Monday, September 03, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 3, 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

September 3, 2007

Multimillionaire Dog Can't Buy Herself a Friend

She has a thing for cream cheese and long walks in the park. Like many NewYorkers, she is well fed, well groomed and well medicated (for her thyroidand kidney troubles). At the age of 8, she has already been the star of anational advertising campaign and the subject of at least one messy lawsuit.

She has spent most of her days in pampered luxury, in a penthouse apartmentat the top of the Park Lane Hotel, at the southern edge of Central Park. Ahotel pianist once wrote a tune for her. A hotel chef cooked her meals, anda housekeeper served them, hand-feeding her steamed carrots and othervegetables with grilled chicken.

Life, in fact, got to be so good that some people had to watch what theysaid around her. They didn't want to offend her - or her owner and bestfriend, Leona Helmsley - by calling her, of all things, a dog.

"Nobody could say 'the dog,' " said Zamfira Sfara, 48, a former housekeeperfor Mrs. Helmsley, who Ms. Sfara said preferred a more regal term for herbeloved pet:



The New York Times

September 3, 2007
Testing Time on Energy

The most dangerous point in the trajectory of any new legislation is theconference committee, where House and Senate negotiators resolve theirdifferences. In 2005, for instance, Senate negotiators carried threeforward-looking energy measures into conference with the House - a provisionrequiring utilities to produce some of their power from renewable sources,an oil-savings amendment and a resolution to take action on global warming.They whiffed on all three, and the result was a bill that did little to movethe country toward a cleaner energy future.

That cannot happen with this year's energy bill, which will go to conferencethis month. The debate has shifted dramatically in the last two years, and arising awareness in Congress of the risks of climate change and oildependency has brought forth two respectable, if incomplete, energy billsthat could be merged into one truly outstanding bill. The committee's taskwill be to marry the best of both, resisting the historical tug to tradeaway anything good and controversial in the interest of compromise. Here isour must-have list:

Fuel efficiency. The Senate approved the first serious upgrade in fueleconomy standards since 1975. It would increase the average mileage of carsand trucks from 25 miles per gallon today to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 -hardly an impossible goal and one that could save 2.3 million barrels of oila day, or about what we now import from the Persian Gulf. The House duckedthe issue, so the Senate should insist that the provision remain in the billthat emerges from conference.


The New York Times

September 3, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
Immigrants' Labors Lost
San Francisco

IMAGINE we wanted to create a huge Latino underclass in this country. Wewould induce more than 500,000 illegal immigrants to enter annually. Wewould see Latinos account for half of America's population growth. We wouldturn a hardened eye toward all 44 million Latinos, because 12 million jumpedour borders to meet our labor demand.

We would financially motivate but morally deplore illegal immigrants'determination to break our laws and risk their lives to work for us. Wewould let nativist, xenophobic amnesiacs pillory the roughly 25 percent ofLatinos who were here illegally, at the expense of the 75 percent who werelegal. CNN and Fox News would reduce Latinos to fodder for fear-mongering,and the documentariat would make them objects of pity, when they wanted andwarranted neither.

We would know that if we paid them, they would come, but we would offer nolegitimate employment. We would adopt a let's-pretend labor policy in ourfields, yards, factories and restaurants, and for child care, constructionand cleaning, with a wage fakery worthy of the Soviet Union. There, the jokewas "we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us." Here they would work,hard - and we would pay them, sort of, but pretend not to, denying ourselvesthe future tax revenue needed to pay for services we faulted them forneeding.


The New York Times

September 3, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Snow Job in the Desert

In February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell, addressing the UnitedNations Security Council, claimed to have proof that Saddam Hussein hadweapons of mass destruction. He did not, in fact, present any actualevidence, just pictures of buildings with big arrows pointing at them sayingthings like "Chemical Munitions Bunker." But many people in the politicaland media establishments swooned: they admired Mr. Powell, and because hesaid it, they believed it.

Mr. Powell's masters got the war they wanted, and it soon became apparentthat none of his assertions had been true.

Until recently I assumed that the failure to find W.M.D., followed by yearsof false claims of progress in Iraq, would make a repeat of the snow jobthat sold the war impossible. But I was wrong. The administration, this timerelying on Gen. David Petraeus to play the Colin Powell role, has hadremarkable success creating the perception that the "surge" is succeeding,even though there's not a shred of verifiable evidence to suggest that itis.

Thus Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution - the author of "TheThreatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq" - and his colleague MichaelO'Hanlon,
another longtime war booster, returned from a Pentagon-guided tour of Iraqand declared that the surge was working. They received enormous mediacoverage; most of that coverage accepted their ludicrous self-description ascritics of the war who have been convinced by new evidence.


The New York Times

September 3, 2007
Unions to Endorse Edwards
Filed at 7:38 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is gettingthe endorsement of two unions, the United Steelworkers and the United MineWorkers of America, on Labor Day.

Edwards is scheduled to be in Pittsburgh, home of the Steelworkers'international headquarters, for a Monday rally and will accept theendorsements there.

''The members of the Steelworkers Union and the Mine Workers union are someof the country's hardest-working, bravest, most courageous workers,''Edwards said. ''It is their tireless hard work which has helped build astronger America that benefits all of us. I honor what they do every day.''

The former senator from North Carolina, who has worked hard to get laborendorsements, has also secured the backing of the United Brotherhood ofCarpenters and Joiners of America.

The steelworker and mine worker endorsements mean that Edwards now has morelabor endorsements than any of the other Democratic presidential candidates.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been endorsed by the UnitedTransportation Union and the International Association of Machinists andAerospace Workers. Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd has been endorsed by theInternational Association of Fire Fighters.

Edwards suggested Clinton's campaign represents politics-as-usual inWashington and that Edwards represents a break from the past.


The Washington Post

Book Tells Of Dissent In Bush's Inner Circle
White House Granted Author Unusual Access
By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 3, 2007; A01

Karl Rove told George W. Bush before the 2000 election that it was a badidea to name Richard B. Cheney as his running mate, and Rove later raisedobjections to the nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court,according to a new book on the Bush presidency.

In "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush," journalist Robert Draperwrites that Rove told Bush he should not tap Cheney for the Republicanticket: "Selecting Daddy's top foreign-policy guru ran counter to message.It was worse than a safe pick -- it was needy." But Bush did not care -- hewas comfortable with Cheney and "saw no harm in giving his VP unprecedentedrun of the place."

When Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, expressed concerns aboutthe Miers selection, he was "shouted down" and subsequently muted hisobjections, Draper writes, while other advisers did not realize the outcrythe nomination would cause within the president's conservative politicalbase.

It was John G. Roberts Jr., now the chief justice of the United States, whosuggested Miers to Bush as a possible Supreme Court justice, according tothe book. Miers, the White House counsel and a Bush loyalist from Texas, didnot want the job, but Bush and first lady Laura Bush prevailed on her toaccept the nomination, Draper writes.


The Washington Post

Transformed By Her Bond With Bush
Rice's Loyalty Brings Power and Pitfalls
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 3, 2007; A01

It was just two days after President Bush's reelection in 2004, andCondoleezza Rice was planning her move back home to California and to thetranquility of life at Stanford University.

But Bush had other plans. In a private meeting at Camp David on the morningof Friday, Nov. 6, the president made his pitch: Colin Powell was out assecretary of state -- though Bush hadn't told him yet -- and the presidentwanted Rice to take the job.

Rice hesitated. Four years as Bush's national security adviser -- throughSept. 11 and two wars -- had taken a toll. "I think you may need a newnational security team," she said.

"I do the hiring here," the president countered.

As Rice considered the offer, one question loomed large: Would she and Bushretain their unique closeness if they no longer worked daily together in theWhite House?

"We've been very close, down the hall," Rice reminded Bush. "I see you eighttimes a day, and I don't want to lose that connection."

Rice and Bush discussed the job for two hours over the next three days, andby Monday she agreed to become the nation's top diplomat.


The Washington Post

Detained Scholar Allowed to Leave Iran
By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 3, 2007; 3:20 AM

Washington scholar Haleh Esfandiari was allowed to leave Tehran early thismorning, ending an eight-month saga of imprisonment and virtual house arrestthat heightened tense relations between the United States and Iran.

Esfandiari flew to Austria, where she was to be met by her husband, ShaulBakhash, a George Mason University historian. "I'm elated that Haleh hasbeen freed to come back home," Bakhash said in a telephone interview fromVienna before she arrived.

But the legal status of Esfandiari, who directs Middle East programs at theSmithsonian's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, remainsunclear. "As far as I know, she was not told whether there are anyconditions attached to her release," said Bakhash.

Iranian officials said in May that she was charged with "crimes againstnational security" and trying to foment a "velvet revolution," a referenceto the nonviolent upheavals that ousted communism in Eastern Europe.

Esfandiari was visiting her ailing 93-year-old mother when she was detainedin December. She went through weeks of intense interrogations conducted byIntelligence Ministry officials. On May 8, she was taken to Tehran's EvinPrison, where she was held in the ward reserved for political prisoners.

In two one-hour documentaries this summer, state-controlled Iraniantelevision tried to link Esfandiari with the Bush administration's new $75million project to promote democracy in Iran. Esfandiari has long deniedreceiving any U.S. funds for the lecture series she runs.


Houston Chronicle

Sept. 1, 2007, 1:11PM

Novel idea: debates that say something
Pit presidential nominees head to head in 9 free flowing dialogues; letvoters decide
Los Angeles Times

A challenge arrived at the office of every presidential candidate about twoweeks ago. It was a letter, signed by journalist Marvin Kalb and me,challenging each one, Republican and Democrat, to sign on for "Nine Ninetiesin Nine." That is, if nominated, they would pledge to take part in nine90-minute debates in the nine weeks leading up to Election Day.

How is this different? We are asking the candidates to throw out the rulebook that has stifled political debate. Each party's nominee would beexpected to present and defend solutions in a one-on-one dialogue with hisor her opponent. The moderator would only keep time and introduce topics.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has informally agreed to "NineNineties in Nine," but so far, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is theonly candidate to officially accept the challenge.

Our system to elect a president is not working for the American people. Thebig-city-machine bosses of the past have been replaced by professionalpolitical consultant bosses. Sadly, the role of the candidate - the man orwoman who would lead the most powerful nation on Earth - largely has beenreduced to raising the money to hire consultants and then reading what theconsultants scrawl on 3-by-5 cards. It's a stunningly dangerous developmentfor a democracy.


The Detroit News

NEW YORK -- Mara Haensel started her vacation braced for disaster.

She arrived at the airport near her home in Barcelona, Spain, three hoursearly, in case some security official decided to detain her for questioning.She carefully noted the address where she'd be staying in New York City,since a friend told her that without it border officials would send herright home.

"Since 9/11, everyone is afraid" of security problems when traveling to theU.S., Haensel said after picking up her luggage at John F. KennedyInternational Airport.

That perception of the U.S. as an unwelcoming destination has tourismofficials in New York City and tourism-related businesses nationwidefocusing on a new marketing campaign and a national lobbying effort to tryto win over foreigners who may have been picking other vacation spots.

New York City launched its marketing effort on Wednesday. The city is one ofonly a few U.S. urban centers that did not see a drop in the number ofoverseas visitors between 2000 and 2006, and officials want to make sure thecity holds onto that lead.

Now, international visitors arriving at one Kennedy Airport terminal will begreeted with large welcome signs and red-jacketed workers offeringinformation, maps and insider tips on the city. Visitors who leave theairport in a taxi may also see a promotional video, and tourists around thecity will see posters from the "Just Ask the Locals" campaign, featuring NewYork-based celebrities suggesting favorite itineraries.

The signs and greeters surrounding visitors before and after they go throughCustoms are meant to counteract any negative first impressions, MayorMichael Bloomberg said.


Tampa Tribune

Published: Sep 2, 2007

Here are other members of Congress under an ethics cloud:

.Pete Domenici, R-N.M., is under investigation by the Senate EthicsCommittee after a watchdog group accused him of trying to pressure DavidIglesias, then the U.S. attorney in Albuquerque, N.M., to rush a corruptioninquiry against Democrats to sway the 2006 elections. Iglesias thinks he wasdismissed from his job for resisting Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson,R-N.M., who say they did not pressure him.

.Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is under investigation for his connection to oilfield services contractor Bill Allen, who helped oversee a renovationproject that more than doubled the size of Stevens' Alaska home in 2000.Investigators raided Stevens' home July 30. Allen has pleaded guilty tobribing Alaska lawmakers. Stevens has denied wrongdoing.

.David Vitter, R-La., apologized July 9 for committing a "very serious sinin my past," acknowledging that his phone number was among those calledseveral years ago by a Washington area escort service that prosecutors saywas a front for prostitution.

.John Doolittle, R-Calif., left the Appropriations Committee after FBIagents raided his Washington area home. His wife, Julie, ran a business fromthe home in which she received commissions as a paid fundraiser for herhusband's campaigns, and her clients included now-jailed GOP lobbyist JackAbramoff. Doolittle denies wrongdoing.

.William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted June 4 on federal charges ofracketeering, money laundering and soliciting more than $400,000 in bribesin connection with years of trying to broker business deals in Africa.Investigators raided Jefferson's Washington home and found $90,000 in cashstuffed in his freezer. He denies wrongdoing.

.Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., is being investigated by federal prosecutors who areexamining his dealings with lobbyists and contractors while he was chairmanof the House Appropriations Committee. Lewis, who announced Friday he willseek re-election next year, denies wrongdoing.

.Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., stepped down from the ethics committee after agentsbegan investigating federal funding he helped steer to nonprofit groups, andhis participation in some real estate investments. Mollohan says he didnothing wrong.

.Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., faces a federal inquiry into a land swap that netted$4.5 million for a former business partner and campaign donor. Renzi alsohas faced scrutiny from the Federal Election Commission, which investigatedclaims that he channeled prohibited corporate funding into his 2002campaign. The FEC dropped the inquiry, but Renzi paid hundreds of thousandsof dollars in back taxes while settling the charges. Renzi has deniedwrongdoing but decided not to seek re-election next year.

.Heather Wilson, R-N.M. The ethics committee has interviewed formerprosecutor Iglesias, a first step toward deciding whether to open an inquiryin the scandal involving Domenici.

Source: The Associated Press


Huckabee: I'm The One To Take On Hillary
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 3, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Little Rock, Arkansas) Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Sunday hewould make a strong Republican opponent to Democratic front-runner andformer Arkansas first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a race for thepresidency.

Huckabee said his nomination would set up a sharp contrast between the twoand energize voters toward the Republican ticket. Conservatives would bewrong to think that someone more like Clinton could draw more votes anddefeat her, he said on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

"Quite frankly, Americans are going to look at a contest where there'scontrast. That's what I bring to the race, someone who can contrast in termsof philosophy and record, but also who's going to be able to challenge heron key fundamental issues like education and health care," Huckabee said.

In January, he completed more than 10 years as governor, and hails from thesame Arkansas town of Hope as former President Bill Clinton. HillaryClinton, now a U.S. senator from New York, was first lady of Arkansas beforeher husband became president in 1993.

"Hillary is a strong, strong candidate, much stronger than a lot ofRepublicans want to accept," Huckabee said. "But the reality is that if weput someone up whose views on some of the issues that rally our base don'trally our base, then we're going to be in big trouble."


Clinton Embraces Mantle Of Change
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 3, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Seeking to dispel rivals' claims that she can'tbring needed change to Washington, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton toldsupporters Sunday that her years in public life and willingness to seekcommon ground would produce real results as president.

"I know some people think you have to choose between change and experience.With me, you don't have to choose," she said at a rally here.

Clinton unveiled a new campaign speech in New Hampshire, as the Labor Dayweekend signaled the start of a final four-month sprint before votingbegins.

She outlined several goals she wanted to achieve as president - restoringAmerican leadership in the world; rebuilding the middle class; reforminggovernment; and "reclaiming the future" for children.

But the subtext of her speech was clear.


The Washington Post

GOP Touts Swift Action on Craig
The Associated Press
Monday, September 3, 2007; 3:06 AM

WASHINGTON -- A GOP leader Sunday denied a double standard in pushing Sen. Larry Craig to resign after a sex sting guilty plea, while remaining silent over GOP Sen. David Vitter's involvement with an escort service.

A senior Democrat said a double standard by Republican leaders is exactly what occurred.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., the Senate Republican campaign chairman, said raig "admitted guilt. That is a big difference between being accused of something and actually admitting guilt."

"David Vitter never did that. Larry Craig did," continued Ensign on ABC's "This Week" program.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, expressed a contrary view on "Fox News Sunday."

"One, I say there's a double standard," said Leahy. "Secondly, I don't think they'll ask him (Vitter) to resign because, of course, he'd be replaced by a emocrat. It's easier to ask Larry Craig to resign because he'd be replaced by a Republican."

Idaho has a Republican governor who will appoint a successor to Craig. Louisiana's governor is a Democrat.

Craig of Idaho pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a men's restroom and announced Saturday he will leave the Senate at the end of the month. He was caught in a sex sting at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in June and, despite his guilty plea, now insists he did nothing wrong.

Vitter of Louisiana has not been charged with a crime although he acknowledged his Washington telephone number was among those called several years ago by an escort service.

Prosecutors say the escort service was a prostitution ring and have accused the woman who headed it of racketeering.


Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Sep. 03, 2007
Media launch privacy assault

The state of Idaho is a blessed place, free of graft, environmental degradation, official stupidity, injustice and greed. I know that because the state's principal newspaper, The Idaho Statesman, had enough time left over from covering those mainstays to assign a top reporter to spend five months and devote 300 interviews to determining whether its senior U.S. senator, 62-year-old Larry Craig, ever had sex with another man.The inquiry was triggered by allegations made last fall by a blogger who likes to expose the homosexuality of privately gay politicians who take anti-gay positions. He said he had spoken to several male consorts of Craig, a GOP family-values stalwart. The Statesman did nothing with the allegations then but assigned a reporter to check them out.

His investigation was nothing if not energetic, and included conversations with 41 fraternity brothers of Craig's from his college days in the early 960s. ''The most serious finding was the report by a professional man with close ties to Republican officials,'' the paper concluded. ``The 40-year-old man reported having oral sex with Craig at Washington's Union Station, probably in 2004. The Statesman also explored dozens of allegations that proved untrue, unclear or unverifiable.''

The newspaper published its nonfindings last month, after news broke in Roll Call, a Washington, D.C., paper that covers Capitol Hill, that Craig had been arrested in June in a Minneapolis airport restroom for supposedly coming on to another man, an undercover cop. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a charge that he says he regrets not fighting in court. The disclosure immediately created pressure for him to resign.


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: