Monday, January 22, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 22, 2007

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Richardson Throws Hat In Dem. Presidential Race
by The Associated Press

Posted: January 21, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Washington) New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) said Sunday he is takingthe first step toward an expected White House run in 2008, offeringextensive experience in Washington and the world stage as he seeks to becomethe first Hispanic president.

"I am taking this step because we have to repair the damage that's been doneto our country over the last six years," said Richardson, a formercongressman, U.N. ambassador and Energy Department secretary.

"Our reputation in the world is diminished, our economy has languished, andcivility and common decency in government has perished," he said in astatement.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Christian Right Feels Adrift
By Dan Gilgoff

U.S. News & World Report | January 19, 2007

Some top Christian-right activists in Washington are growing concernedthat their movement is ill prepared for operating with their Republicanallies out of control in Congress and that it could be headed for somestrategic blunders.

Of roughly 40 conservative Christian organizers from across the countrywho gathered at a recent Virginia summit, only five had been politicallyactive before 1994's Republican revolution, according to a topChristian-right strategist at the meeting. He is concerned that grass-rootsactivists will continue to see a congressional push for a constitutional banon gay marriage as a centerpiece of the conservative Christian agenda, eventhough many supporters of a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriagewere voted out of Congress last November.


The Washington Post

Confidence in Bush Leadership Continues to Drop, Poll Finds

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 22, 2007; 7:00 AM

President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday at theweakest point of his presidency, with dissatisfaction over his Iraq warpolicies continuing to rise and confidence in his leadership continuing todecline, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

With a major confrontation between Congress and the president brewing overIraq, Americans overwhelmingly oppose Bush's plan to send an additional21,500 troops to the conflict. By wide margins, they prefer thatcongressional Democrats, who now hold majorities in both chambers, take thelead in setting the direction for the country rather than the president.

Iraq dominates the national agenda, with 48 percent of Americans calling thewar the single most important issue they want Bush and the Congress to dealwith this year. No other issue rises out of single digits.


The Washington Post

McCain May Oppose Pick For Army Staff Chief
Senator Says Casey Led A 'Failed Policy' in Iraq

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 22, 2007; A14

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday that he is inclined to opposePresident Bush's appointment of Gen. George W. Casey Jr. as the new Armychief of staff, on the grounds that Casey's 2 1/2 -year tenure as U.S.military leader in Iraq was marked by "failed leadership."

McCain, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, which mustconfirm Casey's appointment, and a likely presidential candidate in 2008,accused Casey of presiding over "a failed policy" in Iraq, in which McCainsaid Iraqi forces were expected too quickly to assume growing responsibilityfor security matters there.

Reiterating his support for the troop "surge" to Iraq announced recently byPresident Bush, McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that U.S. policy hadproduced Iraqi turmoil so bad that, if no change were made, "within monthswe would see a total breakdown in Iraq." The result, he said, would beethnic cleansing between rival religious groups in the capital on the scaleof that in Srebrenica, where Serbian military forces slaughtered 8,000Bosnian Muslims in 1995.


The Washington Post

Rice's Rhetoric, in Full Retreat

By Jackson Diehl
Monday, January 22, 2007; A19

Eleven months ago Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a joint newsconference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit to report ontheir talks in Cairo. After Aboul Gheit summed up the topics, Rice pointedout that he had forgotten one: "Iran. You missed Iran." She then spent mostof her time on Egypt's progress -- or lack of it -- "as it faces questionsof democracy and reform."

Last week Aboul Gheit and Rice again appeared side by side, this time in theEgyptian tourist capital, Luxor. Once again each offered a summary of thetalks -- which this year, unlike last, included President Hosni Mubarak.This time Iran loomed large in their discussions, as did Iraq. But it wasRice who neglected to mention something: "democracy and reform." During thecourse of her visit to Egypt, and her latest tour through the Middle East,the words never publicly crossed her lips.

The reversal this represents is staggering -- especially to Egyptians whohave closely tracked Rice's visits to their country.


The Washington Post

How Obama Vs. Clinton Shapes Up

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Monday, January 22, 2007; A19

Three differences and three similarities will define the contest betweenHillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

The most important difference lies in where their respective politicaljourneys began. After her early work as an advocate for children, Clintoncame to political maturity in the South as part of her husband's efforts torescue the Democratic Party from its low point in the 1980s. She was shapedby her party's need to win back moderate and conservative voters who hadstrayed to Ronald Reagan's banner.

The resulting Clinton project was a brilliant top-down effort to shape newDemocratic ideas that would appeal to Southern whites and the Northernworking class. This explains why both Clintons were drawn to the centristDemocratic Leadership Council, far more an elite policy shop than agrass-roots organization.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 22, 2007

Asking Muslims to do their job isn't `intolerance'


OK, let's say you fly into Minneapolis-St. Paul. Let's say you're carryingalcohol -- rum from the Caribbean, a Merlot you found in Napa Valley. Let'ssay you try to hail a cab while carrying said alcohol.

Good luck. You're going to need it.

Three-quarters of the drivers serving the airport are Muslims, most fromSomalia and, in recent years, many have refused to carry passengers carryingalcohol because Islam frowns on liquor. Dozens of passengers have reportedlybeen left stranded. Occasionally, even blind people using seeing-eye dogshave been refused passage by drivers citing Islamic teachings that thesaliva of dogs is unclean.


After simmering for years, the issue has come to a boil. Last week, thelocal airport commission scheduled a public hearing to discuss stiffeningpenalties for the wayward cabbies. As things now stand, a driver who refusesto carry you and your booze has to go back to the end of the cab line andwait hours for another fare. According to a report in The St. Paul PioneerPress, new rules have been proposed that would require a 30-day suspensionfor a first offense and revocation of a cabby's airport license for twoyears after the second.

Sounds good to me, but Khalid Elmasry disagrees. He's the spokesman for theMuslim American Society of Minnesota. Here's the society's idea: Color-codethe taxis according to whether the drivers accept alcohol.

Yeah, because flying is not enough of a hassle already.

''We will not see this perfect solution,'' Elmasry wrote last week in USAToday, ``even though it meets everyone's needs. In an environment of fearand misunderstanding of everything Muslim, tolerance has become too much toask.''

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