Sunday, March 25, 2007


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Texas Youth Sentences To Be Reviewed
by The Associated Press
Posted: March 23, 2007 - 8:00 pm ET

(Austin, Texas) The records of most inmates in Texas' scandal-rockedjuvenile prison system will be reviewed to determine whether their sentenceswere unfairly extended, an official investigating the system said Friday.

Time has been added to the sentences of about 90 percent of Texas YouthCommission inmates, commission special master Jay Kimbrough said. Inmates'families and advocates claim that prison officials often extended sentencesfor capricious reasons or in retaliation for filing grievances.

"I have no confidence in the integrity of that entire system," Kimbroughsaid as he announced the probe Friday.

A panel of community activists, prosecutors and juvenile prison officialswill review the records on each inmate's sentencing extension and make asuggestions to a retired judge who will decide whether the inmate should beimmediately released, Kimbrough said.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Kimbrough to investigate the commission early thismonth after the Dallas Morning News cited a never-released 2005 TexasRangers report that said boys at one prison had been molested by topofficials there. A later internal investigation confirmed the findings andsaid commission officials knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it.


The New York Times

March 24, 2007
House, 218 to 212, Votes to Set Date for Iraq Pullout

WASHINGTON, March 23 - A deeply divided House of Representatives votedFriday to bring most American combat troops home from Iraq next year, withDemocrats employing their new Congressional majority to create the mostforceful challenge yet to President Bush's war policy.

The legislation aimed at accelerating an end to the war passed on a vote of218 to 212, with all but two Republicans opposing. Even as the debate movesto the Senate, where a less restrictive plan is to be considered next week,Mr. Bush dismissed the action as "political theater" and promised to vetoattempts to manage the war from Capitol Hill.

The Democratic leaders of Congress said they were acting on overridingAmerican sentiment to change course in Iraq, and they vowed to keep pursuinglegislative attempts to hold the Iraqi and American governments accountablefor progress there.

"The American people have lost faith in the president's conduct of this war," Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in bringing an endto a charged debate on the House floor. "The American people see the realityof the war; the president does not."

The measure was approved as part of a $124 billion emergency war spendingrequest to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the nextsix months. Fourteen Democrats voted against the plan, with eight saying itdid not end the war fast enough and six saying it was too restrictive andcould usurp the authority of the commander in chief.


The New York Times

March 24, 2007
Public Takes Up Pros and Cons of Edwards Bid

DENVER, March 23 - Important policy debates about the course of the nationin the next presidential election are still out there and will no doubtreturn. But for one day, many people all over the country seemed able topause and reflect on something deeper, to questions of mortality and thebonds of marriage, ambition and devotion, hope and denial.

The announcement by former United States Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, that they would continue his bid to be the Democratic Partynominee for president despite the spread of incurable breast cancer into herbones has opened a door, people all over the country said on Friday, to adiscussion of character, his and hers.

For many people, the discussion is personal and visceral - the differencebetween wisdom and intelligence, and how best to spend a finite time with aloved one whose health and life are under siege by disease.

Is Mr. Edwards now the presidential race's real embodiment of hope in allits audacity, or a symbol of blind ambition? A new profile in courage or astandard-bearer for callous disregard?

Many Democrats, including local party leaders in states like Iowa and Ohiowhere early primaries and caucuses could help set the stage for thenomination, said their opinion of Mr. Edwards went up, but probably evenmore said that about Mrs. Edwards.


The New York Times

March 24, 2007
Memo From Johannesburg

South Africa Lowers Voice on Human Rights

JOHANNESBURG, March 23 - Modern South Africa came about, historians agree,in part because of the United Nations' unrelenting stance against apartheid.

The United Nations affirmed that South African racism was not merely aninternal political problem, but a threat to southern Africa. It banned armsshipments to South Africa. It demanded fair treatment of black dissidents.

It worked. This month a democratic South Africa sits as president of theUnited Nations Security Council. It was a remarkable, even poignantaffirmation of the power of morality in global diplomacy.

Or so it might seem. After just three months as one of the SecurityCouncil's
nonpermanent members, South Africa is mired in controversy over what couldbe its great strength: the moral weight it can bring to diplomaticdeliberations.

In January, South Africa surprised many, and outraged some, when it votedagainst allowing the Security Council to consider a relatively mildresolution on human rights issues in Myanmar, whose government is widelyseen as one of the most repressive on earth.

Last week the government again angered human rights advocates when it saidit would oppose a request to brief the Security Council on the deterioratingsituation in Zimbabwe, where the government is pursuing a violent crackdownon its only political opposition. South Africa later changed its stance, butonly after dismissing the briefing as a minor event that did not belong onthe Council's agenda.


The New York Times

March 24, 2007
Iranian President Cancels U.N. Trip, Blaming U.S.

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 - As the Security Council prepared to vote on aresolution imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Iran'spresident canceled his plans to address Council members before the expectedvote on Saturday.

The Security Council met twice on Friday to review a second draft of a newsanctions resolution for Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment andreturn to negotiations on its nuclear program.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had announced his intention toaddress the Security Council on the day of the vote. But late in the dayIranian officials said he would not come.

The trip "has been made impossible because of the lateness in supplying avisa by the United States," an Iranian official in Tehran told AgenceFrance-Presse.

For their part, American officials denied any delay in providing visas.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Mar. 23, 2007
Religion-work disputes happen frequently

Walgreens, the pharmacy giant with stores in 47 states, doesn't require itspharmacists to fill prescriptions that violate their moral or religiousbeliefs - accommodating some pharmacists' opposition to birth control, forexample.

Creighton University, a Catholic Jesuit university in Omaha, Neb., does notperform abortions at its hospital or teach the procedure to the medicalstudents there - accommodating the institution's opposition to abortion.

Ever since the Puritans prohibited certain commercial activities on Sundaysin the 1600s - so the faithful could spend their Sabbath in worship -workplaces have accommodated at least some religion-based work limitations.

The principle just popped up again in the Minneapolis area, when some Muslimcashiers at Target stores refused to scan customers' pork products onreligious grounds. Target had them flag another employee to do the scanning,but within days of news reports and hours of talk radio devoted to thetopic, Target changed its policy. Cashiers who refuse to ring up porkproducts are given other positions, a policy already in place at other areagrocery stores.

"Here in Minnesota we're seeing a lot about the issues brought by Muslimsinto the workforce, but certainly I can tell you these are issues employeesfrom all the various faiths bring to work with them," said Andrew Voss, anemployment lawyer who represents management, in the Minneapolis office ofLittler Mendelson.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Mar. 23, 2007
Faking science? Bush team must think we're stupid

Hard to believe, but they're at it again.

After 2002, when a National Cancer Institute statement reporting no linkbetween abortion and breast cancer was changed by the Bush administration tosay evidence of a link was inconclusive, after the administration cutlanguage on global warming from a 2003 report by the EnvironmentalProtection Agency, after a government scientist was forbidden in 2001 and2002 from discussing health hazards posed by airborne bacteria emanatingfrom animal waste at large factory farms, after 60 scientists -- 20 of themNobel laureates -- signed a statement in 2004 accusing the White House ofmanipulating and distorting science for political aims, after all that, TeamBush has once again been caught censoring science it dislikes.

I refer you to this week's testimony before the House Committee on Oversightand Government Reform. The committee produced paperwork documenting manydozens of instances in which the former chief of staff of the White HouseCouncil on Environmental Quality edited scientific reports on globalwarming. He cut definitive statements and replaced them with doubtful onesin order to portray climate change as something less than the settledscience most experts consider it to be.


And get this: The guy changing the scientific reports is not a scientist.Philip Cooney is an oil man, previously employed by the American PetroleumInstitute, the industry's lobbying arm. When he left the government in 2005,he went to work for ExxonMobil.

Can you say conflict of interest, boys and girls?


The Sun-Sentinel,0,905409,print.story?coll=sfla-business-front

Dow Secures Best Week in 4 Years

AP Business Writer
March 24, 2007, 12:28 AM EDT

NEW YORK -- Stocks closed mostly higher Friday, sending the Dow Jonesindustrials' to their best week in four years after a surprise jump in homesales eased concern that frailty in the housing market will hurt economicgrowth. Existing home sales rose by the biggest amount in nearly three yearsin February amid a sharp increase in sales in the Northeast, the NationalAssociation of Realtors said. The 3.9 percent increase was the largest sincea similar jump in March 2004; analysts had been expecting a decrease.

Still, the report did have some downbeat aspects -- the median price of ahome fell year-over-year for the seventh straight month and inventoriesrose.

The Federal Reserve this week said an "adjustment" in the housing sector wascontinuing, offering some relief for investors left unnerved by the woesamong so-called subprime mortgage lenders. Wall Street had grown concernedthat an implosion among subprime lenders, which make loans to people withpoor credit, could spill over into other parts of the economy and derailalready slowing economic growth.

"People are realizing the housing market is bottoming and is not going tocause a recession in 2007," said Noman Ali, U.S. equities portfolio managerat MFC Global Investment Management. "The consumer is really the maindriving force of the economy and the consumer remains strong."

The Dow rose 19.87, or 0.16 percent, to 12,481.01. The blue chip index rosefor five straight sessions, picking up 370.60 for its biggest weekly pointgain since March 2003; that translated to a 3.06 percent rise for the week.


Will America deliver the final shove that topples Mugabe?

By Con Coughlin
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 23/03/2007

When Steve Biko, the charismatic South African Black Consciousness leader,died naked and manacled in a fetid prison cell in Pretoria in 1977, hisbrutal demise ultimately sounded the knell for apartheid.

Those countries, such as Britain and America, that had continued to aintainrelations with the South African regime realised that the Vorster governmenthad gone too far; David Owen, the then Labour foreign secretary, led thechorus of international protests, attending a memorial service held inBiko's honour in London, and making Britain's distaste for Biko's death atthe hands of the security forces publicly known.

The resulting international isolation of South Africa as a consequence ofthat single incident led to the collapse of apartheid a decade later and thetakeover of the country by Nelson Mandela's ANC.

There is an important parallel to be drawn between the impact Biko's deathhad on South Africa, and the implications of the brutal treatment recentlymeted out to Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Just as Biko'sdeath led to the collapse of apartheid, the latest abuse of power byZimbabwe's equally malevolent security forces may prove to be a similartipping point in the removal of Robert Mugabe's dictatorship.

Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, appears tohave survived the violent assault he suffered at Harare's central policestation following his detention for participating in an anti-governmentprotest. Like Biko, Tsvangira suffered severe head injuries - a fracturedskull. Unlike Biko, who was left naked and chained to a grille on the prisoncell floor, the prompt intervention of Tsvangirai's lawyers meant hereceived emergency hospital treatment.


Watching America

Figaro, France
Four Years On, America is Still Angry at France

Even if many Americans today criticize their country's military interventionin Iraq, they continue to bear a grudge against France.

By Guillemette Faure

Translated By Sandrine Ageorges

March 16, 2007

France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)

He has returned. Four years after his February 14th, 2003 speech in which heopposed the war in Iraq, [Prime Minister] Dominique de Villepin was back atthe U.N. yesterday to meet the new Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to takestock of the internationally military commitments of France, which areconsidered to be excessive.

"Let's not forget that after having won the war, it is necessary to buildpeace," warned the then Foreign Minister Villepin, speaking before theSecurity Council four years ago. "This will be long and difficult."

Today the majority of Americans agree: according to the latest USA Todaypoll, 59 percent believe that, "the United States made a serious mistake bysending troops to Iraq."

The diplomatic climate has also changed. The French fries in the cafeteriaof the Congress, which had been renamed "freedom fries" to retaliate againstFrance's opposition, are once again "French Fries." Calls for boycotts[against French goods] are long forgotten, as is the episode when ajournalist from the Washington Post attacked the "greasy Minister of ForeignAffairs, Dominique de Villepin."

According to Charles Kupchan, a specialist on transatlantic relations forthe Council on Foreign Relations, the Bush government has given up the ideaof punishing countries that opposed the war in Iraq. "It's a pragmaticchange: confronted to the difficulties in Iraq, the United States needs theassistance of Europe in the rest of the world."


The New York Times

March 25, 2007
The President's Prison
George Bush does not want to be rescued.

The president has been told countless times, by a secretary of state, bymembers of Congress, by heads of friendly governments - and by the Americanpublic - that the Guantánamo Bay detention camp has profoundly damaged thisnation's credibility as a champion of justice and human rights. But Mr. Bushignored those voices - and now it seems he has done the same to his newdefense secretary, Robert Gates, the man Mr. Bush brought in to clean upDonald Rumsfeld's mess.

Thom Shanker and David Sanger reported in Friday's Times that in his firstweeks on the job, Mr. Gates told Mr. Bush that the world would neverconsider trials at Guantánamo to be legitimate. He said that the camp shouldbe shut, and that inmates who should stand trial should be brought to theUnited States and taken to real military courts.

Mr. Bush rejected that sound advice, heeding instead the chief enablers ofhis worst instincts, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General AlbertoGonzales. Their opposition was no surprise. The Guantánamo operation wascentral to Mr. Cheney's drive to expand the powers of the presidency at theexpense of Congress and the courts, and Mr. Gonzales was one of the chiefarchitects of the policies underpinning the detainee system. Mr. Bush andhis inner circle are clearly afraid that if Guantánamo detainees are triedunder the actual rule of law, many of the cases will collapse because theyare based on illegal detention, torture and abuse - or that Americanofficials could someday be held criminally liable for their mistreatment ofdetainees.

It was distressing to see that the president has retreated so far into hisalternative reality that he would not listen to Mr. Gates - even when he wasbacked by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who, like her predecessor,Colin Powell, had urged Mr. Bush to close Guantánamo. It seems clear thatwhen he brought in Mr. Gates, Mr. Bush didn't want to fix Mr. Rumsfeld'sdisaster; he just wanted everyone to stop talking about it.

If Mr. Bush would not listen to reason from inside his cabinet, he might atleast listen to what Americans are telling him about the damage to thiscountry's credibility, and its cost. When Khalid Shaikh Mohammed - for allappearances a truly evil and dangerous man - confessed to a long list ofheinous crimes, including planning the 9/11 attacks, many Americans reactedwith skepticism and even derision. The confession became the butt ofeditorial cartoons, like one that showed the prisoner confessing to bettingon the Cincinnati Reds, and fodder for the late-night comedians.


The New York Times

March 25, 2007
Warming Up on Capitol Hill

Al Gore held his first hearing on global warming about 25 years ago, when hewas a member of the House of Representatives, and a quarter century laterCongress seems to be listening to him. Apart from the usual dinosaurs -James Inhofe, who took great glee in pointing out that Mr. Gore had a bighouse that used lots of energy, and Trent Lott, who dismissed the formervice president's ideas as "garbage" - Mr. Gore received a strong welcomefrom the two Congressional committees that will frame any legislation todeal with the warming threat.

Legislating, of course, will be the hard part. But Mr. Gore's efforts toraise both public and Congressional awareness are likely to make thateasier. As is his habit, Mr. Gore spoke in dramatic, almost apocalypticterms, at one point demanding an "immediate freeze" in carbon dioxideemissions. This certainly overestimates America's capacity for rapid socialand technological change in much the same way that his movie, "AnInconvenient Truth," seemed on occasion to overstate how quickly we will seethe consequences of climate change.

As Mr. Gore concedes, he is more salesman than scientist. But mostscientists acknowledge that he is absolutely right on the fundamentals:humans are artificially warming the world, the risks of inaction are great,the time frame for action is growing short and meaningful cuts in emissionswill happen only if the United States takes the lead.

An increasing number of business leaders and politicians outside Washingtonare moving his way. These include Republican governors like ArnoldSchwarzenegger, major investment companies like Goldman Sachs, venturecapitalists hoping to profit from cleaner technologies and even a few bigpower companies preparing for the day when they will have no choice but toreduce their emissions.

Congress is paying attention to this shift. Representative Henry Waxman ofCalifornia has signed up 127 co-sponsors for a very tough bill he proposedlast week that seeks to reduce United States greenhouse gas emissions by 80percent by midcentury, which is close to what Mr. Gore wants. When youconsider that Mr. Gore and President Bill Clinton could not find fivesenators willing to ratify the far more modest 1997 Kyoto treaty - whichcalled for a mere 7 percent reduction below 1990 levels, with no furtherreductions scheduled after 2012 - you get some idea of how far the debatehas come.


The New York Times

March 25, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
Waiting for Freedom, Messing It Up

Princeton, N.J.

FOR many years, the term Central Europe was missing from the Americanvocabulary. A simple expression was used instead: the Soviet Bloc.

The accession to the European Union of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic,Slovakia, the Baltic states, and lately Bulgaria and Romania brings changenot only in the symbolic dimension of language, but also in the geopoliticaland spiritual dimensions. We traded in the Soviet Bloc for the EuropeanUnion, the idea of which first took juridical form 50 years ago today.

The Polish story about Europe is quite different from the French or German,Spanish or Portuguese stories. In September 1939, our country became avictim of double aggression: by Hitler's Third Reich on the first of thatmonth, by Stalin's Soviet Union on the 17th.

One evening in January 1940, the inhabitants of occupied Poland could hear aspeech by Winston Churchill on their illegal radios. "In the bitter andincreasingly exacting conflict which lies before us," Churchill said, "weare resolved to keep nothing back, and not to be outstripped by any inservice to the common cause. Let the great cities of Warsaw, of Prague, ofVienna banish despair even in the midst of their agony. Their liberation issure. The day will come when the joy-bells will ring again throughoutEurope, and when victorious nations, masters not only of their foes but ofthemselves, will plan and build in justice, in tradition and in freedom ahouse of many mansions where there will be room for all."

For those of us who, during our years of democratic opposition to Communistrule, passed through the trial of underground activity and prisons, thisjoyous day arrived four years ago, when, in a national referendum, Polesdecided by a decisive majority to join the European Union. A dream keptalive for years became a reality.


Clinton's critic unlikely to shake her campaign
Published March 25, 2007

A major Tampa Bay Democrat dislikes Hillary Clinton. But this high-profilepolitician's snub probably won't bother the Democratic presidentialfront-runner much. It's Joe Redner, who says he's so far most impressed withBarack Obama.

"I don't like Hillary Clinton," the strip club king and Tampa City Councilcandidate said after taping a Political Connections interview to air thisweekend on Bay News 9. "I don't think she has any settled principles. Shecan't even admit that what she did (authorizing force in Iraq) was wrong."

Redner is facing off against Gwen Miller for the City Council. TheirPolitical Connections interviews air Sunday at 11 a.m. on Bay News 9. Laterthe interview can be seen on Channel 342 (Bay News 9 on demand).

Meanwhile, look for Bill and Hillary Clinton to swing through FloridaSaturday, raising money in Orlando, West Palm Beach and Miami. RepublicanJohn McCain also will be raising money throughout the state early this week,and on Tuesday will address state House Republicans in Tallahassee.

Another GOP debate

No word yet on candidate commitments, but the Florida GOP and Fox News maynot be the only ones organizing a GOP presidential debate in the SunshineState.


USA Today

Bush's nephew chosen for Navy class

FORT WORTH (AP) - George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bushand nephew of President Bush, has been selected as one of 15 prospectiveensigns for the intelligence unit of the Navy reserves.

He and the other members of the Class of 2007 will be sworn in this year,Lt. Cmdr. Bill Schroeder of the Navy Reserve Intelligence Command in FortWorth said Wednesday. They will go through a two-week officer indoctrinationschool, a year of Navy basic intelligence training and be assigned to Navyreserve intelligence units close to their homes.

Navy intelligence officers collect and analyze information and provideguidance to help war fighters make decisions critical on the battlefield,Schroeder said.

Bush, a 30-year-old graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, willget no special treatment, he said.

"He will be held to the same standards as all of his other shipmates,"Schroeder said. "He will go through the same training. He will have the sameduties and responsibilities and have to display the same commitment as therest of his shipmates."


The Washington Post

At Forum, Democrats Differ on Health Care
Funding Plans Include Raising Taxes, Ending War, Reshaping the InsuranceSystem

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 25, 2007; A05

LAS VEGAS, March 24 -- Democratic presidential candidates were united hereSaturday in pledging to provide universal health care to all Americans butdiffered over how quickly the changes could be achieved and, more important,whether they would have to raise taxes to pay for it.

The candidates addressed what has become perhaps the nation's mostintractable domestic issue and all said that, because of rising costs ofcare and the lack of insurance for about 45 million Americans, incrementalsteps are no longer adequate.

"What we need is big, bold, dramatic change," former North Carolina senatorJohn Edwards said.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was part of the last significant effortto overhaul the system during her husband's administration. That attemptfailed, but the Democratic candidates said Saturday that the conditionsexist to push for dramatic change.

But Clinton warned that getting there would still be difficult. "We don'tjust need candidates to have a plan," she said. "All of them have plans. Weneed a movement. We need people to make this the number one voting issue inthe '08 election."


The LA Times,0,3988940,print.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Activists remember a different Romney
Advocates for gay and abortion rights and the environment say the GOPcandidate misled them on his positions.

By Peter Wallsten
Times Staff Writer

March 25, 2007

BOSTON - As an abortion-rights advocate, Deborah Allen did not think shewould find much in common with Mitt Romney. Then she heard his pitch.

If elected Massachusetts governor, Romney said in an endorsement meeting, hewould "preserve and protect" legal abortion. The judges he picked wouldprobably do the same. And then he said something so unexpected that Allenbegan to see Romney, a Republican whom she had considered an uncertain ally,as sincere in his search for common ground.

"You need someone like me in Washington," he said, according to Allen andtwo other abortion-rights activists, whose group was deciding whether toendorse Romney in the 2002 race for governor. Though running for stateoffice, Romney hinted at national ambitions and said he would soften theGOP's position on abortion. The Republians' hard-line stance, he said, was"killing them."

Today, Romney is running for president and promising to pull the RepublicanParty in the opposite direction, returning it to the conservative principlesof Ronald Reagan. He has renounced his support for abortion rights and hasshifted his language on gay rights, campaign finance and other issues,bringing him more in step with Republican voters. He mocks Massachusetts,the state he led until January, as "sort of San Francisco East, NancyPelosi-style."

Though Romney's policy shifts have become widely known, his meetings withactivists for abortion rights and other causes - which have received farless attention - show he put much work into winning support fromMassachusetts' liberal establishment only a few years ago.


CBS News

A True Believer

March 23, 2007

(The Nation) This column was written by John Nichols.

John Edwards is still in the running.

But his campaign will be different from here on out.

On Thursday morning, as word spread that his wife, Elizabeth, has sufferedan extremely serious recurrence of the cancer that struck her in 2004, therewas broad speculation that Edwards would suspend his run for the 2008Democratic nomination.

Instead, as reporters crowded around to record what many though would be theexit of the former North Carolina senator from the presidential contest,Edwards declared, "The campaign goes on. The campaign goes on strongly."

But, of course, the campaign will now be shadowed by a discussion about thehealth of Elizabeth Edwards. It is a discussion that both husband and wifeare willing to engage in. And they will put it in perspective.


The LA Times,0,175250,print.story?coll=la-home-commentary

The war on drugs' war on minorities
Democratic presidential candidates crave the Latino and black vote, butignore the Drug
War's unfair toll on people of color.

By Arianna Huffington
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, a contributing editor to Opinion, is the editor in chiefof

March 24, 2007

THERE IS A subject being forgotten in the 2008 Democratic race for the WhiteHouse.

While all the major candidates are vying for the black and Latino vote, theyare completely ignoring one of the most pressing issues affecting thoseconstituencies: the failed "war on drugs" - a war that has morphed into awar on people of color.

Consider this: According to a 2006 report by the American Civil LibertiesUnion, African Americans make up an estimated 15% of drug users, but theyaccount for 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convictedand 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Or consider this: TheU.S. has 260,000 people in state prisons on nonviolent drug charges; 183,200(more than 70%) of them are black or Latino.

Such facts have been bandied about for years. But our politicians haveconsistently failed to take action on what has become yet another third railof American politics, a subject to be avoided at all costs by electedofficials who fear being incinerated on contact for being soft on crime.

Perhaps you hoped this would change during a spirited Democraticpresidential primary? Unfortunately, a quick search of the top Democratichopefuls' websites reveals that not one of them - not Hillary Clinton, notBarack Obama, not John Edwards, not Joe Biden, not Chris Dodd, not BillRichardson - even mentions the drug war, let alone offers any solutions.


The LA Times,0,3393247,print.story

Pelosi's gamble on Iraq war bill pays off
The House speaker's triumph was anything but assured when she announced themeasure. Antiwar Democrats wanted an earlier deadline for withdrawal.

By Noam N. Levey
Times Staff Writer
March 24, 2007

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced an angry group of liberallawmakers when she stepped into her red-walled Capitol office on theafternoon of March 8.

That morning, the San Francisco Democrat had announced plans to pushlegislation requiring President Bush to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq bythe end of August 2008 - at the latest.

But the antiwar members of her party who gathered in the large conferenceroom overlooking the National Mall wanted the war over sooner. Many werethreatening to defy their leader and vote against the bill.

For 2 1/2 hours Pelosi listened, parrying each complaint with an argumentshe would make hundreds of times over the next two weeks: Democrats had tounite behind a bill that challenged Bush's management of the war.

Friday, Pelosi carried the day.


Gonzales should be impeached
By Robert Kuttner | March 24, 2007

THE HOUSE of Representatives should begin impeachment proceedings againstAttorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Gonzales, the nation's highest legal officer, has been point man for serialassaults against the rule of law, most recently in the crude attempt topoliticize criminal prosecutions. Obstruction of a prosecution is a felony,even when committed by the attorney general.

The firings of US attorneys had multiple political motives, all contrary tolongstanding practice. In some cases, Republican politicians and the WhiteHouse were angry that prosecutors were not going after Democrats withsufficient zeal. In other cases, they wanted the prosecutors to lighten upon Republicans. In still others, exemplary prosecutors were shoved aside tomake room for rising Republican politicians being groomed for higher office.

It's hard to imagine a more direct assault on the impartiality of the law orthe professionalism of the criminal justice system. There are several otherreasons to remove Gonzales, all involving his cavalier contempt for courtsand liberties of citizens, most recently in the FBI's more than 3,000 casesof illegal snooping on Americans.

Why impeachment? In our system of checks and balances, the Senate confirmsmembers of the Cabinet, but impeachment for cause is the only way to removethem. The White House, by refusing to cooperate, has now left Congress noother recourse.


The Washington Post

Hypocrisy on the Hill
The only message to be drawn from Republicans is antipathy to D.C. rights.
Saturday, March 24, 2007; A16

WASHINGTONIANS probably could live with Republicans' sabotaging their latestchance at congressional representation; that's nothing new. More galling arethose Republicans too gutless to admit their true position.

Take, for example, the condescending statement of House Republican LeaderJohn A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who argued that there are more constitutional waysto give representation to the District than the legislation that Republicansmanaged to sideline on Thursday. D.C. residents, Mr. Boehner piously noted,"deserve a more serious debate on how to provide them with a greater voicein the federal government." Oh, really? Where was he the past 12 years, henRepublicans controlled the House and could easily have encouraged such adebate? In fact, he was doing everything in his power to prevent it, evenwith a member of his own party, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.),championing the cause. Mr. Boehner knows as well as anyone that there is nopolitical will for either a constitutional amendment or retrocession toMaryland.

The ferocity of GOP opposition to democracy for the District became clearlast week when the White House dropped its pretend indifference in favor ofan all-out assault, complete with the threat of a presidential veto. What'sunclear are the reasons for this antipathy. They must not be partisan, sincethe bill championed by Mr. Davis and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), theDistrict's non-voting representative, neutralizes politics by pairing a seatfor the mostly Democratic District with a district for predominantlyRepublican Utah. It's also evident from this week's debate thatconstitutional questions are not an issue for Congress to decide, but forthe courts. Each side was able to cite expert opinion to buttress itsarguments. Indeed, it was quite a spectacle watching the contortions ofRepublicans as they sought to dismiss the views of Kenneth W. Starr,Patricia M. Wald and Viet D. Dinh, all of whom see the bill asconstitutional.

Perhaps opponents are worried that correcting a 207-year injustice wouldopen the door to Senate representation. Or perhaps opposition is simply amanifestation of the disdain that Congress has historically shown for thepeople of Washington, D.C. What if, as Mr. Davis challenged his colleagues,the capital had stayed in New York City or Philadelphia? Would those citieshave been disenfranchised? "Of course not," Mr. Davis said, "and neithershould the people of Washington, D.C.''

Congressional Republicans are delighting in having outmaneuvered theDemocratic majority. Just when the House seemed set to approve thelegislation, a small GOP band thwarted the vote by trying to add a measuregutting the city's ability to limit guns. That would have sent the bill backto committee, dooming it.

Republicans instead should be embarrassed by their crass use of the gunissue. How can they justify holding democracy hostage at a time when youngmen and women from the District are fighting overseas for that very right?Democrats should regroup to bring the bill back to the floor. If Republicanscan't bring themselves to endorse basic civil rights for some 550,000Americans, they should at the least get out of the way and let others casttheir votes to do so.


Hypocrisy on the Hill

The only message to be drawn from Republicans is antipathy to D.C. rights.

Saturday, March 24, 2007; A16

WASHINGTONIANS probably could live with Republicans' sabotaging their latestchance at congressional representation; that's nothing new. More galling arethose Republicans too gutless to admit their true position.

Take, for example, the condescending statement of House Republican LeaderJohn A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who argued that there are more constitutional waysto give representation to the District than the legislation that Republicansmanaged to sideline on Thursday. D.C. residents, Mr. Boehner piously noted,"deserve a more serious debate on how to provide them with a greater voicein the federal government." Oh, really? Where was he the past 12 years, whenRepublicans controlled the House and could easily have encouraged such adebate? In fact, he was doing everything in his power to prevent it, evenwith a member of his own party, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.),championing the cause. Mr. Boehner knows as well as anyone that there is nopolitical will for either a constitutional amendment or retrocession toMaryland.

The ferocity of GOP opposition to democracy for the District became clearlast week when the White House dropped its pretend indifference in favor ofan all-out assault, complete with the threat of a presidential veto. What'sunclear are the reasons for this antipathy. They must not be partisan, sincethe bill championed by Mr. Davis and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), theDistrict's non-voting representative, neutralizes politics by pairing a seatfor the mostly Democratic District with a district for predominantlyRepublican Utah. It's also evident from this week's debate thatconstitutional questions are not an issue for Congress to decide, but forthe courts. Each side was able to cite expert opinion to buttress itsarguments. Indeed, it was quite a spectacle watching the contortions ofRepublicans as they sought to dismiss the views of Kenneth W. Starr,Patricia M. Wald and Viet D. Dinh, all of whom see the bill asconstitutional.

Perhaps opponents are worried that correcting a 207-year injustice wouldopen the door to Senate representation. Or perhaps opposition is simply amanifestation of the disdain that Congress has historically shown for thepeople of Washington, D.C. What if, as Mr. Davis challenged his colleagues,the capital had stayed in New York City or Philadelphia? Would those citieshave been disenfranchised? "Of course not," Mr. Davis said, "and neithershould the people of Washington, D.C.''

Congressional Republicans are delighting in having outmaneuvered theDemocratic majority. Just when the House seemed set to approve thelegislation, a small GOP band thwarted the vote by trying to add a measuregutting the city's ability to limit guns. That would have sent the bill backto committee, dooming it.

Republicans instead should be embarrassed by their crass use of the gunissue. How can they justify holding democracy hostage at a time when youngmen and women from the District are fighting overseas for that very right?Democrats should regroup to bring the bill back to the floor. If Republicanscan't bring themselves to endorse basic civil rights for some 550,000Americans, they should at the least get out of the way and let others casttheir votes to do so.


The New York Times

March 25, 2007
C.I.A. Awaits Rules on Terrorism Interrogations

WASHINGTON, March 24 - A sharp debate within the Bush administration overthe future of the Central Intelligence Agency's detention and interrogationprogram has left the agency without the authority to use harsh interrogationtechniques that the White House said last fall were necessary in questioningterrorism suspects, according to administration and Congressional officials.

The agency for months has been awaiting approval for rules that would giveintelligence operatives greater latitude than military interrogators inquestioning terrorism suspects but would not include some of the mostcontroversial interrogation procedures the spy agency has used in the past.

But the internal debate has left the C.I.A. program in limbo as topofficials struggle over where to set boundaries in the treatment of peoplesuspected of being involved in terrorist activities. Until the debate isresolved, C.I.A. interrogators are authorized to use only interrogationprocedures approved by the Pentagon.

The C.I.A.'s proposed interrogation rules are part of the first majoroverhaul of the agency's detention and interrogation program since theagency began jailing terrorism suspects in 2002. The agency has alreadydecided to abandon some past interrogation techniques - among them"waterboarding," which induces a feeling of drowning - that human rightsgroups and some lawmakers have argued are torture.

Although it is unclear whether the C.I.A. has any prisoners in custody, theWhite House has not repeated its earlier statements that the secret prisonsare empty. The C.I.A.'s proposed interrogation methods remain highlyclassified, but they may include exposure to extreme temperatures and sleepdeprivation.


The Washington Post

U.N. Backs Broader Sanctions On Tehran
Security Council Votes to Freeze Some Assets, Ban Arms Exports

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 25, 2007; A01

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimouslySaturday to approve a resolution that bans all Iranian arms exports andfreezes some of the financial assets of 28 Iranian individuals and entitieslinked to Iran's military and nuclear agencies.

The 15 to 0 vote came one day after President Mahmoud Admadinejad canceledplans to travel to New York to confront the Security Council, leaving hisforeign minister to speak in his place. It unfolded as 15 British sailorsand marines seized by Iranian naval forces were transferred to Tehran,escalating diplomatic tensions between the two countries. (See story, A12)

The 15-nation panel imposed the latest sanctions in response to Iran'srefusal to abide by repeated U.N. demands to stop its most sensitive nuclearactivities, including the enrichment of uranium and the reprocessing ofspent nuclear fuel.

The council also threatened to impose new penalties on Tehran after 60 daysif it fails to stop its nuclear activities and provide verifiable assurancethat it is not secretly pursuing a nuclear weapon.

The measures adopted Saturday fell far short of the punishing trade, traveland military sanctions initially proposed by the United States and itsEuropean partners. But they insisted they were pleased with the outcome.


The Washington Post

Rice Presses Arab States on Peace Plan

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 25, 2007; A13

ASWAN, Egypt, March 24 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Arabofficials on Saturday to follow up a peace offering to Israel with sustaineddiplomacy. At the same time, she encountered a backlash from Egypt'sgovernment over her criticism of constitutional amendments that are beingput to a referendum Monday.

Rice's meetings in this historic southern city on the Nile highlighted thechallenges she faces as she tries to reinvigorate the Middle East peaceprocess while maintaining at least a rhetorical commitment to pushing fordemocracy in the region. Egypt, the largest Arab country and one of the fewthat recognizes Israel, plays a central role in peace efforts. Rice has comeunder fire in recent months for appearing to remain silent as PresidentHosni Mubarak rolled back electoral freedoms.

Rice, however, slammed the planned referendum shortly before she boarded herplane Friday for the trip here. Speaking to reporters, she said the proposedconstitutional amendments -- which human rights groups such as Freedom Houseand Amnesty International say will limit opposition parties, suspendjudicial supervision of elections and enshrine sweeping police powers -- ere "a really disappointing outcome." Opposition groups have vowed toboycott the vote, which was set just one week after Egypt's parliament gavepreliminary approval to the constitutional changes.

"The Egyptians set certain expectations themselves about what thisreferendum would achieve and the hope that this would be a process that gavevoice to all Egyptians," Rice said. "I think there's some danger that thathope is not going to be met."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit angrily dismissed Rice'scomments as "interference," shortly before he was to join her in the talkshere Saturday on Israel and the Palestinians.


The Washington Post

A Partnership on Iraq

By Lee H. Hamilton
Sunday, March 25, 2007; B07

President Bush staked out his position on Iraq in January, and the House hasnow staked out its own. Deep divisions between these positions signal astalemate among our political leaders. There is no unity of effort. Yet thepresident and the Democratic majorities in Congress will remain in officefor nearly two years. They must seek a bipartisan consensus in the monthsahead; otherwise, our efforts in Iraq will falter.

The American people have soured on the war. They clearly are looking for aresponsible transition for U.S. forces out of Iraq. The House supplementalspending plan outlines a transition, as do proposals pending in the Senate.Moving forward, the president and Congress must become partners, and notantagonists, toward this end.

A strategy of sustained pressure on the Iraqi government to advance nationalreconciliation, provide security and improve the lives of the Iraqi peopleoffers the best chance of advancing stability. U.S. military forces haveperformed valiantly, but they cannot by themselves accomplish these goals --only Iraqis can. As President Bush told the nation on Jan. 10, "only theIraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people."

To that end, the House bill lays out the steps that the Iraqi governmentmust take. These benchmarks are not new. They have been widely agreed uponby the White House and the Iraqi government, as have target dates forcompletion. At issue is the conditionality of U.S. support. Time and again,Iraqis have missed deadlines. Time and again, deadlines have been extended,and U.S. political, economic and military support has continued and evenincreased.

The House bill breaks this cycle. By compelling the president to reportIraq's performance to Congress, the House provides a necessary mechanism totrack progress. By tying continued U.S. support -- including the presence ofU.S. troops -- to benchmarks, it uses the strongest possible leverage topress Iraqi leaders to meet their commitments.


The Washington Post

An Opening for Democrats

By David S. Broder
Sunday, March 25, 2007; B07

Six years of Republican control in Washington have taken a toll on thecountry -- and the GOP is paying the price politically. Instead of the Bushadministration ushering in a new era of GOP dominance, as Karl Rove hoped,it has set the stage for a Democratic resurgence.

That turnabout was implicit in the results of the 2006 midterm election,when Democrats took back narrow majorities in the House and Senate andcaptured the majority of governorships. And it is reinforced by a massivepoll released last week by Andrew Kohut and the Pew Research Center for thePeople and the Press.

The survey of 2,007 people, conducted in December and January, depicts adramatic shift in Americans' attitudes, opinions and values between 1994,when Republicans took control of Congress, and now. Most of the change hasoccurred since George Bush took office in 2001.

The poll, which can be found at, is a treasuretrove of information about Americans' views of the parties, government, theworld scene, religion, the economy, business, labor and a dozen othertopics.

The finding that will jump out at politicians and journalists is the onemeasuring the collapse of support for the GOP. In 2002, the number ofRepublicans and Republican-leaning independents -- 43 percent -- wasidentical to the 43 percent who favored the Democrats. Now, the Democratslead 50 percent to 35 percent.


The Washington Post

Test Time For Europe's Fragile Unity

By Jim Hoagland
Sunday, March 25, 2007; B07

The Romans, Napoleon and Hitler tried brute force to create a durableEuropean superstate. It took a frail French businessman armed only withpolitical theory and a deep understanding of economic self-interest tosucceed where the dictators failed.

The Frenchman was Jean Monnet, and his creation -- now called the EuropeanUnion -- celebrates its 50th anniversary today. So lift a glass of cheer butkeep your other hand on your wallet. As usual, Europeans have to celebratethe unlikely unity they have achieved by worrying about how it can bepreserved.

It is prudent to keep the partying short and Monnet's prescriptions forunity in mind. The Kremlin's recent return to dealing with Europe throughthe politics of intimidation creates dangerous strains within the EuropeanUnion and across the Atlantic. Russian President Vladimir Putin seems towelcome, if not seek, that result.

The strains within Europe over responding to the new Russian challenges arelikely to worsen in the coming weeks; Britain is expected to requestinternational arrest warrants for at least one Russian suspected of havingpoisoned Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210 in London in November.Putin's government has consistently indicated that it will refuse toextradite the former KGB officer, Dmitry Kovtun, or anyone else involved inthe notorious case.

U.S. officials have been told that Britain fully expects a Russianrejection -- leaving Prime Minister Tony Blair to face a nightmarishdecision: Does he seek broad E.U. support for pressure on Russia tocooperate, or does he step back from a serious international crime committedon British soil?


The Washington Post

Senseless Deportations

By Rachel E. Rosenbloom
Sunday, March 25, 2007; B07

Every year, thousands of longtime, legal permanent residents are deportedfrom the United States on the basis of criminal convictions without anyopportunity to present evidence of their family ties, employment history orrehabilitation. Many are barred for life from returning to America.

Next Sunday will mark 10 years since the Illegal Immigration Reform andImmigrant Responsibility Act went into effect. This broad legislation,together with the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, took awaythe power of immigration judges to exercise discretion in most types ofdeportation proceedings. Congress dramatically expanded the list of offensesresulting in mandatory deportation so that it now includes many crimes thatare considered misdemeanors under state law and that result in no jail time.Individuals can be deported for shoplifting, jumping subway turnstiles,drunken driving and petty drug crimes. Some of those who have been subjectto mandatory deportation came to the United States as infants and have neverknown life elsewhere.

Some arrived as refugees fleeing persecution or as children adopted byAmerican couples. One man, a former child refugee from the genocidal regimef the Khmer Rouge, was deported back to Cambodia for urinating in public;while working as a construction manager, he had relieved himself at a jobsite.

Studies by professors at Harvard and the University of California have shownthat immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than do native-born Americans.And in many cases, those who do run into trouble with the law -- often intheir teens or early 20s -- go on to become productive members of theircommunities. Many Uch, convicted at 18 for being an accomplice in an armedrobbery, became a small-business owner, Little League coach and volunteerwith a youth outreach program. Yet he's been ordered out of the country, andhe can't appeal.

Wayne Smith, who was convicted of possession of cocaine and attempteddistribution, overcame his addiction to drugs and became a model prisoner.While in prison, he attended classes through the University of the Districtof Columbia and coordinated Christian services at the prison chapel. Afterbeing released he continued to volunteer with the prison ministry, obtaineda scholarship to complete his studies, worked as a drug treatment counselorand started a business that employed more than a dozen people. He also caredfor his wife, who was ill with breast cancer, and was a loving father to hischildren. Nevertheless, Smith was deported to Trinidad.


The Washington Post

Corn Can't Solve Our Problem

By David Tilman and Jason Hill
Sunday, March 25, 2007; B01

The world has come full circle. A century ago our first transportationbiofuels -- the hay and oats fed to our horses -- were replaced by gasoline.Today, ethanol from corn and biodiesel from soybeans have begun edging outgasoline and diesel.

This has been hailed as an overwhelmingly positive development that willhelp us reduce the threat of climate change and ease our dependence onforeign oil. In political circles, ethanol is the flavor of the day, andpresidential candidates have been cycling through Iowa extolling itsbenefits. Lost n the ethanol-induced euphoria, however, is the fact thatthree of our most fundamental needs -- food, energy, and a livable andsustainable environment -- are now in direct conflict. Moreover, our recentanalyses of the full costs and benefits of various biofuels, performed atthe University of Minnesota, present a markedly different and more nuancedpicture than has been heard on the campaign trail.

Some biofuels, if properly produced, do have the potential to provideclimate-friendly energy, but where and how can we grow them? Our mostfertile lands are already dedicated to food production. As demand for bothfood and energy increases, competition for fertile lands could raise foodprices enough to drive the poorer third of the globe into malnourishment.The destruction of rainforests and other ecosystems to make new farmlandwould threaten the continued existence of countless animal and plant speciesand would increase the amount of climate-changing carbon dioxide in theatmosphere.

Finding and implementing solutions to the food, fuel and environmentconflict is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. But solutionswill be neither adopted nor sought until we understand the interlinkedproblems we face.


The Washington Post

They've Testified Before

Sunday, March 25, 2007; B02

President Bush said last week that he was "worried about precedents" thatmight be set if he allowed his top aides to testify before congressionalcommittees about who knew what when in the fired U.S. attorneys controversy.Bush said that Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and others could discuss the issuewith members of Congress behind closed doors -- and not under oath -- but nomore. "I'm worried about precedents that would make it difficult forsomebody to walk into the Oval Office and say, 'Mr. President, here's what'son my mind,' " Bush said.

Bush's lawyer, Fred Fielding, added in a letter to committee members: "Thepresident must remain faithful to the fundamental interests of thepresidency and the requirements of the constitutional separation of powers."

In fact, public testimony by White House aides to congressional hearings hasnot been rare over the years. According to a 2003 Congressional ResearchService (CRS) study, White House aides have given public testimony on theHill at least 73 times since 1944. If Bush is looking for precedents, heneed look no further than the White House tenure of Bill Clinton, whoseaides testified repeatedly in public hearings at the demand of thethen-Republican-led Congress.

Here are some of the examples cited by the CRS:

* * *
Jonathan Daniels, administrative assistant to President Franklin D.Roosevelt, appeared before the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestryon Feb. 28 and March 7 and 8, 1944, to discuss his involvement in thepersonnel policies of the Rural Electrification Administration.


The Washington Post

Study: Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than Drugs

The Associated Press
Friday, March 23, 2007; 3:41 AM

LONDON -- New "landmark" research finds that alcohol and tobacco are moredangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy and should beclassified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study.

In research published Friday in The Lancet magazine, Professor David Nutt ofBritain's Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for theclassification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed tosociety. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 mostdangerous substances.

Nutt and colleagues used three factors to determine the harm associated withany drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug's potential for addiction,and the impact on society of drug use. The researchers asked two groups ofexperts _ psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or policeofficials with scientific or medical expertise _ to assign scores to 20different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

Nutt and his colleagues then calculated the drugs' overall rankings. In theend, the experts agreed with each other _ but not with the existing Britishclassification of dangerous substances.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates andstreet methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco theninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the listwas Ecstasy.


The Washington Post

War Causing Split Among Evangelicals

By Julie Sullivan
Religion News Service
Saturday, March 24, 2007; B09

Suzanne Brownlow shivered on the Oregon highway overpass as a cutting windwhipped her sign: "Honk to End the War."

"I feel like at least we are doing something," said Brownlow, waving withher husband, Dave, and two youngest children just outside Portland.

The weekly demonstration is part of a journey that has taken the evangelicalChristian woman from protesting abortion clinics to protesting the war inIraq, where her son is serving in the Army.

No polling data show conclusively that opinion has shifted amongconservative evangelicals. But some national evangelical leaders say debateabout -- and, in some cases, opposition to -- the war is breaking out amongChristian conservatives whose support was key to President Bush's electionvictories. Frustration with Republicans' failure to overturn abortion rightsis said to have fueled skepticism among some evangelicals. Others decry thewar's human toll and financial cost and are concerned about any use oftorture.

"This war has challenged their confidence in the party," said Tony Campolo,an evangelical Baptist minister and author who lectures across the countryon social issues. "Add to that that they feel the Republicans have betrayedthem on the abortion issue, and you are beginning to see signs of arebellion."


Number of single women growing in South Florida and around the country

Stories by Staff Writer Margo Harakas

An army of women, spanning several decades, is discovering new capabilitiesnegotiating life without a spouse. For the most part fiercely independent,flexible and cheerful, these women are breaking the gender stereotype. It'snot that they oppose marriage, mind you. Some have actually enjoyed years ofwedded bliss. It's simply that at this juncture of their lives circumstanceshave made these women single. Instead of moping and complaining that theyare only half a couple, they are jumping into life and making joyful newdiscoveries about themselves. Census figures show these singles are a newmajority, totaling 51 percent of women in America.

Many finding that life without a spouse can be a rewarding experienceThey are the new majority -- women who find themselves, by choice or not,living spouseless. Divorced, widowed, never married, they are womendiscovering new strengths.

Focus on freedom
Single women in their 20s and 30s relish freedom and often are concentrating(at this stage in their lives) on building careers rather than families.Some have been burned by bad relationships or failed marriages, whichdoesn't mean they've given up on finding a mate. They simply are not willingto settle for just any man. And the absence of the right one in their livesright now is not a cause of enormous angst.

Still evolving
Over the years, some women in their 40s and 50s came close to finding aspouse, while others who did found themselves divorced later. And then thereare those who found true love but have become widowed. While life without amate can, at times, be challenging financially and emotionally, these womenhave support. Their lives, they tell you, are full and exciting.


The Los Angeles Times,0,3625685,print.column?coll=la-home-commentary

Obama and blue collars: Do they fit?
History says he must reach working-class voters -- Hillary Clinton'sstronghold.

Ronald Brownstein
March 25, 2007

IN THE EARLY returns among the young, computer-savvy social networkers onthe MySpace website, Barack Obama is running laps around Hillary RodhamClinton. Obama's MySpace page has attracted more than twice as many friendsas Clinton's unofficial page on the site.

But when the two leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidentialnomination appeared earlier this month in Washington before a beefy,brush-cut audience at an International Assn. of Fire Fighters convention,the result was reversed. Obama received a tepid response while Clinton blewaway the room when she followed him to the stage.

"If I was Barack Obama, I'd say that speech - that's the one I wanted todeliver to the firefighters," said Bob Markwood, an Orlando firefighter, afew minutes after Clinton concluded.

These contrasting responses signal the resurgence of a dynamic that hasrepeatedly shaped, and frequently decided, the contests for the Democraticpresidential nomination over the last generation.

Obama's early support is following a pattern familiar from the campaigns ofother brainy liberals with cool, detached personas and messages of politicalreform, from Eugene McCarthy in 1968 to Gary Hart in 1984 to Bill Bradley in2000. Like those predecessors, Obama is running strong with well-educatedvoters but demonstrating much less support among those without collegedegrees.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List,,2041825,00.html

Supreme court ban on liberal party wipes out opposition to Putin

· Republicans accused of violating electoral law

· Protest rally planned amid fears of a police state

Luke Harding in Moscow

Russia's next parliament is likely to have no genuine opposition after acourt in Moscow yesterday banned a leading liberal party from standing inelections.

Russia's supreme court announced that it had liquidated the small Republicanparty, claiming that it had violated electoral law by having too fewmembers. The party is one of very few left in Russia that criticisesPresident Vladimir Putin.

The move against Russia's opposition came as pro-democracy activistsprepared for the latest in a series of anti-government rallies that haveinfuriated Russia's hardline authorities.

Hundreds of demonstrators are expected to gather today in Nizhny Novgorod,Russia's fourth biggest city. The protesters from The Other Russia, acoalition of opposition groups, are expected to march despite attempts bypro-Kremlin officials to prevent them from demonstrating.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

ARG Polls Iowa and New Hampshire
by Chris Bowers,

ARG released polls for both Iowa and New Hampshire. March 19-22, 600 likelyvoters / caucus goers, MoE +/- 4 (1/31-2/1 numbers in parenthesis)

Clinton: 34 (35)
Edwards: 33 (18)
Obama: 16 (14)
Biden: 2 (2)
Dodd: 1 (1)
Richardson: 1 (1)
Kucinich: 1 (2)
Gravel: 0 (0)
Other / Unsure: 12 (27)

According to the poll, the big movement came from former Vilsack votersmoving to Edwards. However, I don't buy that, because it is not supported byany other Iowa poll. The far, far more likely scenario is that Edwards wasnever down 17 points to Clinton in Iowa, the previous ARG results wereinaccurate, and that this poll just moves ARG results into line with otherIowa polls. Then again, if Edwards is tied with Clinton in ARG, maybe he haspulled ahead of Clinton in reality. Also, one does have to wonder ifVilsack's endorsement of Clinton puts Obama at a severe organizationaldisadvantage in Iowa, since Edwards can use his 2004 structure and nowClinton can use Vilsack's. We will have to wait for other polls to confirmif Obama truly is this far behind in Iowa. Even if he is, he caucuses arestill over nine months away, and he has more than enough time to catch up.

New Hampshire
Clinton: 37 (39)
Obama: 23 (19)
Edwards: 20 (13)
Biden: 2 (1)
Richardson: 2 (2)
Dodd: 1 (1)
Kucinich: 1 (1)
Gravel: 0 (0)
Undecided / Other: 13 (24)

As was also the case in the Iowa poll, Clinton actually loses ground despitea large shift outside of the "other / undecided" category (note: I includeClark and all candidates who dropped out in that category). That is not avery good sign for Clinton at all, but I actually expect that trend to slowdown, or even stop, not long from now, when Edwards and Obama start reachingmedia saturation levels. Then again, since both Edwards and Obama areactually receiving more press than Clinton lately--most of it positivepress--maybe the trend will only continue.

Also, Edwards is once again the main beneficiary of the shift away fromundecided / other. When one looks at early state data in both Iowa, NewHampshire, concerns surrounding the somewhat anemic and stagnant nationalpoll showings for Edwards appears far less warranted. He is tied withClinton in Iowa, and within striking distance of both Obama and Clinton inNew Hampshire. If Edwards wins Iowa, he has the potential to sweep the earlystates. If he pulls an early state sweep, national polls going into Iowawon't really mean all that much.

For some reason, Obama's rise in national polls does not seem to be matchedwith a corresponding rise in Iowa and New Hampshire polls. Now, this couldsimply be because there have not been many early state polls, and so thereare not enough data points to discern any trend. He is within strikingdistance in New Hampshire, according to most polls, but that would not begood enough if he finishes in a distant third in Iowa. Obama is in a trickysituation where he is showing strength everywhere, but the only place he isactually leading is online. That is a situation that very much reminds me ofHoward Dean, circa late-June / early July of 2003. Compared to Dean, Obamadoes have the added advantage of three extra months to build his

As a side note, I am not a huge fan of ARG polls, but at least they actuallypoll early states. Seriously--has any other polling firm conducted bothnational and early state polls for 2008? I don't think so. Good for ARG.


Forwarded from Ron Mills

A Break Down Of State By State Republican vs Democrat and EvangelicalProtestant, Conservative, Moderate and Liberal


Defeating radical Islam
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | March 25, 2007

INTIMIDATING critics through trumped-up litigation and claims of"discrimination" is something of the house specialty at the Council onAmerican-Islamic Relations. No surprise, then, that CAIR is involved in thelawsuit filed against US Airways by six imams who were kicked off aMinneapolis-Phoenix flight after their disruptive behavior alarmed otherpassengers. CAIR cranked out a press release on March 13 noting that theimams had "filed a lawsuit against the airline and Minnesota's MetropolitanAirports Commission alleging that their civil rights were violated."

What the release didn't mention, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune'sKatherine Kersten discovered in the complaint, is that CAIR and the imamsare also targeting as-yet unnamed "John Does" -- the "passengers . . . whocontacted US Airways to report the alleged 'suspicious' behavior ofPlaintiffs." That behavior reportedly included praying ostentatiously nearthe gate, refusing to take their assigned seats after boarding, and askingfor unnecessary seat-belt extenders that could be used as weapons.

"The imams' attempt to bully ordinary passengers marks an alarming new frontin the war on airline security," Kersten writes. "Average folks, 'John Does'like you and me . . . are our 'first responders' against terrorism. But theimams' suit may frighten such individuals into silence ."

Over the years, CAIR and other Islamist groups have gotten much mileage outof such strong-arm tactics . But there is good news: Some Americans arepushing back. And even better news: Some of the push-back is coming fromMuslims who forcefully reject the Islamist project.

One of the most impressive of these anti-Islamist moderates is Dr. ZuhdiJasser, an Arizona physician, US Navy veteran, and devout Sunni Muslim. In2003 he founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy to "stand againstthe religious fanatics who exploit the religion of Islam for a nihilistic,anti-American, anti-Western war." On the day that CAIR and the imamstrumpeted their lawsuit, Jasser and AIFD issued a statement supporting USAirways and denouncing the litigation as "wrong for American Muslims, wrongfor American security, and wrong for American freedoms." Last week Jasserwent further: He offered to raise money for the legal defense of anypassengers sued by the imams.


Genocide games
In the summer of 2008, the world will turn its gaze to China and the Beijing
Olympics. A growing number of activists want to make sure the shadow ofDarfur, and China's complicity, are what the world remembers.

By Kevin Cullen | March 25, 2007

Sitting at the computer in the office of his Northampton home last month,Eric Reeves pushed the "send" button, intending to spread an idea -- amodest, but potentially powerful idea.

Reeves, a professor of literature at Smith College who has become one of theworld's foremost experts on the humanitarian disaster in Darfur, hasconcluded that only China, as Sudan's biggest economic and diplomaticsupporter and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, can stop theslaughter that President Bush has called genocide (as many as 400,000 peoplehave been killed in the Darfur region of Sudan since 2003, and more than 3million others may face a similar fate). And China, says Reeves, can only bepressured to act by appealing to its sense of national pride and honor -- forcing Beijing to choose between its lucrative relationship with Khartoumand having its coveted games lumped in the collective consciousness withNazi Germany's hosting of the Berlin games in 1936.

A United Nations plan to send in an armed force to protect humanitarianworkers and stop the killing was sidetracked last year when the Khartoumregime refused to let them in, and China abstained from the vote. Mostforeign aid workers have withdrawn from the area for lack of protection.

Sudan has weathered US and European sanctions for more than a decade,largely because China, along with several countries in the Muslim world, hasshown no compunction in investing in Sudan. Buoyed by its oil exports, 70percent of which go to China, Sudan's economy is humming along even as it isa pariah in the Western world.

Some human rights organizations, such as Reporters Without Borders, arecalling for a boycott of the Summer Olympics in Beijing next year, whileother activists, including former Beatle Paul McCartney, call for boycottingChinese products. Reeves is pushing what he considers a more realisticcampaign to "brand" the 2008 Games the "Genocide Olympics," harnessing theenergy of a frustrated, disheartened activist base.


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