Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST October 31, 2007

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Ex-governor Ryan ordered to prison

CHICAGO (AP) - Former Gov. George Ryan was ordered Friday to start serving a6½-year prison sentence in less than two weeks, but his lawyers held outhope they could keep him out of prison pending a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer set a Nov. 7 surrender date forRyan and co-defendant Larry Warner to report to prison.

Within hours, his attorneys asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals foran extension of his bond that would keep him free while they take the caseto the nation's highest court.

The attorneys called Ryan a devoted grandfather with "modest means" who isnot a flight risk.

Ryan has been free on bail since he was convicted in April 2006 of steeringstate contracts to friends, using tax dollars to run his campaigns andcovering up drivers license bribery.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Guantanamo Military Lawyer Breaks Ranks to Condemn "Unconscionable"Detention

By Leonard Doyle
The Independent UK
Saturday 27 October 2007

An American military lawyer and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamotribunals has made a devastating attack on the legal process for determiningwhether Guantanamo prisoners are "enemy combatants".

The whistleblower, an army major inside the military court system whichthe United States has established at Guantanamo Bay, has described thedetention of one prisoner, a hospital administrator from Sudan, as"unconscionable".

His critique will be the centrepiece of a hearing on 5 December beforethe US Supreme Court when another attempt is made to shut the prison down.So nervous is the Bush administration of the latest attack - and anotherSupreme Court ruling against it - that it is preparing a whole new system ofmilitary courts to deal with those still imprisoned.

The whistleblower's testimony is the most serious attack to date on themilitary panels, which were meant to give a fig- leaf of legitimacy to theinterrogation and detention policies at Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. Themajor has taken part in 49 status review panels.

"It's a kangaroo court system and completely corrupt," said MichaelRatner, the president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which isco-ordinating investigations and appeals lawsuits against the government bysome 1,000 lawyers. "Stalin had show trials, but at Guantanamo they are noteven show trials because it all takes place in secret."

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


By Andrew C. Wallace
October 28, 2007

It is imperative for our survival that Americans know that Elites controlmost everything and everybody and are responsible for damn near every badthing happening in the United States. Elites control everything using the"Chain of Command for Treason" consisting of Elites and their Foundationswho rule Corporations which in turn control Government Officials in allthree Branches. Many Elites are also government officials and consider it tobe the family business just like royalty. Americans must know identity ofthese Elites, how they are responsible for invaders killing, raping,robbing, and molesting millions of Americans every year. Americans must alsoknow how Elites are at war with average Americans in every possible way,they are systematically looting us and our country, converting us into animpoverished nation of slaves, and stealing our sovereignty. Elites are theleaders of both political parties, there is no difference between theparties, they are partners in everything. Government Officials are ignoringtheir Solemn Oath of Office by refusing to obey the Constitution and Laws ofthe United States. Elites cause far more death and destruction thanterrorists. Our Constitution in simple unambiguous language calls thisTreason, and so should you.

Let me give you another current example of how every American is beingrobbed and forced to pay more for everything they need which benefitsElites. Recently American banking and financial institutions controlled byElites, gambled and lost big time in the sub-prime real estate marketcausing great losses and a shortage of liquidity. The Federal Reserve chooseto bail out the banking and finance corporations by having average Americanspay more for everything they buy. This was done by putting Billions ofdollars into the banking system and lowering interest rates that banks pay.This resulted in a decline in value of the dollar to an all time low forcingall Americans to pay more for everything they need to bail out thecorporations. Every dollar you have in savings or pensions has lost value tosave Elites from loss and this is part of an ongoing operation. As a bonusthis also resulted in corporations making more money in dollars fromoverseas investments. Any first year Economics student could have predictedthis result with certainty.

Inflation, and theft like the preceding has been going on since the FederalReserve was founded in 1913. Our Constitution calls for our currency to bein gold and silver or backed by it. If that was still true it would reducegovernment flexibility and the recent debacle and ongoing scams would havebeen impossible. Any currency without substantial backing in gold is subjectto manipulation, theft and ultimately economic destruction. History withoutexception substantiates this fact. Continuing decline of dollar relative togold and other currencies will steal everything you have and leave you todie homeless, hungry and in pain as a slave of Elites, I guarantee it. Thisis how Hitler came to power in Germany. When I left service after the KoreanWar wives did not have to work and a new car cost me about $2,000. Now ittakes two or more to support a family and that car costs 15 times as much.Anyone who does not see this as a reduction in your standard of living isjust a plain idiot. This is an example of the redistribution of wealth fromthe bottom up.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Fearing Fear Itself

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Monday 29 October 2007

In America's darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nationnot to succumb to "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror." But that wasthen.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president - including allof the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republicannomination - have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece oftheir campaigns.

Consider, for a moment, the implications of the fact that Rudy Giulianiis taking foreign policy advice from Norman Podhoretz, who wants us to startbombing Iran "as soon as it is logistically possible."

Mr. Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a founding neoconservative,tells us that Iran is the "main center of the Islamofascist ideology againstwhich we have been fighting since 9/11." The Islamofascists, he tells us,are well on their way toward creating a world "shaped by their will andtailoed to their wishes." Indeed, "Already, some observers are warning thatby the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed intoa place to which they give the name Eurabia."

Do I have to point out that none of this makes a bit of sense?

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

New Episcopal bishop for S.C.

Associated Press Writer
Posted on Mon, Oct. 29, 2007

A theologically conservative bishop whose election to the Episcopal Dioceseof South Carolina was invalidated by the national church has gained approvala second time and will be consecrated, officials said Monday.

The Very Rev. Mark Lawrence will be consecrated on Jan. 26.

Lawrence, who was a priest in the tradition-minded Diocese of San Joaquin,based in Fresno, Calif., was first elected bishop in September of last year.

But the national church's Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori tookthe unusual step of invalidating the election in South Carolina, which hasrejected her authority because of her liberal theological outlook.

Theological conservatives are a minority within the 2.3 million-memberEpiscopal Church, which has been divided since the 2003 consecration of anopenly gay bishop in New Hampshire.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The Making of the Muslim Reformist Movement

By Ali Eteraz, AlterNet
Posted on October 16, 2007, Printed on October 31, 2007

I went to a government school in the American south where I had constantinteraction with religious supremacists. Such people believe that theirmoral mandate must be given preference, if not outright dominance. In thesouth, these people were Christian. Their imperative was to acquire convertswho would eventually help make their political programme the law of theland.

Many times I put up with the noise of evangelical youth preaching on thesteps with a megaphone. I was condemned to hell in class discussions.English teachers had to tread carefully through 19th century literature soas not to offend. I had to politely reject, and then oppose, Bible studygroups.

My brother and I were the only Muslims in the school. We lamented theceaseless invasion of our personal conscience by "these fundos."

After a couple of years, a number of Muslim students enrolled at the school.They were also upset with the endless Christian proselytising. Since many ofthem were family friends, they took me aside and urged me to help them setup an Islamic society. Its primary purpose would be to hold Quran studycircles, correct anti-Muslim propaganda in textbooks, and - "just like theChristians do" - invite students to learn about their religion. All onschool property. Their goal, just like the Christians, was evangelism (theArabic term is da'wa). They presented two white boys with new Muslim namesas proof of their success. As I left, my acquaintances couldn't understandwhy I wouldn't help them. "It's just da'wa!" they said. "It's a freecountry!"

There it was, in the microcosmic world of high school, staring at me in theface: the Muslim right. Or, as my brother pejoratively called them: "FalwellMuslims."

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Your Privacy Is Someone Else's Profit

By Onnesha Roychoudhuri, AlterNet
Posted on October 29, 2007, Printed on October 31, 2007

On the 24th of October, presidential candidate Barack Obama, D-Ill., addedhis name to the list of senators, led by Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who opposeimmunity for telecoms who have participated in domestic spying. As thisdebate heats up in the Senate and in the papers, Americans are confrontedwith an unsettling reality: Private companies have more control over ourpersonal information than we do.

While the interactive revolution was touted as the democratization ofinformation, it has also greatly accelerated the consolidation of power inthe hands of both government and industry. Whether we're talking on our cellphones, paying bills online, or doing research for a paper, ourcommunications now leave an elaborate footprint. It is these footprints thatadvertisers are so hungrily compiling, creating massive databases to trackour daily movements in order to better pitch us products down the line -- orto share with the government.

Mark Andrejevic's new book iSpy: Surveillance and Power in the InteractiveEra explores the implications of the disenfranchising of Americans in theinteractive era. Who owns our information? How is it shared? How willadvertisers and the government use our information in the future? Andrejevicsat down with AlterNet to share what he's learned through his research.

Onnesha Roychoudhuri: Throughout the book, you argue that interactivity doesnot necessarily mean democratization. Can you explain?

Mark Andrejevic: Living through the '90s, there was this euphoric set ofpredictions about the empowering and democratizing capacity of the newmedium. I read that against what the current political and economicsituation looks like today. We live in a society that has becomeincreasingly economically stratified in the past decade and alsoincreasingly unresponsive democratically.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

US Arms Exports Up, Oversight Down

By Maya Schenwar
t r u t h o u t | Report
Tuesday 30 October 2007

The Bush administration hopes to push through two license-free armssales treaties before the end of this Senate session. Both would eliminatemuch of the oversight that governs international weapons trades. Thetreaties, one with the United Kingdom and one with Australia, exemplify agrowing trend of weakening restrictions on arms exports, even as fears ofweapons proliferation intensify worldwide.

Under current US licensing guidelines, a company wanting to trade armswith a foreign entity must undergo a rigorous evaluation and report detailsof the transaction, including specific materials and personnel, to the StateDepartment. Government-authorized licensing specialists then screen eachparty against watch lists of illegal arms traffickers. Licensees also mustsign statements verifying their identities, histories, proofs of purchaseand trade partners.

The treaty with the U.K., waiting to be ratified by the Senate, wouldgrant "security clearance" to an "approved community" of companies in the USand the U.K., according to John Rood, assistant secretary of the StateDepartment's international security and nonproliferation bureau, whoannounced the treaty at a press briefing in July. Approved companies wouldbe permitted to transfer weapons freely between the two countries. TheAustralian treaty, announced in September, would operate similarly. Roodsaid he hoped that the U.K. treaty would be ratified by the end of the year.A State Department official said the administration aimed for Decemberratification of the Australian treaty, as well, according to the Octoberissue of Arms Control News.

The administration did not notify Congress of its negotiations with theU.K. and Australia, and many Congress members did not know about thetreaties until they were announced to the public, according to Rachel Stohl,a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information.

"The treaties would mean that any weapons transfer to those partieseligible would not have any government or public oversight," Stohl said inan interview. "They would eliminate any accountability that the weapons arebeing used properly, and would take away any recourse for the US to preventweapons from ending up in wrong hands."

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Education Week

Low-Income Students Are Public School Majority in South, Study Finds

By Debra Viadero
Published Online: October 30, 2007

More than half of public schoolchildren in the U.S. South now come fromlow-income families, according to a new report, which predicts that thenation as a whole could reach the same demographic milestone within a decadeif current trends persist.

"What these figures are beginning to tell us is that we're no longer talkingabout a small slice of the population when we talk about low-incomestudents," said Steve T. Suitts, the author of the report, which wasreleased today by the Southern Education Foundation, an Atlanta-based group."We're talking in the South about a majority of students and that does haveprofound implications and challenges for schools."

According to the report, the South, for the first time in at least 40 years,is the only region in the nation where low-income children constitute amajority of public school students. Overall, the study found that in the2006-07 school year, 54 percent of students in 15 Southern states examinedcame from families poor enough to qualify for the federal free andreduced-price lunch program. Under the guidelines for that program, familiescannot earn more than 185 percent of the federal poverty threshold-about$31,765 a year for a family of three-to participate.

The report, "A New Majority: Low-Income Students in the South's PublicSchools," found that such students constitute majorities in public schoolsin 11 of 15 Southern states and in three states outside the South, namelyCalifornia, New Mexico, and Oregon. And, if current demographic trendscontinue, the study forecasts, the Western region will follow suit in threeto five years and have a public school population that is also predominantlypoor.

"These two regions guide the national pattern and explain why low-incomestudents constitute as much as 46 percent of U.S. public school enrollment,"the report concludes. "If recent rates of growth continue in the South andthe West and in two other large states, Illinois and New York, the UnitedStates could have a majority of low-income students in public schools withinthe next 10 years."

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Forwarded from EuroQueer

Saudi tyrant embraced by Gordon Brown

King Abdullah hosted at Downing Street & Buckingham Palace

Protests re State Visit, arms sales and human rights abuses


Wednesday 31 October, 6pm to 8pm,
Saudi Embassy, 30 Charles Street, W1J 5DZ.

A protest against human rights abuses.

"Gordon Brown rightly refuses to meet Zimbabwe's dictator, RobertMugabe, but he happily welcomes to Downing Street the Saudi tyrant,King Abdullah. It is double standards," said human rights campaigner,Peter Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell will be joining protests this week in London against theSaudi leader's State Visit to Britain (details below).

"The Saudi regime is guilty of detention without trial, torture andpublic beheadings. Political parties, trade unions and non-Muslimreligions are banned. Women not allowed to vote or drive a car. Gaypeople are flogged and executed. The country is a theocratic policestate.

"Despite these shocking human rights abuses, the Queen has invitedKing Abdullah to stay with her at Buckingham Palace. Our head of stateshould not be entertaining a serial human rights abuser.

"King Abdullah should be arrested and put on trial for torture, notembraced and feted.



The New York Times

Chinese Chemicals Flow Unchecked to Market

October 31, 2007
This article was reported by Walt Bogdanich, Jake Hooker and Andrew W.Lehren and written by Mr. Bogdanich.

MILAN - In January, Honor International Pharmtech was accused of shippingcounterfeit drugs into the United States. Even so, the Chinese chemicalcompany - whose motto is "Thinking Much of Honor" - was openly marketing itsproducts in October to thousands of buyers here at the world's biggest tradeshow for pharmaceutical ingredients.

Other Chinese chemical companies made the journey to the annual show aswell, including one manufacturer recently accused by American authorities ofsupplying steroids to illegal underground labs and another whoserepresentative was arrested at the 2006 trade show for patent violations.Also attending were two exporters owned by China's government that had soldpoison mislabeled as a drug ingredient, which killed nearly 200 people andinjured countless others in Haiti and in Panama.

Yet another chemical company, Orient Pacific International, reserved anexhibition booth in Milan, but its owner, Kevin Xu, could not attend. He wasin a Houston jail on charges of selling counterfeit medicine forschizophrenia, prostate cancer, blood clots and Alzheimer's disease, amongother maladies.

While these companies hardly represent all of the nearly 500 Chineseexhibitors, more than from any other country, they do point to a deeperproblem: Pharmaceutical ingredients exported from China are often made bychemical companies that are neither certified nor inspected by Chinese drugregulators, The New York Times has found.

Because the chemical companies are not required to meet even minimaldrug-manufacturing standards, there is little to stop them from exportingunapproved, adulterated or counterfeit ingredients. The substandardformulations made from those ingredients often end up in pharmacies indeveloping countries and for sale on the Internet, where more Americans areturning for cheap medicine.

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The New York Times

Help Wanted

October 31, 2007

Congress has finally pried open America's door to Iraqis and Afghans whohave served this country at great risk. Congress needs to go a lot further,adding more visa slots and approving resettlement benefits that would allowthese people to grab the lifeline the United States has been far too slow tooffer.

Translators, interpreters and thousands of others have aided American troopsand diplomats - and have become targets for militants. Under currentAmerican law, 500 Iraqis and Afghans per year who have worked for the UnitedStates armed forces for a year, may obtain special immigrant visas.

Those numbers are shamefully low. And even those who do get visas often
have the many thousands of dollars they need to make the move. Immigrantswho arrive as refugees are eligible for travel loans and resettlement andhousing assistance. The Iraqis and Afghans arriving under these specialvisas are not. The costs - including special passport and visa fees, livingexpenses in Jordan while security interviews are conducted, airfare andthree months of living expenses here - are a staggering $18,000 to $20,000for a family of four.

Jason Faler, an Army captain from Oregon, is trying to make up for theAmerican government's neglect. Mr. Faler's Iraqi interpreter decided to fleethe country after his house was burned to the ground and one of hiscolleagues was kidnapped and murdered. The killers took the dead man'scellphone and called Mr. Faler's interpreter, telling him: "You're next."

The interpreter, his wife and three children managed to make it to theUnited States, but it took much of their money. They have been living in thefinished basement of Mr. Faler's parents' house for a month, and Mr. Falerhas established a foundation ( to help defray thecosts and help others escape. So far, he's raised less than $5,000.

Private efforts are immensely laudable, but this is a governmentresponsibility. Some lawmakers seem to be waking up to that. The Senate lastweek approved an amendment to the labor, health and human servicesappropriations bill that would grant Iraqi and Afghan interpreters andtranslators the same relocation benefits as refugees for six months.Conferees are negotiating a final bill this week, and it would be a travestyif they dropped this aid.

Congress should also pass a bill sponsored by Republican Gordon Smith andDemocrat Edward Kennedy that would raise the number of special immigrantvisas available for Iraqis and Afghans who have worked for the United Statesfrom 500 to 5,000 a year for the next five years. The bill would alsostreamline what is now a tortuous process. This country owes this and moreto the men and women who have risked their lives to help Americans.


The New York Times

Iraqi Cabinet Votes to End Security Firms' Immunity

October 31, 2007

BAGHDAD, Oct. 30 - Draft legislation that lifts immunity for foreign privatesecurity companies gained the consent of the Iraqi cabinet on Tuesday andwas sent to Parliament for approval, a government spokesman said.

The measure would end a provision that protects the security companies fromprosecution, which has been in effect since 2004, when the Americans handedsovereignty back to Iraq.

The provision has long rankled Iraqis, who say the private guards have usedexcessive force on a number of occasions, wounding or killing civilians. Itbecame a major point of contention between the American and Iraqigovernments after a Sept. 16 shooting by guards working for Blackwater thatIraqi investigators have said left 17 Iraqis dead and at least 24 wounded.

The Iraqi government's decision followed reports that the State Departmenthad promised Blackwater guards immunity from prosecution in itsinvestigation of the shootings. On Tuesday, the State Department confirmedthat some Blackwater employees questioned in connection with the shootingshad been granted a form of immunity in exchange for their statements.

The draft law canceling the private security firms' immunity was written bythe legal adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. It would overturna measure known as Order 17, dating from the administration of L. PaulBremer III.

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The New York Times

Taliban Fighters Move in Near Kandahar for First Time Since 2001

October 31, 2007

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Oct. 30 - Several hundred Taliban fighters have movedinto a strategic area just outside the southern city of Kandahar in recentdays and clashed with Afghan and NATO forces, according to Canadian andAfghan officials.

The fighting, which began Tuesday, is the first time large numbers ofTaliban have been able to enter the area just north of the city since 2001.Control of the area, known as the Arghandab district, would allow theTaliban to directly threaten Kandahar, southern Afghanistan's largest city.

Whether the Taliban were looking to establish permanent control over thearea or were simply carrying out raids was unclear on Tuesday night. ButCanadian military officials said Afghan and NATO forces had begun a "largeoperation" to drive out the Taliban.

Reports of casualties could not be immediately confirmed. The provincialpolice chief said 20 Taliban had been killed; the Taliban said they killedtwo foreign and three Afghan soldiers. Each side denied the other's claims."We're conducting operations in and around Arghandab in response toincreased Taliban fighter numbers," said Lt. Commander Pierre Babinsky. "Wededicated a lot of resources to this."

Residents said hundreds of people were fleeing the district because of fearsof a major battle. Cars and trucks loaded with families from the area havestreamed into Kandahar over the last two days, sparking fear among cityresidents.

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The New York Times

Mukasey Calls Harsh Interrogation 'Repugnant'

October 31, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 - In an effort to quell growing doubts in the Senateabout his nomination as attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey declaredTuesday that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques "seemover the line or, on a personal basis, repugnant to me" and promised toreview the legality of such methods if confirmed.

But Mr. Mukasey told Senate Democrats he could not say whetherwaterboarding, which simulates drowning, was illegal torture because he hadnot been briefed on the details of the classified technique and did not wantto suggest that Central Intelligence Agency officers who had used suchtechniques might be in "personal legal jeopardy."

It was unclear whether the answers would be enough to win endorsement fromthe Senate Judiciary Committee, where the torture issue has threatened toblock the confirmation of Mr. Mukasey, who served for 18 years as a federaljudge in New York.

Mr. Mukasey gave his answer in a four-page letter delivered Tuesdayafternoon to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, chairman of the committee, and theother nine Democrats on it.

Mr. Mukasey noted that Congress has not explicitly banned waterboarding bythe C.I.A., though it was outlawed for use by the military in the DetaineeTreatment Act of 2005. That left room for interpretation as to whetherwaterboarding or any other technique is prohibited as "cruel, inhuman ordegrading" treatment, he wrote.

"Legal questions must be answered based solely on the actual facts,circumstances and legal standards presented," he wrote.

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The New York Times

Training Law Students for Real-Life Careers

October 31, 2007

Forget all the jokes about what should be done with the lawyers. What shouldbe done with the law students?

That question is being tackled - seriously - at a variety of law schoolsaround the country as they undertake a broad series of changes to theircurriculums. The changes range from requiring new courses for first-yearstudents to expanding clinical programs to adding electives in the lateryears to encouraging law students to take courses in other graduate-levelprograms at their universities.

Harvard Law School announced last year that it would modify its venerablecurriculum, and its cross-country rival, Stanford Law School, has begunmaking changes, too.

Columbia Law School began modifying its curriculum in 2003, and theUniversity of New Mexico School of Law made a series of changes startingthree years ago and is weighing more.

"When you haven't changed your curriculum in 150 years, at some point youlook around," said Elena Kagan, the dean of Harvard Law.

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The Washington Post

Mukasey Losing Democrats' Backing
Nominee Unsure If Waterboarding Breaks Torture Law

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2007; A01

Attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey told Senate Democrats yesterdaythat a kind of simulated drowning known as waterboarding is "repugnant tome," but he said he does not know whether the interrogation tactic violatesU.S. laws against torture.

Mukasey's uncertainty about the method's legality has raised new questionsabout the success of his nomination. It seemed a sure thing just two weeksago, as Democrats joined Republicans in predicting his easy confirmation tosucceed the embattled Alberto R. Gonzales.

Mukasey raised alarms among Democrats and human rights groups duringtestimony on Oct. 18. He declined to say whether waterboarding is torture,prompting key Democrats to press the point and say their vote will hinge onhis answer to that question.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has so far refused toschedule a vote on Mukasey's nomination. All four Democratic senatorsrunning for president said before the release of Mukasey's letter yesterdayevening that they will vote against him because of his handling of thewaterboarding issue.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), the Democratic front-runner, saidyesterday that "we cannot send a signal that the next attorney general inany way condones torture or believes that the president is unconstrained bylaw." Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), a memberof the Judiciary panel, issued similar statements.

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The Washington Post

Separate Report Indicates Economy Grew at Healthy Pace in Third Quarter

By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2007; 2:51 PM

The Federal Reserve slashed a key interest rate today, continuing itscampaign to try to keep problems in the housing market from slowing the U.S.economy, even as a separate government report indicated that the economygrew at a healthy pace in the third quarter.

The central bank's policymaking body cut the federal funds rate, a rate atwhich banks lend to each other, a quarter percentage point to 4.5 percent --a move that had been widely anticipated by investors. At its previousmeeting, on Sept. 18, it had cut rates half a percentage point.

The lower rates are likely to result in lower borrowing costs for holders ofcredit cards, adjustable rate mortgages and student and auto loans. It willalso make it cheaper for businesses to expand by borrowing money.

Markets fell immediately after the announcement. The Dow Jones industrialaverage, which was up as much as 80 points before the Fed announcement, weregyrating wildly shortly afterward, up only slightly for the day so far,about 15 points, at 2:25 p.m.

"The pace of economic expansion will likely slow in the near term, partlyreflecting the intensification of the housing correction," said the FederalOpen Market Committee in a statement accompanying its announcement. "Today'saction, combined with the policy action taken in September, should helpforestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that mightotherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets and promotemoderate growth over time."

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The Washington Post

The Global Poverty Trap

By Robert J. Samuelson
Wednesday, October 31, 2007; A19

It's nature vs. nurture. One of the big debates of our time involves thecauses of economic growth. Why is North America richer than South America?Why is Africa poor and Europe wealthy? Is it possible to eliminate globalpoverty? The World Bank estimates that 2.5 billion people still live on $2 aday or less. On one side are economists who argue that societies can nurtureeconomic growth by adopting sound policies. Not so, say other scholars suchas Lawrence Harrison of Tufts University. Culture (a.k.a. "nature")predisposes some societies to rapid growth and others to poverty or meagergrowth.

Comes now Gregory Clark, an economist who interestingly takes the side ofculture. In an important new book, " A Farewell to Alms: A Brief EconomicHistory of the World," Clark suggests that much of the world's remainingpoverty is semi-permanent. Modern technology and management are widelyavailable, but many societies can't take advantage because their values andsocial organization are antagonistic. Prescribing economically sensiblepolicies (open markets, secure property rights, sound money) can't overcomethis bedrock resistance.

"There is no simple economic medicine that will guarantee growth, and evencomplicated economic surgery offers no clear prospect of relief forsocieties afflicted with poverty," he writes. Various forms of foreignassistance "may disappear into the pockets of Western consultants and thecorrupt rulers of these societies." Because some societies encourage growthand some don't, the gap between the richest nations and the poorest isactually greater today (50 to 1) than in 1800 (4 to 1), Clark estimates.

All this disputes the notion that relentless globalization will inevitablydefeat global poverty. To Clark, who teaches at the University of Californiaat Davis, history's most important event was the Industrial Revolution --more important than the emergence of monotheism, which produced Judaism,Christianity and Islam; or the invention of the printing press around 1450,which spread knowledge; or the American Revolution, which promoteddemocracy.

Before 1800, says Clark, most societies were stagnant. With some exceptions,people lived no better than their ancestors in the Stone Age. Economicgrowth was virtually nonexistent. Then England broke the pattern, astextile, iron and food production increased dramatically. Since 1800,English income per person has risen by a factor of 10. Much of Europe andthe United States followed.

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The Washington Post

Open-Arms Conservatism

By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, October 31, 2007; A19

About a year out from the presidential election, the Republican Party is inthe midst of an ideological identity crisis. Its leading candidates -- goodmen all -- have adopted what one analyst calls "a baseline conservatism,"fearful that policy innovation or outreach to nontraditional groups will beviewed with suspicion by the party's anti-government base. In debates andforums, Republican candidates talk endlessly of budget restraint but sparefew words for racial reconciliation, the problems of addiction or at-riskyouths, or the economic prospects of the poor.

The Republican political season began with a call for the return ofReaganism. But the party, it seems, has managed to turn the clock back onlyto the mid-1990s, when leaders such as Dick Armey and Phil Gramm set itstone. Armey, you'll remember, declared Medicare "a program I would have nopart of in a free world." When Republicans forced a shutdown of the federalgovernment in 1995, Gramm appeared on television saying, "Have you missedthe government? Doesn't it strike you as funny that . . . large sections ofthe government are shut down?"

It did not, in fact, strike most Americans as funny that parks were closed,Medicare claims were not processed and federal workers were not paid. Abelief in limited government -- which all conservatives share -- became anunbalanced hostility toward government itself. And this anti-governmentextremism allowed President Bill Clinton -- even when politically wounded --to outmaneuver Republican leaders at every turn.

Anti-government conservatives, once again, seem intent on leaving out someof the best elements of the conservative tradition. They have posed a falsechoice. On one side, they assert, is liberal statism, the accumulation ofcoercive governmental power. On the other side, they argue, is thephilosophy of freedom, reduced to a single principle of unrestrictedindividual economic choice.

There are, in fact, two belief systems contending for the soul of theRepublican Party, but one is not liberalism. The two intellectually vitalmovements within the Republican Party today are libertarianism and RomanCatholic social thought -- a teaching that has influenced manynon-Catholics, including me.

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The Washington Post

Partners In the War On Terror
Telecommunications Firms And the Senate's FISA Bill

By John D. Rockefeller IV
Wednesday, October 31, 2007; A19

In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, the Bush administration had achoice: Aggressively pursue potential terrorists using existing laws ordevise new, secret intelligence programs in uncharted legal waters.

Unfortunately, President Bush often chose the latter, and the legitimacy andeffectiveness of our efforts to fight terrorism were dramaticallyundermined.

The president's warrantless surveillance program and his decision to go italone -- without input from Congress or the courts -- have had devastatingconsequences. One is that private companies, which would normally complywith legitimate national security requests, now have incentive to say no.

Here's why. Within weeks of the 2001 attacks, communications companiesreceived written requests and directives for assistance with intelligenceactivities authorized by the president. These companies were assured thattheir cooperation was not only legal but also necessary because of theirunique technical capabilities. They were also told it was their patrioticduty to help protect the country after the devastating attacks on ourhomeland.

Today there is significant debate about whether the underlying program --the president's warrantless surveillance plan -- was legal or violatedconstitutional rights. That is an important debate, and those questions mustbe answered.

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The Washington Post

Unbury This Treaty
The Senate can protect American interests by ratifying the Law of the SeaConvention.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007; A18

ONE OF the hoariest debates in Washington concerns the Law of the SeaConvention, a pact the United States helped to write 30 years ago and thenrefused to ratify -- initially because President Ronald Reagan was opposed.Mr. Reagan's objections to the treaty's regulation of seabed mining wereaddressed when the treaty was renegotiated in 1994, but still the Senaterefused to ratify, succumbing to alarmist conservative rhetoric about"global government." For most of his tenure, President Bush has deferred toideologues in his administration who object to virtually all treaties. Butthat posturing is threatening to severely damage U.S. economic and securityinterests. Mr. Bush now favors the treaty, which will be voted on today bythe Foreign Relations Committee. We hope the committee and the full Senatewill approve it.

By now the array of treaty supporters is vast, ranging fromenvironmentalists to oil, fishing and shipping companies to the U.S.military -- not to mention most previous Democratic and Republicansecretaries of state, including Mr. Reagan's stalwart, George P. Shultz. Onereason is the U.S. interest in undersea territories in the warming Arcticthat could contain billions of barrels of oil, among other resources, aswell as newly opening sea lanes. Russia, Denmark and Canada are making boldclaims to Arctic territories -- claims that will be adjudicated by aninternational tribunal. Without joining the treaty, the United States canneither win recognition for its own potential claims to hundreds ofthousands of square miles of territory off the coast of Alaska nor directlycontest those of others.

Senators who would injure U.S. interests on such a scale to ward off worldgovernment are being cheered on by a handful of conservative think tanks andlaw professors who advance alarming-sounding but improbable claims. Perhapsthe most notable of these is that ratification would hamstring theadministration's Proliferation Security Initiative, which is aimed atstopping traffic in weapons of mass destruction by, among other means,intercepting ships. Some argue that international courts would be empoweredto decide whether the Navy could seize contraband centrifuges. But thetreaty contains an exception for military activity, and the United Statescan opt out of provisions that might give jurisdiction to courts. Themembers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have concluded that ratification wouldstrengthen the PSI.

A decade or two ago, the United States could afford to indulge its moreirrational fears about one-worldism. But the price is rising steadily. TheSenate needs to promptly ratify the Law of the Sea treaty to protectconcrete and purely American economic and security interests.


The Miami Herald

Boss, are you happy with your work?

Posted on Wed, Oct. 31, 2007


Maybe if I had been drinking heavily. Maybe if I were suffering amnesia.Maybe if I'd had a lobotomy.

Maybe, in other words, if my memory were impaired, I could accept theapologies for last week's FEMA-brand bovine excreta at face value. Problemis, my memory is more or less intact, the routine ravages of agenotwithstanding. So you'll forgive me if my response to FEMA's latest oopsfor its latest blunder is less than charitable.

For those who missed it: Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agencycalled a press conference on 15 minutes' notice to discuss its response tothe wildfires in California. The short notice guaranteed that no reporterscould get there in time, though they were given a phone number that allowedthem to listen -- not pose questions, mind you, but listen -- to a briefingfrom Vice Adm. Harvey Johnson, FEMA's deputy chief, after which, he tookquestions.

But wait a minute, you say: If no reporters were there, who asked thequestions? It turns out that FEMA staffers, posing as reporters, did thehonors. That's right, FEMA questioned FEMA. Or, to put it another way, agroup of worker bees interviewed their boss.

It will not surprise you to hear that this format failed to produce toughquestions. Instead, Johnson fielded slow rollers like, ''Are you happy withFEMA's response so far?'' Thankfully, the session ended before anyone couldask him what sort of tree he would like to be in the next life.

When news broke of what FEMA had done, confessions and condemnations felllike rain. The agency apologized. A spokeswoman for the Department ofHomeland Security called the episode ''offensive.'' DHS chief MichaelChertoff called it one of the ''dumbest'' stunts he has seen in government.The White House called it an ``error in judgment.''

I'd be happy to take the apologies and the you-a culpas at face value andmove on. Maybe I could do that if I were suffering some mental lapse thaterased the accumulated experience of the last six years. Maybe I could do itif this were just an isolated instance of bad judgment. Maybe I could do itif this were not but the latest of many examples of the Bush administrationmanipulating news and information.

. Maybe if a GOP shill and sometime porn entrepreneur had never been allowedto play reporter in the White House press room.

. Maybe if the administration had never paid public funds to a supposedjournalist for him to say good things about its No Child Left Behind law.

. Maybe if the government had never put out promotional videos disguised asnews, complete with Bush underlings pretending to be reporters.

. Maybe if they were not in the habit of censoring science.

. Maybe if Donald Rumsfeld had never proposed an office of disinformation.

. Maybe if all 300 million of us were drinking heavily.

But there is not enough alcohol in existence, and the administration'saversion to the whole truth and nothing but is all too well documented.

There is more at stake here than the credibility of a president or apresidency. What is at stake is the ability of people to trust that those inpositions of trust are worthy of trust. To play fast and loose with facts,as the Bush administration has habitually done, is to put truth itself intoplay and risk rendering government's word worthless. Not this government,but government, period.

And for what? For short-term political gain? The prize seems hardly worththe price. Yet they keep on doing it just the same. They refuse to learnfrom from their mistakes.

Which only makes this show of contrition feel all the more cynical anddisingenuous. They should save the apologies for people with short memories.Maybe some of us don't see the pattern here.

But rest assured, some of us do.


The Miami Herald

The immunity slip

Posted on Wed, Oct. 31, 2007

America's credibility, already damaged by the poor handling of the Iraq War,has suffered another blow with news that Blackwater guards involved inkilling 17 Iraqi civilians in downtown Baghdad have been granted immunityfor their statements about the incident. The grant of limited-use immunityby State Department investigators should never have been given, and itraises questions about U.S. handling of the controversial shootings.The immunity grant will make any possible prosecution of Blackwaterguards -- a task already rife with problems -- much more difficult. StateDepartment investigators gave the guards immunity even though they didn'thave the authority to do so and, apparently, without the knowledge ofJustice Department prosecutors.

FBI investigators have now taken over the case, but the damage has beendone. No information from the initial interviews can be used against theguards. FBI investigators can attempt to re-interview the guards, but theywill be severely constrained. Even before this snafu, the legal status ofthe guards was murky. They aren't bound by U.S. law, military rules or Iraqilaw.

Both the U.S. Congress and the Iraq government recently have passed laws inattempts to bring the thousands of armed, private-security guards in Iraqunder some kind of legal authority. The Iraqi government says the guardswere unprovoked and fired indiscriminately. A U.S. military investigationalso concluded that the shootings were unprovoked.

After the Bush administration's many well-publicized mistakes in the war,including the disbanding of the Iraq army and the abuse of prisoners at AbuGhraib, it is stunning that the high-profile killings of innocent Iraqishave not been handled with greater care. Whether by willful inattention orcareless bumbling, the administration has again stumbled badly.



The Democratic duel of the race

The debate in Philly: Edwards and Biden come out swinging, Obama sticks tosmooth jazz, and Clinton stands tall but then stumbles.

By Walter Shapiro

Oct. 31, 2007 | Memo to Democratic voters: If you missed Tuesday night'sdebate on MSNBC -- the most explosive event of this endless pre-primaryseason -- troll through YouTube, throw yourself on the mercy of friends withTiVo, stalk the network's Web site. Do anything to watch the first hour plusthe last 10 minutes of this fandango in Philly, this duel at Drexel, thisDemocratic donnybrook that may well define the race.

The tag-team questioning of Brian Williams and Tim Russert yielded not onlyheat (perhaps inevitable as we reach the highly combustible point in thecampaign calendar) but also light. Not only crystal-clear interludes (JoeBiden's epic putdown of Rudy Giuliani: "There are only three things hementions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11") but also enlighteningmoments that illuminated the choices facing Democrats.

Before the debate, the evening was ballyhooed as Barack Obama's breakoutnight -- the point in the campaign when the fledgling Illinois senator wouldfinally display his mettle by aggressively challenging Hillary Clinton.Obama telegraphed his punches in advance, promising the New York Times in aninterview, "Now's the time for us to make these distinctions clear."

Instead, Obama could not even muster the gumption to lob a rhetoricalcoconut cream pie in Clinton's direction. He set the tone for the evening inthe first seconds of the debate when, challenged to repeat his recentcritiques of Clinton, he said soothingly, "Well, first of all, I think someof this stuff gets off-hyped" before lapsing into a labored (and obviouslyrehearsed) Rocky versus Apollo Creed analogy.

Later in the evening, Obama extended this turn-the-other-cheek magnanimityto none other than Mitt Romney, who had referred to him as "Osama" twice ina single day. Rather than charging, as many assume, that Romney's verbalslips were not accidental, Obama instead claimed, "I don't pay muchattention to what Mitt Romney has to say." This was his way of setting up amild joke. "At least what he says this week. It may be different next week."

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Scholars: Clinton diplomacy plan too swift

By Thomas Beaumont, The Des Moines Register

Hillary Clinton has ignited Democratic audiences on the presidentialcampaign trail with a promise to send envoys to foreign capitals before shetakes office, should she be elected next year.

"I won't even wait until I'm inaugurated," the New York senator told a crowdof about 500 on a recent campaign stop in New Hampton, Iowa.

"The day after I'm elected, I'm going to be asking distinguished Americansof both political parties to travel around the world on my behalf with avery simple message to the governments and the people alike: The era ofcowboy diplomacy is over."

The idea that Clinton would assert her foreign policy before being sworn incould weaken the sitting president's authority at a critical time, someleading scholars and former presidential advisers say.

A president-elect setting her own diplomatic agenda during the White Housetransition also departs from recent administrations and would put her inleague more with President Reagan, the experts note.

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Dallas Morning News

The New Religious Right

06:40 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A generation ago, one of the most dependable voting blocs in Americanpolitics - the labor movement - began to fracture. Union leaders bitterlyopposed the presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan, but a funny thinghappened on the way to the voting booth: Many in the union rank-and-filevoted for the Republican. Thus were the Reagan Democrats born, working-classvoters who abandoned the Democratic Party as cultural issues began todisplace economic concerns as the driving force in U.S. politics.

We may be seeing the same thing happening today with the religious right,which, like organized labor used to be for the Democrats, has for nearly 30years been a solid base for the GOP.

In 2004, white evangelicals gave 79 percent of their votes to George W.Bush. That was then. Today, evangelical leaders like Dr. James Dobson can'tfind a Republican presidential candidate to support, and while they dally,polls indicate that a significant share of the evangelical vote is lining upbehind Rudy Giuliani, who is pro-choice and pro-gay rights.

The religious right's crisis goes deeper than that, though, and like labor'spains in 1980 and beyond, heralds a transformative movement in Americanculture. Younger evangelicals are not taking up the cause of Republicanpolitical activism like their forebears. Recent polling done by thenonpartisan Pew Research Center indicates that young white evangelicals aredramatically less attached to the GOP than older white evangelicals - butabout as conservative. This is why the falling-away of white evangelicalsfrom the Republican Party hasn't resulted in a corresponding rise inDemocratic support.

Furthermore, the coming generation of white evangelicals doesn't want tolimit its political and social concerns to abortion and gay marriage. Thisgeneration is taking up environmentalism, AIDS and poverty in addition tothe conventional religious-right causes. Hispanic evangelicals, whoseenthusiasm for socially conservative policies gave entree to GOP candidates,have signaled that anti-immigration Republicans have destroyed the GOP'sprospects among their ranks.

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The Chicago Tribune,1,107276.story

CIA Head Defends Interrogation Practices

Associated Press Writer
10:01 PM CDT, October 30, 2007


CIA Director Michael Hayden defended his agency's interrogation practicesTuesday as political pressure mounted on President Bush's attorney generalnominee to reject a technique that allegedly was part of the CIA'sinterrogation program.

"Our programs are as lawful as they are valuable," Hayden said to theChicago Council on Global Affairs. "The best sources of information onterrorists and their plans are the terrorists themselves."

Hayden said "the irreplaceable nature of that intelligence is the solereason we have rendition, detention and interrogation programs."

Several senior Senate Democrats had vowed to vote against the president'snominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey, unless he statedunequivocally that the practice of "waterboarding" is torture. That wouldrender the practice illegal. The U.S. military already forbids it.

In September ABC News reported that Hayden had banned waterboarding in CIA interrogations in 2006. Agency officials have neither confirmed nor denied waterboarding prisoners in the past, and they would not confirm the reportedban.

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Los Angeles Times,1,6542468.story?coll=la-news-politics-national&track=crosspromo

Mukasey's reply draws more fire

The attorney general nominee declines to call water-boarding torture, asDemocrats on Senate panel had sought.
By Richard B. Schmitt
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 31, 2007

WASHINGTON - Atty. Gen.-designate Michael B. Mukasey, adopting a middleground on an issue that has become central to his nomination, said coerciveinterrogation methods, including a form of simulated drowning, were "overthe line" and "repugnant." But he declined to say whether he thoughtso-called water-boarding was a form of torture that would be illegal in allcases.

His position, detailed in a letter late Tuesday to the Senate JudiciaryCommittee, where his nomination to succeed Alberto R. Gonzales has stalled,fell short of assurances sought by some leading Democrats and cast doubtover whether Mukasey would be confirmed.

One member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.),said Tuesday that Mukasey did not go far enough in condemning torture, andthat he would vote against the nomination. "We cannot have a United Statesattorney general who will equivocate and dissemble on this matter," saidBiden, a presidential candidate.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the front-runner for her party'spresidential nomination, also weighed in against Mukasey, saying that shewas troubled by his "continued unwillingness to clearly state his views ontorture and unchecked executive power."

The water-boarding issue flared earlier this month at Mukasey's confirmationhearing, where he said he was unfamiliar with the technique -- even thoughit had been widely publicized and discussed in the wake of prison scandalsin Iraq and elsewhere after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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Boston Globe

Poll: political party is key in opinion on climate change

By Stephen Frothingham, Associated Press Writer | October 30, 2007

CONCORD, N.H. --Political party affiliation and education levels are key toNew Hampshire residents' opinions on climate change, according to pollresults released Tuesday.

Overall, 76 percent of state residents say they are "very concerned" or"somewhat concerned" about climate change, according to a poll commissionedby the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and conducted bythe University of New Hampshire Survey Center in September.

But among respondents who said they are Republicans, 22 percent said theywere "very concerned," while 69 percent of Democrats and 40 percent ofindependents had the same level of concern.

The higher the education level, the more likely respondents were to beconcerned about climate change. Among those with high school education orless, 39 percent are "very concerned," while 68 percent of those who havecompleted at least some graduate work are "very concerned."

The Forest Society is a nonpartisan group that focuses on forestry practicesand land conservation. The group would fall into the category of "veryconcerned" about climate change, spokesman Jack Savage said.

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USA Today

Our view on cleaning up Congress: Lawmakers still find ways to preservetheir perks

New ethics reform law hasn't ended lobbyist-funded travel, earmark abuses.

On Capitol Hill these days, a shrinking ration of perks has left members ofCongress grasping to hang onto every lingering sliver of special treatmentthey can find - whether it's a free trip to Palm Beach or a way to slipdubious spending projects into the budget.

Such is the mixed legacy of ethics reform passed by the new Democraticmajority that took control of Congress in January on a wave of voterrevulsion about corruption. The Democrats banned an assortment of sleazypractices, such as the gifts lobbyists used to shower on Congress. They alsoordered lobbyists to report more fully on contacts and contributions. Butthey left plenty of wiggle room and, not surprisingly, there's plenty ofwiggling going on:

* Luxury travel. USA TODAY reported last week that during the first eightmonths this year, lawmakers accepted $1.9 million in free trips - more thanthey took all last year when Democrats were campaigning against what theydubbed the Republican "culture of corruption."

Instead of banning trips by groups that lobby Congress or push ideologicalagendas, Congress merely limited them. For example, lawmakers are stillallowed to accept hotel stays up to two nights from companies withlobbyists. Thus, 22 House Democrats and three Republicans were able toaccept $40,000 in trips - many of them to Las Vegas or Florida resorts -from companies that often are seeking something from Congress. So threenights of cozy influence at a posh resort is corrupting, but two nights isfine?

* Earmark shenanigans. One of Congress' seamiest practices is earmarking,when lawmakers slip special projects into bills to direct your tax dollarsto politically favored recipients. The Senate promised to shine a brightlight on this practice. But in some cases, the reform works more like alow-watt bulb. For example, the $5.2 billion in earmarks tucked into theSenate's defense spending bill are still difficult to decipher, according toTaxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group.

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Thye Washington Post



Wednesday, October 31, 2007; A06

"I had prostate cancer, five, six years ago. My chances of survivingprostate cancer -- and thank God I was cured of it -- in the United States:82 percent. My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England, only 44percent under socialized medicine."

-- Rudy Giuliani, New Hampshire radio advertisement, Oct. 29, 2007

The former New York mayor has had experience battling prostate cancer, buthe's confused about the stats, according to several experts we consulted.


As factual support for the presidential candidate's claim, his campaigncited an article by David Gratzer that appeared in the City Journal,published by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative New York think tank,slamming the Canadian and British systems of "socialized" medicine. Thearticle provides no sources for its assertions about five-year survivabilityrates for prostate cancer.

Experts from the National Cancer Institute and the urology departments atJohns Hopkins University and the University of Kansas agreed that Giuliani'sfigures were way out of date, if they were ever accurate at all. The latestofficial figures for five-year "survivability" rates for prostate cancer areabout 98 percent in the United States and 74 percent in England.

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Washington Post

Opponents Pounce on Clinton's Statements on Immigration

After withstanding a series of pointed questions from her rivals in thedebate's first hour, Clinton appeared to commit an unforced error whenanswering a question on whether she supported Gov. Eliot Spitzer's (D-N.Y.)plan to offer drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.

John Edwards aggressively confronted Sen. Hillary Clinton over an answer shegave on a program to give driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.TimRussert asked Clinton why she had told a New Hampshire newspaper that theplan "makes a lot of sense."

Clinton replied that Spitzer is "trying to fill the vacuum left by thefailure this administration to bring about comprehensive immigrationreform." After the interlude of a Dodd answer on the same subject Clintonadded, "I just want to add, I did not say it should be done, but I certainlyunderstand why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it."

Later pressed by co-moderator Tim Russert a perturbed Clinton said thatRussert was asking her a "gotcha" question.

"What is the governor supposed to do?" Clinton asked. "We have failed,George Bush has failed. Do I think this is the best thing for any governorto do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation of trying toget a handle on this? Remember, in New York, we want to know who is in NewYork, we want people to come out of the shadows. He's making an honesteffort to do it. WE should have passed immigration reform."

Edwards and Obama immediately pounced. Edwards said "Sen. Clinton just saidtwo different things in two minutes" and accused Clinton of "double-talk."Obama said, "I don't know if she is for it or against it."

By Editors | October 30, 2007; 11:15 PM ET | Category:Eye on 2008


Washington Post

To Implement Policy, Bush to Turn to Administrative Orders

By Michael Abramowitz and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 31, 2007; A03

The White House plans to try implementing as much new policy as it can byadministrative order while stepping up its confrontational rhetoric withCongress after concluding that President Bush cannot do much business withthe Democratic leadership, administration officials said.

According to those officials, Bush and his advisers blame Democrats for theholdup of Judge Michael B. Mukasey's nomination to be attorney general, thefailure to pass any of the 12 annual spending bills, and what they see astheir refusal to involve the White House in any meaningful negotiations overthe stalemated children's health-care legislation.

White House aides say the only way Bush seems to be able to influence theprocess is by vetoing legislation or by issuing administrative orders, as hehas in recent weeks on veterans' health care, air-traffic congestion,protecting endangered fish and immigration. They say they expect Bush toissue more of such orders in the next several months, even as he speaks outon the need to limit spending and resist any tax increases.

The events of recent weeks have "crystallized that the chances of theseleaders meeting the administration halfway are becoming increasinglyremote," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

Bush himself has been complaining more and more bitterly about congressional Democrats in recent weeks. In a private meeting yesterday with HouseRepublicans in the East Room of the White House, Bush recalled how he hadbeen able to work with Democrats when he was Texas governor and said he hadhoped to find the same relationships in Washington.

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