Saturday, September 01, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 1, 2007

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The New York Times

September 1, 2007
Diplomatic Memo
As Her Star Wanes, Rice Tries to Reshape Legacy

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 - On May 25, Stanford University's student newspaper,The Stanford Daily, devoted the bulk of its front page to the university'sformer provost, who is on leave while she serves out her term as secretaryof state. "Condi Eyes Return," read the headline, "but in What Role?"

Within hours, the letters to the editor started coming in. "Condoleezza Riceserves an administration that has trashed the basic values of academia:reason, science, expertise, and honesty. Stanford should not welcome herback," wrote Don Ornstein, identified by the newspaper as an emeritusprofessor of mathematics in a letter published May 31.

Online comments on the newspaper's Web site were even harsher, a veritablestream of vitriol. One of the milder posts came from Jon Wu, who did notgive an affiliation: "Please go away, Rice. We don't want someone who isresponsible for the slaughter of an entire nation teaching at our school."

There was a time when, perhaps more than Hillary Rodham Clinton or BarackObama, Condoleezza Rice seemed to have the best shot at becoming the firstwoman or the first African-American to be president.


The New York Times

September 1, 2007
Virginia Senator Will Retire in 2008

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 - Senator John W. Warner, a five-term Republican fromVirginia and one of Congress's most influential voices on the war in Iraq,announced on Friday that he would not seek re-election in 2008.

His decision immediately put his seat up for grabs, drew the interest ofmajor figures in both parties and substantially increased the Democrats'chances of holding - if not expanding - their majority in the Senate.

Mr. Warner, 80, made his announcement in a nostalgic speech at theUniversity of Virginia, where he had attended law school. He thanked thevoters for his 30 years in the Senate, and said it was time to step aside in2008.

In a letter to constituents, Mr. Warner quoted another Virginian, ThomasJefferson: "There is a fullness of time when men should go, and not occupytoo long the ground to which others have the right to advance."

Colleagues and outside analysts hailed Mr. Warner as a skilled consensusbuilder in a sharply polarized era, and predicted he would continue to playa pivotal role in the debate over Iraq.


The Washington Post

Tony Snow Resigns as White House Spokesman
Deputy Perino to Take Job of Press Secretary
By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 1, 2007; Page A02

White House press secretary Tony Snow announced his resignation yesterday,the latest in a series of departures that have reshaped the upper echelonsof the administration with the addition of more low-profile replacementswell versed in the ways of Washington.

Snow, who has been battling cancer, will be replaced by his deputy, DanaPerino, 35, a veteran press aide in the administration who is well liked bymany of the reporters covering the president but has little of herpredecessor's star power or on-camera experience.


The New York Times

September 1, 2007
Living in Fear for Helping America

Of all the Iraqis jaded by the failure of the United States' invasion, feware more fearful than the tens of thousands who worked loyally for theAmerican war effort but now find themselves hunted as traitors by militantgunmen.

The Bush administration only lately stepped up the effort to offer themspecial refugee status, but it turns out that very few are able to safelyapply. It's too dangerous to process them within Iraq, so these harrowedworkers must risk expensive trips to Jordan and Syria to apply at AmericanEmbassies. It is a classic Catch-22 that has many hiding in terror in theirhome neighborhoods.

The existing program should be open to the 69,000 Iraqis who work onPentagon contract jobs, from interpreters to cleaners to security guards.But only a few hundred have been able to run the gantlet to sign up. Theplight of the hounded Iraqis was graphically reported in The Times this weekby Sabrina Tavernise and David Rohde.

They found no comprehensive tally of those slain for working for the wareffort, but they tracked grisly chunks of the death toll - 280 murderedinterpreters at one Pentagon contractor; more than 120 Iraqis slain inBaghdad for working on local government and neighborhood efforts to realizethe American promise of democracy. Ali Saleh, an interpreter who saw eightcolleagues slain during his four years on an American job, quavered with hisfamily in Baghdad, terrified to leave the house, let alone Iraq. He fearedbeing fingered by guards at the borders to Jordan and Syria, where the tideof two million Iraqi refugees already on the road is overwhelming.


The New York Times

September 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Anxious About Tomorrow

You know you've stepped into a different universe when you hear a majorAmerican labor leader saying matter-of-factly that employer-based healthinsurance and employer-based pensions are relics of a bygone industrialeconomy.

Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, whichhas 1.9 million members and is the fastest-growing union in the country, isnot your ordinary union leader. With Labor Day approaching, he wasreflecting on some of the challenges facing workers in a post-20th-centuryglobalized economy.

"I just don't think that as a country we've conceptualized that this is notour father's or our grandfather's economy," Mr. Stern said in an interview."We're going through profound change and we have no plan."

The feeling that seems to override all others for workers is anxiety.American families, already saddled with enormous debt, are trying to make itin an environment in which employment is becoming increasingly contingentand subject to worldwide competition. Health insurance, unaffordable formillions, is a huge problem. And guaranteed pensions are going the way oftypewriter ribbons and carbon paper.

"We're ending defined benefit pensions in front of our eyes," said Mr.Stern. "I'd say today's retirement plan for young workers is: 'I'm going towork until I die.' "


The Washington Post

Why We Stood Up to Florida
By Donna Brazile
Saturday, September 1, 2007; Page A25

Last Saturday, the Democratic National Committee's rules and bylawscommittee voted to enforce its rules. It was hardly an extraordinary act,although you wouldn't know it from the furious reaction that ensued in somequarters.

Why the uproar?

It's simple: state envy. Just look at what one governor said recentlyregarding her state moving its primary forward in 2008. "Holding an earlypresidential preference election attracts more presidential candidates,staff and media to Arizona," said Gov. Janet Napolitano, "increasingArizona's sales tax revenues and promoting Arizona's hotels, restaurants andbusinesses." At least she was honest.

As a member of the DNC's rules and bylaws committee, I understand why statessuch as Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Wyoming, and even the District ofColumbia, crave the media attention and financial resources that holding anearly presidential contest draws. But the nominating system should not bedetermined by a state's economic development plan or a desire to havecandidates focus on parochial issues.


The Washington Post

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
The Generals and the Candidates

Bill Gertz of the Washington Times reports today that three of the eightannounced 2008 Republican presidential candidates are considering retiredArmy Gen. Tommy Franks as their vice presidential pick. Retired Army Gen.Wesley Clark, a 2004 presidential candidate and hard-working DemocraticParty activist, has been suggested as a dream running mate for Sen. HillaryClinton. And Sen. Barack Obama has been hanging out with a Swahili-speakingretired Air Force two-star.

Of course, national security and Iraq are already central issues in the 2008campaign, and I suppose we want the best military minds involved in thedebate. But by declaring their partisan allegiances, and by jockeying for"civilian" appointments in the next government, these officers are obscuringthe difference between military and civilian responsibilities and betweenmilitary and political advice. This serves neither the military nor thepublic particularly well.

Franks and his former boss, former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,are the dynamic duo of the failed Iraq after-war. Franks is now amotivational speaker and head of Franks & Associates, a consulting firm, andis a board member of Bank of America, Innovative Decon Solutions and OutbackSteakhouse, Inc.


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