Tuesday, February 13, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST February 13, 2007

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


The New York Times


February 13, 2007

Skeptics Doubt U.S. Evidence on Iran Action in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 — Three weeks after promising it would show proof ofIranian meddling in Iraq, the Bush administration has laid out itsevidence — and received in return a healthy dose of skepticism.

The response from Congressional and other critics speaks volumes about thecurrent state of American credibility, four years after the intelligencecontroversy leading up to the Iraq war. To pre-empt accusations that thecharges against Iran were politically motivated, the administration rejectedthe idea of a high-level presentation, relying instead on military andintelligence officers to make its case in a background briefing in Baghdad.

Even so, critics have been quick to voice doubts. Representative SilvestreReyes of Texas, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,suggested that the White House was more interested in sending a message toTehran than in backing up serious allegations with proof. And David Kay, whoonce led the hunt for illicit weapons in Iraq, said the grave situation inIraq should have taught the Bush administration to put more of a premium ontransparency when it comes to intelligence.


The New York Times


February 13, 2007

The Courage of Others’ Convictions

The music industry awarded an armload of Grammys to the Dixie Chicks onSunday night, in what was celebrated as a blow for freedom of speech as muchas tunefulness. The endorsement was about three years too late. The awards —including for the trio’s fittingly titled album “Taking the Long Way” andthe song “Not Ready to Make Nice” — ended a desolate period in which theirmusic was boycotted and banned by country music stations, their CDs wereburned and smashed, and group members’ lives were threatened.

The Chicks’ offense was geographic but labeled unpatriotic. The lead singer,Natalie Maines, told a 2003 London concert crowd that she was ashamed thatPresident Bush was from her home state, Texas. She briefly apologized tofans, then quickly took it back, reclaiming her right to oppose the Iraq warand criticize the president.

Had Ms. Maines been a senator at the time, she might now be a shoo-incandidate for president.


The New York Times


February 13, 2007

States and U.S. at Odds on Aid for Uninsured

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 — In the absence of federal action, governors and statelegislators around the country are transforming the nation’s health caresystem, putting affordable health insurance within reach of millions ofAmericans in hopes of reversing the steady rise in the number of uninsured,now close to 47 million.

But the states appear to be on a collision course with the Bushadministration, whose latest budget proposals create a huge potentialobstacle to their efforts to expand coverage. While offering to work withstates by waiving requirements of federal law, the Bush administration hasbalked at state initiatives that increase costs to the federal government.

State efforts have almost invariably begun with children, building on theChildren’s Health Insurance Program, which is jointly financed by thefederal and state governments. Many states are eager to expand eligibilityfor that program, and some are going far beyond the income levels deemedappropriate by the White House. In his budget last week, President Bush saidhe wanted to return the program to its “original objective” of coveringchildren with family incomes less than twice the poverty level.


The New York Times


February 13, 2007

Iran and the Nameless Briefers

Before things get any more out of hand, President Bush needs to make hisintentions toward Iran clear. And Congress needs to make it clear that thistime it will be neither tricked nor bullied into supporting anotherdisastrous war.

How little this administration has learned from its failures is a constantsource of amazement. It seems the bigger the failure, the less it learns.

Consider last weekend’s supersecret briefing in Baghdad by a group ofAmerican military officials whose names could not be revealed to the voterswho are paying for this war with their taxes and their children’s blood. Thebriefers tried to prove the White House’s case that Iran is shipping deadlyweapons, including armor-piercing explosives, to Shiite militias in Iraq.

Unlike Colin Powell’s infamous prewar presentation on Iraq at the UnitedNations, this briefing had actual weapons to look at. And perhaps in time,the administration will be able to prove conclusively that the weapons camefrom arms factories in Iran.


The New York Times


February 13, 2007

Long a Target Over Faulty Iraq Intelligence, Ex-C.I.A. Chief Prepares toReturn Fire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 _ — For the past two years, George J. Tenet hasmaintained a determined silence even as senior White House officials havelaid the blame for the prewar mistakes about Saddam Hussein on him. But nowMr. Tenet, the nation’s former spy chief, is preparing to return fire.

Mr. Tenet was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom at a grand White Houseceremony in December 2004, after stepping down as director of centralintelligence, only to have Vice President Dick Cheney appear on “Meet thePress” 21 months later and pin the mistake about the Iraq intelligencesquarely on him.

Now, as he races to complete a memoir due out this spring, the talk inWashington has turned to how Mr. Tenet, known for fierce loyalty andpolitical survival instincts that enabled him to weather both Democratic andRepublican administrations, will use the book to juggle a host of agendas:polishing his legacy, settling scores and explaining just what he meant whenhe said it was a “slam dunk” that Mr. Hussein had unconventional weapons.


The New York Times


February 13, 2007

Doctors Who Fail Their Patients

It was bad enough when pharmacists who call themselves pro-life refused tofill prescriptions for morning-after pills and an emergency medicaltechnician refused to help drive a woman to an abortion clinic. Now a newsurvey has revealed that a disturbing number of doctors, at the presumedpinnacle of the health professions, feel no responsibility to informpatients of treatments that they deem immoral or to refer them to otherdoctors for care. Although the close-mouthed doctors claim a right to followtheir consciences, they are grievously failing their patients and seem tohave forgotten the age-old admonition to “do no harm.”

The survey, by researchers at the University of Chicago, was published lastweek in The New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers mailedquestionnaires to some 2,000 doctors asking whether they had religious ormoral objections to three controversial practices. Of the 1,144 whoresponded, only 17 percent objected to “terminal sedation” to render dyingpatients unconscious, but 42 percent objected to prescribing birth controlfor adolescents without parental approval, and 52 percent opposed abortionfor failed contraception.

The encouraging news is that substantial majorities thought that doctors whoobjected to a practice nevertheless had an obligation to present all optionsand refer patients to someone who did not object. But that left 8 percentwho felt no obligation to present all options and an alarming 18 percent whofelt no obligation to refer patients to other doctors. Tens of millions ofAmericans probably have such doctors and are unaware of their attitudes.




Hillary scores on style, not substance
By Scot Lehigh, Globe Columnist | February 13, 2007


MEET DEMOCRATIC presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, a candidate whois both soaring and, well, boring.

This weekend was Clinton's first trip to New Hampshire in a decade, and itdemonstrated what an accomplished politician she has become. Her Saturdayappearance at Concord High School, before a capacity crowd of severalthousand, had the feel of a full-throated general election event.

The candidate was relaxed, warm, and personable.

And funny. "Nobody look," Clinton quipped, as an aide fumbled under herjacket to fix a balky microphone.




February 13, 2007

After declaring run for presidency, Obama talks faith, other issues in Iowa

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday he does not thinkvoters have a litmus test on religion, whether evangelical Christianity orhis childhood years in a largely Muslim country.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday he does not thinkvoters have a litmus test on the issue of religion, whether the focus isevangelical Christianity or his childhood years in a largely Muslim country.''If your name is Barack Hussein Obama, you can expect it, some of that. Ithink the majority of voters know that I'm a member of the United Church ofChrist and that I take my faith seriously,'' Obama said in an interview withthe Associated Press in Iowa Falls, Iowa.

''Ultimately what I think voters will be looking for is not so much a litmustest on faith as an assurance that a candidate has a value system and thatis appreciative of the role that religious faith can play in helping shapepeople's lives,'' he said.

In the interview Obama also said his race might be a ''novelty'' this earlyin the presidential contest, sparred with the prime minister of Australiaover Iraq, and said he has a higher burden of proof with voters because ofhis relative inexperience. Obama formally announced his candidacy inIllinois on Saturday and made a beeline for Iowa, site of the firstnominating contest next January 14.


The New York Times


February 13, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Iraqis Show Us the Door

For those like myself who oppose the “surge” in Iraq and seek a timetablefor withdrawal, the hard question is: what happens if all hell breaks loose?

What happens if the removal of U.S. troops leads to large-scale massacres,to a regional war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, to Kurdish-Arab-Turkmenfighting in Kirkuk, to a Turkish invasion of Kurdistan? Conservatives have aright to ask: why advocate a withdrawal that could lead to genocide in Iraq?

The first part of a response is to doubt President Bush’s premise that abuildup is necessarily the best way to avoid a cataclysm. Iraqis themselvesdon’t think so. On the contrary, one poll last fall found that 78 percent ofIraqis believe that American troops provoke more violence than they prevent.

Another poll, conducted by the State Department and reported by TheWashington Post, found that nearly three-quarters of Baghdad residents wouldfeel safer if American forces left Iraq. So if our aim is to avoidcatastrophic bloodshed in Iraq, it may well be that we’re more likely toaccomplish that by leaving rather than staying.


The New York Times


February 12, 2007

Obama Has Easy Trip to New Hampshire
Filed at 10:48 p.m. ET

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) -- Sen. Barack Obama's first trip to New Hampshire as anofficial Democratic presidential candidate came Monday with packedaudiences, enthusiastic crowds -- and scant scrutiny.

Obama, who entered the race on Saturday in his home state of Illinois, cameto New Hampshire on the heels of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Shefaced criticism last weekend for not saying her vote to authorize the use offorce in Iraq was a mistake.

Obama, by contrast, faced little of that skepticism. Even his sharpestquestioners began by offering praise and support.

''He hasn't gotten into specifics, but that'll come,'' state Rep. JeffreyFontas said after a Nashua house party with 60 activists. ''It's early, sowe'll see more and more.''


The New York Times


February 13, 2007

Romney to Enter 2008 Presidential Race
Filed at 2:35 a.m. ET

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- When Mitt Romney, the former Republican governorofMassachusetts, officially enters the 2008 presidential race, he'll be a sonseeking success where a father failed.

Four decades after George Romney's short-lived attempt, the younger Romneyis returning to the state where he was born and raised to formally announcea candidacy that, if fruitful, would make him the first Mormon president.

In what amounts to a coming-out tour, Romney planned to give a speech tosome 800 core supporters at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan on Tuesday. Hethen will head to the other states that hold early primaries and caucuses --Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- before returning to Boston after athree-day swing intended to introduce him to the nation.

A one-term governor of one of the country's most liberal states, Romney isnot nearly as well known nationally as his two main rivals for the GOPnomination, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor RudyGiuliani, political celebrities who consistently lead popularity polls.


The New York Times


February 12, 2007

Portugal to Legalize Abortion, Conservatives Shaken
Filed at 11:09 a.m. ET

LISBON (Reuters) - Catholic Portugal's decision to join most Europeancountries and allow abortions has shaken the country's conservativeestablishment but was hailed by liberals as a victory for modernity.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates said on Sunday he would use hismajority in parliament to legalize abortion after a referendum on the issuefailed because too few people turned out to vote. But of those who did vote,the majority approved.

``It's a victory for a country that no longer submits itself to 'fado' ormisery, nor does it walk blind to the tone of its leaders -- be theypolitical or religious,'' wrote respected columnist Fernanda Cancio in dailyDiario de Noticias.

``The 'Yes' is not the end but the beginning,'' she added.


The Washington Post


McCain, Romney Vying for Support Of Conservatives

By Alan Cooperman and Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; A01

As a former Iowa state Republican chairman, head of Iowa Right to Life andpolitical director of Rep. Jim Nussle's losing gubernatorial campaign,Marlys Popma is an experienced political operative as well as an evangelicalChristian.

So when the phone calls started from Sen. John McCain of Arizona and formerMassachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidates eagerfor her help in the crucial Iowa caucuses next year, she knew this was notan election she could sit out. "You're never going to find the perfectcandidate," she said.

For many social conservatives, that is an understatement. Twelve years ago,Romney said he would be a more effective proponent of gay rights than Sen.Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.); seven years ago, McCain said the RepublicanParty had no place for "agents of intolerance" such as Jerry Falwell.

Popma, however, felt she had to make a choice, and it was McCain.


The Miami Herald


Posted on Tue, Feb. 13, 2007

How could Clinton miss Bush's plan for war?


Yet another man has betrayed Hillary Clinton. This time it's President Bush,who not only deceived her about weapons of mass destruction but, whengranted congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq, actually did so.This, apparently, came as a surprise to her, although, in every hamlet andvillage in America, every resident who could either read or watch Fox Newsknew that Bush was going to take the country to war. Among other things,troops were already being dispatched.

Getting rid of Hussein

Somehow, Bush's intentions were lost on Clinton, who then as now was amember of the U.S. Senate. This was the case even though she now rightlycalls Bush's desire to topple Saddam Hussein an ``obsession.''

''From almost the first day they got into office,'' Clinton said lastweekend in New Hampshire, the Bush administration was ''trying to figure outhow to get rid of Saddam Hussein.'' If that was the case -- and indeed itwas -- then how come she now says she did not think Bush, armed with acongressional resolution, would hurry to war?


The Sun-Sentinel


Posted on Tue, Feb. 13, 2007

Libby to call his former deputy to stand

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The man who took I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's seat as the vicepresident's national security adviser may soon be taking Libby's seat in thewitness stand.

Defense attorneys say they plan to call John Hannah, who served as Libby'sdeputy and was promoted to replace him when Libby was indicted in 2005 onperjury and obstruction charges.

Hannah's testimony could effectively serve as a sit-in for Libby, whomattorneys seem reluctant to put on the stand. The attorneys want to make thecase that any misstatements Libby made to investigators were the product ofa faulty memory, not lies.

To do that, they want to tell jurors about many of the classified nationalsecurity discussions Libby was having in mid-2003, when CIA operativeValerie Plame's identity was leaked to reporters during the early months ofthe Iraq war.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


States are funding anti-abortion advice RAW STORY
Published: Sunday February 11, 2007

A growing number of states are funding pro-life groups to counsel women withunplanned pregnancies, writes the LA Times.

Public funds are being used in at least eight states to subsidize crisispregnancy centers and other programs designed to keep pregnant women fromhaving abortions. In some cases, grants being awarded carry stipulationskeeping counselors from referring women to abortion clinics or even talkingabout contraception.

Many of the groups receiving funding, in states including Texas, Florida,Missouri, and Pennsylvania, are faith-based. Tax laws bars groups from usingfederal money for religious purposes, but such groups can still participatein government programs.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News



New Jersey Attorney to Ask Judge for Decertification of Company's 'AVCAdvantage' System After Machines Found Untested by StatePrinceton Professor Paid $86 For Online Purchase of 5 Machines That a NJCounty Paid $40,000 for...
Guest Blogged by John Gideon, with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

"We can take a version of Sequoia's software program and modify it to dosomething different --- like appear to count votes, but really move themfrom one candidate to another. And it can be programmed to do that only onTuesdays in November, and at any other time. You can't detect it,"Princeton's Professor of Computer Science Andrew Appel explains in NewJersey's Star-Ledger today.

Like Diebold's touch-screen machines before them, Sequoia's voting machineshave now been found to be hackable in seconds by a Princeton Universityprofessor who says the systems could be "easily...rigged to throw anelection." Someone may wish to let the folks in Riverside County, CA, knowsince County Supervisors there recently issued a "thousand to one" bet thattheir Sequoia voting systems couldn't be manipulated.

In the same report, it was revealed that an attorney has filed suit,claiming the Sequoia AVC Advantage Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) votingmachines used in 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties were never reviewed by thestate before they were improperly certified for use and that Princeton'sAppel was able to acquire five Sequoia voting machines for only $86. Thesame machines were recently purchased by the state for $8,000 apiece.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Ex-Bush Iran official: US seeks pretext for conflict with Iran

A former top Bush administration official for Persian Gulf affairs has saidin an interview this morning on CNN that the US may be trying to spark aconflict with Iran.

Hillary Mann is the former National Security Council Director for Iranianand Persian Gulf Affairs. She warned in the interview that the recent flareup between Iran and the US over the former's alleged assistance to Shi'amilitias results from a US desire to provoke conflict with the Iranians.

"They're trying to push a provocative, accidental conflict," Mann said.

She added that the administration hopes to goad Iran into an overreaction sothat it can have justification to carry out "limited strikes" againstnuclear infrastructure and Revolutionary Guards headquarters buildings inIran.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


'What's going on here?' House Democrats write Gates, Negroponte about
'flawed' Iraq, al Qaeda intel
Josh Catone
Published: Sunday February 11, 2007

Representatives Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Ike Skelton (D-MO), and Silvestre Reyes(D-TX) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and NationalIntelligence Director John Negroponte this morning regarding the recentfindings in the Department of Defense Inspector General's report.

The report found that former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Policy DouglasFeith, while not acting illegally, acted inappropriately by creating"alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaidarelationship."

In their letter, the Democratic House members write that they, "firmlybelieve that the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense Policy should notbe in the business of conducting its own intelligence assessments," and thatthe Undersecretary should not provide "independent, and flawed, intelligenceassessments."

The Congressional Democrats demand "to know what procedures your respectiveoffices have put in place to eliminate the possibility of any futureoccurrence of similar incidents."


From: Robert Bernhardt
To: Dolphin Post
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 10:15 AM


Dear Friends,

House Resolution #64 in support of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury will beconsidered in the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week. The good news:The resolution has sixteen co-signers and is assured of passage on the Housefloor with a large majority.

The bad news: In order to move the resolution out of committee, there mustbe ten co-signers who are actually members of the Foreign Affairs Committee.At this time, we have only three, and we have only two business days toaccomplish this. (We were only given two days notice that the resolutionwould be on the agenda for this week.) All the co-signers must be onboard byTuesday afternoon.

The ACJ and the Simon Wiesenthal Center will focus on contacting thecommittee members in California.


The Washington Post


America's Quiet Victories in Asia

By Michael J. Green
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; A21

Last month the leaders of 16 Asian nations met in the Philippines for thesecond East Asian Summit and agreed to work for better energy security andreduced poverty. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) signed an agreement with China on trade and services and pledged towork toward a broader free-trade agreement. President Gloria MacapagalArroyo of the Philippines, a traditional U.S. ally, declared that "we arehappy to have China as our big brother in this region." No Americans wereinvited to the summit.

Is America's Pacific Century over? Is America losing Asia to China? Not yet.As with all things Asian, the appearance of harmony in the meetings in Cebudoes not entirely match reality. Almost all the major leaders at the summitstill trust Washington more than their neighbors, China in particular. Andwhile China may be key to the region's economic dynamism, the politicalmodel the leaders are increasingly embracing for long-term success is theone championed by the United States.


The Washington Post


With Campaign Underway, Obama Now Must Show More Than Potential

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; A09

DURHAM, N.H., Feb. 12 -- The opening days of Sen. Barack Obama'spresidential campaign have displayed all the promise of his candidacy, withlarge crowds, pulsating energy and a charismatic leading man. But theIllinois Democrat faces several serious challenges if he hopes to convertpotential into a winning campaign.

The most significant hurdle will be overcoming questions about whether thefirst-term U.S. senator, who only three years ago was a member of theIllinois Senate, has the experience and readiness to serve as president at atime of war abroad and major unmet problems at home.

Next will be striking the balance between demands of political elites forObama to flesh out the details of his ambitious policy agenda withoutdisappointing the many thousands of Americans who have been drawn to him forhis appeal as a fresh contrast to traditional politicians.


The Washington Post


The Explanation Hillary Clinton Owes

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; A21

Yet another man has betrayed Hillary Clinton. This time it's George W. Bush,who not only deceived her about weapons of mass destruction but, whengranted congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq, actually did so.This, apparently, came as a surprise to her, although in every hamlet andvillage in America, every resident who could either read or watch Fox Newsknew that Bush was going to take the country to war. Among other things,troops were already being dispatched.

Somehow, Bush's intentions were lost on Clinton, who then as now was amember of the United States Senate. This was the case even though she nowrightly calls Bush's desire to topple Saddam Hussein an "obsession."

"From almost the first day they got into office," Clinton said last weekendin New Hampshire, the Bush administration was "trying to figure out how toget rid of Saddam Hussein." If that was the case -- and indeed it was --then how come she now says she did not think Bush, armed with acongressional resolution, would hurry to war?

I certainly did. It was about the only thing I got right about the war,which, the record will show, I supported. If I were running for thepresidency, I might call my position "a mistake" and bray about beingmisled. But it was really a lapse in judgment. For reasons extraneous tothis particular column, I thought the war would do wonders for the MiddleEast and that it would last, at the most, a week or two. In this I wasassured by the usual experts in and out of government. My head nodded likeone of those little toy dogs in the window of the car ahead of you.


The Washington Post


Litmus Test for Hypocrisy

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; A21

Why is it that abortion, a subject on which political candidates often claimto be expressing their most deeply held moral convictions, is often theissue on which they seem especially opportunistic and unprincipled?

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is seeking the 2008Republican presidential nomination, has, in a little over a decade, movedfrom strong support of abortion rights (when he was running for TedKennedy's Senate seat in 1994) to a point where he says he makes "no apologyfor the fact that I am pro-life."

Rudy Giuliani's support for abortion rights seems more constant, but hisposition, too, has evolved over the years, as Ray Rivera reported in the NewYork Times on Saturday.

Reappraisals and conversions are not confined to Republicans. Both Al Goreand Richard Gephardt altered their positions on abortion over the years tobring their views into line with Democratic primary voters who predominantlysupport abortion rights.

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


No comments: