Friday, October 19, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST October 18, 2007

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Posted on Thu, Oct. 18, 2007
Giuliani's conservative support tenuous

Rudy Giuliani shares the lead for the conservative vote in the Republicanpresidential race, despite the New Yorker's three marriages and moderateviews on abortion, guns and gays.

Yet a close look suggests his support from the GOP's potent right wing isless than meets the eye, according to recent Associated Press-Ipsos polls.

Conservatives, evangelical and born-again voters, and strongly loyalRepublicans who back Giuliani tend to be less conservative, less religiouslyactive and less supportive of President Bush than those favoring FredThompson, Giuliani's chief rival so far, the surveys show.

That leaves Giuliani, the Republican front-runner, with a tenuous hold onthe most intensely conservative voters long considered his party's core.

Giuliani and Thompson are each backed by about one-fifth of conservatives,with an equal share undecided and the rest spread among other candidates.Thompson has a slight edge over Giuliani - with undecideds close by - amongright-leaning voters like Southerners, strongly loyal Republicans and peoplewho attend religious services at least weekly.

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The New York Times

Bhutto Back in Pakistan After 8-Year Exile

October 19, 2007

KARACHI, Pakistan, Oct. 18 - Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leaderand former prime minister, arrived in Pakistan this afternoon, ending hereight-year exile in a return that is expected to reconfigure the country'salready unsettled political landscape.

She stepped down onto the tarmac at Karachi airport at around 2 p.m. localtime after a flight from Dubai, wearing a green shalwar kameez - atraditional Muslim outfit - and white headscarf, the colors of the Pakistaniflag.

"The most important step - to be back on Pakistani soil," Ms. Bhutto said,after praying before an upheld Koran. She was clearly tearful.

Later, she began what was expected to be a long procession through the heavythrong of crowds to the tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder ofPakistan, in Karachi. She left the airport standing on the upper deck of asided truck, surrounded by party members and waving at the people in thestreets. Students wearing Pakistan Peoples' Party shirts held hands andformed five concentric rings around the truck to keep back the crush. As theprocession inched forward, people stood with flags and banners on the topsof trucks and sat in nearby trees.

On the flight from Dubai, the city where she has lived for much of the lastdecade in self-imposed exile, she was surrounded by chanting supporters, andshe moved through the plane talking to the press and to admirers. When askedhow she felt, she said "very excited, very happy, very proud, a tremendoussense of responsibility."

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The New York Times

Newest Factor for Earlier Primaries: Grinch Effect

October 18, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 - Oh, the Christmas season: the scent of eggnog, thesounds of sleigh bells, the good cheer - and all those slashing politicalattack ads, hard-hitting mailings, pre-recorded candidate phone calls andintrusive, get-out-the-vote drives?

With the first voting now scheduled to take place right after the first ofthe year, the presidential candidates are hurriedly making plans to copewith the challenge of conducting all-out campaigns smack in the middle ofthe holidays. Unlike previous elections, there will be no real buffer thistime between the family gathering, bowl-game-watching (and drinking)tradition of the week between Christmas and New Year's Day and the initialpresidential contests in the early voting states.

On Tuesday night, the Iowa Republican Party decided to hold its caucuses onJan. 3. It is the earliest that the party caucuses there have been scheduledsince Iowa established its general position 36 years ago as the first stateto vote in the national nominating contest, and it put pressure on theDemocrats in Iowa to settle on the same schedule. The previous earliest datefor the Iowa caucuses was Jan. 19, in the 1976 campaign.

Much of the political world is now consumed with how New Hampshire willpreserve its status as the first state to hold a full-fledged primary; thebetting is on a date no more than 10 days after Iowa, but in any case nolater than the first part of January (there is even some talk of NewHampshire going in December). It is uncharted territory, with strategistsfor the major campaigns struggling to understand what the early schedule -and the uncertainty - will mean for the traditional rhythms and strategiesof the crucial weeks when many voters make up their minds and cast theinitial votes.

The campaigns, which have spent years trying to plan for the final and mostimportant stage of the campaign season, are to some extent in suspendedanimation, unable to finalize plans for advertising spending, candidateschedules and campaign rallies.

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The New York Times

Birth Control Allowed at Maine Middle School

October 18, 2007

PORTLAND, Me., Oct. 17 - The Portland school board on Wednesday approved ameasure allowing middle-school students to gain access to prescription birthcontrol medications without notifying parents.

The proposal, from the Portland Division of Public Health, calls for theindependently operated health care center at King Middle School to provide avariety of services to students, including immunizations and physicalcheckups in addition to birth-control medications and counseling forsexually transmitted diseases, said Lisa Belanger, an administrator forPortland's student health centers.

All but two members of the 12-person committee voted to approve the plan.

The school principal, Mike McCarthy, said about 5 of the school's 500students had identified themselves as being sexually active.

Health care professionals at the clinic advised the committee that theproposal was necessary in order for the clinic to serve students who wereengaging in risky behavior.

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The New York Times

Putting Poor Children Second

October 18, 2007

President Bush's justification for vetoing a bill to expand the StateChildren's Health Insurance Program, or S-chip, is that he wants to "putpoor children first" rather than extend coverage to middle-class children.That explanation would be more believable if Mr. Bush had actually beenputting poor children first. On far too many occasions, the president hassacrificed the interests of poor children to what he deems higher budgetaryor ideological priorities. Congress should not allow Mr. Bush to do the samewith S-chip.

For the past several years, the Bush administration has been squeezingfederal support for Medicaid, the primary program to help the poorestfamilies and their children. Instead of ensuring that more poor childrenreceive coverage, the president is trying to close programs that find andenroll them. His budget for fiscal year 2008 seeks to eliminate funds for a"Cover the Kids" outreach program. A proposed rule change would alsoeliminate federal matching funds for local school personnel to do Medicaidoutreach and enrollment activities.

The administration clearly wasn't putting poor children first when itstrongly supported Congressional bills that would impose new charges onneedy beneficiaries - a step that could jeopardize health care for millionsof poor children in coming years. The administration also proposed,unsuccessfully, to change Medicaid from an unlimited entitlement into acapped block grant that could have fallen short of needs in bad economictimes.

As part of the anti-immigration hysteria, it imposed onerous new paperworkrequirements, leading to declines in Medicaid enrollment by citizens in somestates. The move also posed potential problems for foster children, for whomit is often difficult to get documents quickly, until Congress stepped in toexempt them.

In education, the president got off to a strong start with his No Child LeftBehind Act. It imposed new testing and reporting requirements to measureprogress in the schools. With bipartisan support in Congress, he helped toprovide a substantial increase in federal funds for the first couple ofyears. But then his budgets and Congressional appropriations flattened out,forcing cuts in programs targeted at low-income children. The president'slatest budget calls for an overall decrease in federal support forelementary and secondary education.

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The New York Times

The Attorney General Nominee

October 18, 2007

At his confirmation hearing for the post of attorney general, MichaelMukasey gave welcome answers to many questions. He seemed committed to therule of law and to keeping politics out of the Justice Department. He alsomade good statements about Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and civil rights. Mr.Mukasey's testimony was not entirely reassuring, however, in a few important

Mr. Mukasey, a former federal judge from New York, spoke eloquentlyyesterday about why the rule of law is integral to this country's definitionof itself. He seemed convincing when he said that he intends to run adepartment guided by the law rather than politics.

Addressing the cloud hanging over the Justice Department, Mr. Mukasey saidthat he would sharply limit the number of people who could discuss pendingmatters with elected officials or their representatives, a troublingpractice that came to light in the United States attorneys scandal. He saidthat he would set the bar high for bringing politically sensitiveinvestigations and prosecutions just before an election, something the Bushadministration has done repeatedly, apparently to help Republicans win closecontests.

Mr. Mukasey spoke, in a way that Republicans rarely do these days, about theimportance of civil rights and of the Justice Department's civil rightsdivision. He said that torture was illegal and not what America stands for,and that holding people seemingly without end is hurting America's

There were, however, some troubling statements and gaps in his testimony. Hesaid little about what he would do to determine whether the JusticeDepartment had acted improperly in firing United States attorneys. Congresshas been holding hearings, but getting to the bottom of what happened shouldbe a core Justice Department concern. He also needs to be clearer aboutwhere he stands on executive privilege. Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and otherofficials have made outrageous claims of privilege that are nothing morethan an attempt to stonewall important investigations.

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The New York Times

Abstinence 1, S-Chip 0

October 18, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor

DEMOCRATIC leaders are right to contest President Bush's veto of their billto expand the State Children's Health Insurance program. But sadly, their"bipartisan compromise" will leave millions of young Americans vulnerable tosickness and suffering of the most preventable kind.

To entice Republicans to support the bill, the House of Representativesagreed to increase money for abstinence-only sex education by $28 million,to a total of about $200 million a year. Abstinence-only courses, the onlyform of federally financed sex ed, teach that sexual activity outside ofmarriage is likely to cause psychological and physical harm.

If that were true, our health care system would be not only broken, butbesieged. A 2002 survey found that 93 percent of American adults had hadpremarital sex by the age of 30.

In addition to provoking shame about a nearly universal activity,abstinence-only sex education is ineffective and dangerous. Last April, a10-year study found that students who took abstinence-only courses were nomore likely to abstain from sex than other students. Previous studiesrevealed that abstinence-only students avoid using contraception.

Programs in public schools teach patently false information like "thechances of getting pregnant with a condom are one out of six" and H.I.V."may be in your body for a long time (from a few months to as long as 10years or more) before it can be detected."

The results are tragic. The United States has the highest teenage pregnancyrate in the developed world (about the same as Ukraine's), and the highestabortion rate in the Western world. Sexually transmitted infections likesyphilis and gonorrhea are on the rise for the first time since the 1980s,and chlamydia is being diagnosed twice as often as it was a decade ago.

Among Americans living in poverty - those who might see the $4 price of athree-pack of condoms as the take-home pay for an hour of work at minimumwage - the unintended pregnancy rate has increased 30 percent since 1994.

Our teenage pregnancy and abortion rates have declined during the lastdecade, but research suggests this is mainly because of increased use ofcondoms, something young people must learn about outside of school.

By dropping the financing for abstinence-only sex ed, Congress could saveenough money to insure 150,000 children a year. And it would alsodemonstrate much needed resolve to protect all aspects of children's health.

Amanda Robb is at work on a book about the abstinence movement.


The Washington Post

In the Toilet, Too: NBC's Ratings for Larry Craig Interview

By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, October 18, 2007; C07

Broadcast network news division chiefs walked the corridors of theirnewsrooms yesterday, little flecks of foam about their mouths, mutteringMacbeth's "life's but a walking shadow" gag, upon learning that Idaho Sen.Larry Craig's very first network TV interview since his June arrest forallegedly soliciting sex in an airport men's room had attracted only 5.7million viewers to NBC's "Matt Lauer Reports" Tuesday night.

The Golden Age of Washington Political Sex Scandals Goosing Network NewsNumbers -- over.

Lauer had given his all for the prime-time interview about what he called"the most famous bathroom stop of the last 10 years."

He asked the tough questions:

Were you aware at all, Senator, of the reputation of that specific bathroom?

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The New York Times

President of Oral Roberts to Take Leave of Absence

October 18, 2007

The president of Oral Roberts University, Richard Roberts, said yesterdaythat he was taking an indefinite leave of absence following allegations ofspending irregularities and family misconduct.

"The untrue allegations have struck a terrible blow in my heart," Dr.Roberts said in a statement. "The untrue allegations of sexual misconduct bymy wife have hurt the most. It has broken her heart and the hearts of mychildren."

Dr. Roberts has led the university, which is in Tulsa, Okla., for 14 years.It was founded by his father, the television evangelist Oral Roberts.

The announcement of his leave of absence came four days after more detailedaccusations of financial, political and personal irregularities by Dr.Roberts and his wife, Lindsay, emerged in an amended lawsuit, filed Friday,by three former professors of history and government.

The professors say they lost their jobs because of their objections to Dr.Roberts's effort to enlist students in a Republican mayoral campaign thatwas later scrutinized by the Internal Revenue Service, and over theirefforts to bring to light a damaging internal report on improper spendingand personal indiscretions by the Robertses.

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The New York Times

Democrats Look Ahead as Veto Override Falters

October 18, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 - With little expectation of overriding President Bush'sveto, Democrats in Congress said Wednesday that they would pass a new billto provide health insurance for 10 million children, but were willing totweak it to address some White House concerns.

Mr. Bush predicted that on Thursday the House would uphold his veto of abill to renew and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Henamed three administration officials to "seek common ground" with Congress.

But Democratic leaders, believing they have public support for expanding theprogram, said they saw no urgent need to negotiate the central elements ofthe bill.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said Democrats in Congress would notcompromise on their goal of providing health insurance for 10 millionchildren - 6.6 million already on the rolls and nearly 4 million who areuninsured.

Many Republicans argue that the vetoed bill would allow coverage of childrenfrom middle- and upper-income families and of adults and some illegalimmigrants. Democrats reject such criticism, but say they will considerrevising the bill to make its restrictions and prohibitions clearer.

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The New York Times

New Malaria Vaccine Is Shown to Work in Infants Under 1 Year Old, a StudyFinds

October 18, 2007

The world's most promising malaria vaccine has been shown to work in infantsless than a year old, the most vulnerable group, according to a study beingpublished today.

The study, being published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, wassmall, comprising only 214 babies in Mozambique, and intended to show onlythat the vaccine was safe at such young ages. But it also indicated that therisk of catching malaria was reduced by 65 percent after the full course ofthree shots.

"We're now a step closer to the realization of a vaccine that can protectAfrican infants," said Dr. Pedro Alonso, the University of Barcelonaprofessor who leads clinical trials of the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine.

If it passes much larger clinical trials set to start in seven countriesnext year, and if it is accepted by national regulatory agencies, it couldbe ready for distribution by 2012, said Dr. W. Ripley Ballou, Glaxo's vicepresident for international clinical trials.

In 2004, Dr. Alonso showed for the first time that the vaccine could protectchildren against infection or death. That study of 2,022 children aged 1 to4 showed protection from infection about 45 percent of the time.

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The Washington Post

Supreme Court Halts Va. Inmate's Execution
Ruling Could Lead To National Hiatus In Lethal Injections

By Robert Barnes and Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 18, 2007; A01

The Supreme Court stopped the execution of Virginia death row inmateChristopher Scott Emmett yesterday, a move that legal experts said mightsignal a nationwide halt to lethal injections until the justices decide nextyear whether the procedure amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The court granted the stay of execution just four hours before Emmett was tobe put to death. It is the second time the justices have stopped anexecution since agreeing to decide whether lethal injections carry thepotential for pain that would violate constitutional standards.

"I think this is a de facto moratorium," said Douglas A. Berman, asentencing expert at Ohio State University's law school. Since almost allexecutions are carried out by lethal injection, he said a halt "would meanthe most profound hiatus in the operation of the death penalty in at leasttwo decades."

The justices review applications for stays on a case-by-case basis and gaveno indication what their decision means for other death row inmates. Theygave no reason for halting Emmett's execution, saying only that the staywould last until a federal appeals court in Richmond rules on the case "orfurther order of this court."

Emmett's attorneys have brought numerous appeals, and the Supreme Courtturned down his latest Oct. 1. Emmett, 36, beat a co-worker to death with abrass lamp in a Danville, Va., motel room in 2001 and then stole his moneyto buy crack.

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The Washington Post

Afraid of the Dalai Lama?

China's Chance to Turn Toward Dialogue on Tibet
By Maura Moynihan
Thursday, October 18, 2007; A25

Yesterday the Dalai Lama received the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress'shighest civilian honor, and China is throwing a fit. "We are furious," theChinese Communist Party's secretary for Tibet, Zhang Qingli, declared thisweek. "If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justiceor good people in the world." In recent days China has abruptly withdrawnfrom a summit on Iran and canceled a meeting with German Chancellor AngelaMerkel, who received the Dalai Lama in September. Beijing, which accordingto The Post "solemnly demanded" that the Bush administration cancelWashington events planned for the Dalai Lama, is determined to punish andintimidate anyone who might pay tribute to Tibet's Nobel laureate.

Why is the mighty People's Republic of China so petrified of this72-year-old Buddhist monk? True, the Dalai Lama is no ordinary scholar andteacher; he is the living symbol of the Buddhist faith. It seems thatBeijing's cadres fear his moral authority and do not want the internationalcommunity to examine their record in Tibet, because they have a lot to hide.

It has been 48 years since the Dalai Lama eluded capture by the People'sLiberation Army and escaped to India, whereupon Chairman Mao Zedong began toplunder Tibet's wealth and murdered more than 1 million of its people. Inthe mid-1990s, the Chinese politburo implemented the "Strike Hard Campaign"that declared Buddhism "a disease to be eradicated." News of major protestsin Tibet has not been widely disseminated in recent years, and now thesurvival of Tibetan civilization has reached a tipping point. In 2000, Chinalaunched a vast infrastructure campaign called "Opening and Development ofthe Western Regions" and embarked on a new phase of subjugation and control.Construction of rail and road links to Tibet, such as the Qingzang railwaythat opened last year, has accelerated Beijing's surveillance of Tibetansand has advanced the Sinofication of the Himalayan and Turkic peoples whoinhabit China's western territories.

Exploiting Tibet's resources for the mainland's industrial base is astrategic and economic priority for China's government, which suppressesmanifestations of Tibetan identity or nationalism with blunt force. After aTibetan exile from New York and a few Americans unfurled a "Free Tibet" flagon Mount Everest this spring, Beijing cracked down hard: Foreigners' workpermits, visas and prepaid tours were abruptly canceled, and hundreds ofTibetan government officials were fired and replaced by politburohard-liners. But even severe police-state tactics have failed to extinguishthe people's devotion to the Dalai Lama. Demonstrations have erupted acrossthe Tibetan plateau; last month, for instance, electric cattle prods wereused on a gang of teenagers who had painted Dalai Lama slogans on a tavernwall. In July, a festival-goer in eastern Tibet who shouted "Long live theDalai Lama" was dragged out by riot police. The International Campaign forTibet reported this week that pilgrims to Buddhist shrines are beingharassed by armed Chinese soldiers and that persecution of Buddhist monks,already frequently charged with "unpatriotic activities," has intensified.

China is accustomed to reacting with brutality when its supremacy isthreatened, but now the state is imperiled by forces that neither Maoistthought nor martial law can control. Rapid growth has caused calamitousenvironmental damage that could lead to food shortages and unhygienic livingand working conditions, which in turn could lead to epidemics and,eventually, chaos. China's 1.3 billion people need solutions, not ordinancesdictated by the Communist Party's Central Committee. But Beijing, unwillingor unable to relinquish one-party rule, clings to an obsolete worldview thatdemonizes the Dalai Lama instead of engaging the statesman in a meaningfuldialogue on Tibet and China's future.

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The Washington Post

Mr. Mukasey's Answers

The attorney general nominee speaks clearly -- and senators swoon.
Thursday, October 18, 2007; A24

THE CONFIRMATION hearings for attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukaseybegan yesterday with the sober pronouncement by Judiciary Committee ChairmanSen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) that, if confirmed, Mr. Mukasey would inherita Justice Department facing its gravest challenge since the "Saturday NightMassacre" of Watergate infamy. Then it quickly turned into a ceremonialwaltz, with members of both parties swooning as Mr. Mukasey deliveredinformed, concise and responsive answers. The senators' reaction wasunderstandable, given the conspicuous difference between Mr. Mukasey'stestimony and the chronic evasions of Alberto R. Gonzales. But senatorsshouldn't be surprised if, as attorney general, Mr. Mukasey adopts many ofthe same positions as his predecessor -- albeit with more reasoned andlegally sound justifications.

Mr. Mukasey's stated respect for the rule of law came across as a refreshingdeparture from the Bush administration's record. His familiarity withSupreme Court decisions on the rights of enemy combatants suggested arecognition that the rulings should be respected. His acknowledgment of theneed for and desirability of consultation and col laboration between theexecutive and legislative branches sounded almost radical given theadministration's past practice. When asked if he believes Congress has theright to ban torture, he replied, "Yes, I do and it has." He gave exactlythe right answer when asked what role politics should play in lawenforcement decisions: "Partisan politics plays no part in either thebringing of charges or the timing of charges."

The bar for Mr. Mukasey's success was set low on this first day of hearings.Few senators attempted to get beneath the surface of the judge's compellingbut often incomplete answers. It's worth noting that administrationofficials -- from the president on down -- have given similar answers beforein public, while privately contradicting them. Mr. Mukasey's unblemishedreputation as a judge and his courageous decision to demand that U.S.citizen and alleged "dirty bomb" plotter Jose Padilla be given a lawyer arereasons to believe that his public declarations will prove meaningful.

Still, Mr. Mukasey will undoubtedly take conservative legal positions thatwill as often as not support the president's agenda. At least twice, Mr.Mukasey invoked the Supreme Court case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld to remindsenators of the president's right to detain indefinitely an enemy combatantcaptured on the battlefield. While seemingly sincere in embracingintrabranch cooperation ("Unilateralism across the board is a bad idea."),Mr. Mukasey also said that there were powers that the president isauthorized to exercise without prior approval from Congress. (He wasn'tasked what those powers were.) In an exchange with Sen. Russell Feingold(D-Wis.), Mr. Mukasey argued that because of "very scant" case law, theexecutive may have tremendous flexibility in gathering intelligence, withfar fewer restrictions than in a criminal investigation.

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The Washington Post

SCHIP Showdown (Act II): The Future of Children's Health Care

» EJ_Dionne | The big vote on overriding President Bush's veto of Congressincrease in the State Childrens' Health Care program is set for Thursday.This is the most important domestic policy fight this year, and a prelude tothe larger health care battles to come. As readers of earlier posts know --check out some excellent previous debates below -- SCHIP and health caregenerally are issues I care passionately about. (The stories about thespread of a drug-resistant staph germ are a reminder about how importantpublic health is.) A lot of Republicans support this, notably Senators Hatchand Grassley, and I think House Republicans who vote with the presidentagainst the bill are making a big mistake. I'd like to hear fromconservatives and Republicans on whether they agree with that. And since theword is that Bush's veto is likely to be sustained, what do those whosupport this bill think its supporters should do next? Should they make afigleaf change and send it back to him? Are any concessions to Bushacceptable? Be a policy maven and strategist at the same time and join thediscussion.


Los Angeles Times,0,863619.story?coll=la-opinion-center

Equal rights for the bilious, choleric, melancholic and sanguine!

Why there's no such thing as a non-discriminatory anti-discrimination law.
By Michael McGough
October 18, 2007

Can a law prohibiting job discrimination itself be discriminatory? That'sthe charge being leveled against a compromise version of the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, a bill in Congress that would add sexualorientation - but not gender identity - to the list of protected categories.Activists object that the compromise version of the bill, whichcongressional Democrats came up with under pressure from opponents oftransgender rights, is itself discriminatory. But it's an indictment thatcan be leveled against any civil-rights bill.

Let's begin with ENDA. Fearing that the House wouldn't vote for the bill ifit included protection for transgendered people, Rep. Barney Frank(D-Mass.), after consulting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco),shunted the ban on gender-identity discrimination to a separate bill.Outrage ensued. In The Times' Op-Ed page last week, Christine Daniels arguedthat Frank and Pelosi had committed the legislative equivalent of the "lowbridge," a basketball foul in which an opponent takes out a player's legs ashe or she leaps for a rebound, pass or jump shot.

But whether or not ENDA is re-revised to outlaw discrimination on the basisof gender identity, the bill will end up discriminating against some group.All anti-discrimination laws do, in the sense that they target some but notall of the characteristics that might lead a bigoted employer to fire - orrefuse to hire - a qualified individual.

Firing, or not hiring, an employee because she is African American or Mormonor a woman exposes the employer to the full force of Title VII of the 1964Civil Rights Act, which prohibits job discrimination on the basis of race,color, religion, sex or national origin. Firing an employee because he isover 40 triggers liability under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of1967. Discriminating against a handicapped employee invites legal actionunder the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Firing, or not hiring, someone because he is overweight, ugly, a "Star Wars"fanatic or a graduate of a non-Ivy League college is not illegal. Yet I haveno doubt that members of these groups are the victims of at least occasionaldiscrimination. If the Constitution guarantees equality under the law, whyisn't it unconstitutional for government to punish some acts of invidiousdiscrimination but not others?

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The Washington Post

GOP Tries to Stay Afloat Under Weight of Bush's Unpopularity

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 18, 2007; Page VA04

RICHMOND Virginia Republicans had a scare during fall 2004 when some pollsshowed Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry surprisingly close toPresident Bush in the campaign for the state's 13 electoral votes.

GOP leaders and activists rallied to Bush's side, ramping up the party'sget-out-the-vote campaign and redoubling efforts to paint the Massachusettssenator as a Northeastern liberal who was out of step with the state'sconservative reputation. On Election Day, it wasn't even close. Virginiawent for Bush over Kerry by 9 percent.

Some Virginia Republicans, however, have been regretting that day eversince.

Bush's second term has coincided with the Virginia Republican Party'sstunning decline in recent years, much of which can be attributed to voterattitudes toward Bush and Vice President Cheney.

In 2005, as voter fatigue with Bush was starting to settle in, gubernatorialcandidate Timothy M. Kaine (D) upset Republican Jerry W. Kilgore. ManyWashington pundits said Kaine's victory was a sign that Bush was becoming adrag on the GOP.

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Giuliani's Christian-right foes to meet again

At a second meeting this weekend, leaders will mull mass defection from theGOP if the pro-choice New Yorker is the party nominee.
By Michael Scherer

Oct. 18, 2007 | Key conservative and religious leaders will continuediscussing a mass defection from the Republican Party in a private meetingat a Washington hotel Saturday afternoon, just hours after the pro-choicepresidential candidate Rudy Giuliani speaks before thousands of pro-lifevoters.

The unnamed group of about 50 people first met in late September in SaltLake City, sending shivers through the Republican establishment by adoptinga resolution to consider a third-party candidate if Republicans nominatesomeone like Giuliani. "If the major political parties decide to abandonconservative principles, the cohesion of pro-family advocates will be alltoo apparent in 2008," warned Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, in apublished article after the meeting.

In addition to Dobson, the September meeting was attended by the FamilyResearch Council president Tony Perkins, conservative activist RichardViguerie and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who called in byphone. Before the meeting ended, the group agreed to meet again this weekendat the Hilton Washington Hotel, where thousands of social conservatives areexpected to gather for a "Values Voter Summit" beginning Thursday.

"There will be further exploration of what is to be done," said HowardPhillips, the president of the Conservative Caucus, who participated in theSalt Lake meeting. "And there will be some discussion of who would be aviable independent candidate."

Conservative circles have been buzzing for weeks about the possibility of athird-party bid, which remains a heavily disputed idea even among religiousconservatives. On Wednesday, longtime conservative leader Paul Weyrich,president of the Free Congress Foundation, published a column laying outthree requirements for a successful third-party bid: major defections ofelected officials from the Republican Party, the financial backing of anindependently wealthy individual, and the support of a major newsorganization, like the Fox News Channel or the Wall Street Journal. "If thewalkout of Republicans grassroots were dramatic enough and if it enticedmajor figures to join, which in turn caused millionaires to follow along andcaused major media continually to provide favorable treatment, a third partycould work," Weyrich argued in the article.

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Boston Globe

Romney suggests linking college aid to careers

By Nafeesa Syeed, Associated Press Writer | October 17, 2007

DAVENPORT, Iowa --Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney saidWednesday that he would like to link college financial aid to the jobsstudents pursue after graduation.

He offered no specifics on what careers would warrant more money for astudent during their undergraduate years, such as whether a future lawyer,doctor, teacher or social worker would receive more aid than a futureeconomist or engineer.

"I like the idea of linking the level of support that we're able to provideto young people going to college to the contributions they're going to maketo our society," Romney told more than 200 people at an event at a Davenporthotel, one of three stops in the state Wednesday.

At a town hall-style event in Clinton, a woman asked for his position onhelping families with children get access to health care, and on children'sissues in general.

In response, Romney talked about building strong, two-parent families andkeeping jobs in the U.S. so people can stay employed. He noted the healthcare system that was put in place in Massachusetts when he was governor hashelped families with children.

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