Thursday, October 11, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST October 11, 2007

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


Wish to Forgive in Son's Death Will Be Tested

October 10, 2007

The hallways of the State Supreme Court building in Brooklyn are crosscutpassages of venom and condemnation: on one floor, police officers dailystare down a man charged with killing one of their own; on another, a manaccused of strangling a college student recently received letters thatcalled him "a no-good son of a bitch."

Not even the judges are fully exempt. Justice Albert Tomei, taunted by abrutal rapist one day last year, sentenced him to "a place that is cold andheartless and not very humane, where you will spend the rest of your lifethinking about what you did."

And yet here comes Denise Sandy: the forgiver. Against this backdrop, sheseems profoundly out of place. Lost, maybe.

For the past month, Mrs. Sandy has been watching the trial of two menaccused of killing her only son, Michael J. Sandy, 29. Last October,prosecutors say, Mr. Sandy was lured from his home in Williamsburg to anarrow beach near Dead Horse Inlet in Sheepshead Bay, a meeting place forgay sex.

From there, Mr. Sandy was chased into traffic on the Belt Parkway and struckby a car. Five days later, after his brain shut down, his family removed arespirator and let him go.

more . . . . .


Craig's `wide Stance' Enters Lexicon

Filed at 8:23 a.m. ET

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Among the most famous excuses ever given forquestionable behavior, ''I have a wide stance'' must fall somewhere betweenthe schoolchild's favorite ''the dog ate my homework'' and PresidentClinton's ''I didn't inhale.''

But Sen. Larry Craig's contention -- made just after his arrest in arestroom sex sting -- has permeated the public consciousness, showing up asmore than just the punch line to late-night talk show jokes.

The online Urban Dictionary defines ''wide stance'' as a euphemism for acloseted homosexual. David Kurtz of the blog ''Talking Points Memo'' calledCraig's wide stance claim ''The Best Legal Defense of 2007.'' And BeauJarvis, who writes about wine, travel and food on the blog ''Basic Juice,''notes that the phrase has become less than innocent and proposes''cleansing'' it by using it to describe a well-balanced wine.

Craig uttered the now-famous phrase after an undercover police officer atthe Minneapolis airport arrested him on June 11, according to policereports.

Sgt. Dave Karsnia claimed Craig entered a neighboring stall after peering athim through a crack in the door, then slid his foot underneath the stalldivider, tapping it several times before moving it so it touched theofficer's foot. Then, Karsnia said, Craig waved his hand underneath thedivider. Karsnia said he recognized the gestures as a coded invitation forgay sex.

more . . . . .


A Changed Man

Mitt Romney's Ideological Turnabout Has Critics Wondering: Who Is This Guy?
By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; C01


Like every great sales pitch, Mitt Romney's case for Mitt Romney is low onthe hard sell.

At the Sheraton Hotel here one recent morning, the boasting is handled by aformer governor of South Carolina, who opens this "Ask Mitt Anything"session with a precis of the candidate's career. This includes academicachievements (Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School "in fouryears!") and election as governor of Massachusetts in 2002, which isdescribed in a tone befitting a miracle.

"He ran for governor in the bluest state of all blue states," says JamesEdwards, "the bluest state you can think of, as a conservative Republican,and he won 51 percent of the vote in a four-way race without a runoff!"

Romney deflects the praise with a regionally tailored quip. "It's like thatsong, maybe you've heard it," he says, about to quote country star TobyKeith. " 'I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I everwas.' " He's an unlikely honky-tonker, this 60-year-old who's spent hisadult life in the suburbs of Boston and looks like the mayor of whatevertown the Cleavers lived in. During his pre-Q&A remarks, Romney speaks withan assortment of golly-geeisms straight out of the '50s, with lots of sunnytalk about values, the importance of a big military, the virtues of smallgovernment. He repeats the word "strong" so often you'd think he's earningroyalties from it.

"People in this country, they warm to the message that I've described -- ofa strong America, a strong military, strong economic vitality and strongfamilies," he says.

more . . . . .


Five Democrats drop off Michigan ballot

Posted on Wed, Oct. 10, 2007

Amid all the grief Florida Democrats have endured recently over the state'searly presidential primary, they can take solace in one fact: They don'tlive in Michigan.

Five Democratic presidential candidates -- Barack Obama, John Edwards, BillRichardson, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich -- pulled their names off theMichigan primary ballot on Tuesday, a move they said fulfilled their pledgenot to campaign in states that break national party rules.

Both Michigan and Florida flouted those rules when they moved up theirprimaries to Jan. 15 and Jan. 29, respectively. Only four smaller states areallowed to vote that early.

But in Florida, presidential candidates can't take their names off theballot unless they drop out of the race altogether. So voters still will getto pick a favorite out of the eight-person Democratic field when they go tothe polls.

''Florida Democrats are sticking with Jan. 29 and we're going to make itcount,'' said the state party's spokesman, Mark Bubriski. ``With all of themajor Democratic candidates for president on the Florida ballot and hundredsof thousands of Floridians voting in the election, the results will set thetone for the rest of the race.''

more . . . . .


The New York Times

An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the U.S.

October 10, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 - A sharp debate is under way in the Bush administrationabout the significance of the Israeli intelligence that led to last month'sIsraeli strike inside Syria, according to current and former Americangovernment officials.

At issue is whether intelligence that Israel presented months ago to theWhite House - to support claims that Syria had begun early work on whatcould become a nuclear weapons program with help from North Korea - wasconclusive enough to justify military action by Israel and a possiblerethinking of American policy toward the two nations.

The debate has fractured along now-familiar fault lines, with Vice PresidentDick Cheney and conservative hawks in the administration portraying theIsraeli intelligence as credible and arguing that it should cause the UnitedStates to reconsider its diplomatic overtures to Syria and North Korea.

By contrast, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her allies within theadministration have said they do not believe that the intelligence presentedso far merits any change in the American diplomatic approach.

"Some people think that it means that the sky is falling," a senioradministration official said. "Others say that they're not convinced thatthe real intelligence poses a threat."

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Adults as Red Herrings

October 10, 2007

President Bush has ramped up his assault on the State Children's HealthInsurance Program with allegations that many states have spent the program'sfunds on adults while failing to enroll enough poor children. The charge isa distortion and a diversion. It should not deter Congress from overridingthe president's veto of a bill to cover millions of uninsured children.

In his radio address on Saturday, Mr. Bush complained that six states -Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, Rhode Island and New Mexico -"will spend more S-chip money on adults than they do on children" in thisfiscal year. That might sound outrageous at first hearing, but there areoften good child-centered reasons for covering certain categories of adults.

Surely it is sensible to enroll pregnant women, to make sure the prospectivemother and her fetus get good prenatal care even before the child is bornand becomes eligible. And in some cases it may even be reasonable to offercoverage to low-income parents, if only as bait to get their childrenenrolled.

New Jersey hardly deserves presidential criticism for what look likeenlightened policies.

The state currently enrolls some 83,000 adults and 124,000 children in itsS-chip program. The adults account for more than 60 percent of the program'scosts because it is a lot more expensive to cover adults than children. Asmall number of the adults are pregnant women. A small number are childlessadults supported solely by state funds, under a program that is being phasedout. The overwhelming majority are poor parents, with family incomes nohigher than 133 percent of poverty - or $27,500 for a family of four.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Bomb, Bomb Iran

October 10, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Hillary seemed rattled.

Up until now, she has displayed remarkable imperturbability - gliding alongwith the help of good lighting, a hearty guffaw and a clever husband.

But on Sunday in New Hampton, Iowa, Hillary lost her cool at last. Sparringwith a voter on Iran, she sounded defensive and paranoid.

A Democrat, Randall Rolph, asked Senator Clinton why he should back her whenshe did not learn her lesson after voting to authorize W. to use force inIraq. He did not understand how she could have voted yea to urge W. to labelIran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, possibly setting thestage for more Cheney chicanery.

Hillary said that "labeling them a terrorist organization gives us theauthority to impose sanctions on their leadership. ...I consider that partof a very robust diplomatic effort."

Fearful that her questioner was an enemy spy creeping into her perfectlittle world, she suggested that he had been put up to the question and didnot have his information right.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Generation Q

October 10, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

I just spent the past week visiting several colleges - Auburn, theUniversity of Mississippi, Lake Forest and Williams - and I can report thatthe more I am around this generation of college students, the more I am bothbaffled and impressed.

I am impressed because they are so much more optimistic and idealistic thanthey should be. I am baffled because they are so much less radical andpolitically engaged than they need to be.

One of the things I feared most after 9/11 - that my daughters would not beable to travel the world with the same carefree attitude my wife and I didat their age - has not come to pass.

Whether it was at Ole Miss or Williams or my alma mater, Brandeis, collegestudents today are not only going abroad to study in record numbers, butthey are also going abroad to build homes for the poor in El Salvador inrecord numbers or volunteering at AIDS clinics in record numbers. Not onlyhas terrorism not deterred them from traveling, they are rolling up theirsleeves and diving in deeper than ever.

The Iraq war may be a mess, but I noticed at Auburn and Old Miss more than afew young men and women proudly wearing their R.O.T.C. uniforms. Many ofthose not going abroad have channeled their national service impulses intoincreasingly popular programs at home like "Teach for America," which hasbecome to this generation what the Peace Corps was to mine.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Why Democracy?

October 7, 2007, 8:25 pm
Tags: democracy

A few weeks ago I sat down with an interviewer from the British BroadcastingCompany who asked me 10 questions about democracy. I was only one of manywho were being interviewed for a series of programs and films that bear thegeneral title "Why Democracy?" Starting today - October 8 - what theproducers call "the world's largest ever factual multi-media event" will betransmitted on television, radio and online in more than 200 countries witha hoped-for audience of 300 million. The intention is to "spark debate" andprovoke a massive online discussion.

I thought I'd do my part by rehearsing some of the questions along with theanswers I gave and invite readers to respond with their own answers or withcriticisms of mine.

Two of the questions are related to one another: "What is the biggest threatto democracy?" and "Can terrorism destroy democracy?" The answers depend onwhat you think democracy is. I tend to resist romantic definitions thatfeature phrases like "noble ideal" and opt instead for something moreanalytic: democracy is a form of government that is not attached to anypre-given political or ideological ends, but allows ends to be chosen by themajority vote of free citizens.

What this means is that democracy is the only form of government that, atleast theoretically, contemplates its own demise with equanimity. Democraticelections do not guarantee that the victors will be democratically inclined,and it is always possible that those who gain control of the legislativeprocess will pass laws that erode or even repeal the rights - of property,free expression and free movement - that distinguish democracies fromtheocracies and monarchies. (Some would say that this is exactly what hasbeen happening in the past six years.) Justice Oliver Wendell Holmescaptured the fragility of a form of government that can alter itself beyondthe point of recognition when he said that if his fellow citizens want to goto hell in a handbasket, it was his job to help them, even if he deploredthe consequences. Democracy, then, can be said to be its own biggest threat.

Terrorism presents a parallel threat from the outside. The danger is not somuch that terrorists will defeat democracies by force as it is that, inresisting terrorists, democracies will forgo the procedural safeguards(against warrantless detention, censorship and secret surveillance) thatmake a democracy what it is. (Again, some would say that is alreadyhappening today.) If terrorists can maneuver democracies into employingtactics indistinguishable from theirs, it could be argued that they have wonno matter what the outcome on the battlefield.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Truth Squad of Claims by Romney and Giuliani

October 10, 2007, 10:10 am
By The New York Times

Truth squadding the most contentious point of the debate last night, MichaelCooper, the Times's City Hall budget reporter during the end of the Giulianiadministration, notes:

In defending his fiscal record, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said that duringhis tenure as mayor of New York City, spending declined. But he said that itdeclined on a "per capita" basis, meaning that the city's population grewfaster than its spending. But an analysis by the Citizens Budget Commission,an independent group, found that during his two terms, Mr. Giulianiincreased city expenditures by 13.7 percent, when adjusted for inflation.And Mr. Giuliani boasted, as he often does on the campaign trail, that hecut taxes 23 times as mayor. But fiscal monitors have noted that in doingso, Mr. Giuliani takes credit for some tax cuts that he did not initiate -including cuts made by the state.

And Michael Luo, the Times's reporter covering Mitt Romney, notes that Mr.Romney's claims are subject to debate, too.

Fiscal conservatives offer mixed reviews of Mr. Romney's record as governorof Massachusetts. He contends that he kept a campaign promise not to raisetaxes, even as he successfully closed a $3 billion budget gap.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Putin Sees No Proof of Iran Arms Plans

October 11, 2007

MOSCOW, Oct. 10 - Russia has no evidence that Iran is trying to developnuclear weapons, President Vladimir V. Putin said today after a meeting herewith President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. His remarks came in sharp contrastto the tougher stance France has taken against Iran in recent weeks to reinin what France and several other countries, including the United States, seeas Iran's ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.

"We don't have any information that Iran is striving to produce nuclearweapons," Mr. Putin said at a news conference held by the two leaders at theKremlin, marking Mr. Sarkozy's first visit to Russia. "We don't have suchinformation, so we think they are not."

However, Mr. Putin said that Iran should still be fully transparent on itsnuclear program. "We want full transparency, and yesterday we agreed thatIran is striving for this," he said, referring to the opening of his talkswith Mr. Sarkozy on Tuesday.

Mr. Putin is to make his first visit to Iran early next week for a summit ofCaspian Sea nations, according to The Associated Press. Mr. Sarkozy said Mr.Putin's trip to Tehran could encourage Iran to be more cooperative. "Afterthe trip, there could be a will to cooperate - that is essential," he said,The A.P. reported.

Mr. Sarkozy said that he and Mr. Putin's positions on Iran had come closertogether during their meetings, which continued today, although he did notelaborate.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Judge Halts Transfer of Guantánamo Detainee

October 10, 2007

In what appears to be the first ruling of its kind, a federal judge hasbarred the Bush administration from sending a Guantánamo detainee to hishome country, where he claims he would face torture, according to an orderunsealed yesterday in Washington.

The judge, Gladys Kessler of United States District Court for the Districtof Columbia, issued an injunction prohibiting the planned transfer of thedetainee to Tunisia, which has been criticized by American and internationalofficials for human rights abuses.

Saying that the detainee, Mohammed Rahman, claimed that such a transferwould amount to a death sentence, Judge Kessler said "it would be a profoundmiscarriage of justice" if she allowed the government to send him toTunisia.

"At that point, the damage would have been done," she wrote, adding that Mr.Rahman faced a 20-year sentence after a conviction at a terrorism trial theTunisian government held while he was at Guantánamo.

Advocates for detainees and human rights groups said the ruling was animportant development in the legal battle over Guantánamo. They said itcould reshape what have been frequent legal conflicts over administrationplans to send detainees to countries where they say they face torture ormistreatment.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Between a Veto and the Base

By Ruth Marcus
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; A17

You might have thought, given the popularity of the State Children's HealthInsurance Program and the unpopularity of President Bush, that theRepublican presidential candidates wouldn't be racing to support thepresident's veto.

You might have thought, given that 18 Republican senators voted to supportthe expansion, that the candidates might at least refrain from tossingaround epithets such as "socialized medicine" (former New York mayor RudolphGiuliani) and "phony smoke-and-mirrors" (Arizona Sen. John McCain, on thefinancing).

You might have thought that presidential contenders would shy away fromalienating one of the measure's leading champions, Sen. Charles Grassley(R-First Caucus State).

You'd be wrong.

Instead, the leading Republican candidates have embraced the veto,demonstrating in varying degrees a combination of technical ignorance,ideological bluster and -- though this is less certain -- politicalmiscalculation.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

The Silenced Majority

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; A17

We are condemned, the smart guys tell us, to stay in Iraq. None of the threeleading Democratic presidential candidates will pledge to remove all U.S.forces by 2013. In the think-tankocracy of Washington, defense intellectualsof both parties argue that pulling up stakes is not an option.

"Some of the people mentioned as possible defense secretaries under aDemocratic White House," The Post's Thomas E. Ricks reported last month,"offer a vision of a U.S. presence in Iraq that does not differ markedlyfrom that of the Bush administration." Even the fantastical idea floated byDefense Secretary Robert Gates -- that U.S. forces should settle into apermanent presence in Iraq as they have in South Korea -- seems to have wonat least tacit acceptance among many defense deep thinkers.

Everyone's on board except the American people, but what do they matter?

When the Pew Research Center polled Americans in September, it found 54percent support for bringing U.S. forces home immediately or over the nexttwo years. Thirteen percent said we should keep troops in Iraq but set atimetable for withdrawal, while 25 percent favored keeping troops there andnot setting a timetable. Pew didn't ask if we should station forces therefor half a century, as we have in Korea. Maybe the pollsters' lawyers toldthem they might be held liable if they asked a question that induced cardiacarrest.

In the past several years there's been great concern about the erosion ofindividual rights as a consequence of the Bush administration's "war onterror" and war in Iraq. I share this concern. But the administration'scritics, myself included, have been remiss in noting a development even morecorrosive to American democracy -- the erosion of majority rule.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Why Fight For Anyone's Freedom?

By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; A17

In the backlash against President Bush's democracy agenda, conservatives areincreasingly taking the lead. It is inherently difficult for liberals toargue against the expansion of social and political liberalism in oppressiveparts of the world -- though, in a fever of Bush hatred, they try theirbest. It is easier for traditional conservatives to be skeptical of thisgrand project, given their history of opposing all grand projects of radicalchange.

Traditional conservatism has taught the priority of culture -- thatsocieties are organic rather than mechanical and that attempts to changethem through politics are like grafting machinery onto a flower. In thisview, pushing for hasty reform is likely to upset some hidden balance andundermine the best of intentions. Wisdom is found in deference to tradition,not in bending the world to fit some religious or philosophic abstraction,even one as noble as the Declaration of Independence.

A conservatism that warns against utopianism and calls for culturalsensitivity is useful. When it begins to question the importance orexistence of moral ideals in politics and foreign policy, it is far lessattractive.

At the most basic level, the democracy agenda is not abstract at all. It isa determination to defend dissidents rotting in airless prisons, and peopleawaiting execution for adultery or homosexuality, and religious prisonerskept in shipping containers in the desert, and men and women abused andtortured in reeducation camps. It demands activism against sexual slavery,against honor killings, against genital mutilation and against the executionof children, out of the admittedly philosophic conviction that human beingsare created in God's image and should not be oppressed or mutilated.

And the democracy agenda goes a step further. It argues that the most basichuman rights will remain insecure as long as they are a gift or concessionof the state -- that natural rights must ultimately be protected byself-government. And this ideology asserts that most people in all places,even the poor and oppressed, are capable of controlling their own affairsand determining their own rulers. If this abstract argument seems familiar,it should, because it is the argument of the American founding.

more . . . . .


Palm Beach Post

Pelosi: Democratic nominee will rule on Florida delegates

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will serve as honorary chair ofthe Democratic national convention next summer, said Tuesday that theparty's presidential nominee will be the ultimate arbiter of whetherdelegates from the state of Florida are seated at the 2008 convention.

The Democratic National Committee's rules panel has voted to strip Floridaof its convention delegates because the state's presidential primary will beheld Jan. 29 in violation of party rules, which allow only four states tohold primaries or caucuses in January: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and SouthCarolina.

But whether the Florida delegates eventually are allowed to take their seatsat the 2008 convention in Denver "will be determined by the presidentialnominee," Pelosi said at a private lunch with political reporters inresponse to a question about her opinion in the matter.

It marked the first time that Pelosi, the highest ranking elected officialin the Democratic Party, has commented publicly on how Florida's 210national convention delegates should be treated when they arrived at thenational convention in Denver next summer to nominate the party'spresidential nominee.

Meanwhile, though, Florida Democrats are suing the DNC, claiming that thedecision to refuse to seat the state's national convention delegates woulddisenfranchise the 4.5 million registered Democrats in Florida. No date hasbeen set for a hearing in Tallahassee on the suit.

more . . . . .


The Boston Globe

Thompson displays lack of command

By Peter S. Canellos, Globe Staff | October 10, 2007

WASHINGTON - Former senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee set low expectationsfor his first debate as a candidate for the Republican presidentialnomination. And, in the first minutes of yesterday's Michigan debate, hefailed to reach them.

Asked why two-thirds of Americans express pessimism about the economy,Thompson said, in his folksy drawl: "Well, I think there are pockets in thiseconomy that, certainly, they're having difficulty. I think they'recertainly those in Michigan that are having difficulty. I think you alwaysfind that in a vibrant, dynamic economy."

Thompson's dismissal of Michigan's pain didn't pass unnoticed. Mitt Romney,former governor or Massachusetts, quickly jumped in to say, "It'sinexcusable that Michigan is undergoing a one-state recession."

Thompson's performance slowly ticked upward from its low start, but hisanswers, while often soothing, rarely moved beyond agreeing with othercandidates and endorsing broad principles such as free trade. He sprinkledin a few specifics about the alternative-minimum tax and the War PowersResolution, but otherwise concentrated on conveying an impression ofgrandfatherly ease and geniality.

Supporters consider Thompson's slow metabolism to be part of his appeal - hecomes off as friendlier than most of his Republican rivals. And standing ona stage beside such caffeinated figures as former New York mayor RudyGiuliani, the libertarian Representative Ron Paul of Texas, and theanti-illegal immigration crusader Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado,Thompson should have come off well.

more . . . . .


Chicago Tribune,1,7057438.column

Running mate not only job Clinton could offer Obama

Clarence Page
October 10, 2007

As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has firmed up her lead in the Democraticpresidential race, speculation about her potential running mate is rising --among Republicans!

"Absolutely," said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani when asked during arecent interview if he thinks Clinton will be nominated. "I believe she willbe the nominee and Sen. [Barack] Obama will be the vice presidential

Yes, some people already are talking about Clinton as though she were thenominee, even before a single Democratic primary or caucus voter has had achance to weigh in. As Clinton leads by as much as 20 points ahead ofsecond-place Obama in the polls, Giuliani is hardly the only observerspeculating that Clinton will be the Democratic standard-bearer.

But, with Obama? With that prediction, Giuliani expresses out loud what Ihave heard several friends, associates and news sources say in private.

Anna Quindlen in the July 23 Newsweek was among the first of mycolumn-writing colleagues to make a strong appeal for Clinton to "make ityour business to persuade Barack Obama to be your running mate."

more . . . . .


Los Angeles Times,0,1136122.story

Thompson upstaged by Giuliani, Romney

October 10, 2007
The former Tennessee senator presents a traditional GOP script in his firstjoint appearance with other contenders.

By Michael Finnegan and Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON - Fred Thompson emerged Tuesday from weeks of preparation for hisfirst presidential debate, but largely watched from the sidelines as rivalsMitt Romney and Rudolph W. Giuliani clashed over who can return the party toits fiscally conservative roots.

Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee best known as a TV and movieactor, did not officially enter the race until last month. On the stage of atheater in Dearborn, Mich., he sought to allay concerns that he lacked thedrive and preparation to run for president.

Thompson appeared nervous in the debate's opening moments. But he displayedflashes of humor as the two-hour forum on economic policy, sponsored byCNBC, MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal, drew to a close. A debatetranscript is available here.

By and large, the nine men seeking the GOP nomination echoed one another incalling for restraint in taxes, spending and government regulation.

But Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, took on Giuliani over hisfiscal record as New York mayor. That, in turn, led Giuliani to criticizeRomney more harshly than before.

more . . . . .



New wave of evangelists seek peace among selves

Oct. 9, 2007, 10:28PM
The Washington Post

You know the religious right is in trouble when some of its leaders threatento bolt the Republican Party if it nominates a candidate who supportsabortion rights.

But the well-publicized warning directed against Rudy Giuliani earlier thismonth is decidedly not the most important sign that religious conservativesare facing the disintegration of their movement.

What matters more is that a new generation of evangelical leaders, tired ofthe rancid partisanship, is breaking away from the culture wars. The reachof this new evangelical politics will be tested this week with the releaseon Wednesday of a statement under the very biblical title, "Come Let UsReason Together." The question for the future is how many in the evangelicalranks will embrace this call?

Organized by Third Way, a group that is close to many leading moderateDemocrats, the statement calls for "first steps toward bridging the culturaldivide between progressives and evangelicals."

Third Way's effort is not happy boilerplate about how religious Americansand liberals share a concern for helping the poor, protecting theenvironment and reaching out to the victims of AIDS - although these areasof agreement are important and too often overlooked.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

GOP Opposes Attempt To Revise Wiretap Law
Democrats Propose New Requirements

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; A04

A House Democratic effort to revise the nation's new foreign intelligencesurveillance law met swift resistance yesterday from the White House,Republican lawmakers and even some party members.

The GOP leaders of both chambers said the bill introduced yesterday by thechairmen of the House intelligence and Judiciary committees seeks to imposerestrictions that would impede intelligence and law enforcement efforts toprevent a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile, Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), a member of the House intelligencepanel, and a handful of other Democrats introduced a competing bill thatwould impose even more surveillance restrictions than those endorsed by thecommittee leaders.

The Democratic chairmen said their bill is an attempt to fix the temporaryProtect America Act, which was passed under White House pressure in Augustwith a February expiration date. The Bush administration wants to make theact permanent.

Like that law, the chairmen's legislation would expand the government'sability to intercept the communications of intelligence targets overseas. Itwould do so by allowing officials to request from the secret ForeignIntelligence Surveillance Court a blanket warrant for a foreign target: aperson, group, cell or government of interest to an intelligenceinvestigation.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Clinton proposes retirement plan for Americans

Tuesday, October 9, 2007; 11:47 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton onTuesday proposed a retirement savings plan for lower- and middle-classfamilies that would include tax credits as incentives for saving.

The plan, estimated to cost about $20 billion to $25 billion a year, wouldbe paid for out of the revenues from estate taxes on wealthy Americans.

Clinton, a senator from New York and the Democratic front-runner in the racefor the White House, said in a speech in Iowa the savings plan would helprebuild a "strong and prosperous middle class."

"Many Americans have worked hard their entire lives ... but when it cametime to retire they fell short," Clinton said as she unveiled her "plan tohelp a new generation of Americans save and build wealth."

"I think it's imperative that we begin to let people acquire wealth again,"she said.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

From Former Bush Aide, A Candid Assessment Of the GOP Candidates

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; A06

A former adviser to President Bush has a brutally candid analysis of theRepublican presidential nomination contest: Fred D. Thompson is thecampaign's "biggest dud," Mitt Romney has "a real problem in the South"because of his religion, Mike Huckabee's last name is too hick, and JohnMcCain could pull a repeat of his 2000 performance by winning New Hampshireyet losing the battle.

Dan Bartlett, who stepped down as White House counselor in July, gave thosefrank assessments during a recent speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commercethat went unnoticed outside the room. Although he and the White House bothemphasized yesterday that he was speaking for himself, Bartlett spent 14years channeling Bush, so his views may be seen as a revealing look at thethinking within the president's inner circle.

Bartlett was harshest about Thompson, deeming the former senator fromTennessee the "biggest dud" because he has not articulated a compellingvision: "The biggest liability was whether he had the fire in the belly torun for office in the first place and be president. So what does he do? Hewaits four months, fires a bunch of staff, has a big staff turnover, has alot of backbiting, comes out with his big campaign launch, and gives a veryincoherent and not very concise stump speech for why he's running."

Bartlett was also tough on Romney. While crediting the former Massachusettsgovernor with the "best strategy and organization," he said that hisperceived "flip-flopping on positions" has hurt. "He's getting a narrativein the national media as somebody that is too much trying to positionhimself, trying to hedge himself, almost too mechanical about the issues."

Moreover, Bartlett said, "the Mormon issue is a real problem in the South;it's a real problem in other parts of the country. But people are not goingto say it. People are not going to step out and say, 'I have a problem withRomney because he's Mormon.' What they're going to say is he's aflip-flopper."

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Clinton Cites Lessons of Partisanship
Senator Says She's Best Equipped to Unite America

By Anne E. Kornblut and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; A01

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed back againstcriticism from fellow Democrats that she is too polarizing to unite thecountry as president, arguing that the political battles she has beenthrough make her uniquely equipped to bring the nation together and build acentrist governing coalition.

In an interview aboard her campaign bus, Clinton (N.Y.) acknowledged thatshe has contributed to the divisive politics of the past decade but said shehas learned from those experiences. She said that if she becomes president,she will attempt to assemble a broad, centrist coalition on such key issuesas health care, energy independence and national security.

The former first lady called President Bush's political and governingstrategy of concentrating primarily on his party's base for support "atragedy" for the country's politics.

"I actually think that in a way, the fact that I've been through so muchincoming fire all these years is an advantage," she said, adding: "It's beenmy observation that when you're attacked continually in American politics,you either give up or get disoriented or you either lose or leave -- or youpersevere and show your resilience."

Clinton offered insights into the governing priorities she would bring tothe White House, speaking cautiously about extricating the nation from Iraqand urgently about health-care reform. She also said she will take noposition on how to fix Social Security and made it clear she does not regardit as a front-burner issue.

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: