Monday, January 29, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 29, 2007

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From Rep. John Conyers,

Whose Slurring Who?
The Bush Administration Needs to Get Their Facts Straight about Iraq

On Saturday, I was thrilled to join hundreds of thousands of protesters inWashington, D.C., including my good friends at Progressive Democrats ofAmerica and Code Pink, in protesting the Iraq War and demanding a cut-off infunds to the immoral war in Iraq. As one who has been part of the civilrights and anti-Vietnam war movements in the 60’s, I can say that the energyand enthusiasm I saw today is entirely comparable.

One of the points I made in my speech was that "George Bush has a habit offiring military leaders who tell him the Iraq war is failing." The WhiteHouse wasted no time in responding, with spokesman Trey Bohn claiming thatthat Conyers "needs to learn the difference between fact and fable, betweena soundbite and a slur, [Conyers'] assertion that the president firesgenerals with whom he disagrees is flat wrong."

If Bohn had bothered to read my Constitution In Crisis Report, he would knowthe facts are on my side. If you don't believe me, just ask former GeneralEric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the United States Army who, in February2003, warned that the Defense Department's troop estimate for occupying Iraqwas too low and that "something on the order of several hundred thousandsoldiers" would be needed.

In revenge for his comments, Defense Department officials leaked the name ofShinseki's replacement 14 months before his retirement, rendering him a lameduck commander. The New York Times concluded, Shinseki "dared to saypublicly that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to occupy Iraq[and] was ridiculed by the administration and his career was brought to aclose."

Contact us for the full article.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007


Governor builds stature as rare Kansas Democrat
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, is gaining attention outside Kansas, astate where several Republicans have risen to national prominence.
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. - Most of the Kansans who have made a mark on national politicshave been Republicans, such as Dwight Eisenhower and Bob Dole. Another, Sen.Sam Brownback, is running for president.

But now a Kansas Democrat, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, is generating some buzzwith her 17-percentage-point reelection margin, glowing write-ups innational magazines, and political chatter about her place on short lists forCabinet posts should Democrats recapture the White House next year.

Sebelius, who has succeeded in Kansas politics by winning the support ofmoderate Republicans, has even popped up in speculation about potential vicepresidential nominees. And this year, she is chairwoman of the DemocraticGovernors' Association.


The Washington Post

No Lock on Black Voters for Obama

The Associated Press
Monday, January 29, 2007; 1:44 AM

NEW YORK -- Being black doesn't necessarily mean White House hopeful Sen.Barack Obama has a lock on black voters.

In wooing a faithful Democratic constituency, Obama faces two-term New YorkSen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the party front-runner who enjoys strongsupport in the black community. She also is married to former PresidentClinton, so wildly popular among black voters that novelist Toni Morrisondubbed him "the first black president" in a 1998 essay.

Obama also must contend with John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidentialnominee who has won praise from black leaders for his commitment to fightingpoverty. It was Edwards who recently addressed a high-profile New Yorkcommemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. _ at the invitation of the slaincivil rights leader's son.



Fix the system with Medicare for all
By Marcia Angell | January 29, 2007

Today the Globe launches a rotating seat on the op-ed page. Each guestcolumnist will appear each Monday for six weeks, before the next columnisttakes over.

THE GREATEST source of insecurity for many Americans is the soaring cost ofhealth care. Leaving jobs can mean losing health insurance, and even wheninsurance is offered, many workers turn it down because they can't affordtheir growing share of the premiums.

Businesses are having trouble, too. Those that provide good health benefitssee more of their revenues siphoned off by the health insurance industry,with a resulting loss of competitiveness (General Motors spends far more onhealth benefits than Toyota).

Insurance is not the same thing as health care -- not by a long shot.
Private insurers maximize profits mainly by limiting benefits or by notcovering people with health problems. The United States is the only advancedcountry in the world with a health care system based on avoiding sickpeople.


The Washington Post

The Vanishing Foreign Correspondent

By Fred Hiatt
Monday, January 29, 2007; A15

When my wife and I worked as foreign correspondents for The Post in Tokyo 20years ago, we befriended and competed against a host of other Americanreporters, including two talented writers from the Boston Globe, ColinNickerson (still a Globe foreign correspondent) and Tom Ashbrook (now a starof public radio).

The reporting corps had diverse views on the central questions of the time,and even on what the central questions were, and the reports we sent homereflected that. Readers benefited from the diversity and competition.

I thought of this last week when the Globe, now owned by the New York TimesCo., announced that it would close its remaining three overseas bureaus,which no longer include Tokyo, to conserve resources for coverage of localnews.

The announcement punctuates what seems to be an accelerating trend.Journalist Jill Carroll, studying foreign news coverage for a reportpublished by the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University last fall, foundthat the number of U.S. newspaper foreign correspondents declined from 188in 2002 to 141 last year. (If you include the Wall Street Journal, whichpublishes editions in Europe and Asia, the decline was from 304 to 249.)


The Washington Post

Mixed Reviews For Clinton In Iowa

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 29, 2007; A01

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, Jan. 28 -- Lynda Waddington met Sen. Hillary RodhamClinton twice this weekend as the Democratic senator from New York made herinitial campaign visit to the state with the nation's first presidentialcaucuses. Clinton, she said, is nothing like the politician she seesportrayed in the press.

"The media in particular has a bad habit of taking our candidates and givingthem back to us in a caricature," said Waddington, an Iowa Democratic Partyofficial and activist. "Al Gore was a bumbling elitist. With Hillary, theyhave her painted as a cold fish. That's absolutely what you do not get inperson. She's very warm and very intelligent."

Kay Hale met Clinton for the first time at a house party in Cedar Rapids onSaturday night. "I just never really had a true opinion of her," said Hale,who calls herself a "granny nanny" and drives a school bus. "I didn't hateher. A lot of people hate her or they like her, and I am not that way. Ifound her to be very warm."


The New York Times

January 29, 2007

The True State of C.S.I. Justice

Modern DNA testing is steadily uncovering a dark history of justice denied.

More than 190 DNA exonerations in 18 years show ever more alarming patternsof citizens, wrongly convicted, suffering in prison. Consider the eightfelons finally exonerated through DNA challenges in New York State in justthe last 13 months. Or the 12 people who had to fight long and hard to provetheir innocence in Dallas County, Tex., alone in the past five years. NewYork and Texas are, in fact, the leading states in yielding thesehard-fought exonerations. This is hardly a credit to their justice systemssince the victories are won by dedicated pro bono lawyers, not by statemonitors charged with finding injustice.

It's clearly time for these grim showcase states to join the half-dozenpioneering states that have created what are termed innocence commissions.These are independent investigative bodies of judges, prosecutors, defenselawyers, police officers and forensic scientists who re-examine case factsafter prisoners are exonerated using DNA evidence.


The New York Times

January 29, 2007
Editorial Observer

Congress, the Constitution and War: The Limits on Presidential Power

President Bush doesn't seem to care that Congress wants a bigger role inguiding the Iraq war. Talking about his plan to send in 20,000 additionaltroops, he said on "60 Minutes" that he knows Congress can vote against it,"but I've made my decision and we're going forward."

It is hardly the first time this president has insisted that he is "thedecider," or even the first time he's used the Constitution to justify it,as Vice President Dick Cheney did when he told Fox News: "The Constitutionis very clear that the president is, in fact, under Article 2, the commanderin chief."

But Mr. Cheney told only half the story. Congress has war powers, too, andwith 70 percent of Americans now opposed to President Bush's handling of thewar, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, it is becoming moreassertive about them. Congress is poised to pass a resolution denouncing thetroop increase. Down the line, Congress may well consider mandatory caps onthe number of troops in Iraq, or setting a date for withdrawal.


The New York Times

January 29, 2007

Saudi King Invites Palestinian Factions to Talks

JERUSALEM, Jan. 28 - King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called Sunday on therival Palestinian factions to hold emergency talks in the holy city of Meccain the latest bid to halt some of the worst ever Palestinian internalfighting.

As the two main factions, Hamas and Fatah, waged a fourth straight day offighting in the Gaza Strip, leaders from both groups said they would take upthe invitation by the Saudi monarch, though no date was set.

"I call on my brothers, the Palestinian people, represented by theirleaders, to put an immediate end to this tragedy and to abide byrighteousness," the king said in an announcement carried by the officialSaudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia does not have a tradition of such direct involvement inPalestinian affairs. But as one of the most important figures in the Arabworld the king, by his decision to hold the talks in Mecca, could increasethe pressure on the Palestinian leaders to find a compromise.


The New York Times

January 29, 2007

Iranian Reveals Plan to Expand Role in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Jan. 28 - Iran's ambassador to Baghdad outlined an ambitious planon Sunday to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq -including an Iranian national bank branch in the heart of the capital - justas the Bush administration has been warning the Iranians to stop meddling inIraqi affairs.

Iran's plan, as outlined by the ambassador, carries the potential to bringIran into further conflict here with the United States, which has detained anumber of Iranian operatives in recent weeks and says it has proof ofIranian complicity in attacks on American and Iraqi forces.

The ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qumi, said Iran was prepared to offer Iraqgovernment forces training, equipment and advisers for what he called "thesecurity fight." In the economic area, Mr. Qumi said, Iran was ready toassume major responsibility for Iraq reconstruction, an area of failure onthe part of the United States since American-led forces overthrew SaddamHussein nearly four years ago.


Forwarded from Ron Mills:

John Stewart hammered Cheney for calling Wolf Blitzer's question about MaryCheney's pregnancy "out of line".

"How dare you apply my party's cruel and inhumane policies to my family!"chided Stewart.

"I get the sense if there was a bull in the china shop," Stewart mocked,"Cheney would blame the china."

The entire segment appears below


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Harlem program forms a circle of success for kids


HARLEM -- The late day sky was spitting snow. Inside the classroom, tinyblack children, younger than kindergarten age, sat in a circle, legs folded''crisscross applesauce'' beneath them. Soon, they would begin their Frenchlesson, but first there was a ritual chant.

''There is a girl in our class and her name is Khadija,'' they began, voicesrising in little kid enthusiasm, hands clapping in time. Khadija got up,moved to the center of the circle and began jumping with all her heart.''Jump, jump, Khadija,'' they sang. ''We're glad you're here today.'' Aroundthe room they went until each child had a turn in the center of the circle.

In the hours I recently spent touring the Harlem Children's Zone, a97-square-block network of schools, social services and teen outreachprograms, I saw many affecting sights. But for some reason, the mostaffecting was this portrait of sweet innocence, flourishing in one of thenation's poorest places.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Can you trust anyone under 50?


Somehow I do not think that Barack Obama gets up in the morning, brushes histeeth, looks in the mirror and says, ''Wow! A fresh face!'' It doesn'thappen at 45. At 45, you count the crow's feet and measure the circles underyour eyes.

If you are a woman, you start reading the fine print on the Oil of OlayRegenerist label. After, of course, putting on your new reading glasses. Ifyou're a man, you start swiping eye cream from your wife's stash.

While you are inspecting your not-so-fresh face, you remember that whenMozart was your age he'd been dead 10 years. Albert Einstein published thebig theory of relativity at 36. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration ofIndependence at 33. It begins to occur to you that you will never be aprodigy or the youngest anything, not even the youngest president of theUnited States. Teddy Roosevelt had that sewed up at 42.

Too green?


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Bush is right: Fight today, or occupy forever


'As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general andsoon-to-be-President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the KoreanWar, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. `When comes the end?' . . .And as soon as he became president, he brought the Korean War to an end.''This was part of freshman Virginia Sen. Jim Webb's much ballyhooedstentorian Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Unionaddress.

One wonders if the untold millions of North Koreans who've starved, bled anddied since then would similarly applaud Eisenhower's courage and wisdom. Formore than half a century, North Korea has been a prison-camp society beyondthe imagining of George Orwell, where public executions for stealing foodare familiar events. The man-made famine of the 1990s alone claimed thelives of up to one million people (hard data from Stalinist regimes aredifficult to come by).

Korean War isn't over


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County -

Published on Sunday, January 28, 2007 by the Sunday Herald / Scotland

America 'Poised to Strike at Iran's Nuclear Sites' from Bases inBulgaria and Romania
Report suggest that 'US defensive ring' may be new front in war onterror.

by Gabriel Ronay

President Bush is preparing to attack Iran's nuclear facilities beforethe end of April and the US Air Force's new bases in Bulgaria and Romaniawould be used as back-up in the onslaught, according to an official reportfrom Sofia.

"American forces could be using their two USAF bases in Bulgaria andone at Romania's Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran in April," theBulgarian news agency Novinite said.

The American build-up along the Black Sea, coupled with the recentpositioning of two US aircraft carrier battle groups off the Straits ofHormuz, appears to indicate president Bush has run out of patience withTehran's nuclear misrepresentation and non-compliance with the UN SecurityCouncil's resolution. President Ahmeninejad of Iran has further ratcheted uptension in the region by putting on show his newly purchased state of theart Russian TOR-Ml anti-missile defence system.

Whether the Bulgarian news report is a tactical feint or a strategicevent is hard to gauge at this stage. But, in conjunction with the beefingup of America's Italian bases and the acquisition of anti-missile defencebases in the Czech Republic and Poland, the Balkan developments seem toindicate a new phase in Bush's global war on terror.


The New York Times

Trying to Imagine a Woman in the White House
Categories: Politics
Is America ready to elect a woman president?

by Judith Warner

These days, the most frequent answer is an unambiguous yes. A Newsweek polllast month found that 86 percent of Americans said they would vote for aqualified woman for president. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll last weekfound that only 4 percent of registered voters said they would not vote fora woman for president.

Support for the idea appears to be near-unanimous. (A CBS/New York Timespoll last year found that 92 percent of people were willing to vote for aqualified woman.) But there's a curious thing: when the question about womenis phrased differently - as in "Do you believe America is ready for a femalepresident?" - this lovely consensus falls apart.

In Newsweek's poll, only 55 percent of respondents said they believed thatAmerica was ready. Gallup and CNN - and the New York Times - found similarresults: at most, 61 percent of their respondents said they thought theircompatriots could accept a woman in the White House.


The New York Times

January 28, 2007, 8:34 pm

To Resign or Not to Resign?
by Stanley Fish

Under what conditions should one resign? I ask the question in the contextof the resignation from The Carter Center of 14 members of its board ofcouncilors. (The full board numbers more than 200.) The reason they give isdisagreement with the assertions made by President Carter in his new book,"Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," which argues that Israel bears a largeshare of the responsibility for the failure to achieve peace in the MiddleEast. In a letter to the former president, the resigning councilors declaredthat while the center they admired and supported "has always played theuseful and constructive role of honest broker and mediator between warringparties," the former president's new book showed him to be abandoning his"historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side."That side is of course the Palestinian side, and it is that side's views -complete with assertions of fact the letter writers find "false" and even"malicious" - that are now, they assert, being voiced by Carter.

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