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The New York Times

February 28, 2007
News Analysis
Afghan Bombing Sends a Danger Signal to U.S.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 — The audacity of a suicide-bomb attack on Tuesday atthe gates of the main American base in Afghanistan during a visit by VicePresident Dick Cheney underscores why President Bush sent him there — adeepening American concern that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are resurgent.American officials insisted that the importance of the attack, by a singlesuicide bomber who blew himself up a mile away from where the vice presidentwas staying, was primarily symbolic. It was more successful at grabbingheadlines and filling television screens with a scene of carnage than atgetting anywhere near Mr. Cheney.

But the strike nonetheless demonstrated that Al Qaeda and the Taliban appearstronger and more emboldened in the region than at any time since theAmerican invasion of the country five years ago, and since the Bushadministration claimed to have decimated much of their middle management.And it fed directly into the debate over who is to blame.


The Washington Post

U.S. Will Join Talks With Iran And Syria
Rice Announces Policy Shift as Iraq Plans Conferences

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A01

The United States agreed yesterday to join high-level talks with Iran andSyria on the future of Iraq, an abrupt shift in policy that opens the doorto diplomatic dealings the White House had shunned in recent months despitemounting criticism.

The move was announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in testimonyon Capitol Hill, after Iraq said it had invited neighboring states, theUnited States and other nations to a pair of regional conferences.

"I would note that the Iraqi government has invited all of its neighbors,including Syria and Iran, to attend both of these regional meetings," Ricetold the Senate Appropriations Committee. "We hope that all governments willseize this opportunity to improve the relations with Iraq and to work forpeace and stability in the region."


The Washington Post

Blacks Shift To Obama, Poll Finds

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A01

The opening stages of the campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidentialnomination have produced a noticeable shift in sentiment among AfricanAmerican voters, who little more than a month ago heavily supported Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton but now favor the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton, of New York, continues to lead Obama and other rivals in theDemocratic contest, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.But her once-sizable margin over the freshman senator from Illinois wassliced in half during the past month largely because of Obama's growingsupport among black voters.

In the Republican race, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whorecently made clear his intentions to seek the presidency, has expanded hislead over Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Giuliani holds a 2 to 1 advantageover McCain among Republicans, according to the poll, more than tripling hismargin of a month ago.

The principal reason was a shift among white evangelical Protestants, whonow clearly favor Giuliani over McCain. Giuliani is doing well among thisgroup of Americans despite his support of abortion rights and gay rights,two issues of great importance to religious conservatives. McCain opposesabortion rights.


The Washington Post

Millions In U.S. Infected With HPV
Study Finds Virus Strikes a Third of Women by Age 24

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A01

More than one-third of American women are infected with human papillomavirus(HPV), which in rare cases can lead to cervical cancer, by the time they are24 years old, according to a study being published today.

The new estimates suggest that there are 7.5 million girls and women 14 to24 years old infected with the microbe -- about two-thirds more than anearlier but less comprehensive study had found.

Overall, about one-quarter of women under age 60 are infected at any giventime, making HPV by far the most common sexually transmitted disease in thecountry.

News of the higher-than-expected prevalence of HPV infection was balanced bythe discovery that only 2.2 percent of women were carrying one of the twovirus strains most likely to lead to cervical cancer -- about half the ratefound in previous surveys.

The lead researcher cautioned the findings do not mean that HPV infectionrates are rising, only that they are higher than previously thought.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,4587983,print.story?coll=sns-newsnation-headlines

Death Squad Leaders Seized in Baghdad
Associated Press Writer

February 28, 2007, 1:37 AM EST

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- U.S.-led strike forces seized suspected Shiite death squadbosses Tuesday in raids that tested the fragile bonds between the governmentand a powerful militia faction allowing the Baghdad security crackdown tomove ahead.

The sweeps through the Sadr City slum were part of highly sensitive foraysinto areas loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has ridiculed the2-week-old campaign for failing to halt bombings by suspected Sunniinsurgents against Shiite civilians.

Al-Sadr withdrew his powerful Mahdi Army militia from checkpoints and basesunder intense government pressure to let the security push go forward. Butthe U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also worriesthat al-Sadr could pull his support if he feels his militiamen are beingsqueezed in Baghdad.

The pre-dawn raids appeared to highlight a strategy of pinpoint strikes inSadr City rather than the flood of soldiers sent into some Sunni districts.

Bombings have not slackened off, with at least 10 people killed in blastsaround Baghdad on Tuesday. However, an apparent success of the clampdown canbe measured in the morgues: a sharp drop in the number of bullet-riddledbodies found in the streets of the capital, victims of sectarian deathsquads.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Tue, Feb. 27, 2007
Cervical cancer more of a threat

A new federal study says the human papillomavirus that can lead to cervicalcancer infects many more girls and young women than previously thought, andresearchers stressed the importance of a newly approved vaccine.

The study, released Tuesday, found an infection rate among women 14 to 59 ofabout one-quarter, similar to previous findings. But 7.5 million females inthe 14-to-24 age group -- 33.8 percent -- are infected. Earlier estimatesput the number at 4.6 million in that age group.

Researchers attribute the higher numbers entirely to better countingmethods, not an increase in infection. Still, it means the problem is worsethan earlier believed.

''The fact that so many girls are infected means the vaccine is incrediblyimportant in fighting cancer,'' said Dr. Tanvi Sharma, assistant professorof pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Miami School ofMedicine.


Tough choices in education
By David P. Driscoll | February 28, 2007

AFTER MORE than four decades as an educator, there is one question I justcannot answer: Why has so little changed in public education? We've madeschools handicapped accessible, wired them for the Internet, lowered classsizes, and made school lunches more nutritious. Some communities havefull-day kindergarten, many students are reading and writing earlier andbetter than ever, high schools offer advanced placement courses by thedozen, and vocational-technical schools have expanded to include everythingfrom biotechnology to robotics.

On the surface there have been plenty of improvements, but when you digdeeper it's clear that little of substance has changed in public educationsince the days of Horace Mann, the Commonwealth's first secretary ofeducation.

Foreign language is still taught by conjugating verbs and learningvocabulary words, not having conversations. The average class day is stilljust six hours long, leaving children on the street midafternoon. Schoolcalendars still follow the September to mid-June schedule that was set whenchildren were needed to work the fields each summer.

And in Massachusetts, where many teachers find creative ways to engagestudents in high-level learning and prepare them for what they will face onthe MCAS exams, too many use the state's high stakes test as an excuse to"teach to the test," leaving their students bored and unmotivated to learn.

Assessment tests like the SATs and the National Assessment of EducationalProgress, or NAEP, show Massachusetts leading the nation. But internationalassessments tell a vastly different story: We are first in a nation that islagging far behind internationally.


Romney's French complex
February 28, 2007

THERE IS a lot that makes sense in the PowerPoint document, described inTuesday's Globe, that outlines an electoral strategy for Mitt Romney'spresidential campaign. After all, a competent candidate has to have amodicum of political self-knowledge. He needs to grasp his ownvulnerabilities as well as his rivals' areas of weakness. And the candidateshould enter the lists with a clear idea of the targets at which he will aimhis lance.

But if there is one intriguing peculiarity in the enemies list compiled forthe Romney campaign, it is the primacy given to France as the ultimate evilhaunting America's future. The other "bogeymen" are boiler-plate adversariesfor a Republican who needs to persuade the right-wingers who seem toexercise a virtual veto over the party's nominee that he is really one ofthem.

What the Regents of the Right revile as Hollywood values must be on thescroll of denounced demons. Ditto for taxes, jihadism, and Hillary Clinton.Even the presence of Massachusetts on the infernal side of the ledger cannotcome as a surprise.

For some time, Romney has been jetting around the country, raising money androusing the Republican faithful by making jokes about the Commonwealth. Thevoters of Massachusetts may resent being the butt of the governor's shtick,but they have to admire the deftness of his costume changes. People in theseparts long ago realized that Romney's mocking of Massachusetts is key towhat the PowerPoint presentation calls "Primal Code for Brand Romney" -- andnever mind that voters may prefer an actual person to a brand.


Ex-presidents' big payday
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | February 28, 2007

WHEN HARRY Truman left the White House in 1953, historian David McCulloughrecords, "he had no income or support of any kind from the federalgovernment other than his Army pension of $112.56 a month. He was providedwith no government funds for secretarial help or office space, not a pennyof expense money." To tide him over for the transition back to private life,Truman had to take out a bank loan. One of the reasons he and his wife movedback into their far-from-elegant old house in Independence, Mo., "was thatfinancially they had little other choice."

Nevertheless, Truman refused to cash in on his celebrity and influence as aformer president. He turned down lucrative offers, such as the one from aFlorida real estate developer inviting him to become "chairman, officer, orstockholder, at a figure of not less than $100,000." He wouldn't makecommercial endorsements, accept "consulting" fees, or engage in lobbying. Hewouldn't even take the free car that Toyota offered him as a gesture ofimproved Japanese-American relations.

"I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable," Trumanlater wrote, "that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of theoffice of the presidency." .."


Posted on Wed, Feb. 28, 2007
U.S. economy clouded by uncertainty

Tuesday's stock market plunge shows the start of a ''correction,'' theage-old euphemism for a steep drop in stock prices. The question is whetherit also signals worse to come.

Recent data on the economy is mixed, and Alan Greenspan suggested Mondaythat recession could be looming. Investors, who have murmured about a coming''correction'' for weeks, seem particularly worried about a severe stockmarket decline in China and its impact on the U.S. economy.

However, many economists say the chances of a recession are slim for theUnited States -- about one in five -- and even slimmer for China.

For all three major markets -- the Dow Jones industrial index, thetech-heavy Nasdaq composite and the S&P 500 -- it was the largest one-daydrop since trading resumed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The drop also underscored how connected the U.S. economy is with the broaderglobal economy. U.S. exchanges sank following a nearly 9 percent dropTuesday on China's Shanghai Composite Index -- Shanghai's biggest one-daydrop in a decade. Investors worried that interest rates may soon rise todouse China's sizzling economic growth.


Posted on Wed, Feb. 28, 2007
Race for big bucks leaves voters behind

In case you haven't noticed, the publicfinancing system for presidentialcampaigns is on the brink of collapse. This was the major campaign reform toemerge from the Watergate scandals of the 1970s, and through eight electioncycles it has helped to keep the lid on spending. Today, the sky's thelimit. The average voter stands to get trampled by the presidential herdchasing campaign dollars.

Listen to voters

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has already been pushed out of the race due toout-of-control spending by his opponents. Meanwhile, candidates forced todevote more time to raising money from fat-cat donors and special interestshave less time to talk to average voters -- and, more important, listen tothem.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's recent visit to South Florida was typical of whathappens in this monumental money chase. Staged public events devoid ofcontent are coupled with closed-door private events where a select few havethe privilege of mingling with the candidate in exchange for opening theirwallets. This is what passes for a campaign.

In fairness, Sen. Clinton didn't invent this process, nor is she the firstto benefit from it. In 2004, none of the leading candidates participated inpublic funding during the primaries -- the limits, set long ago, are toolow -- but 2008 may become the first time in the 32-year history of thepublic-financing system that all candidates turn down matching funds for thegeneral election, as well.


Posted on Wed, Feb. 28, 2007
Differences between British ruling class and ours

The House of Windsor can use all the good PR it can get. A glittering HelenMirren came through when she accepted the best actress Oscar for her role inThe Queen and saluted Queen Elizabeth II for all her stodgy stoicism --despite Mirren's portrayal of the monarch's stiff upper lip during thetrauma of Princess Diana's death as chilling indifference.

By stroke of luck (or could it be stroke of public-relations genius?) a moreuplifting royal tale was unfolding in London just as the red carpets werebeing rolled out in preparation for the Academy Awards in L.A.: Prince Harryis marching off to war in Iraq.

Having graduated from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst -- the equivalent ofWest Point -- the son of Diana and Prince Charles is fulfilling, at his owninsistence, a duty to serve on the battlefront with the troops he wastrained to command. ''There's no way I'm going to put myself throughSandhurst and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fightingfor their country,'' the young prince said in a 2005 interview that has beencirculated widely.

It takes no nostalgia for the crown to hear the honor in Harry's vow -- andto wince at the contrast with our own, much larger force in Iraq, from whichthe sons and daughters of the well-heeled and the well-known are largelyabsent. Like the United States, Britain has a volunteer military. Unlike theUnited States, Britain has some vestige of an elite that believes in thenotion of noblesse oblige.

While England sends its prince into battle, we are making paupers of ourmilitary families.


Posted on Wed, Feb. 28, 2007
Official offers glimpse of Padilla's jailing

During his 3 ½-year detention as an ''enemy combatant,'' suspected al Qaedaoperative Jose Padilla was at various times deprived of a clock, windows anda Koran, and forced to sleep on a metal bed frame without a mattress,according to testimony Tuesday from an official at the Navy brig where hewas held in Charleston, S.C.

The account of Sanford Seymour, the brig's technical director, was narrow inscope and offered only a glimpse of Padilla's incarceration, which Padillaand his attorneys have said included torture that renders himpsychologically unfit to stand federal trial in Miami.

Limited by a court ruling to what he had discussed with a psychologistevaluating Padilla's competence for trial, Seymour's testimony was sketchybut ran contrary to some of Padilla's most serious allegations.

''I told him I knew of no physical abuse,'' Seymour testified.

Seymour's testimony marked the first time any official from the brig hadpublicly described conditions of Padilla's incarceration.


Popping vitamin pills could increase your risk of dying, new report says
By Nancy McVicar
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 28, 2007

Before you reach for your morning vitamins, consider this: They may not begood for you.

An analysis of 47 studies involving more than 180,000 participants takingbeta carotene, vitamin E and vitamin A indicates that rather than improvinghealth, popping the pills may increase the risk of death.

The report appears in today's issue of the Journal of the American MedicalAssociation and was compiled by researchers with the Cochrane Collaboration,an international network of experts who conduct systematic reviews ofpublished studies to determine whether current treatments are based onscientific evidence.

The researchers reviewed 68 studies, but sorted out results from the 47 theyconsidered the most credible and found an overall 5 percent increased riskof death. Beta carotene was associated with a 7 percent increased risk;vitamin A, a 16 percent increase, and vitamin E, a 4 percent increase.


Familiar pattern of deception and revenge
By Jim Mullins

February 28, 2007

President Bush has ridiculed the House resolution against his "surge"escalation of the Iraq war as "unbinding," dismissed the Iraq Study Group'srecommendations and ignored voters' repudiation of his conduct of the warvia the November elections. The Democrats are responding by considering arepeal of the 2002 congressional resolution that gave him a free hand indetermining whether to invade Iraq. Repeal should not be rejected withsophistries like "mistakes were made" or "intelligence failure," for Bush'sallegations of an existential security threat posed by Saddam Hussein beganfalling like tenpins before the Iraqi invasion and need to be revisited.

When Gen. Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law, defected to Jordan, headmitted in briefings with U.N. Chief Inspector Rolf Ekeus and U.S.officials that Iraq once had four tons of VX nerve gas. The president quotedhim on that, but left out that Kamel, as director of Iraq's WMD programs,testified in the same briefing that "all weapons, chemical, biological andnuclear" were destroyed in 1992 on Saddam's orders.

Pentagon claims that Iraq had Scud missile launchers were disproved when itgave U.N. inspectors their supposed locations. Inspection turned upIraq-style chicken coops.


The New York Times

February 28, 2007
Government by Law, Not Faith

The Supreme Court hears arguments today in a case that could have a broadimpact on whether the courthouse door remains open to ordinary Americans whobelieve that the government is undermining the separation of church andstate.

The question before the court is whether a group seeking to preserve theseparation of church and state can mount a First Amendment challenge to theBush administration’s “faith based” initiatives. The arguments turn on atechnical question of whether taxpayers have standing, or the right toinitiate this kind of suit, but the real-world implications are serious. Ifthe court rules that the group does not have standing, it will be muchharder to stop government from giving unconstitutional aid to religion.

Soon after taking office, President Bush established the White House Officeof Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and faith-based offices indepartments like Justice and Education. They were intended to increase thefederal grant money going to religious organizations, and they seem to havebeen highly effective.


February 28, 2007
Competing in the Money Marathon

If nothing else, the disheartening frenzy to raise huge campaign donationsin this front-loaded presidential race is making money — lots and lots ofmoney — a public issue. In the cross-fire, federal election regulators areexpected to approve Senator Barack Obama’s clever but cagey attempt to claima reformer’s mantle: he wants to let the nominees keep bagging unlimitedprivate donations in the run-up to the primaries, then have the choice ofreturning a chunk of it after the conventions and accepting limited publicfinancing for the general election.

Of course, Mr. Obama is proposing to adopt the even-money truce — should hewin the nomination — only if the Republican nominee does the same.

Behind this shadowboxing is the fact that the post-Watergate publicfinancing of presidential elections has not kept pace with inflation. Thisfailure, which a conscientious Congress would repair in time for the 2012election, has put private fund-raisers back at the wheel. All majorcandidates, including Mr. Obama, are rejecting the $65 million possiblethrough the public money route for the primaries as a trifle.

Mr. Obama may be scoring political points in the reformers’ image race withSenator Hillary Clinton, who lately yielded and agreed to disclose who herfund-raising megabrokers are. But voters should not get their hopes toohigh. The Obama and Clinton campaigns did not hesitate to upstage the Oscarswith a hissy fit over who can best beg before Hollywood’s deep-pocketedpolitical sages. The candidates’ mix of furious money-seeking and ritualumbrage at its excesses evokes St. Augustine’s self-reform: “Make me chaste,oh Lord, but not yet.”


The New York Times

February 28, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Ozone Man Sequel


Al Gore now has a movie with an Oscar and a grandson named Oscar.

Who could ask for anything more?

Al Gore could.

The best ex-president who was never president could make one of the mostinteresting campaigns in American history even more interesting. Will he usehis green moment on the red carpet in black tie to snag blue states and winthe White House?

Only the Goracle knows the answer.

The man who was prescient on climate change, the Internet, terrorism andIraq admitted that maybe his problem had been that he was too far ahead ofthe curve.

He realized at a conference that “there’re ideas that are mature, ideas thatare maturing, ideas that are past their prime ... and a category called‘predawn.’

“And all of a sudden it hit me,” he told John Heilemann of New York magazinelast year. “Most of my political career was spent investing in predawnideas! I thought, Oh, that’s where I went wrong.”

As Mr. Gore basked Sunday night in the adoration of Leo, Laurie David andthe rest of the Hollywood hybrid-drivers, Democrats wondered: Is this chubbyguy filling out the Ralph Lauren three-piece tuxedo a mature idea or an ideathat’s past its prime?

With Hillary overproduced and Barack Obama an unfinished script, maybe it’stime to bring the former vice president out of turnaround.

Hillary’s henchmen try to prognosticate the Goracle’s future by looking athis waistline, according to Newsday; they think if he’s going to run, he’llget back to fighting weight.


February 28, 2007
Low Pay and Broken Promises Greet Guest Workers


To a rice farmer from Thailand making $500 a year, the recruiter’s pitch washard to resist — three years of farm work in North Carolina that would paymore than 30 times as much as he earned at home.

The pitch was so persuasive that the farmer, Worawut Khansamrit, put hisfarm up as collateral to pay the recruiter $11,000 to become a guest worker.“The amount of money they promised was very attractive,” said Mr.Khansamrit, a slight, soft-spoken 40-year-old with a 15-year-old daughter hewants to send to college.

But after he arrived in North Carolina with 30 other Thai workers, he foundthere was only about a month’s work. He was then taken to New Orleans toremove debris from a hotel damaged by Hurricane Katrina — work he says hewas never paid for. This month, he and other Thai workers filed a federallawsuit asserting that they were victims of illegal trafficking.


The New York Times

February 28, 2007
2 New Drugs Offer Options in H.I.V. Fight

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 — Two new AIDS drugs, each of which works in a novelway, have proved safe and highly successful in large studies, a developmentthat doctors said here on Tuesday would significantly expand treatmentoptions for patients.

The two drugs, which could be approved for marketing later this year, wouldadd two new classes of drugs to the four that are available to battleH.I.V., the AIDS virus. That would be especially important to tens ofthousands of patients in the United States whose treatment is failingbecause their virus has become resistant to drugs already in use.

“This is really a remarkable development in the field,” Dr. John W. Mellorsof the University of Pittsburgh said at a news conference here at the 14thAnnual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.


The New York Times

February 28, 2007
Jailers Testify About Padilla’s Confinement

MIAMI, Feb. 27 — As Jose Padilla dropped his head and grew still, a seniorofficial from the naval brig in Charleston, S.C., testified on Tuesday infederal court here that he had twice observed Mr. Padilla weeping in theelectronically monitored cell where the military detained him for threeyears and eight months.

The brig’s technical director, Sanford E. Seymour, also said that Mr.Padilla, an American citizen who was designated an enemy combatant in 2002,sometimes slept on a steel bunk without a mattress, that the windows in his80-square-foot cell were blackened and that brig employees covered up theirnametags around him.

Mr. Seymour said that Mr. Padilla, a Muslim, occasionally visited with animam and that his Koran was taken from him periodically; that he sometimeswent outside to shoot baskets or sunbathe; and that when Mr. Padillabelieved he had been administered LSD, it was really a flu shot.

These scattershot revelations, elicited by Mr. Padilla’s lawyers in ahearing of sharply limited scope, did not add up to a comprehensive portraitof Mr. Padilla’s time in the brig. But they were nonetheless significant,marking the first time Mr. Padilla’s military jailers were forced to speakpublicly about the conditions of his secretive confinement without charges.


The New York Times

February 28, 2007
Face Book

A Fighter for Colleges That Have Everything but Status

LOREN POPE has been bucking convention nearly all of his life, which is tosay for a long, long time.

Mr. Pope, who is 96, grew up in northern Virginia, a Democrat in a family hedescribes as “hard-core Republican.” He worked as an editor at Washingtonnewspapers and a local radio station, but left the news business for a whilein the late 1940s to farm and raise cattle, largely because he thought thepress was failing to stand up firmly to anti-Communist bullying. A decadelater, he left The New York Times after a year as its education editor,discouraged, he says, by factionalism and bureaucracy.

So naturally, when he opened shop as an independent college counselor inWashington in 1965, Mr. Pope quickly developed a maverick’s view of collegeadmissions.

He helped some clients get into the country’s most selective colleges anduniversities, but that was not where his passions lay. Instead, he beganvigorously promoting to high school students and their parents the virtuesof small, little-known liberal arts colleges.

“I’ve got egalitarian instincts, and that’s why I’m opposed to the eliteschools’ status and prestige,” Mr. Pope said.


Overseas Markets Continue Downward Slide
Yesterday's 3.3% Dow Tumble is Biggest Loss Since '03

By David Cho, Tomoeh Murakami Tse and Howard Schneider
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; 7:42 AM

Asian and European stock markets headed down again Wednesday after a broadglobal sell-off the day before that included a more than 3 percent drop inthe Dow Jones industrial average and the loss worldwide of an estimatedtrillion dollars in equity.

The Chinese indexes that started the rout actually rebounded after Chineseofficials disavowed some of the more severe capital market restrictions theywere rumored to be considering, such as a tax on capital gains. Shanghai'sComposite Index rose nearly 4 percent.

U.S. stock market futures were also pointing higher Wednesday morning,indicating that the flight from global equities was slowing.But as they anticipated Wall Street's opening bell and a new report on U.S.economic growth, Asian and European markets continued downward.

Japan's Nikkei index fell 515 points -- nearly three percent. Hong Kong'sHang Seng index lost around 2.5 percent. Some emerging markets were hit evenharder: Philippine stocks were down nearly 8 percent, their worst lost sincethe Asian financial crisis in the late 1970s.


New Light Shed on CIA's 'Black Site' Prisons

By Dafna Linzer and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A01

On his last day in CIA custody, Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaedapaymaster, was stripped naked, seated in a chair and videotaped by agencyofficers.

Afterward, he was shackled and blindfolded, headphones were put over hisears, and he was given an injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, waslaid down in the back of a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a planewith at least one other prisoner.

His release from a secret facility in Afghanistan on June 30, 2006, was asurprise to Jabour -- and came just after the Supreme Court rejected theBush administration's assertion that the Geneva Conventions do not apply toprisoners like him.

Jabour had spent two years in "black sites" -- a network of secretinternment facilities the CIA operated around the world. His account of lifein that system, which he described in three interviews with The WashingtonPost, offers an inside view of a clandestine world that held far moreprisoners than the 14 men President Bush acknowledged and had transferredout of CIA custody in September.

"There are now no terrorists in the CIA program," the president said, addingthat after the prisoners held were determined to have "little or noadditional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their homecountries for prosecution or detention by their governments."


Europe's Runaway Prosecutions

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A19

An Italian court announced this month that it is moving forward with theindictment and trial of 25 CIA agents charged with kidnapping a radicalMuslim cleric.

These proceedings may well violate international law, but the case serves asa wake-up call to the United States. Overseas opponents of American foreignpolicy are increasingly turning to judicial proceedings against individualAmerican officials as a means of reformulating or frustrating U.S. aims, andaction to arrest this development is needed.

The Italian case involves a 2003 CIA mission to apprehend an Egyptian clericnamed Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr. Suspected of terrorist ties, Nasr wasseized in Milan and transported to Egypt, where he claims he was tortured.This was, of course, an "extraordinary rendition" -- a long-standing andlegal practice that generally involves the cooperation of two or moregovernments in the capture and transportation of a criminal suspect outsideof normal extradition proceedings. It was through such a rendition that theterrorist "Carlos the Jackal" was delivered for trial to France from Sudanin 1994.

The United States has used extraordinary renditions as part of the war onterrorism, but the continuing value of this tactic, particularly in Europe,is questionable.


U.S. Sanctions With Teeth

By David Ignatius
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A19

Everybody knows that economic sanctions don't work. Just look at the decadesof fruitless pressure on Cuba. But guess what? In the recent cases of NorthKorea and Iran, a new variety of U.S. Treasury sanctions is having a potenteffect, suggesting that the conventional wisdom may be wrong.

These new, targeted financial measures are to traditional sanctions whatSuper Glue is to Elmer's Glue-All. That is, they really stick. DeputyTreasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt doesn't even like to call them sanctions,preferring the term "law enforcement measures." Explains Stuart Levey,Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence:"Sanctions are scoffed at. They have a bad history."

Authority for the new sanctions, as with so many other policy weapons, comesfrom the USA Patriot Act, which in Section 311 authorizes Treasury todesignate foreign financial institutions that are of "primary moneylaundering concern." Once a foreign bank is so designated, it is effectivelycut off from the U.S. financial system. It can't clear dollars; it can'thave transactions with U.S. financial institutions; it can't havecorrespondent relationships with American banks.


After the Tears
Breast Cancer Is a Serious Disease, but Young Survivors Find the Laughter IsContagious

By Emily Wax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; C01

The man in the white lab coat at Georgetown Hospital's Lombardi CancerCenter took one look at my bellybutton ring and sighed.

"You can't have your CT scan with that in there," he said.

The demand for the piercing's removal last summer was just another waycancer was trying to pry away at my 32-year-old life. But the silver hoopwouldn't budge.

That's how my husband and I ended up racing in a cab to an M Street tattooparlor hours before I was scheduled for the test that would tell me if thebreast cancer had spread. And if I would have a better chance of undergoingsurgery, chemotherapy and radiation and surviving, or slogging through thetreatments and possibly dying.

The parlor's electronica music spinning from a laptop seemed way too loud.The hipsters in skinny jeans and puffy boots eyeing the latest Chinesesymbol tattoos seemed blissfully carefree. Amid the tattoo-splattered walls,I turned as ashen and as soaked in sweat as I would during the height ofchemo as I sat down on a cold metal table. "Sweet!" purred a tattooed BurlyMan, a cliche with wrench: "This trend is so over."


Iraq Bill Vexes Democrats
Leaders Struggle to Craft Measure That Can Unite Party

By Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A04

House Democratic leaders offered a full-throated defense last night of theirplans to link Iraq war spending with rigorous standards for resting,training and equipping combat troops, saying that they would hold PresidentBush accountable for failing to meet those readiness tests.

But after a fractious meeting of the House Democratic caucus, Speaker NancyPelosi (Calif.) said Democratic members still have not united around theproposal.

More than a week after Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.) detailed plans that he saidwould curtail deployments to Iraq, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders saidthe coming debate on war funding would be about forcing the administrationto live up to existing military requirements. War funds would be redirectedtoward equipment, such as night-vision goggles, that some troops lack.Democrats would insist on giving combat troops a year off betweendeployments, and they could impose restrictions on Pentagon policies thatextend combat tours.

They would also condition some war funding on benchmarks for the governmentof Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said House Democratic CaucusChairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.).


The Bradenton

Posted on Tue, Feb. 27, 2007
Kerry blasts nominee over Swift Boat contribution

By Grant Slater
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WASHINGTON - Prominent Missouri businessman and Republican financier SamFox, accompanied by heavyweight backers, expected smooth sailing in theSenate's Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday on his way to confirmation asambassador to Belgium.

He didn't get it.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., broadsided Fox, criticizing his 2004 donation tothe anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and questioning Fox'scredentials for the job.

"You saw fit to put $50,000 on the line to continue the smear, my questionto you is: Why?" Kerry said.

The Swift Boat group gained notoriety for running a well-funded campaignthat questioned the validity of Kerry's Vietnam War medals during Kerry's2004 presidential campaign.


USA Today

Giuliani addresses his Democratic past
Updated 2/26/2007 4:32 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani addressedhis Democratic past on Tuesday and offered one reason for his politicalconversion — the economy and taxes.

"I don't think anything separates us more right now between Republicans andDemocrats than how we look at taxes," the former New York mayor said. "Whatwe understand as Republicans is that, sure, the government is an importantplayer in this, but we are essentially a private economy. What Democratsreally believe ... is that it is essentially a government economy."

In the days of President John F. Kennedy, Giuliani said, Democratsunderstood the concept of the private economy and cutting taxes. But, hesaid, Democrats have "kind of lost that."

"It's one of the reasons that I used to be a Democrat and I'm now aRepublican," Giuliani said before quoting Winston Churchill as saying: "Ifyou're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart, but if you're not aconservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain."

The line prompted laughter from Giuliani's audience, a few hundred peopleaffiliated with the Hoover Institution, a public policy center.


Millions In U.S. Infected With HPV
Study Finds Virus Strikes a Third of Women by Age 24

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A01

More than one-third of American women are infected with human papillomavirus(HPV), which in rare cases can lead to cervical cancer, by the time they are24 years old, according to a study being published today.

The new estimates suggest that there are 7.5 million girls and women 14 to24 years old infected with the microbe -- about two-thirds more than anearlier but less comprehensive study had found.

Overall, about one-quarter of women under age 60 are infected at any giventime, making HPV by far the most common sexually transmitted disease in thecountry.

News of the higher-than-expected prevalence of HPV infection was balanced bythe discovery that only 2.2 percent of women were carrying one of the twovirus strains most likely to lead to cervical cancer -- about half the ratefound in previous surveys.

The lead researcher cautioned the findings do not mean that HPV infectionrates are rising, only that they are higher than previously thought.


The Seattle Times

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - 12:00 AM
Danny Westneat
Impeach Bush? Don't bother

Congressman Jay Inslee knows a thing or two about the politics ofimpeachment. After all, he owes his job to it.

It's doubtful Inslee, of Bainbridge Island, would be in office had he notbeen the first politician in the nation to run TV ads decrying theimpeachment investigation of President Clinton in 1998. The ads said theimpeachment was a waste that had paralyzed Congress. At the time, Clintonwas toxic and few were defending him. Inslee's stand was national news. Hesurged ahead of Republican Rick White to win a seat he's held ever since.

Now Inslee is getting blasted by some anti-war activists for saying thegrowing movement to impeach President Bush is also a waste.

Thursday, that movement goes prime time. The state Senate is holding ahearing in Olympia on a resolution requesting that Congress beginimpeachment proceedings against both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.


Pardons reemerge as issue in Clinton run
By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | February 28, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Six years ago, the launch of Hillary Clinton's career in theUS Senate was marred by allegations that her brothers had received paymentsfrom people pardoned by President Bill Clinton in the waning months of hispresidency.

Now, in the wake of the launch of her presidential campaign, the pardoncontroversy has reemerged in an obscure court case in which SenatorClinton's brother Tony is battling an order to repay more than $100,000 hereceived from a couple pardoned by President Clinton.

Tony Rodham, who acknowledged approaching the president about a pardon forthe couple, is the second of Hillary Clinton's brothers to receive moneyfrom people who were eventually pardoned by President Clinton. Hugh Rodhamreceived $400,000 from two people, one of whom was pardoned and one whosesentence was commuted.

But while Hillary Clinton immediately expressed chagrin over the news in2001 that Hugh received the money -- and asked him to return it -- she saidTony was "not paid," according to a congressional report. The Clintoncampaign yesterday declined to comment on the case involving Tony Rodham.


The politics of drug sentencing
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist | February 28, 2007

WASHINGTON THERE WAS a curious footnote to last week's Supreme Court oralarguments over criminal sentencing guidelines.

One case involved Mario Claiborne of St. Louis, who received a 15-monthsentence for possessing 5.03 grams of cocaine. That just crossed the line totrigger a federal five-year prison sentence.

The 20-year-old Claiborne's lack of a prior record allowed for the fiveyears to be lowered to 37 to 46 months. But the district judge gave him onlya 15-month sentence. Anything more, the judge said, would be "tantamount tothrowing you away." The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuitoverturned the verdict, saying it was way out of line with federalguidelines.

Claiborne's attorneys appealed to the Supreme Court. It was not surprisingto see the American Civil Liberties Union and public defender and defenselawyer groups file briefs on his behalf.

On the other side was the Bush administration. One brief on their behalfstood out. It was from Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and other allieson the Senate Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Diane Feinsteinof California.


The New York Times

March 1, 2007
Stock Market Gains After Steep Decline on Tuesday

After suffering its steepest drop in nearly four years, the stock marketshowed some tentative signs of recovery today, rising slightly in earlytrading.

At the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange at 9:30, share pricesadvanced enough to push both the Dow Jones industrial average and theStandard and Poor’s 500-stock index above Tuesday’s closing levels. Thegains were small, however, and sometimes fleeting as both indexes fluctuated
in and out of positive territory.

The broad global sell-off of stocks on Tuesday wiped out the gains the Dowand the S.& P. made for the year. At the end of the trading day, bothindexes had values about equal to where they stood at the end of November.The Dow lost 416 points, or about 3.3 percent. The broader S.& P. lost about3.5 percent of its value.


The New York Times

February 28, 2007
Prodi Remains Italian PM

Filed at 4:24 p.m. ET

ROME (Reuters) - Romano Prodi won a confidence vote in Italy's upper houseon Wednesday to stay on as prime minister, but an opinion poll suggested hisgrip on power would remain weak.
Prodi resigned last week after only nine months in office when some memberson the left of his coalition, ranging from Roman Catholics to communist,voted against him in the Senate over foreign policy.

He was given a second chance by President Giorgio Napolitano after herallied his fractious allies, playing on their fears that his prematurepolitical demise would clear the way for former Prime Minister SilvioBerlusconi to return to power.

To stay on, Prodi had to prove he could command enough support in the upperhouse, where his bloc has a flimsy majority.

He won Wednesday's vote by 162 votes to 157. Crucially, to avoid oppositionprotests, he would have had a majority even without the support of fourunelected life senators who voted for him.


The Washington Post

Fired U.S. Attorney Says Lawmakers Pressured Him

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 1, 2007; A10

A political tempest over the mass firing of federal prosecutors escalatedyesterday with allegations from the departing U.S. attorney in New Mexico,who said that two members of Congress attempted to pressure him to speed upa probe of Democrats just before the November elections.

David C. Iglesias, who left yesterday after more than five years in office,said he received the calls in October and believes that complaints from thelawmakers may have led the Justice Department to fire him late last year.

Iglesias also responded to allegations from Justice officials that he hadperformed poorly and was too often absent, citing positive job reviews anddata showing increasing numbers of prosecutions. He also noted that he isrequired to serve 40 days a year in the Navy Reserve.

Iglesias declined to name the lawmakers who called him, but he said in aninterview: "I didn't give them what they wanted. That was probably apolitical problem that caused them to go to the White House or whomever andcomplain that I wasn't a team player."

Iglesias's allegations were met with strong denials from the JusticeDepartment yesterday but prompted the Democratic-controlled House and Senatejudiciary committees to announce that they would issue subpoenas fortestimony from Iglesias and other fired prosecutors if necessary. Iglesiassaid he would not testify unless subpoenaed.


New Profiling Program Raises Privacy Concerns

By Ellen Nakashima and Alec Klein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; D03

The Department of Homeland Security is testing a data-mining program thatwould attempt to spot terrorists by combing vast amounts of informationabout average Americans, such as flight and hotel reservations. Similar to aPentagon program killed by Congress in 2003 over concerns about civilliberties, the new program could take effect as soon as next year.

But researchers testing the system are likely to already have violatedprivacy laws by reviewing real information, instead of fake data, accordingto a source familiar with a congressional investigation into the $42.5million program.

Bearing the unwieldy name Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insightand Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE), the program is on the cutting edge ofanalytical technology that applies mathematical algorithms to uncover hiddenrelationships in data. The idea is to troll a vast sea of information,including audio and visual, and extract suspicious people, places and otherelements based on their links and behavioral patterns.


Millions In U.S. Infected With HPV
Study Finds Virus Strikes a Third of Women by Age 24

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; A01

More than one-third of American women are infected with human papillomavirus(HPV), which in rare cases can lead to cervical cancer, by the time they are24 years old, according to a study being published today.

The new estimates suggest that there are 7.5 million girls and women 14 to24 years old infected with the microbe -- about two-thirds more than anearlier but less comprehensive study had found.

Overall, about one-quarter of women under age 60 are infected at any giventime, making HPV by far the most common sexually transmitted disease in thecountry.

News of the higher-than-expected prevalence of HPV infection was balanced bythe discovery that only 2.2 percent of women were carrying one of the twovirus strains most likely to lead to cervical cancer -- about half the ratefound in previous surveys.

The lead researcher cautioned the findings do not mean that HPV infectionrates are rising, only that they are higher than previously thought.

"For us, it's just a different measurement -- and a more accurate one," saidEileen F. Dunne, a physician and epidemiologist at the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention.


Justices Weigh Right to Sue Over Church-State Separation

By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 1, 2007; A06

The Supreme Court, for the first time under Chief Justice John G. RobertsJr., confronted yesterday the devilishly complicated issue of church-stateseparation, and whether ordinary taxpayers have the right to sue over theBush administration's embrace of faith-based organizations.

With Roberts and newest member Samuel A. Alito Jr. active in the discussion,the justices bombarded the lawyers before them with questions about whatkinds of government action could warrant a taxpayer suit. A church built bythe government? The number of times a president appears at prayerbreakfasts?

Roberts even wondered whether opponents of the administration's initiativeswould extend their concerns to the court itself, which opened yesterday'ssession, as it always does, with a marshal appealing for God to "save theUnited States and this honorable court."

Constitutional scholars and some justices say that the First Amendment'sreligion clauses present some of the most difficult questions to interpret. Justices must balance theestablishment clause -- Congress shall make no law respecting anestablishment of religion-- with the free-exercise clause -- or prohibitingthe free exercise thereof-- which immediately follows.


Michael Tackett: Meanwhile, in actual policy news ...
By Michael Tackett -
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, March 1, 2007

WASHINGTON -- While Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were engaged inthe first official hissy fit (the technical term) of the 2008 presidentialcampaign, another Democrat was actually engaged in a matter of importantpublic policy.

Just to recap: Clinton was furious because Hollywood mogul David Geffenridiculed her and former President Clinton in an interview with Maureen Dowdof the New York Times on the very day that Geffen was hosting a fundraiserfor Obama that reportedly brought $1.3 million to his campaign. Before hisconversion to Obama, Geffen had raised about $18 million for the formerpresident.

The spat led to several days of coverage in a not-so-deep search for deepermeaning about the state of the race and the state of the Clintons, which, bythe way, undoubtedly will be the campaign's ongoing soap opera subtext.

Meanwhile, across the country in Annapolis, Md., another public drama wasplaying out, and in this case, the stakes were not money, but life anddeath.

Martin O'Malley, the youthful new governor, made an emotional plea to astate Senate committee to repeal the death penalty in Maryland.


The New York Times

March 1, 2007
Romney Focuses on Conservative Straw Poll

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 — The straw poll at the annual Conservative PoliticalAction Conference beginning here Thursday has never played a pivotal role ina Republican presidential primary. But the Mitt Romney campaign nonethelessis paying for three vans, scores of registration fees and at least ahalf-dozen hotel rooms to pack collegiate supporters into the event.

The turnout drive — 10 months before the first primary — is the latest signof both the early start and bulging budgets of the 2008 presidentialcampaign. But the conference may be especially important to Mr. Romney, whois trying to reassure social conservatives that his views have shifted tothe right from some of the liberal positions he took as the governor ofMassachusetts.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said the conferencevolunteers were part of a long-term effort to build grass-roots support.

“These volunteers are the folks who are going to be on the front lines ofour campaign across the country,” Mr. Madden said. “The investment that weare making here is going to offer a greater result as this campaigncontinues to grow.”

Mr. Madden said the Romney campaign planned to have at least 225 studentvolunteers at the event, with 90 percent of them living close enough toeliminate the need for housing or transportation. Last year the event drewmore than 4,000 activists. But only about 600 people, mostly students,participated in the poll. Every Republican presidential candidate so farexcept Senator John McCain will speak at the event.


For GOP, A Void on The Right

By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, March 1, 2007; A17

New York-based political consultant Kieran Mahoney's survey of probableRepublican participants in the 2008 Iowa presidential caucuses showed thissupport for the "big three" candidates: John McCain, 20.5 percent; RudyGiuliani, 16.3 percent; Mitt Romney, 3.5 percent.

Astonishingly, they all trailed James Gilmore, the former governor ofVirginia, who had 31 percent.

How could that be? Because it was not a legitimate survey but a "push poll,"normally a clandestine effort to rig the results by telling respondentsnegative things about some of the candidates. But Mahoney makes no secretthat the voters he sampled were told of liberal deviations by McCain,Giuliani and Romney, as well as true-blue conservatism by Gilmore, who isMahoney's client.

Mahoney is trying to prove a point widely accepted in Republican ranks. Noneof the three front-line candidates is a natural fit for the nation'sright-of-center party. Without question, there is a void. The question iswhether Gilmore or anyone else can fill it.

The most commonly mentioned potential void-filler is not Gilmore but NewtGingrich. A straw poll by the right-wing organization Citizens United of itspolitical contributors showed Gingrich leading with 31 percent (followed byGiuliani at 25 percent, Romney at 10 percent and McCain at 8 percent). Butbased on his actions as speaker of the House, Gingrich's conservative recordis far from flawless.

Mahoney did not include Gingrich in his poll of Iowa Republicans likely tovote in next year's caucuses. His survey first showed McCain leading with 33percent, followed by Giuliani at 31.5 percent and Romney at 8.8 percent (andthe unknown Gilmore at 1.3 percent). Seventy percent of those polleddescribed themselves as conservative, and 68 percent said they werepro-life; they also gave President Bush an astounding 76 percent favorablerating.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,5850423,print.story

Romney Losing Edge in New Hampshire
Associated Press Writer

March 1, 2007, 1:46 AM EST

BOSTON -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney can campaign in NewHampshire and still sleep at night in his own bed in Massachusetts. Yet, theneighbor's edge has been less than a home-court advantage in the nation'sfirst 2008 presidential primary state.

The former Massachusetts governor is romancing an electorate that's alreadyshown fondness for rivals John McCain and interest in Rudy Giuliani. GraniteState residents are increasingly voting Democratic, and the expanding ranksof independents may decide they'd rather pick among Hillary Rodham Clinton,Barack Obama and John Edwards.

"I think the real problem for him is that both he and John McCain are sobusy courting the right wing and trumpeting their support for the war, thatwon't sell up here," said Linda Fowler, a government professor at DartmouthCollege. "What may end up happening is that independent voters gravitate tothe Democratic primary. That would leave (Romney and McCain) battling overthe hardcore Republicans."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6025168,print.story

Democrats to Attach Add-Ons to Iraq Bill
Associated Press Writer

February 28, 2007, 10:11 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- While Democrats try to restrict how President Bush can spendthe $100 billion he wants for Iraq, they also hope to load his measure upwith $10 billion in add-ons -- from aid for avocado growers to help forchildren lacking health insurance.

Lawmakers also hope to add money for drought relief in the Great Plains,better levees in New Orleans and development of military bases that areclosing down.

The expected battle with the White House over the add-ons is getting farless attention than debate over Iraq, but it could reveal a lot about howmuch Democrats will be able to rewrite the Republican president's budgetlater this year.

Bush has yet to veto a spending bill, and Democrats are gambling he'll signthe Iraq measure despite objections to spending he didn't seek. Republicans,meanwhile, may be reluctant to vote against the package since it containsfunds for U.S. troops overseas.

Lawmakers from the Great Plains are pressing for about $4 billion indisaster aid for farmers suffering under drought conditions.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6513585,print.story

Ridge to Serve on McCain's '08 Bid Board
By Associated Press

February 28, 2007, 10:00 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge will serve asnational co-chair of Republican John McCain's presidential exploratorycommittee, the campaign said Wednesday.

Ridge, a former two-term Pennsylvania governor, served as first head of thenation's newly created Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. Hepraised McCain's leadership in a statement announcing his support for theArizona senator's bid for the White House:

"What sets John apart is his ability to form coalitions around a common,principled cause. Our country is at a crossroads and John McCain is theleader who fundamentally knows what it takes to move us forward and keep ussafe," Ridge said.

McCain, who said Wednesday that he will formally enter the race for the 2008GOP nomination in April, said that Ridge's "expertise as an innovativegovernor and national leader ... is invaluable and I'm grateful for hissupport."

McCain, once seen as the Republican front-runner, has been leading the GOPpresidential field in endorsements, but increasingly lags behind former NewYork City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in polls of Republican voters.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6447087,print.column?coll=sfla-news-palm

Ignore advice and keep spending. It's the county way
Howard Goodman
Palm Beach columnist

March 1, 2007

The Palm Beach County commissioners held a most instructive meeting onTuesday. The commissioners had two major pieces of business to consider.

First up, property taxes.

A flood of citizens rose to say they were drowning in tax increases. Oneafter another, speakers railed about tax hikes of up to 70 percent in a yearand begged commissioners: Please, rein in spending.

The commissioners blew them off.

They also blew off an advisory committee's recommendation to freeze spendingto this year's $4.3 billion.

This advisory committee was such an annoyance, in fact, that thecommissioners talked about replacing the members, whom they had appointedonly three months ago as a concession to the property tax firestorm.

"Why do we need this committee?" asked Addie Greene, the commission chair.
"It's my personal opinion it's a waste of time."


Posted on Thu, Mar. 01, 2007
Gore teaches lesson on how to live one's life

Now, somebody ought to make a movie about Al Gore. I would call it AnUncomplaining Life.

The movie would be about a man who did not quit; who came off the canvasafter a painfully close election -- he won the popular vote, after all; whoaccepted defeat graciously and tried to unite the nation; who returned tothe consuming passion of his earlier days, the environment, and spokeendlessly on the topic almost always for free; who starred in a documentarybased on his speech; and who Sunday night, before a billion or so people,won an Academy Award for his effort.

This may or may not be a stepping stone for the presidency, but Gore givesus all a lesson on how to live one's life.

It's a joke, isn't it? I mean, it was Gore who was seen as the flawed man,uncomfortable in his own skin and therefore, in this TV age, incapable ofuniting the nation. He was caricatured by some of my colleagues as a serialexaggerator, a fibber, a pretender -- the guy who invented the Internet, whowas the model for the novel (and movie) Love Story, who applied one too manycoats of passion to that kiss he delivered to his wife, Tipper, at theDemocratic National Convention in 2000. There were so many reasons not tovote for him -- none, in retrospect, much good.

Now it is his jaunty, frat-boy opponent who cannot unite the country. Now itis the towel-snapper, the rancher who does not ride horses, the decider whodecides wrongly, and whose approval ratings are like the temperature of adead man. Now it is George W. Bush that the nation does not trust orbelieve -- and this has and will cost us plenty. What if Bush is right aboutIran? What if the Iranians are really helping to kill Americans in Iraq?Whatever you may think of the Iraq War, it is impermissible for anyone tokill Americans -- out of the question! -- and yet it may be happening andmay continue because the president is widely disbelieved. Gore could nothave gotten us into this.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Mar. 01, 2007
Rhetoric doesn't match actions

Why did a majority of Democratic senators -- such as Joe Biden, HillaryClinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller and ChuckSchumer -- vote to authorize a war with Iraq on Oct. 11, 2002? And why isthis war now supposedly President Bush's misfortune and not theirs?

The original fear of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, of course, played arole in their votes -- but only a role. In the 23 writs that authorizedforce to remove Saddam Hussein, senators at the time also cited Iraq'ssanctuary and subsidies for terrorists. Then there were Hussein's attemptsto assassinate a former U.S. president; his repression of, and use ofweapons of mass destruction against, his own people; and his serialviolations of both United Nations and Gulf War agreements.If paranoia over weapons of mass destruction later proved just that, theseother more numerous reasons to remove Hussein remain unassailable.

Nevada's Sen. Reid summed up best the feeling of Democrats that there wereplenty of reasons to remove Hussein in a post-9/11 climate. He reminded hisSenate colleagues that Hussein's refusal to honor past agreements``constitutes a breach of the armistice, which renders it void and justifiesresumption of the armed conflict.''

But it was not just fear of Hussein alone that prompted Democrats toauthorize the use of force to remove him. There was the more general,liberal notion of using American arms to stop violent dictators. While theDemocratic Party has a strong pacifist wing, its mainstream has alwaysadvocated a global promotion of American liberal values -- sometimes throughthe use of preemptory force.

Many Democrats in Congress, for example, had earlier authorized George BushSr. to fight the first Gulf War to stop Hussein's mad drive to absorbKuwait. In 1999, House Democrats sought, but failed, to pass congressionalauthorization for President Clinton's ongoing air war against SlobodanMilosevic.


USA Today

White House renews effort to overhaul laws
Updated 2/28/2007 10:47 PM ET
By Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — President Bush waded gingerly back into the debate over immigrationWednesday, as two of his top lieutenants urged Congress to grant "legalstatus" to an estimated 12 million people now living in the countryillegally.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Homeland Security Secretary MichaelChertoff stopped short, however, of endorsing a plan to give illegalimmigrants a chance at citizenship. "I believe what people want first andforemost is to have legal status," Gutierrez said. "I don't think everyonewants to be a citizen."

RELATED: Fee increase could curb citizenship applications

The two men's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee marks thebeginning of an effort to revive a sweeping overhaul of the nation'simmigration laws — a debate that last year set off a wave of demonstrationsacross the country. Legislation bogged down late in the last Congress whenHouse Republican leaders refused to take up a Senate-passed bill that wonBush's public stamp of approval.

The Senate bill provided for improved border security, tougher penalties foremployers who hire illegal aliens, a tamper-proof Social Security card, anexpanded "guest worker" program to allow foreigners to work in the USA and achance at citizenship for those living and working in the country illegally.But some Republican critics, such as Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.,said the bill was too lenient, equating the citizenship provision toamnesty.


Conservative group fined over attacks on Kerry
By Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press | March 1, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A conservative independent group that spent millions ofdollars in ads against Democratic presidential candidate Senator John F.Kerry in 2004 will pay $750,000 to settle charges that it violated federalcampaign laws.

The penalty, announced by the Federal Election Commission yesterday, is thethird - largest in the history of the commission, which regulates electionmoney.

The FEC's six commissioners approved the settlement unanimously.

The group, Progress for America Voter Fund, raised nearly $45 million in2004, making it the best - financed Republican-oriented group in thatcampaign. The FEC said that it "failed to register and file disclosurereports as a federal political committee and accepted contributions inviolation of federal limits."

Benjamin Ginsburg, a lawyer for Progress for America Voter Fund, said thegroup was not admitting guilt. He criticized the FEC for not setting clearerguidelines for independent groups that seek to influence elections.

At issue are nonprofit organizations called 527 groups, named after thesection of the IRS code that governs their activities. During the 2004campaign, several 527 groups emerged to criticize President Bush or Kerry .In December, the FEC settled cases against three other 527 groups -- liberaland conservative -- that acted in a similar fashion.

The FEC said that because the group ran ads specifically supporting Bush oragainst Kerry, it should have registered as a political committee andaccepted donations under limits set by law, such as no more than $5,000 fromindividuals. Instead, the group accepted donations of $1 million or morefrom wealthy contributors. Among them were media entrepreneur A. JerroldPerenchio, Texas builder Bob Perry, and Texas oilman and investor T. BoonePickens.

In the 2006 congressional elections, Progress for America was also activebut only ran issue ads that never mentioned a candidate -- a permissibleactivity. According to IRS records, the group raised nearly $6.2 million inthat election cycle.


Los Angeles Times,1,3518746,print.story?coll=la-news-a_section

My link to Strom Thurmond
What it was like to learn about a family connection to the famoussegregationist.
By Al Sharpton Jr.

The Rev. AL SHARPTON JR. is a civil rights activist and founder of theNational Action Network.

March 1, 2007

LAST WEEK, I received the shock of my life. I found out that my family wasenslaved by the family of the leading segregationist of our time, the lateSen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. I don't know whether Thurmond himselfwas my blood relative; there has been no DNA testing yet.

What I do know now is the horrific details of how my great-grandfather andfamily were slaves, directly owned and leased out like chattel animals. Thisrevelation about my ancestors has made slavery real to me. It is no longeran abstract horror. It is my family history — and the Thurmonds'.

Sen. Thurmond's hatred for blacks was so strong that, in 1948, he walked outof the Democratic National Convention and ran for president on asegregationist ticket. Words cannot fully describe the feelings I had when Ilearned the awful truth. Not only am I the descendant of slaves, but myfamily had to endure the particular agony of being slaves to the Thurmonds,the symbol of everything about America that I have fought to change. I felthumiliated and prideful; reflective and angry; oppressed and uplifted. Ithought about what it must have been like to be a slave, and then what mygreat-grandfather would have thought about me and about my strengths, myweaknesses.

Am I doing enough in my life to make him proud? It also made me reach out tomy father, someone I have not really spoken to often because he left myfamily when I was just 10 years old.

My great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton Sr., and his family were owned by awhite woman named Julia Ann Thurmond shortly before the Civil War. Theylived in, of all places, Liberty, Fla. Before that, they were the propertyof the white slave owner Alexander Sharpton of South Carolina. Sharpton'sson, Jefferson, had married Miss Thurmond, and died in debt, so Sharptonsent my great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, and his family to Liberty in1861 to work off the debts. Julia Thurmond Sharpton inherited mygreat-grandfather. Julia Thurmond's grandfather was also Strom Thurmond'sgreat-grandfather.


House GOP Pushes Floor Vote For Rep. Jefferson Appointment

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 1, 2007; A04

House Republicans plan to force a floor vote on the appointment of Rep.William J. Jefferson (D-La.), who is the subject of a federal briberyinvestigation, to a seat on the Homeland Security Committee.

The decision to put Jefferson on the panel was made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi(Calif.), and House Democrats endorsed the move at a private meeting Tuesdaynight, but his appointment must be confirmed by a vote on the House floor.Such an action would normally be a formality, but Republicans said yesterdaythat they would pursue a rarely used maneuver to force a recorded vote onthe matter.

"This is a terrible mistake by the Democratic leadership, to take someonewith serious ethical allegations against him and put him on one of the mostsensitive and important committees in Congress," said Rep. Peter T. King(N.Y.), the ranking Republican on the committee.

Pelosi ousted Jefferson from his seat on the powerful Ways and MeansCommittee in June after federal investigators raided his Capitol Hilloffice. In an earlier search of his home, $90,000 was found in a freezer.The money allegedly was accepted in a bribery sting involving an Africantechnology company. Jefferson, who has not been charged, has maintained hisinnocence and was elected to a ninth term in December after a runoffelection.


The Myth of the Middle

By Alan Abramowitz and Bill Bishop
Thursday, March 1, 2007; A17

The story of 2006 was that regular Americans were sick of partisan divisionsin Washington. The vast and consensus-hungry middle asserted itself inNovember, the narrative went, finally ordering the parties and theirchildish politicians to stop fighting and to work together.

After the vote, bipartisanship was all the buzz, and moderation the wave ofthe future. But something happened on the way to the evening campfire ands'mores. House Republicans started complaining about Democrats ridingroughshod into the majority, refusing to consider their amendments tolegislation. President Bush announced that he wasn't going to let theopposition of congressional Democrats stop him from sending 21,500 more U.S.troops to Iraq. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders trashed most of Bush'sdomestic policy proposals as soon as they were announced in his State of theUnion address.

One explanation for all this is that politicians are acting against the willof their compromise-loving constituents. Another is that Republicans andDemocrats are simply being good representatives.We think the evidence supports the second interpretation.

The Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) surveyed more than24,000 Americans who voted in 2006. The Internet-based survey compiled byresearchers at 30 universities produced a sample that almost perfectlymatched the national House election results: 54 percent of the respondentsreported voting for a Democrat, while 46 percent said they voted for aRepublican. The demographic characteristics of the voters surveyed alsoclosely matched those in the 2006 national exit poll. If anything, the CCESrespondents claimed they were more "independent" than those in the exitpoll.

The CCES survey asked about 14 national issues: the war in Iraq (theinvasion and the troops), abortion (and partial birth abortion), stem cellresearch, global warming, health insurance, immigration, the minimum wage,liberalism and conservatism, same-sex marriage, privatizing Social Security,affirmative action, and capital gains taxes. Not surprisingly, some of thelargest differences between Democrats and Republicans were over the Iraqwar. Fully 85 percent of those who voted for Democratic House candidatesfelt that it had been a mistake to invade Iraq, compared with only 18percent of voters who cast ballots for Republicans.

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