Monday, October 15, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST October 15, 2007

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Giuliani Sells New York as Town He Tamed

October 15, 2007

CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 13 - It was a depressed and devastated place: a cityshoulder-to-shoulder with welfare recipients, free-spending city officialsand greedy lawyers. New York was, in the telling of Rudolph W. Giuliani, ahaven of high taxes and high crime, crumbling buildings and filthy streets.It was governed by liberals and dominated by Democratic voters who did notagree with the ideas of Mr. Giuliani but who nonetheless twice elected himmayor.

This is Mr. Giuliani's New York - his portrait of the city he inherited whenhe became mayor in 1994, presented to the nation as he campaigns for theRepublican presidential nomination. His portrayal offers an insight into thedecidedly complicated relationship Mr. Giuliani has with the city that hasmade him such a formidable contender for his party's nomination.

Mr. Giuliani is at once running against New York City and embracing it. Itis his foil and fodder, a laugh line and an applause line. It is the city hehas tamed and the place where he stared down - as he tells appreciativeRepublicans to hearty applause - liberals, criminals, welfare recipients,big-spending City Council members and the editorial writers of The New YorkTimes. At times, talking about the city where he has lived most of his 63years, Mr. Giuliani sounds like he was a stranger in his own land.

"I got elected and re-elected honestly not because the people of New YorkCity agreed with my ideas," he told an appreciative audience at the YorkCounty Republican dinner in Rock Hill, S.C., on Thursday. "They didn't. Theyagreed with my results. You agree with my ideas."

"Gosh, there are more Republicans on this side of the room than there are inall of New York City," Mr. Giuliani said brightly at a breakfast the nextmorning in Columbia, as he gestured to the right side of a dining roomfilled with builders and brokers. "So I am really comfortable here."

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The New York Times

Temporary Victory on Clean Air

October 15, 2007

Last week's record-breaking consent decree requiring American ElectricPower, the nation's largest utility, to pay $4.6 billion to clean up its actrepresents a satisfying, if delayed victory for the Clinton administrationand other plaintiffs who brought the suit eight years ago. More thananything, though, it is a victory for millions of people downwind of thecompany's plants who have been forced to breathe dirty air.

But before people start jumping for joy, they should know that the Bushadministration, while claiming some credit for this settlement, is stillactively trying to undermine the very law on which it was based.

The law in question is a key provision in the Clean Air Act called "newsource review." It says that companies that significantly upgrade a plant inorder to generate more power must also install state-of-the-art controls todeal with the increased pollution. The utilities have long resented thislaw, which requires costly investments, and Vice President Dick Cheneytargeted it for extinction in his infamous energy report in 2001.

Various courts, including the Supreme Court, have upheld the law. Even so,the administration has paid little attention and is still doing everythingit can to torpedo the law by administrative means. The most recent assaultis a proposed rule that would exempt plants from having to install newcontrols as long as their hourly rate of emissions does not increase as aresult of any plant upgrade - even if total emissions skyrocket because theupgrades enable a plant to run longer and harder.

The A.E.P. settlement stems from an enforcement action brought in 1999 bythe Clinton administration and nine state attorneys general, including NewYork's Eliot Spitzer, against A.E.P. and six other utilities in the Midwestand South. The case was joined by 13 advocacy groups. Under the settlement,the company, which bitterly resisted the original suit, has agreed toinstall $4.6 billion in new pollution-control measures at 16 existingplants. The investments will sharply reduce the company's emissions ofsulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain, and nitrogen oxide, whichcontributes to urban smog.

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The New York Times

Gore Derangement Syndrome

October 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall StreetJournal's editors couldn't even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore's name.Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thoughtdeserved the prize more.

And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize shouldhave been shared with "that well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden, whoimplicitly endorsed Gore's stance." You see, bin Laden once said somethingabout climate change - therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is afriend of the terrorists.

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it's a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American peoplechose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Boththe personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and theoften hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivatedby the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bushadministration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job -to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda's recruiters could have hopedfor - the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even moreextreme.

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New blood test may diagnose Alzheimer's early

The New York Times
October 15, 2007

Scientists reported progress Sunday toward one of medicine's long-soughtgoals: the development of a blood test that can accurately diagnoseAlzheimer's disease, and even do so years before truly debilitating memoryloss.

A team of scientists, based mainly at Stanford University, developed a testthat was about 90 percent accurate in distinguishing the blood of peoplewith Alzheimer's from the blood of those without the disease.

The test was about 80 percent accurate in predicting which patients withmild memory loss would go on to develop Alzheimer's disease two to six yearslater.

The study was paid for by the National Institute on Aging, the John DouglasFrench Alzheimer's Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association and Satoris, acompany co-founded by the study's lead researcher to commercialize the test.

The company said in a news release that it hoped to have a test availablefor research purposes next year. But even if the preliminary results arevalidated, it is likely to be a few years before a test is approved andready for use by doctors.

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The New York Times

Pre-emptive Caution: The Case of Syria

October 15, 2007
News Analysis

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 - It was President Bush who, a year after the Sept. 11terrorist attacks, rewrote America's national security strategy to warn anynation that might be thinking of trying to develop atomic weapons that itcould find itself the target of a pre-emptive military strike.

But that was the fall of 2002, when the world looked very different from howit does in the fall of 2007. Now, the case of Syria, which Israeli andAmerican analysts suspect was trying to build a nuclear reactor, has becomea prime example of what can happen when Mr. Bush's first-term instincts runheadlong into second-term realities.

Five years later, dealing with nations that may have nuclear weaponsambitions - but are also staying within the letter of the NuclearNonproliferation Treaty - looks a lot more complicated than it once did.

This time it was the Israelis who invoked Mr. Bush's doctrine, determiningthat what they believed was a nascent Syrian effort to build a nuclearreactor could not be tolerated.

In a curious role reversal, some of Mr. Bush's own top advisers were urgingrestraint before Israel bombed the site on Sept. 6, raising questions aboutwhether the threat was too murky and too distant to warrant military action.Those are precisely the kinds of questions Mr. Bush's critics say shouldhave been raised about Iraq.

It may be months or years before all the mysteries surrounding the attack onSyria become clear. The silence of the Middle Eastern countries that wouldnormally condemn an Israeli attack suggested that they, too, were worriedabout what was happening in the Syrian desert. Then there is the question ofwhether, and how, North Korea may have been involved, since the reactorproject seemed similar to the one Kim Jong-il's government had designed togenerate plutonium for a small but potent nuclear arsenal.

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The Washington Post

Al-Qaeda In Iraq Reported Crippled

Many Officials, However, Warn Of Its Resilience
By Thomas E. Ricks and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 15, 2007; A01

The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversibleblows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals toadvocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bushadministration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.

But as the White House and its military commanders plan the next phase ofthe war, other officials have cautioned against taking what they see as apremature step that could create strategic and political difficulties forthe United States. Such a declaration could fuel criticism that the Iraqconflict has become a civil war in which U.S. combat forces should not beinvolved. At the same time, the intelligence community, and some in themilitary itself, worry about underestimating an enemy that has shown greatresilience in the past.

"I think it would be premature at this point," a senior intelligenceofficial said of a victory declaration over AQI, as the group is known.Despite recent U.S. gains, he said, AQI retains "the ability for surpriseand for catastrophic attacks." Earlier periods of optimism, such asimmediately following the June 2006 death of AQI founder Abu Musabal-Zarqawi in a U.S. air raid, not only proved unfounded but were followedby expanded operations by the militant organization.

There is widespread agreement that AQI has suffered major blows over thepast three months. Among the indicators cited is a sharp drop in suicidebombings, the group's signature attack, from more than 60 in January toaround 30 a month since July. Captures and interrogations of AQI leadersover the summer had what a senior military intelligence official called a"cascade effect," leading to other killings and captures. The flow offoreign fighters through Syria into Iraq has also diminished, althoughofficials are unsure of the reason and are concerned that the broaderal-Qaeda network may be diverting new recruits to Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The deployment of more U.S. and Iraqi forces into AQI strongholds in Anbarprovince and the Baghdad area, as well as the recruitment of Sunni tribalfighters to combat AQI operatives in those locations, has helped to deprivethe militants of a secure base of operations, U.S. military officials said."They are less and less coordinated, more and more fragmented," Lt. Gen.Raymond T. Odierno, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, saidrecently. Describing frayed support structures and supply lines, Odiernoestimated that the group's capabilities have been "degraded" by 60 to 70percent since the beginning of the year.

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The Washington Post

The Republican Churchgoer's Candidate?

By Robert D. Novak
Monday, October 15, 2007; A15

The most surprising recent national polling result was an answer given bylikely Republican voters who attend church weekly when Gallup asked theirpresidential preference. A plurality chose Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic who in1999 said: "I don't attend regularly, but I attend occasionally." Theirchoice raises deep concern among prominent conservative Republicans who feelit would be a serious mistake for leaders of the religious right to scornthe former mayor of New York.

This is threatening to become a major problem because, contrary toconventional wisdom, Giuliani has stubbornly held on to first place innational surveys of Republican voters. His elevated status cannot be writtenoff as merely superior name identification. He no longer seems uncomfortableas a Republican and clearly dominated last week's presidential debate inDearborn, Mich. The real possibility that Giuliani might be the Republicannominee led a group of religious conservatives, who met in Salt Lake City onSept. 29 under the leadership of James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, toconsider a third-party alternative.

But the situation is not a simple confrontation between the Christian rightand Giuliani. The Gallup data suggest that Dobson and the Salt Lake Citygroup may be out of touch with rank-and-file churchgoers. A well-knownsocial conservative, who asked that his name not be used, is disturbed byDobson's statement he could not vote for Giuliani under any circumstances.Instead of being considered the lesser of two evils in a possible raceagainst Sen. Hillary Clinton, Giuliani seems to be the positive choice ofmillions of religious Americans.

In an aggregation of 1,690 interviews with Republicans andRepublican-leaning independents in four Gallup surveys during August andSeptember, Giuliani led with 27 percent (to Fred Thompson's 24 percent)among those who said they attended church at least once a week. Even morestartling was the result of interviews with voters without regard to partypreference. Among churchgoing Catholics, Giuliani led with a plus-38favorable rating (trailed by Sen. John McCain at plus-29, with Clintonbringing up the rear at minus-9).

There is certainly not much in Giuliani's background to attract religiousconservatives. A McGovern Democrat in 1972, he opposed term limits, schoolchoice and an end to rent controls during his successful 1993 campaign formayor. As the Republican mayor, he backed Democrat Mario Cuomo's losingfourth-term bid for governor of New York. He consistently has beenpro-choice, pro-gay rights (including civil unions) and pro-gun control. Howanybody that liberal can be the apparent choice of the religious right isattributed by Republican pollster Frank Luntz to Giuliani's reputation forfighting terrorism. "He has turned security into a social issue," Luntz toldme.

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Muslim teen in Palm Harbor barred from playing soccer due to head scarf

The Associated Press
4:04 PM EDT, October 14, 2007


A Muslim teenager was forced to sit out a youth soccer tournament after areferee ruled the girl's head scarf was not part of her uniform and violatedgame rules.

Iman Khalil was forced to sit out the game Saturday even though parents, herteammates and even opposing players urged the referee to let her play.

The referee, Steve Richardson, stood by his decision after other officialschecked with the United Soccer Association and were told Iman could play thesecond half wearing the scarf, according to Hernando Heat assistant coachMike Duke.

A message left by The Associated Press for a Steve Richardson listed on theFlorida State Referees Association web site was not immediately returnedSunday.

The 15-year-old said that her white-and-blue head scarf has never been anissue in the two years she has played competitively for the team.

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The Miami Herald

United States no longer the world's gold standard

Posted on Mon, Oct. 15, 2007

In half a century of reporting around the world, I have found that there wasusually a feeling that the United States stood for standards of liberty,human rights, and the dignity of mankind. The Bush administration has takenus off that gold standard and drained away much of that reservoir ofrespect. The horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo have eaten away atAmerica's credibility and moral standing, dismaying our friends andempowering our enemies.

Washington shuddered recently when The New York Times revealed that theJustice Department, under the direction of Alberto Gonzales, had underminedthe will of Congress, the Supreme Court, as well as hard-won national andinternational standards, with secret legal opinions supporting torture.''Shocking'' was the word Republican Sen. Arlen Specter used, and well heshould.

Men and women of good will may differ on how much power the executive branchshould have, and how much of our privacy and civil liberties need to becurtailed in an age of terrorism. As the former deputy attorney general,James Comey, who tried to stem the tide of the administration's malfeasance,said: there are ''agonizing collisions'' between the law and the desire toprotect Americans. But no good will can be ascribed to those who secretlysought to undermine the republic by their underhanded advocacy of torture.

Instead of entering into an honest debate, the administration spoke of its''abhorrence'' of torture while at the same time secretly promoting it. Notsurprisingly, the fine hand of Vice President Dick Cheney and his counsel,David Addington, could be discerned. Despite his bluster, President Bush,''the decider,'' has turned out to be a weak president riddled withinsecurities masked by stubbornness, who has allowed his subordinates tognaw away at the Constitution.

Some lawmakers, notably Sen. John McCain, who knows a thing or two abouttorture from his years as a prisoner in Hanoi, tried to halt the moral rot.But the secret opinions of the Justice Department found that the DetaineeTreatment Act would not force any change in torture practices, allowing forwater-boarding and all the rest to continue.

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Dalla Morning News

Young evangelical voters diverge from parents

09:21 AM CDT on Monday, October 15, 2007
By WAYNE SLATER / The Dallas Morning News

One in an occasional series

WACO - Like most evangelical Christians, Alessandra Gonzalez tends to beconservative and Republican in her politics.

But for the 25-year-old and her peers, that means different things than itdoes for their elders.

For many conservative evangelical Christians younger than 30, family valuesmean more than the issues of gay marriage, abortion and prayer in school.Poverty, health care and the environment are also matters of faith.

"There's an awareness to be more savvy and to say, 'I can't be completelycaptured and represented by someone like Jerry Falwell.' I don't think thatflies anymore," said Ms. Gonzalez, a graduate student at Baylor University."Family really shapes your definition of values more than attending apolitical rally or being involved politically."

Evangelical Protestants have been one of the most faithful Republican votingblocs in recent presidential elections, but there are abundant signs themovement is fracturing as the 2008 contest approaches. The youngergeneration in particular is less wedded to the GOP and to the moral-valuesagenda espoused by an influential corps of Christian conservative leaders.

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Washington Post

Values Voters to Meet GOP Candidates

Monday, October 15, 2007; A02

It's a Values Voters weekend in Washington, beginning Thursday evening witha film screening of "Bella," the latest release from the executive producerof "The Passion of the Christ," and concluding Sunday with a morning worshipservice featuring Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

The event, billed as the Washington Briefing, will also feature appearancesby all eight major Republican presidential candidates. Sponsored in part byPerkins's group and by Focus on the Family, evangelical leader JamesDobson's organization, it claims to be "the largest gathering of valuesvoters from across the nation."

One late RSVP: former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. The council announcedlast Monday that he had agreed to speak, the final GOP candidate to do so.Just a few weeks ago, several evangelical leaders said they would considersupporting a third-party candidate if Giuliani, or any otherpro-abortion-rights candidate, were to become the Republican nominee. Twoother candidates, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Sen. SamBrownback (Kan.), have warned that such a strategy by the religious rightwould benefit Democrats.

"I think a third party only helps elect Hillary" Rodham Clinton, Huckabeesaid in an interview with "I don't see that being a goodstrategy for those who really care about pushing a pro-family, pro-lifeagenda."

In an online chat with readers on, Brownback said that to"support a third party will ensure a Democrat being elected to the WhiteHouse."

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Florida Times-Union

Ron Paul is only interesting candidate in a dull group

October 15, 2007
The Times-Union

Let's face it: There are just too many boring presidential debates withboring presidential candidates this go-round.

First off, could we please see at least one debate in which the moderator orquestioners don't try to dominate the airtime? Seeing an endless sea ofmiddle-age white men on a stage is bad enough, but having to listen to the"journalists" interact as if it were a talk show makes these debatesexcruciatingly painful to watch.

Second, isn't it time everyone owns up to the fact that - had he not beenlabeled "a nut" by the establishment early on - Ron Paul is by far the mostinteresting candidate in the entire GOP field?

Don't these other guys get it that repeating the same old tired phrases about "economic growth" and "free markets" is just driving their mostconservative base into fits of rage?

I have never seen a bigger cast of 1-inch deep characters in my life as wehave in both parties this time. Hillary Clinton is so far ahead that itmakes no sense for her to throw even a 5-yard pass, much less a Hail Mary.

Barack Obama seems so wrapped up in his charisma that he's lost the conceptof having any real substance. For my money, Joe Biden has been the only oneon the Democratic side willing to take a few risks or venture into anydegree of opposing viewpoints.

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Our view on tax equity: Democrats balk at easy way to narrow the wealth gap

Pricey lobbying effort slows bid to make rich partners pay fair share.

The Senate found time in recent months to declare English the officiallanguage of the federal government and to debate numerous symbolic,politically charged resolutions on Iraq and immigration.

But it might not get around to one particular - and eminently sensible - taxproposal. That lapse is noteworthy as a mark of Washington's willingness tolet lobbyists override the public's interests. The proposal would requirethe managers of hedge funds, private equity firms and partnerships to payincome tax on their income, just like people of lesser means. MajorityLeader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently told lobbyists for these groups that theSenate wouldn't have time to take up the measure this year.

Reid, who controls the Senate floor schedule and who declined to provide theopposing view to this editorial, insists publicly that something could stillpass. Don't bet on it. The reason: It's not time that's working against thispush to restore fairness to the tax code. It's money.

The private equity industry has been on the defensive since earlier thisyear, when The Blackstone Group, a New York concern that buys and sellscompanies, went public. Blackstone's initial stock offering highlighted howcertain executives can make millions of dollars and pay taxes at a lowerrate than do school teachers and police officers.

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Palm Beach Post

Bush is no Nobel conservative

By Tom Blackburn
Palm Beach Post columnist
Monday, October 15, 2007

What a week. Al Gore won the Pulitzer Prize for peace, and President Bushinvented a new definition of chutzpah.

The famous old definition of the useful Yiddish word was: A kid murders hisparents and then begs the court for mercy because he is an orphan. Mr.Bush's improved version is: A president creates the biggest budget deficitin American history, then calls in his friends to help his friends tocelebrate when he cuts that deficit in half.

That is what Mr. Bush did Thursday. The $162 billion deficit for the fiscalyear that ended Sept. 30 was indeed less than half of the $413 billion Mr.Bush produced in 2004. We are on a glide path to balance the budget. Insomeone else's term. The White House fact sheet issued to go with thecelebration fails to say that Mr. Bush inherited a deficit of $0.

The fact sheet does say that 11 million jobs have been created on Mr. Bush'swatch. It fails to say that is half of the number of jobs created during hispredecessor's administration. His predecessor was Bill Clinton, whose vicepresident was Nobel laureate Al Gore.

Mr. Bush's fact sheet also says that, as a percentage of gross domesticproduct, last year's deficit was lower than the 40-year average. What itdoesn't say is that the only administrations during those 40 years in whichthat percentage fell were those of Jimmy Carter and Mr. Clinton. Both areDemocrats. What pulled the 40-year average up were the administrations ofRonald Reagan and Mr. Bush's father.

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House Republicans feel heat in wake of SCHIP veto

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. - The scarecrows adorning Main Street in thisaffluent Detroit suburb are symbolic of the frightening times ahead for Rep.Joe Knollenberg and other Republicans as they prepare to block a broadexpansion of children's health insurance this week.

On television and radio, in phone calls and e-mails, proponents of thefive-year, $35 billion increase are pressuring about 20 Republicans toswitch sides and help override President Bush's veto. The full-court pressincludes preachers, rock stars such as Paul Simon and sick kids in an effortto sway the result - or the next election.

Few Republicans have more to fear than Knollenberg, a former insurance agentwhose nearly 15-year grip on Michigan's 9th Congressional District has neverbeen as weak. His customary double-digit victories shrunk to 5 percentagepoints in 2006. Now, he's saddled with an increasingly unpopular war andpresident. Being perceived as voting against kids doesn't help.

SCHIP: House Dems vow continued push

So Knollenberg, with a self-described "target on my back," is prowlingcoffee shops, church bazaars and farmer's markets, running hard for anelection that's still 13 months away. He's doing most everything apolitician does - except, in this case, changing his position. Hesteadfastly refuses to endorse giving government health insurance tofamilies of four earning more than about $40,000, the "working poor" thatthe program was created for in 1997. Some families now earn as much as$72,000.

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Measure to shield reporters' secret sources likely to pass

By Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - A House bill that would help reporters protect confidentialsources will pass easily this week, supporters say, despite opposition fromthe Bush administration.

"I believe we'll have a strong bipartisan vote," said Rep. Mike Pence,R-Ind., the bill's co-author.

The Justice Department sees the proposed reporters' shield law, as it iscalled, as an obstacle to law enforcement. It could "seriously impede ourability to investigate and prosecute national security matters," spokesmanPeter Carr said last week.

Even so, the bill has attracted an unusual right-left coalition.

Liberal Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have joinedconservative Republicans, such as Pence, to support the bill. Although nofloor vote has yet been scheduled in the Senate, the chamber's JudiciaryCommittee this month approved its version of the shield bill by a 15-2 vote.

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