Friday, October 26, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST October 26, 2007

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The New York Times

Analysis: It's Clinton's Race to Lose...

Filed at 6:30 a.m. ET
October 26, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Memo to the Democratic presidential candidates: You canstill beat Hillary Rodham Clinton, but you better act fast.

The former first lady looks more likely to win the nomination every day,showing strength in polling, fundraising and setting the campaign agenda.

She's so strong, in fact, that the race has become about her. And Democraticoperatives from presidential campaigns past and present say the only way forany other candidate to win the nomination is to make an even stronger caseagainst her.

''If this were a wedding, we'd be at the 'speak now or forever hold yourpeace' part,'' said Steve McMahon, who advised Howard Dean in 2004. ''Ifyou're a candidate hoping to get past her, the time for nuance and veiledreferences has passed.''

There is always the chance that Clinton could make an error in the nextcouple of months that would hurt her chances. Some argue that her voteagainst Iran at a time when anti-war Democrats are concerned about war therehas the potential to damage her standing.

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The New York Times

The Long Run: A No-Nonsense Style Honed as Advocate

October 26, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 - Hillary Rodham Clinton needs her rest. She shuns thenocturnal habits of her husband - the 2 a.m. staff calls, the all-hoursgames of hearts. "It doesn't suit my body rhythms," said Mrs. Clinton, whotypically sleeps six or seven hours, sometimes beside the briefing book shehad been reading.

Her meetings have clear agendas and rarely devolve into open-ended"brainstorming" sessions. She might indulge gossip at the outset (Who'spregnant? Who saw "Grey's Anatomy"?) but hates wasting time. "Every meetingshould be transactional," said Tamera Luzzatto, Mrs. Clinton's Senate chiefof staff.

So should each e-mail message. Mrs. Clinton's are spare ("yes, let's do it."), uncluttered with jokes, emoticons or out-of-nowhere "whassups." Shecarries a BlackBerry, on vibrate, in her purse.

When asked about her as a manager, people who have worked for Mrs. Clinton,the Democratic senator from New York, described her as "organized,""methodical" and "disciplined." They also note that those words were neverapplied to her husband, Bill Clinton.

"She is very smart and very organized," said Leon E. Panetta, the formerWhite House chief of staff. "Bill Clinton was very smart and not veryorganized."

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The New York Times

Mexicans Miss Money From Relatives Up North

October 26, 2007

EL RODEO, Mexico - For years, millions of Mexican migrants working in theUnited States have sent money back home to villages like this one, moneythat allows families to pay medical bills and school fees, build houses andbuy clothes or, if they save enough, maybe start a tiny business.

But after years of strong increases, the amount of migrant money flowing toMexico has stagnated. From 2000 to 2006, remittances grew to nearly $24billion a year from $6.6 billion, rising more than 20 percent some years. In2007, the increase so far has been less than 2 percent.

Migrants and migration experts say a flagging American economy and anenforcement campaign against illegal workers in the United States havepersuaded some migrants not to try to cross the border illegally to look forwork. Others have decided to return to Mexico. And many of those who arestaying in the United States are sending less money home.

In the rest of the world, remittances are rising, up as much as 10 percent ayear, according to Donald F. Terry of the Inter-American Development Bank.Last year, migrant workers worldwide sent more than $300 billion todeveloping countries - almost twice the amount of foreign direct investment.

But in Mexico, families are feeling squeezed.

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The New York Times

U.S. Plays Its 'Unilateral' Card on Iran Sanctions

News Analysis
October 26, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 - In announcing sweeping new sanctions against an eliteunit of the Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, Bush administration officialstook pains to offer assurances on Thursday that at least for now, the UnitedStates is not going to war with Iran.

"We do not believe that conflict is inevitable," said R. Nicholas Burns, theunder secretary of state for political affairs. "This decision todaysupports the diplomacy and in no way, shape or form does it anticipate theuse of force."

The move designated the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guard and fourstate-owned Iranian banks as supporters of terrorism, and the Guard itselfas an illegal exporter of ballistic missiles. The decision thus raised thetemperature in American's ongoing confrontation with Iran over terrorism andnuclear weapons.

But it also reflected some caution by an administration that has alsoaccused the Quds force of aiding Shiite militia attacks on American soldiersin Iraq, and has even detained some Quds force members there, but hasresisted calls for retaliatory strikes inside Iran.

"This is a warning shot across the bow, not that the U.S. is going to invadeIran, but that Iran has pushed the level of escalation, particularly insideIraq, to unacceptable levels," said Anthony H. Cordesman, a senior fellow atthe Center for Strategic and International Studies. "In many ways, this kindof warning is more a demonstration of restraint than a signal that we'regoing to war."

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The New York Times

House Defies Bush and Passes Insurance Bill

October 26, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 - Once again defying a veto threat from President Bush,the House on Thursday passed a bill to provide health insurance for 10million children. But supporters did not have enough votes to override thepromised veto.

The bill was approved by a vote of 265 to 142, less than the two-thirdsneeded to override a veto.

Last week, when the House considered a similar bill vetoed by Mr. Bush,supporters fell 13 votes short of the number needed to override. The rollcalls are not directly comparable because several lawmakers were absent onThursday, many of them helping constituents cope with the Californiawildfires.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the latest vote was "a step forward" toward thegoal of insuring millions of children from low-income families.

But the gains were not immediately evident in the roll call. Of theRepublicans who voted against the bill last week, none voted for the newversion. And one Republican who supported the old bill, RepresentativeVernon J. Ehlers of Michigan, voted against the new one, citing concernsthat the measure had been brought up on short notice, without enough inputfrom Republicans.

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The New York Times

Schools Embrace Environment and Sow Debate

October 25, 2007

SCARSDALE, N.Y. - Every weekday at 2:30 p.m., a line of luxury sedans andsport utility vehicles idles outside Scarsdale Middle School in WestchesterCounty. Exhaust fumes pollute the atmosphere, even though posted signsdecree this a "No Idling Zone" and students berate their parents forviolating it.

"I normally do abide by it," said Loryn Kass, 41, as she hastily turned offher BMW sedan while waiting for her daughter on a recent afternoon. "Itotally support it to keep the air clean and fresh for our children."

The school pickup line has become the latest front in a growing school-basedenvironmental movement that has moved far beyond recycling programs andEarth Day celebrations to challenge long-accepted school norms.

Since 2004, dozens of public and private schools in Westchester and New YorkCity and on Long Island have adopted no-idling zones, switched toplant-based cleaners in their buildings and, to a lesser extent, bannedpesticides from playgrounds and playing fields, according to GrassrootsEnvironmental Education, a nonprofit group that began a campaign this monthpromoting all three measures.

Similar efforts have spread across the country. The Maryland Association forEnvironmental and Outdoor Education, a nonprofit group, has recognized 163Maryland Green Schools - nearly one-third of them in the last two years -for taking initiatives like preserving wetlands, banning disposable plasticwater bottles or assigning environmentally themed readings.

No effort is deemed too small. In a light-bulb exchange in SouthernCalifornia, students in 26 schools in San Bernardino and Riverside Countiesreplaced 15,734 incandescent bulbs - and counting - in their homes withenergy-efficient compact fluorescent versions. Officials and educators inCalifornia are planning the first Green California Schools Summit inPasadena in December, expected to draw more than 2,000 school board members,administrators and teachers.

Some educators contend that the environmental focus is a waste of taxpayers'money and a distraction for schools at a time when many students areill-prepared for college and struggling to meet minimum standards on mathand reading tests.

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The Washington Post

Burmese Refugees Recall How the Protests Evolved

By Jill Drew
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, October 26, 2007; A01

MAE SOT, Thailand, Oct. 25 -- The young Buddhist monk arrived here by boatlast week from Burma, exhausted and disheveled, with no passport, thestubble of his hair dyed blond for a disguise, and wearing a traditionalBurmese longyi wrap instead of his saffron-colored robe. He had to eludecapture by running barefoot, racing two miles down a highway, and jumpinginto bushes when cars passed.

Burmese troops had been hunting Ashin Kovida for three weeks, since hehelped lead pro-democracy protests in Burma's largest city, Rangoon. AshinKovida, 24, came to the safety of this mountain town on Thailand's westernborder, joining about 20 other refugees, many bringing with them new detailsof the ongoing crackdown in Burma, stories of dramatic escapes and freshinsights into the weeks of peaceful protests that prompted the militaryjunta's violent response.

From the refugees' stories, a fuller picture is emerging of how a peacefuland apolitical movement by Burma's revered Buddhist monks morphed into themost serious challenge to the junta in two decades. After at least tacitlyallowing the demonstrations to take place, the government launched itscrackdown when a banned student group and the country's largest oppositionparty openly joined in and hoisted their banners.

The refugees also offered first-person accounts of seeing unarmed protestersshot and killed. These accounts could not be independently verified, andBurma, which the generals call Myanmar, remains largely closed to foreignjournalists. The government has yet to give a full accounting of recentevents.

The monks had planned for the demonstrations to last nine days, from Sept.18 -- nine being a special number in Buddhist tradition. And they hadplanned for their protests to be peaceful, according to Ashin Kovida andanother new refugee here, U Pan Cha, a businessman who managed security forthe Rangoon demonstrations.

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The New York Times

Denying Children

October 26, 2007

The House approved a revised bill to finance the children's health insuranceprogram yesterday by a 265-to-142 margin - a strong mandate, but still notenough to overcome another promised veto by President Bush.

If the president carries out this threat, we hope Congressional tacticianscan find a way to enact this important measure over the adamant,ideologically driven opposition of Mr. Bush and House Republican leaders.The health of millions of children who lack insurance cannot be held hostageto the president's visceral distaste for government and its essential roleto protect the weak, or his desire to protect the tobacco industry.

House Democrats tried hard to address the issues raised and relentlesslyhyped by Republican critics. The bill would speed up the removal ofchildless adults who have been enrolled in the program in a handful ofstates, and would reduce the enrollment of parents, even though includingparents is often the best way to reach their children.

Most important in the battle for public opinion, critics can no longercharge that the bill would cover children in families earning up to $83,000.That was always hype since the only state where that might have happened wasNew York - where health costs are especially high. The new bill wouldprovide federal matching money to cover only children in families withincomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or almost $62,000for a family of four. The only exception is that New Jersey could continueto provide coverage to families who earn up to $72,000 - if the state rankshigh in covering the poorest children.

Our own feeling is that states where the cost of living is high should beable to cover middle-class families. But if limiting the program to 300percent of the poverty level is necessary to get this important legislationenacted, that would be a price worth paying.

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The Washington Post


Friday, October 26, 2007; A08

They are the '60s bookends of the 2008 campaign, one a college protesterduring the Vietnam War, the other a decorated naval officer who flew combatmissions over Hanoi. Today, their biographies intersect in a powerfulevocation of a decade that has long shaped the politics of the country.

It is an accident of history that Hillary Clinton's 60th birthday will fallon the 40th anniversary of the day John McCain was shot down over Vietnam.Today, they campaign for the White House as respectful rivals, but across avast cultural chasm that still divides the country.

It is ironic perhaps that their shared anniversaries come at the end of aweek in which McCain has tweaked Clinton over one of the great symbols ofthat decade, the Woodstock rock festival in Upstate New York, which McCaindescribed in Sunday's debate as a "cultural and pharmaceutical event" thathe missed because he "was tied up." Clinton's support for $1 million intaxpayer dollars to help fund a Woodstock memorial is the subject ofMcCain's new campaign ad.

Baby boomer Clinton marked her big birthday with a big celebration, afundraising bash last night featuring rocker Elvis Costello that includedfriends and political contributors and was hosted by her husband.

McCain, more than a decade older and not sharing the sensibilities of theboomer generation, will not celebrate as much as commemorate the anniversaryof his capture. He plans to campaign today in Iowa with Bud Day, with whomhe shared a prison cell at the "Hanoi Hilton."

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The Washington Post

Scientist Retires After Race Remark

By Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 26, 2007; A11

NEW YORK, Oct. 25 -- James D. Watson, who shared a 1962 Nobel prize fordiscovering the structure of DNA, announced his retirement Thursday aftercontroversy erupted over comments he made suggesting that black people areless intelligent than whites.

"The passing on of my remaining vestiges of leadership is more thanoverdue," he wrote in a statement about his departure from Cold SpringHarbor Laboratory on Long Island, which he joined as director in 1968 andhelped build into one of the world's leading genetics research institutes."The circumstances in which this transfer is occurring, however, are notthose which I could ever have anticipated or desired," he added.

Watson, 79, was quoted on Oct. 14 in the Sunday Times of London saying thathe is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all oursocial policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same asours -- whereas all the testing says not really."

He subsequently issued a statement saying, "There is no scientific basis forsuch a belief."

Bruce Stillman, the president of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, said at thetime that the comments have no connection with research activities at thelab, whose faculty members "vehemently disagree" with Watson's statements.Thelab swiftly suspended Watson's administrative responsibilities aschancellor.

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The Washington Post

Romney Embraces Jones Endorsement

The Associated Press
Thursday, October 25, 2007; 3:10 PM

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney embraced hisassociation with Christian conservative Bob Jones III Thursday despiteJones' sharp criticism of the Mormon faith central to Romney's life.

"I'm proud to have the respect of people and the support of people who don'tagree with my faith, but agree that I'm the right person to be president,"the former Massachusetts governor said while campaigning here. "And I'm notrunning for preacher; I'm running for president."

In the 2000 election, George W. Bush similarly basked in the reputation ofBob Jones University, a Greenville, S.C., school named for Jones'sgrandfather that is influential with some conservative Christians. Less thana month after a visit to the school, Bush wound up apologizing to RomanCatholic leaders for "causing needless offense."

The university teaches its students that Catholicism, like Mormonism, is acult. At the time, it also had a policy banning interracial dating betweenits students. It rescinded the policy after publicity generated by Bush'svisit.

The university continues a policy of banning alumni it says are "militant" homosexuals from its campus, school spokesman Jonathan Patie said Mondayduring an interview with The Associated Press.

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The Miami Herald

Dream Act: Hope, not amnesty

Posted on Fri, Oct. 26, 2007

In defeating the Dream Act, our leaders decided that a child should be heldresponsible for the illegal acts of a parent, a concept never beforeembraced by our country. Children of illegal immigrants, like all children,don't have a say in what their parents do, where their parents choose tolive and how their parents enter the United States.

Now, these children are relegated to a life in ''Never-Never Land,'' wherethey can never hold a job or get a driver's license. It's a life withouthope.

As a parent and an immigration lawyer, I have met many of these children.Ironically, they often don't know that they are illegal until it is time toget a driver's license, apply to college or register for military service.

I can't describe the despair on their faces when they learn they areillegal. They are truly the ''lost children.'' They have no home to returnto. They have no country they remember. Their friends, family and lives arehere.

The Dream Act is not an amnesty. Rather, it is a road out of ''Never NeverLand.'' It required these children to have entered this country before age16, live here for five years, demonstrate good moral character, obtain ahigh-school degree, attend several years of college or enlist in the U.S.military.

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Houston Chronicle

Rice, Democrats go toe-to-toe over Iraq policy
Three hours of sparring fails to shed much light

Los Angeles Times
Oct. 26, 2007, 12:14AM

WASHINGTON - For months, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice fended offdemands from Democrats on the House Oversight and Government ReformCommittee that she testify about State Department problems in Iraq.

Rice made her appearance Thursday and faced aggressive questioning aboutcorruption in the Iraqi government, rogue behavior by security guards forprivate contractor Blackwater USA, and construction defects at the new $600million U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

"We need to know whether the mistakes of the State Department havejeopardized any chance for political success in Iraq," Rep. Henry Waxman,D-Calif., said.

Rice, an academic by training and a diplomat by profession, sparred forthree hours with Waxman and others. Republicans charged that Democrats,without the votes in Congress to end the war outright, were trying to haltit by exposing a series of problems in Iraq.

"The Democratic strategy seems to be to drill enough small holes in thebottom of the boat to sink the entire Iraqi enterprise, while still claimingundying support for the crew about to drown," said ranking member Rep. TomDavis, R-Va.

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The Boston Globe

Romney's faux pas

By Scot Lehigh, Globe Columnist
October 26, 2007

MITT ROMNEY owes Barack Obama an apology. It's as simple as that.

And if you don't believe me, why, just ask our last governor.

Let me explain.

Perhaps you've followed the latest campaign kerfuffle, which began Tuesdaywhen Romney was discussing the new call to jihad from terrorist Osama binLaden.

"Just look at what Osam - Barack Obama - said just yesterday. Barack Obama,calling on radicals, jihadists of all the different types, to come togetherin Iraq," Romney said.

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The Boston Globe

The faith gap in flux

By Ellen Goodman, Globe Columnist
October 26, 2007

IN RETROSPECT, it was probably not the best way to reassure the faithful.When James Dobson, child psychologist turned political kingmaker, rose tospeak at the Values Voter Summit dinner, he first complained about mediareports that the religious right was dead. Then he cheerily announced,"Welcome to the morgue."

Yes, well, not yet. The much-reported news from last weekend's gathering wasthat the honchos of the religious right are still wanted - dead or alive -by the Republican candidates.

The candidates came, they saw, they pandered, though they didn't exactlyconquer. Mitt Romney flashed his family credentials so brightly you couldhardly see his flip-flop footwear. Fred Thompson promised his first hour inthe Oval Office would be spent praying. Mike Huckabee claimed, "You are myroots." And even Rudy Giuliani offered the lame reassurance that "you haveabsolutely nothing to fear from me."

If the summit-goers did not meet in a morgue, they left in mourning for acandidate to call their own. But you don't have to be a politicalpathologist to see the real message from the meeting. There are signs ofideological rigor mortis among the old guard.

Think back to 2004, the "Year of the Values Voter." The religious rightclaimed credit for President Bush's reelection and grabbed the word "values"the way they had grabbed the word "life."

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Chicago Tribune,1,3193425.story

Mukasey's Nomination Runs Into Trouble

Associated Press Writer
6:10 PM CDT, October 25, 2007


Judge Michael Mukasey's nomination for attorney general ran into troubleThursday when two top Senate Democrats said their votes hinge on whether hewill say on the record that an interrogation technique that simulatesdrowning is torture.

"It's fair to say my vote would depend on him answering that question,"Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told reporters lateThursday.

"This to me is the seminal issue," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin ofIllinois, another member of Leahy's panel. Asked if his vote depends onwhether Mukasey equates waterboarding with torture, Durbin answered: "Itdoes."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said his support could be indoubt over the same issue.

"I think if he doesn't change his direction in that regard, he could have atleast one concern and that's me," Reid told reporters.

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Chicago Tribune,1,4455756.story

Obama hopes gospel tour will help chances with black voters

By Mike Dorning
Tribune national correspondent
8:18 AM CDT, October 26, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C.-Barack Obama's presidential campaign on Friday begins a tourof gospel singers around this Bible Belt state to praise the Lord and offertestimonials on behalf of the candidate, a modern twist on a style ofold-time politicking right out of the film "O Brother Where Art Thou."

The gospel music tour stirred controversy this week because one of thefeatured performers, Grammy Award-winning singer Donnie McClurkin, hasoffended gay activists with his view that homosexuality is a choice and thatgays can "overcome" their orientation by turning to God. The campaign soughtto tamp down criticism from gay rights groups by adding an openly gayminister to deliver an invocation.

But the three-day gospel concert series-at which Obama is not scheduled toappear-is just the most visible element of the Obama campaign's efforts totarget religious voters, especially churchgoing African-Americans.

The Illinois senator's campaign is in the midst of a "Forty Days of Faithand Family" initiative in South Carolina. The program also has includedseveral high-profile appearances by Obama at prominent churches, interviewsby the candidate and campaign officials on gospel and Christian radiostations, and so far at least 17 campaign-sponsored "faith forums" thathighlight connections between Obama's political stands and the values of thefaithful.

The approach in part reflects the practical political implications of ahighly publicized argument that Obama made shortly after his election to theU.S. Senate that faith should play a greater role in politics, particularlyin communicating the moral basis for progressive political goals.

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