and face up tocampaign pledges to restore bipartisanship and openness, Democrats areplanning to largely sideline Republicans from the first burst of lawmaking.

House Democrats intend to pass a raft of popular measures as part of theirwell-publicized plan for the first 100 hours. They include tightening ethicsrules for lawmakers, raising the minimum wage, allowing more research onstem cells and cutting interest rates on student loans.

But instead of allowing Republicans to fully participate in deliberations,as promised after the Democratic victory in the Nov. 7 midterm elections,Democrats now say they will use House rules to prevent the opposition fromoffering alternative measures, assuring speedy passage of the bills andallowing their party to trumpet early victories.


The New York Times


January 2, 2007

Few Iraqis Are Gaining U.S. Sanctuary

BAGHDAD, Jan. 1 - With thousands of Iraqis desperately fleeing this countryevery day, advocates for refugees, and even some American officials, saythere is an urgent need to allow more Iraqi refugees into the United States.

Until recently the Bush administration had planned to resettle just 500Iraqis this year, a mere fraction of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who arenow believed to be fleeing their country each month. State Departmentofficials say they are open to admitting larger numbers, but are limited bya cumbersome and poorly financed United Nations referral system.

"We're not even meeting our basic obligation to the Iraqis who've beenimperiled because they worked for the U.S. government," said Kirk W.Johnson, who worked for the United States Agency for InternationalDevelopment in Falluja in 2005. "We could not have functioned without theirhard work, and it's shameful that we've nothing to offer them in theirbleakest hour."


The New York Times


January 2, 2007
Mr. Wolfowitz and the Bank

When Paul Wolfowitz speaks publicly these days, he is usually making goodsense. The head of the World Bank (formerly No. 2 at the Pentagon) hascriticized Chinese banks for ignoring environmental and human rightsstandards when they lend to Africa, told the White House it needs to do moreto alleviate African poverty, and has vowed that corrupt officials won't beallowed to siphon off money from projects that are supposed to benefit thepoor.

So why do so many people at the bank mistrust him - including many of theleading shareholders? At last fall's annual meeting, European ministersinsisted that the bank's board would oversee Mr. Wolfowitz's anticorruptionprogram, to ensure that no country was punished arbitrarily.

That is not a vote of confidence and not a healthy state of affairs. Mr.Wolfowitz needs to figure out how to earn more than just the Bushadministration's trust.


The Washington Post


The Private Arm of the Law
Some Question the Granting of Police Power to Security Firms

By Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 2, 2007; A04

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Kevin Watt crouched down to search the rusted Cadillac hehad stopped for cruising the parking lot of a Raleigh apartment complex witha broken light. He pulled out two open Bud Light cans, an empty Coronabottle, rolling papers, a knife, a hammer, a stereo speaker, and a car radiowith wires sprouting out.

"Who's this belong to, man?" Watt asked the six young Latino men he hadfrisked and lined up behind the car. Five were too young to drink. None hada driver's license. One had under his hooded sweat shirt the tattoo of aHispanic gang across his back.

A gang initiation, Watt thought.


The Washington Post


Archbishop of Canterbury Slams 'Flaws' in Iraq War

Al Webb
Religion News Service
Monday, January 1, 2007; 9:40 PM

LONDON (RNS) -- Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Friday (Dec. 29)attacked the decision by the United States and Britain to go to war in Iraqas having "moral and practical flaws," and said he wonders whether he couldhave done more to try to prevent it.

"I am wholly prepared to believe that those who made the decisions made themin good faith," Williams told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "But I thinkthose decisions were flawed."

"I think the moral and practical flaws have emerged as time has gone on"very painfully,¿ he said.




Edwards refers to troop increase as "McCain doctrine"
By Larry Margasak, Associated Press Writer | December 31, 2006

WASHINGTON --Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says he opposes aU.S. troop increase in Iraq, as advocated forcefully by GOP Sen. John McCainand being considered by President Bush, and refers to the proposal as the"McCain doctrine."

Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee, announced a repeat bid for theWhite House on Thursday. In an interview broadcast Sunday, he sounded likehe was campaigning for the nomination and specifically against McCain, alsoa presidential contender, at the same time.

The Arizona Republican, Edwards said, was "dead wrong" in his support of atroop increase.

McCain has said the United States should deploy 15,000 to 30,000 more troopsto Iraq to control its sectarian violence and give moderate Iraqipoliticians the stability they need to take the country in the rightdirection.


The New York Times


January 2, 2007
Guest Columnist
Dollars in the Sand

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Tourism is a modern global marvel. Every year, according to the WorldTourism Organization, some 700 million people leave for foreign lands. Theyspend more than $575 billion, making tourism the world’s leading item offoreign trade.

Fifteen million of those travelers, mainly from North America, head for theCaribbean, which is by far the most tourist dependent region of the world.On smaller islands like St. Lucia, tourism’s contribution to the economyexceeds 70 percent, and the annual number of visitors far exceeds theresident population: Antigua’s 64,000 residents put out the welcome mat for231,000 visitors one recent year.

Why do the tourists come? Most analysts cite the three S’s: Sun, Sand andSea. Others add a fourth: Sex. The sex part is gender neutral, as a strollthough Ocho Rios immediately confirms. Wickedly handsome young men withflowing dreadlocks, some dyed blond, provide rent-a-dread services for womenof every nationality. For most, it is a four-day fling; for a few, there isthe hope that life will imitate art and, like Stella, they’ll get theirgroove back.




'$100 Laptop' Could Bridge Digital Divide
Experts: Software May Be More Revolutionary Than Product

POSTED: 8:08 pm EST December 31, 2006
UPDATED: 8:50 pm EST December 31, 2006

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Forget windows, folders and boxes that pop up with text.When students in Thailand, Libya and other developing countries get their$150 computers from the One Laptop Per Child project in 2007, theirexperience will be unlike anything on standard PCs.

For most of these children the XO machine, as it's called, likely will bethe first computer they've ever used. Because the students have noexpectations for what PCs should be like, the laptop's creators started fromscratch in designing a user interface they figured would be intuitive forchildren.

The result is as unusual as -- but possibly even riskier than -- othermuch-debated aspects of the machine, such as its economics and distinctivehand-pulled mechanism for charging its battery. (XO has been known as the$100 laptop because of the ultra-low cost its creators eventually hope toachieve through mass production.)


Austin American-Statesman


Campaign aims to give detainees right to contest detention
Groups seek to secure habeas corpus.

By Rebecca Carr
Sunday, December 31, 2006

WASHINGTON - Civil liberties groups are launching a high-stakes campaign topersuade Congress to reverse course and give detainees the right tochallenge their confinement in court.

That right was denied when a Republican-controlled Congress passed theMilitary Commissions Act in September and President Bush signed it into lawthe next month.

With Democrats seizing control of both chambers, civil liberties groups seean opening to restore the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus -alleging that a person has been unlawfully detained - to the approximately395 detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.


The Miami Times


Posted on Tue, Jan. 02, 2007

McCain strong in S. Carolina

McClatchy News Service

COLUMBIA, S.C. - U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona is methodically building a2008 presidential campaign machine in South Carolina that includes a cast oftop-drawer Republican officials who supported President Bush six years ago.

The McCain campaign is expected to announce its state finance committee thisweek. Political sources say it will include several prominent Republicanbusinessmen who backed Bush over McCain last time.

The move comes six years after the GOP business establishment did everythingit could to torpedo McCain's nomination in one of the nastiest, most bittercampaigns ever witnessed in South Carolina.

McCain is widely judged to be well on the way to assembling the kind ofnational network necessary to sustain a long, expensive campaign for theparty's nomination to succeed Bush.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


NRA Sounds Alarm of Not-So-Imminent Threat

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Tuesday, January 2, 2007; A15

In lobbying, a threat is good for business, whether it's genuine or not.

This might help to explain the dire warnings being issued by the NationalRifle Association as the Democrats prepare to take control of Congress thisweek.

"The new leadership could be one of the most unfriendly to the NationalRifle Association," declared Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the NRA. "Ifthere's an effort to pursue gun control, we will mount an active defense."

The famously combative lobby, with 4 million members, is displeased with thevoting histories of Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other topDemocrats in the House and is putting them on notice that it won't toleratepassage of anti-gun measures.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


For Guantánamo Review Boards, Limits Abound
By Tim Golden
The New York Times

Sunday 31 December 2006

Guantánamo Bay, Cuba - At one end of a converted trailer in the Americanmilitary detention center here, a graying Pakistani businessman sat shackledbefore a review board of uniformed officers, pleading for his freedom.

The prisoner had seen just a brief summary of what officials said was athick dossier of intelligence linking him to Al Qaeda. He had not seen hisown legal papers since they were taken away in an unrelated investigation.He has lawyers working on his behalf in Washington, London and Pakistan, buthere his only assistance came from an Army lieutenant colonel, who stumbledas he read the prisoner's handwritten statement.

As the hearing concluded, the detainee, who cannot be identifiedpublicly under military rules, had a question. He is a citizen of Pakistan,he noted. He was arrested on a business trip to Thailand. On what authorityor charges was he even being held?



Published on Saturday, December 30, 2006 by truthdig

Silencing Saddam
by Robert Scheer

It is a very frightening precedent that the United States can invade acountry on false pretenses, depose its leader and summarily execute himwithout an international trial or appeals process. This is about vengeance,not justice, for if it were the latter the existing international normswould have been observed. The trial should have been overseen by the WorldCourt, in a country that could have guaranteed the safety of defenselawyers, who, in this case, were killed or otherwise intimidated.

The irony here is that the crimes for which Saddam Hussein was convictedoccurred before the United States, in the form of Donald Rumsfeld, embracedhim. Those crimes were well known to have occurred 15 months beforeRumsfeld visited Iraq to usher in an alliance between the United States andSaddam to defeat Iran.

The fact is that Saddam Hussein knew a great deal about the United States'role in Iraq, including deals made with Bush's father. This rush to executehim had the feel of a gangster silencing the key witness to a crime.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


In Search of a Criminal: Donald Rumsfeld's Name Tops the List of Accused ofWar Crimes
By Alexia Garamfalvi
Legal Times

Monday 25 December 2006

No one thinks that Donald Rumsfeld will end his days in a German prison.Or that there is any real chance he will have to face trial in Germany overallegations that he authorized policies leading to the torture of prisonersat U.S. detention facilities in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

But that doesn't mean that a complaint filed in Germany last month won'thave some ripple effects. The complaint asks a federal prosecutor there tobegin an investigation, and ultimately a criminal prosecution, of the formersecretary of defense and other U.S. officials for their roles in the abuses.

"Rumsfeld is no longer untouchable," says Wolfgang Kaleck, the Germanlawyer who filed the complaint along with the New York-based Center forConstitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights. "Heis now deeply connected with claims of abuses and torture. We have taken thefirst step to begin the legal discussion on his accountability."

The complaint against Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales,former CIA director George Tenet, and other senior civilian and militaryofficials, was filed in mid-November on behalf of 11 Iraqis who had beendetained at Abu Ghraib prison and Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi detained atGuantánamo. It alleges that the defendants ordered, aided, and abetted warcrimes and failed to prevent the commission of war crimes by theirsubordinates. In international law, war crimes are defined as grave breachesof the Geneva Conventions, including torture and inhuman treatment.


The Washington Post


U.S. Toll In Iraq Reaches 3,000
Deaths in December Most in Two Years

By Nancy Trejos
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 1, 2007; A01

BAGHDAD, Dec. 31 -- The number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq sincethe war began in 2003 reached 3,000 on Sunday, a symbolic milestone at atime when the Bush administration is rethinking its strategy for theincreasingly violent conflict.

As the year drew to a close, the U.S. military announced that a soldier waskilled Saturday by a roadside bomb while on patrol in a southeasternneighborhood of Baghdad. Two soldiers were injured in the attack. Theirnames were not released.

The Defense Department also announced that Spec. Dustin R. Donica, 22, ofSpring, Tex., was killed by small-arms fire Thursday in Baghdad.


The New York Times


January 1, 2007
Middle Stance Emerges in Debate Over Climate

Amid the shouting lately about whether global warming is a human-causedcatastrophe or a hoax, some usually staid climate scientists in the usuallyinvisible middle are speaking up.

The discourse over the issue has been feverish since Hurricane Katrina.Seizing the moment, many environmental campaigners, former Vice President AlGore and some scientists have portrayed the growing human influence on theclimate as an unfolding disaster that is already measurably strengtheninghurricanes, spreading diseases and amplifying recent droughts and deluges.

Conservative politicians and a few scientists, many with ties to energycompanies, have variously countered that human-driven warming isinconsequential, unproved or a manufactured crisis.

A third stance is now emerging, espoused by many experts who challenge bothpoles of the debate.


The Washington Post


Bush's Nation Busting

By Fareed Zakaria
Monday, January 1, 2007; A13

The saga of Saddam Hussein's end -- his capture, trial and execution -- is asad metaphor for America's occupation of Iraq. What might have gone rightwent so wrong. It is worth remembering that Hussein was not yourrun-of-the-mill dictator. He created one of the most brutal, corrupt andviolent regimes in modern history, something akin to Stalin's Soviet Union,Mao's China or Kim Jong Il's North Korea. Whatever the strategic wisdom forthe United States, deposing him began as something unquestionably good forIraq.

But soon the Bush administration dismissed the idea of trying Hussein underinternational law, or in a court with any broader legitimacy. This is theadministration, after all, that could see little advantage in a UnitedNations mandate for its own invasion and occupation. It put Hussein's fatein the hands of the new Iraqi government, dominated by Shiite and Kurdishpoliticians who had been victims of his reign. As a result, Hussein's trial,which should have been the judgment of civilized society against a tyrant,is now seen by Iraq's Sunnis and much of the Arab world as a farce,reflecting only the victors' vengeance.


The Washington Post


Clinton-Obama Differences Clear In Senate Votes
Records Can Be Baggage In Bids for White House

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 1, 2007; A01

The attack ads practically write themselves: Hillary Clinton voted againstethanol! Barack Obama wants to increase taxes!

Such are the perils of running for president as a senator. The twofront-runners for the 2008 Democratic nomination are newcomers to thechamber. But in the two years that Clinton and Obama have overlapped, theyhave taken opposite sides at least 40 times. That's a lot of material tomine, and even misrepresent.

Of the eight senators pondering presidential runs, Clinton (N.Y.), who iscompleting her first Senate term, and Obama (Ill.), sworn in two years ago,have the briefest voting histories. The Senate has held 645 roll-call votesduring their shared tenure, and more than 90 percent of the time the twosenators stood with other Democrats. They opposed John G. Roberts Jr.'snomination as chief justice, supported increased funding for embryonic stemcell research and backed the same nonbinding measure that urged PresidentBush to plan for a gradual troop withdrawal from Iraq.


The New York Times


January 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

A Healthy New Year

The U.S. health care system is a scandal and a disgrace. But maybe, justmaybe, 2007 will be the year we start the move toward universal coverage.

In 2005, almost 47 million Americans — including more than 8 millionchildren — were uninsured, and many more had inadequate insurance.

Apologists for our system try to minimize the significance of these numbers.Many of the uninsured, asserted the 2004 Economic Report of the President,“remain uninsured as a matter of choice.”

And then you wake up. A scathing article in yesterday’s Los Angeles Timesdescribed how insurers refuse to cover anyone with even the slightest hintof a pre-existing condition. People have been denied insurance for reasonsthat range from childhood asthma to a “past bout of jock itch.”


The New York Times


December 31, 2006
Poll: Americans Predict Attacks in 2007
Filed at 8:18 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Another terrorist attack, a warmer planet, death anddestruction from a natural disaster. These are among Americans' grimpredictions for the United States in 2007.

Only a minority of people think the U.S. will go to war with Iran or NorthKorea over those countries' nuclear ambitions. An overwhelming majority ofthose surveyed think Congress will raise the federal minimum wage. One-thirdsee hope for a cure to cancer.

These are among the findings of an Associated Press-AOL News poll that askedpeople in the U.S. to contemplate what 2007 holds for the country.

Six in 10 people think the U.S. will be the victim of a terrorist attack. Anidentical percentage thinks it likely that a biological or nuclear weaponwill be unleashed somewhere else in the world.


The Washington Post


Caught in Fate's Trajectory, Along With Gerald Ford

By Lynne Duke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 31, 2006; D01

The accidental hero lived in torment. He didn't ask for fame, didn't evenwant it. Oliver "Billy" Sipple just happened to be standing in the path ofhistory, right next to Sara Jane Moore, the would-be assassin, as she raiseda .38 and aimed it at President Gerald R. Ford outside San Francisco's St.Francis Hotel.

Sipple, a former Marine and Vietnam vet, saw the gun. He grabbed Moore's armas she fired and saved a president's life. Afterward, he told people anybodywould have done the same.

Only later, after he was outed in the media as a gay man, after his parentsback in Detroit were hounded and teased about their gay son -- only thenwould he realize the personal price to be paid.


The Sun-Sentinel


Modern-day version of `Ministry of Truth'
Charles O. Wey
Lake Worth

January 1, 2007
For those readers who continue to write and bemoan the "liberal media," it'stime to tune out Rush Limbaugh and listen to reason. For starters, EricAlter's book, What Liberal Media? should be a nice beginning.

Some people complain about Fox News, but it is the most honest of thetelevision networks, because it doesn't attempt to hide its bias. ABC, CBS,CNN and NBC are all owned by Corporate America and they control what we arepermitted to see and hear. The talking heads are just that, talking heads.People who think these networks aren't biased are just fooling themselves.There are no Edward R. Murrows left in broadcasting.

Remember when Jerry Falwell threatened to buy CBS and fire Dan Rather? Guesswhat? Jerry Falwell didn't do it, but corporate America did. What's odd isthat Rather wasn't close to a Murrow or a Walter Cronkite. He was just toocareless to get a factual report airtight before airing it, thereby settinghimself up for the chopping block.


The New York Times


January 1, 2007
Environmental Harmony

The long history of Congressional bipartisan cooperation on environmentalissues dating back to Richard Nixon has been seriously challenged onlytwice. The first time was in 1995, when the Gingrich Republicans swept intoWashington determined to roll back environmental laws, a threat averted byPresident Bill Clinton's veto pen and the exertions of a group of moderateRepublicans. The second challenge occurred during the Congress that has nowthankfully drawn to a close.

The Democrats' return to power in both houses has raised hopes that some ofthe old cooperative spirit can be restored and progress made on vitalmatters like global warming, oil dependency, national parks and threatenedwetlands.

Environmentalists in the House will certainly have more time to work onpositive legislation, since they will no longer have to play defense againstRichard Pombo, the California Republican who produced a stream ofdestructive schemes to open up protected public lands for commercialexploitation, rescind a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling andundermine the Endangered Species Act. Mr. Pombo has been ushered intowell-deserved retirement by California voters.


The New York Times


December 31, 2006
Edwards Touts Investments in Health Care
Filed at 6:49 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential contender John Edwards says it ismore important to invest in universal health care and lifting people out ofpoverty than to reduce the budget deficit.

The 2004 vice presidential nominee said in an interview broadcast Sundaysaid ''there is a tension'' between the two directions, but he has made hischoice.

''If I were choosing now between which is more important, I think theinvestments are more important,'' he said on ABC's ''This Week.''

Edwards' proposal, which includes tax cuts and a million housing vouchersfor the poor, may place him at odds with Democrats in charge of thecongressional spending committees.


The Washington Post


A 'Surge' Faces Trouble In the Senate
Even in GOP, Few Back the President

By Robert D. Novak
Monday, January 1, 2007; A13

Sen. John McCain, leading a blue-ribbon congressional delegation to Baghdadbefore Christmas, collected evidence that a "surge" of more U.S. troops isneeded in Iraq. But not all his colleagues who accompanied him wereconvinced. What's more, he will find himself among a dwindling minorityinside the Senate Republican caucus when Congress reconvenes this week.

President Bush and McCain, the front-runner for the party's 2008presidential nomination, will have trouble finding support from more than 12of the 49 Republican senators when pressing for a surge of 30,000 troops."It's Alice in Wonderland," Sen. Chuck Hagel, second-ranking Republican onthe Foreign Relations Committee, told me in describing the proposal. "I'mabsolutely opposed to sending any more troops to Iraq. It is folly."


The Washington Post


Hussein in His Place
The Dictator's Regime, and the West's Misreading of It, Followed a Familiar

By Anne Applebaum
Monday, January 1, 2007; A13

Hitler shot himself before capture, Stalin received a grand state funeraland Pol Pot died while under house arrest. Just last week, the brutal leaderof Turkmenistan, Saparmurad Niyazov, died of natural causes. In fact, whenthe noose tightened around his neck early Saturday morning, Saddam Husseinbecame one of a surprisingly small number of modern dictators executed bytheir own people: Benito Mussolini, Nicolai Ceausescu -- and now the man whoonce called himself Iraq's president for life. Of those three, Hussein isthe only one who had anything resembling a trial.

Other than that, there is no reason to view Hussein as an exceptional orunusual heir to the 20th-century totalitarian tradition. Certainly he sawhimself as part of the pantheon of modern dictators. Allegedly, he boastedto KGB agents in Baghdad of his personal admiration for Joseph Stalin. Andhe took their advice: Historians who have worked on Iraqi documents capturedduring the Persian Gulf War have told me that they show how Hussein's secretpolice force was clearly organized along Soviet lines.

[Send your comments about articles to Rays.List@Comcast.net]

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