Saturday, August 18, 2007


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


The New York Times

August 18, 2007
Keeping Cool, Clear Tap Water

Americans have some of the best water in the world - a bragging point thatseems to have gotten lost lately, even by those who take their dailyexercise by waving the flag. Perhaps it is because the bottled waterindustry markets their product with waterfalls and soothing colors to makeit seem like the clearest, cleanest, healthiest drink on earth.Unfortunately, that marketing can make tap water seem less clear, less cleanand less healthy. When New York City did a survey on tap water recently, oneyouth was asked whether he drank from the public water fountains. "Yes," hesaid, "but I'm going to die."

Luckily, he's wrong. The public water supply in this country is generally sogood that bottlers of several leading brands of water have recentlyexplained to consumers that their product originally springs from the tap.The problem is that it won't stay so good without more government help.

Pipes and tunnels are aging fast with many of these subterranean networksnearly a century old. In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency estimatedthat it would take nearly $277 billion to keep the nation's waterdistribution systems up to par over the next 20 years. That is a lot ofmoney. And to get the necessary federal, state and local funds, it will takea lot of public support for a system people blissfully take for granted.

The fear is that if too many people convert to bottled water, there would beeven less political support for such spending. The last thing America needsis two water streams - one for the rich and another for the rest of us.


The New York Times

August 18, 2007
Texas Trader Admits Guilt in Iraq Oil-for-Food Fraud

A Houston oil trader pleaded guilty yesterday in New York to federal fraudcharges in connection with illegal profits and kickbacks involving theUnited Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule.

The trader, David B. Chalmers Jr., admitted that he and two companies heran, Bayoil USA and Bayoil Supply and Trading, made millions of dollars inkickbacks to the Iraqi government - as well as huge profits - while tradingoil under the $65 billion aid program.

In April 2005, Bayoil USA became the first American company to be indictedin the wide-ranging criminal investigation of the program, which wasestablished by the United Nations in 1995 to ease some aspects of thesanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Under it, Mr.Hussein's government could use the money from limited oil sales to buysupplies like food and medicine.


The New York Times

August 18, 2007
A Congressman's $10 Million Gift for Road Is Rebuffed

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 - It is not often that a local government tries to turndown $10 million in federal construction money.

But then it is not every day that an Alaska congressman surprises a Floridacommunity with the gift of a highway interchange that just happens to abutthe property of a major political fund-raiser.

The money for the interchange was the work of Representative Don Young, theAlaska Republican who was chairman of the transportation committee beforethe last election.

Officials of Lee County considered the project a low priority, environmentalgroups opposed it and the Republican congressman from the district neverasked for it.

But the interchange, on Interstate 75 at a place called Coconut Road, wouldbe a boon to Daniel J. Aronoff, a Michigan real estate developer withadjacent property who helped raise $40,000 in donations to Mr. Young at afund-raiser in the region shortly before Mr. Young inserted an earmark forthe project in a transportation bill.

The connections were too much for the Lee County Metropolitan PlanningOrganization, said Carla Johnston, its chairwoman and a Democrat.

On Friday, the members of the organization voted overwhelmingly to returnthe money in the hope that Congress would let them spend it elsewhere in thecounty.


The New York Times

August 18, 2007
U.S. Agency Is Swamped by Requests for Visas

Immigration authorities have received about 300,000 applications forhigh-skilled-employment visas since July 1, federal officials saidyesterday, a deluge unleashed after the federal government first said itwould not accept any applications for those visas during July and thenreversed course.

Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency, was stillreceiving applications for employment visas yesterday, the last day of aspecial period it announced on July 17 for immigrants with professionalskills to file petitions for permanent residence visas, known as greencards. As a result, the total tally of applications received in the last sixweeks was not available.

The agency admitted it was swamped by the applications it had alreadyreceived, which was more than double the annual limit of 140,000 employmentvisas.


The Washington Post

Recruiting For Iraq War Undercut in Puerto Rico
By Paul Lewis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 18, 2007; A01

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The political activists, brown envelopes tuckedunder their arms, staked out the high school gates just after sunrise. Whenstudents emerged from the graffiti-scorched streets of the Rio Piedraneighborhood here and began streaming toward their school, thepro-independence advocates ripped open the envelopes and began handing theteens fliers emblazoned with the slogan: "Our youth should not go to war."

At the bottom of the leaflet was a tear sheet that students could sign andlater hand to teachers, to request that students' personal contactinformation not be released to the U.S. Defense Department or to anyoneinvolved in military recruiting.

The scene outside the Ramon Vila Mayo high school unfolded at schoolsthroughout Puerto Rico this week as the academic year opened. On this islandwith a long tradition of military service, pro-independence advocates aretapping the territory's growing anti-Iraq war sentiment to revitalize theircause. As a result, 57 percent of Puerto Rico's 10th-, 11th- and12th-graders, or their parents, have signed forms over the past yearwithholding contact information from the Pentagon -- effectively barringU.S. recruiters from reaching out to an estimated 65,000 high schoolstudents.


The Washington Post

Permanent Republican Majority? Think Again.
By Andrew Kohut and Carroll Doherty
Sunday, August 19, 2007; Page B01

Karl Rove dreamed of creating a "permanent Republican majority." But asPresident Bush's longtime adviser exits the Washington scene, the politicallandscape he helped chart is already shifting beneath his feet: The era ofconservative values -- a tight-fisted approach toward government aid to thepoor, traditional positions on social issues and a belief in a muscularforeign policy -- that emerged in the 1990s is coming to a close.

Disenchanted by the failures of the Bush administration, the public ismoving away from its policies, values and ideology. This shift is an echo ofthe late 1960s, when weariness with the Vietnam War and discord at homeresulted in a backlash against Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society, and thelate 1970s, when growing discontent over the stumbling performance of JimmyCarter's administration opened the door to the Reagan revolution.


The Washington Post

Take Some Cues From the Cold War, Mr. President
By Philip H. Gordon
Sunday, August 19, 2007; B03

In his efforts to persuade Americans to stay the course in the war on terrorism , President Bush often likens that struggle to the Cold War: Theterrorists are like the Communists, "followers of a murderous ideology thatdespises freedom, crushes all dissent, has expansionist ambitions, andpursues totalitarian aims." He argues that in the long run, "like theCommunists, the followers of violent Islamic radicalism are doomed to fail."

The president is right about that, but he doesn't seem to understand themost important part of his own analogy, which is that the Cold War wasn'treally a war at all. Whereas real wars are won or lost on blood-soakedbattlefields, the Cold War was decided in the hearts and minds of those whowaged it. It wasn't about destroying hostile armies but about discreditingmisguided dreams. We had to maintain our military strength, but ultimatelywe were able to prevail only when the enemy's ideology collapsed.

The Cold War analogy has real implications for fighting terror ism, but youwouldn't know it from observing U.S. policy. Bush may speak as though hebelieves we're in a battle of ideas, but he wages the "war on terror" as ifit were a traditional conflict, in which military force matters more thanmoral authority and allied support.



The Miami Herald
Posted on Sat, Aug. 18, 2007
Option One stops writing Fla. condo loans

In a blow to an already weak housing market, Option One Mortgage will nolonger provide mortgages to buy Florida condos, a decision industry watcherswarn other lenders could copy.

Option One's move comes as the once-hot market for condominiums in Floridahas become glutted with thousands of unsold units, threatening the prospectsof developers like WCI Communities that are under pressure to round upscarce buyers. Compounding the problems for mortgage lenders, investors arerefusing to fund loans they think look risky, producing a credit crunch thathas roiled the housing market and forced dozens of lenders out of business.

Option One wouldn't discuss what led to the move in Florida, which in thefirst four months of the year was its second-largest source of mortgageoriginations. Mortgage brokers in the state say they expect other lenders tofollow suit.

Warned Alex Barron, an analyst with Agency Trading Group: ''It's got apretty broad implication.'' If other lenders follow, 'you're going to find alot of very desperate buyers' who won't be able to close even if they wantedto.''


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Aug. 18, 2007
Florida leads growth in virtual schooling

As a seventh-grader, Kelsey-Anne Hizer was getting mostly D's and F's andfelt teachers at her Ocala middle school weren't giving her the help sheneeded. She was ready to give up.

But after switching schools for eighth grade, Kelsey-Anne is receiving moreindividual attention, making A's and B's and enthusiastic about learning -even though she has never been in the same room as her teachers.

Kelsey-Anne transferred to the Orlando-based Florida Virtual School, one ofthe nation's oldest and largest online schools. About 2,700 full-time and51,400 part-time Florida students in grades six through 12 get lessons overthe Internet from teachers scattered across the state and nation.

They, along with about 1,000 students around the world who pay tuition andan indeterminate number served through contracts with 35 other states,communicate with their teachers and each other through chat rooms, e-mail,telephone and instant messaging.


New York Post


August 18, 2007 -- ANTICIPATING that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will clinchthe Democratic presidential nomination, some supporters are beginning toargue against her principal rival - Sen. Barack Obama - for vice president.

They maintain that Obama provides no general-election help for Clinton. Asan African-American from Illinois, Obama represents an ethnic group and astate solidly in the Democratic column. This school of thought advocates aSoutherner as Clinton's running mate. The last time Democrats won a nationalelection without a Southerner on the ticket was 1944. Prominent Democratsfrom the South are in short supply today. The leading prospect: Virginiaex-Gov. Mark Warner.


The Washington Post

Error in Ark. Law Allows Kids to Marry
The Associated Press
Saturday, August 18, 2007; 5:58 AM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A law passed this year allows Arkansans of any age _even infants _ to marry if their parents agree, and the governor may have tocall a special session to fix the mistake, lawmakers said Friday.

The legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry butalso allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent, bill sponsorRep. Will Bond said. An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyonewho is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.


The New York Times

August 18, 2007
After Loss of Majority, Several Republicans Head for Exits

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 - A rash of retirements among House Republicans isadding to the party's electoral challenges and raising questions about arush for the exits.

Four House Republicans - Representatives J. Dennis Hastert and Ray LaHood,both of Illinois; Deborah Pryce of Ohio; and Charles W. Pickering Jr. ofMississippi - have all announced in recent days that they will not seekre-election next year, worrying Republican leaders anxious to hold back apotential wave of retirements after the loss of their majority in 2006. Mr.Hastert, the former speaker, Mr. LaHood and Ms. Pryce were all well-likedleaders within their party.

"I think our party's chances for winning the majority back next time arepretty bleak at the moment," Mr. LaHood said in an interview, "and I willadmit to you that being in the minority is less fun."

"People are going to continue to have heartburn over the war," he said."Democrats will win the White House, hold their majority in the House and inthe Senate in 2008, and then in 2010 we will have an extraordinaryopportunity in the off-year of a Democratic presidency and Congressionalmajorities to possibly win it back. But it is not going to happen the nexttime," in 2008.


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: