Friday, November 09, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST November 9, 2007

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


Vaccine in study actually increased AIDS risk

The Associated Press
November 9, 2007


New data on an experimental AIDS vaccine that failed to work showsvolunteers who got the shots were far more likely to get infected with thevirus through sex or other risky behavior than those who got dummy shots.

The new details, released by drugmaker Merck & Co., don't answer the crucialquestion of whether failure of the vaccine also spells doom for many similarAIDS vaccines now in testing.

And researchers weren't sure why more of the vaccinated volunteers wound upgetting HIV than those who got dummy shots.

"One of the possibilities is that the increase in the number of infectionswas related to the vaccine," meaning it could have made people moresusceptible to HIV infection, said Dr. Keith Gottesdiener, vice president ofclinical research at Merck Research Laboratories. He couldn't say how likelythat was but said other factors, even coincidence, could be the explanation.

Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., announced on Sept. 21 that it wasstopping the study because the vaccine didn't work. It was a stunningsetback in the push to develop an AIDS vaccine.

more . . . . .


Pew Research Center

A Year Later: Public Dissatisfied With Democratic Leaders, But Still HappyThey Won
November 7, 2007

A year after the Democratic Party won control of both houses of Congress,Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with the party's congressionalleaders. Just 31% approve of their job performance, down 10 points sinceFebruary.

Despite these tepid ratings, most Americans (54%) say that they are happythat the Democrats won control of Congress in last year's elections. Thatrepresents a modest decline since last November, but positive views of theDemocratic congressional victory have remained stable since March. At leastin part, this reflects the fact that Republican leaders are blamed as oftenas Democratic leaders for Congress' lack of productivity.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & thePress, conducted Oct. 17-23 among 2,007 adults, finds that the public givesCongress low marks for productivity. Overall, 43% say this Congress hasaccomplished less than recent sessions while just 5% say it has accomplishedmore; 42% say it has accomplished about the same as past sessions. Theseratings are comparable to those for the Republican-led Congress in 2006,shortly before it was voted out of power.

Unlike last year, however, the public apportions the blame for Congress'sperceived lack of productivity fairly evenly. Among those who say Congresshas been less productive than in the past, 26% blame Democratic leaders, upfrom just 10% a year ago. But about as many (30%) blame Republican leaders,while 34% blame both parties. In October 2006, fully 59% blamed Republicanleaders for Congress accomplishing less than usual.

Dem Leaders Lose Favor

A majority of Americans (54%) disapprove of the job Democratic congressionalleaders are doing, up sharply from February (36%) but consistent with July.Opinions of the Democratic congressional leadership mirror opinions ofRepublican congressional leaders in mid-to-late 2006. In October 2006,shortly before the power-shifting election, 33% approved of Republicancongressional leaders, while 56% disapproved.

more . . . . .


Pew Research Center

Religious Groups' Presidential Candidate Preferences

by Dan Cox and Gregory Smith, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
November 7, 2007

As the races for the 2008 presidential nominations heat up, two recentsurveys conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press makeit possible to examine how the candidates in both political parties arefaring among a variety of religious groups. The parties' front-runners,Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, sit at or near the top of the list ofpreferred candidates among a variety of religious groups. Giuliani, though,garners considerably less support from white evangelical Protestants thanfrom white mainline Protestants and white Catholics. These surveys wereconducted in September and October, prior to evangelical broadcaster PatRobertson's endorsement of Giuliani on Nov. 7.

The Democrats

Overall, the contest for the Democratic nomination has been fairly stable,with Clinton leading her opponents by wide margins in most recent surveys.An aggregation of surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center in Septemberand October finds that Clinton is the clear front-runner among allDemocratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, with close to half(44%) of this group saying that they would most prefer Clinton to be thenominee in 2008. A quarter prefers Barack Obama, while slightly more thanone-in-ten (13%) favor John Edwards.

But support for the three leading candidates varies considerably amongcertain religious traditions. Support for Clinton crosses religiousboundaries, with pluralities of Democrats in every major religious traditionpreferring her as the nominee. Meanwhile, Obama and Edwards receivedifferent levels of support depending on voters' religious affiliation. Forinstance, Obama does more than twice as well among black Protestants (36% ofwhom name him as their preferred candidate) than among white Catholics (17%of whom prefer him). Edwards, on the other hand, does poorly among blackProtestants (only 5% express support for him) and is supported by onlyone-in-ten among the religiously unaffiliated. But he does much better amongwhite Catholics, who express slightly more support for Edwards (19%) thanfor Obama (17%).

Interestingly, Dennis Kucinich, who has only 3% support among all Democraticand Democratic-leaning registered voters, is the first choice of almostone-in-ten religiously unaffiliated voters, nearly equal to this group'slevel of support for Edwards (10%).

more . . . . .


Pew Research Center

A Year Ahead, Republicans Face Tough Political Terrain

October 31, 2007

A year before the 2008 presidential election, most major national opiniontrends decidedly favor the Democrats. Discontent with the state of thenation is markedly greater than it was four years ago. President Bush'sapproval rating has fallen from 50% to 30% over this period. And theDemocrats' advantage over the Republicans on party affiliation is not onlysubstantially greater than it was four years ago, but is the highestrecorded during the past two decades.

The public continues to express more confidence in the Democratic Party thanin the Republican Party as being able to bring about needed change, togovern in an honest and ethical way and to manage the federal government.The Democratic Party's advantages on these traits are much wider than duringthe last presidential campaign. Moreover, they remain about as large as theywere just prior to the 2006 midterm election, in spite of rising publicdiscontent with the Democrat-led Congress.

The voters' issues agenda also appears to benefit the Democrats. Along withIraq, the economy, health care and education rate as the most importantissues for voters. Compared with the 2004 campaign, fewer voters now placegreat importance on the issues that have animated Republican political unityin recent years - including gay marriage, abortion and terrorism.

Looking to the presidential election itself, the political climate appearsto be affecting the morale of those in both parties. Democrats are morepositive and more enthused than are Republicans. Since the beginning of theyear, Democrats have closely followed campaign news at consistently higherrates than have Republicans, and somewhat greater proportions of Democratssay they have given a lot of thought to the presidential candidates.

Republicans not only are less engaged in the campaign, but they also ratetheir party's presidential candidates more negatively than do Democrats.Nearly half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (46%) ratethe Republican presidential candidates as only fair or poor; by comparison,just 28% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents give theDemocratic presidential field comparably low ratings.

more . . . . .


Inside Higher Education

Sending in the Class Monitor

Nov. 9

A professor's alleged remarks in September set off an investigation atBrandeis University that has left some faculty members skeptical, studentsdivided and the class itself monitored - for the time being - by anadministrator.

The incident recalls one this year at the University of Wisconsin atMadison, where a law professor was accused of making anti-Hmong comments,and the details he later provided placed those comments in a very differentcontext, one contested by some who brought the complaints in the firstplace. At Brandeis, a university named for a defender of freedom ofexpression, the episode took place in a class on Latin American politics,and the statements in question centered around a single word whoseconnotations have historically caused pain to Mexican Americans.

The word was "wetback," an insult describing illegal immigrants from Mexico.But as is often the case with powerful words whose use has been intertwinedwith painful history, it could all boil down to the context of the professor's utterance - and that context is in dispute.

According to the professor, Donald Hindley, who has taught in the politicsdepartment for almost 47 years at the university, the word came during ahistorical discussion about racism against immigrants. "When Mexicans comenorth as illegal immigrants, we call them wetbacks," he told the Brandeisstudent newspaper, the Justice, in describing his comments. He says he wasn't saying that's what they should be called, but what many Americans do callthem. (Inside Higher Ed spoke briefly with Hindley, but he did not returnsubsequent calls for clarification.)

That's not how some students in the class - at least two - interpreted it.They "individually and independently" approached Steven L. Burg, the AdlaiE. Stevenson Professor of International Politics and the chair of thedepartment, "to register serious concern and complaints about things thathad been said by professor Donald Hindley in class and in the case of one ofthe students, directly to the student," he said. (Since the proceedings ofthe subsequent investigation are still confidential, it is not certainwhether all the students responded to the same incident.)

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn

Published on Thursday, November 8, 2007 by

Bush's Dangerous 14 Months-And Ours

by Marcus Raskin and Robert Spero

After the 2006 congressional elections, pundits declared that President Bushwas a lame duck. Each day his power and capacity to pursue hisneoconservative agenda was supposed to drain away until he went back toCrawford Texas, a beaten man.

But like so much in politics, those who tie themselves to conventionalwisdom are often very wrong. George W. Bush is as strong now as he was whenhe gained office for his second term. He is determined-ferociously, like abulldog with a bone-to pursue his agenda even if it becomes a millstonearound the country¹s neck for years and decades.

Why is Mr. Bush, in the remaining 14 months of his presidency, defying thewishes of the people, when 75 percent believe the country is heading downthe wrong track? For all the obsessive secrecy of the Bush administration,the president has been remarkably open about his guide in matters of stateand as a personal cleanser to his previous alcohol addiction: Jesus.

Remember he told us, "Christ.changed my heart," in the 2000 televisiondebates and he seems to believe that Jesus is his man. Bush's rigid judgmentand personal certitude in decision-making fits the classic profile of arecovering alcoholic. In this context, he was saved by his ambition which hemelded to Jesus and the simplistic symbols of good versus evil. Whether ornot Bush envisions himself as an instrument of God to advance his agenda oruses his faith as a political weapon against his opposition, he has put downunmistakable markers for the next 14 months. These markers have consequencesthat cannot be wished away:

* Bush has made clear the Iraq War is his legacy. He intends to make surethe United States stays his course over the next 14 months. Nearly 4,000U.S. soldiers have been killed. Nearly 28,000 have been seriously woundedand maimed. Some 660,000 Iraqis have died since the war began, according toa Johns Hopkins University report. How many more people will we lose tosustain this murderous folly?



The New York Times

Health Care Excuses

Op-Ed Columnist
November 9, 2007

The United States spends far more on health care per person than any othernation. Yet we have lower life expectancy than most other rich countries.Furthermore, every other advanced country provides all its citizens withhealth insurance; only in America is a large fraction of the populationuninsured or underinsured.

You might think that these facts would make the case for major reform ofAmerica's health care system - reform that would involve, among otherthings, learning from other countries' experience - irrefutable. Instead,however, apologists for the status quo offer a barrage of excuses for oursystem's miserable performance.

So I thought it would be useful to offer a catalog of the most commonlyheard apologies for American health care, and the reasons they won't wash.

Excuse No. 1: No insurance, no problem.

"I mean, people have access to health care in America," said President Busha few months ago. "After all, you just go to an emergency room." He waswidely mocked for his cluelessness, yet many apologists for the health caresystem in the United States seem almost equally clueless.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Veterans Without Health Care

November 9, 2007

Although many Americans believe that the nation's veterans have ready accessto health care, that is far from the case. A new study by researchers at theHarvard Medical School has found that millions of veterans and theirdependents have no access to care in veterans' hospitals and clinics and nohealth insurance to pay for care elsewhere. Their plight represents yetanother failure of our disjointed health care system to provide coverage forall Americans.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, estimatedthat in 2004 nearly 1.8 million veterans were uninsured and unable to getcare in veterans' facilities. An additional 3.8 million members of theirhouseholds faced the same predicament. All told, this group made up roughly12 percent of the huge population of uninsured Americans.

Most of the uninsured veterans were working-class people who were too poorto afford private insurance but not poor enough to qualify for care under apriority system administered by the Veterans Affairs Department. Some wereunable to get care because there was no V.A. facility nearby, or the nearestfacility had a long waiting list, or they could not afford the co-paymentsrequired of some veterans.

There is little doubt that lack of coverage was deleterious to their health.Like other uninsured Americans, the uninsured veterans report that they havedelayed or forgone care because of costs. Half had not seen a doctor in thepast year, and two-thirds got no preventive care.

And the situation has been getting worse. Despite a shrinking population ofworking-age veterans, the number of uninsured veterans increased by 290,000between 2000 and 2004, propelled by a steady erosion of health care coveragein the workplace and a tightening of enrollment criteria for veterans' care.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Op-Ed Contributors
A Post-Iraq G.I. Bill

November 9, 2007

MEMBERS of Congress and other political leaders often say that the men andwomen who have served in our military since 9/11 are the "new greatestgeneration." Well, here's a thought from two infantry combat veterans of theVietnam era's "wounded generation": if you truly believe that our Iraq andAfghanistan veterans are like those who fought in World War II, let usprovide them with the same G.I. Bill that was given to the veterans of thatwar.

In terms of providing true opportunity, the World War II G.I. Bill was oneof the most important pieces of legislation in our history. It paid collegetuition and fees, bought textbooks and provided a monthly stipend for eightmillion of the 16 million who served. Many of our colleagues in the Senatewho before the war could never have dreamed of college found themselves atsome of the nation's finest educational institutions.

Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey went to Columbia on the G.I. bill; JohnWarner of Virginia to Washington and Lee and the University of Virginia LawSchool; Daniel Inouye of Hawaii to the University of Hawaii and the GeorgeWashington University Law School; and Ted Stevens of Alaska to theUniversity of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard Law School.

Veterans today have only the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which requires a servicemember to pay $100 a month for the first year of his or her enlistment inorder to receive a flat payment for college that averages $800 a month. Thiswas a reasonable enlistment incentive for peacetime service, but it is aninsufficient reward for wartime service today. It is hardly enough to allowa veteran to attend many community colleges.

It would cover only about 13 percent of the cost of attending Columbia, 42percent at the University of Hawaii, 14 percent at Washington and Lee, 26percent at U.C.L.A. and 11 percent at Harvard Law School.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Rising Demand for Oil Provokes New Energy Crisis

November 9, 2007

With oil prices approaching the symbolic threshold of $100 a barrel, theworld is headed toward its third energy shock in a generation. But today'ssurge is fundamentally different from the previous oil crises, with broadand longer-lasting global implications.

Just as in the energy crises of the 1970s and '80s, today's high prices arecausing anxiety and pain for consumers, and igniting wider fears about theimpact on the economy.

Unlike past oil shocks, which were caused by sudden interruptions in exportsfrom the Middle East, this time prices have been rising steadily as demandfor gasoline grows in developed countries, as hundreds of millions ofChinese and Indians climb out of poverty and as other developing economiesgrow at a sizzling pace.

"This is the world's first demand-led energy shock," said LawrenceGoldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation ofWashington.

Forecasts of future oil prices range widely. Some analysts see them fallingnext year to $75, or even lower, while a few project $120 oil. Virtually noone foresees a return to the $20 oil of a decade ago, meaning consumersshould brace for an era of significantly higher fuel costs.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Surfing for Late-Night Alternatives

The Associated Press
Friday, November 9, 2007; 3:37 AM

NEW YORK -- A week after Halloween, Jon Stewart is discussing what he calls the "Double Walk of Shame." "It's embarrassing enough to see someone walkinghome at 8 a.m. from a one-night stand, but to see someone make that samejourney dressed as a wrinkled zebra?"

Stewart first cracked this joke last week on "The Daily Show." Just after 11p.m. on Wednesday night, he's telling it again.

This does not bode well for night owls.

The Comedy Central rerun is an instant effect of the writers strike thatleft every major late-night show without its snarky scribes. If history isany indication, this walkoff could last a loooong time: Hollywood writerspreviously went on strike in 1988 ... for 22 weeks.

How will late-night TV watchers make it through a potentially months-longspell without fresh offerings from Stewart, David Letterman, Jay Leno _ and,if they stay up REALLY late, Conan O'Brien?

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

A Bush Veto Is Overridden for the 1st Time
With Action on Spending Bills, Hill Signals Fight With White House OverPriorities

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 9, 2007; A04

A year after Democrats won control of Capitol Hill, Congress delivered itsclearest victory yet over President Bush yesterday, resoundingly overturninghis veto of a $23 billion water resources measure -- the first veto overrideof Bush's presidency.

The 79 to 14 vote in the Senate was followed last night by final passage ofa huge, $151 billion health, education and labor spending bill. House andSenate negotiators also reached agreement on a transportation and housingbill that increases spending on highway repair in the wake of theMinneapolis bridge collapse and boosts foreclosure assistance in the midstof a housing crisis.

Moreover, the House unveiled a four-month, $50 billion Iraq war-funding billthat would give the president 60 days to present a plan to complete U.S.troop withdrawals by Dec. 15, 2008. The measure would limit the troops'mission to counterterrorism and the training of Iraqi forces and wouldextend a torture ban to the CIA.

In short, the long-awaited battle between Congress and Bush over federalspending and the size and reach of government is now on.

"I hope that the Congress feels good about what we've done," said SenateMajority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "I believe in the institution of thelegislative branch of government. I think it should exist, and for sevenyears this man has ignored us."

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Senate Confirms Mukasey By 53-40
Historically Low Tally for New Attorney General

By Dan Eggen and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer and
Friday, November 9, 2007; A01

A divided Senate narrowly confirmed former federal judge Michael B. Mukaseylast night as the 81st attorney general, giving the nominee the lowest levelof congressional support of any Justice Department leader in the pasthalf-century.

The 53 to 40 vote came after more than four hours of impassioned floordebate, and it reflected an effort by Democrats to register theirdispleasure with Bush administration policies on torture and the boundariesof presidential power.

The final tally gave Mukasey the lowest number of yes votes for any attorneygeneral since 1952, just weeks after lawmakers of both parties had predictedhis easy confirmation. Mukasey takes the place of Alberto R. Gonzales, wholeft under a cloud of scandal in September.

He avoided defeat only because a half-dozen Democrats voted in favor of theappointment along with Republicans and Democrat-turned-independent Joseph I.Lieberman (Conn.).

Mukasey, 66, had outraged many lawmakers and human rights groups byrepeatedly refusing to classify waterboarding, a simulated-drowningtechnique, as torture. His few Democratic supporters said last night that,although they are troubled by his equivocal views on waterboarding, theybelieve Mukasey represents the best possibility for change at the troubledJustice Department. "This is the only chance we have," said Sen. DianneFeinstein (D-Calif.).

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

On Campaign Bus, Obama Opens Up About Challengers
'I Try to Stick to What I Think'

By Dan Balz and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, November 9, 2007; A06

CHARITON, Iowa, Nov. 8 -- Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) took on his two principalrivals for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, arguing thatSen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) cannot appeal to independents andRepublicans as effectively as he can and asserting that former senator JohnEdwards's populist message does not square with his record.

But even as he was challenging Clinton and Edwards (N.C.), Obama said hewould resist pressure from supporters and others to go sharply negative inhis bid for the nomination, saying that would undermine his effort to bringa close to an era of polarizing politics.

Aboard his campaign bus as he rolled through southeast Iowa on Thursdayafternoon, Obama spoke frankly about the difficult balancing act of drawingever sharper distinctions with his opponents, particularly Clinton, withoutsuccumbing to going negative to overtake a front-runner.

"I want to campaign the same way I govern, which is to respond directly andforcefully with the truth," Obama said. "That means I'm not going to paint acaricature of Senator Clinton. I think she's a smart, able person. I thinkanybody who tries to paint her as all negative is engaging in caricature,and when you start slipping into that mode, it's hard to come back."

He acknowledged that some might interpret that as a sign of timidity butsaid that he is convinced there is no other way for him to try to win thenomination. "First of all, you start losing credibility," he said."Secondly, I'm not that good at saying things I don't really believe. Maybethis is considered a weakness in my political style. I try to stick to whatI think."

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

N. Korea Shows Signs of Opening Up, After Decades of Self-Imposed Isolation

By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, November 9, 2007; A14

SEOUL -- Choi Won-ho has made six trips to North Korea in the past twoyears, struggling each time to convince the reclusive government there thatthe time was ripe for a chicken franchise.

"I told those guys that Kentucky Fried Chicken would come sooner or later,"said Choi, president of a company that has franchised 70 chicken restaurantsin South Korea. "I told them it would be better to have an indigenous Koreanbrand, with takeout delivery."

To Choi's astonishment, his pitch is now falling on receptive ears inPyongyang. This month, he plans to open the first foreign-run restaurant inthe North Korean capital in the history of the Stalinist dictatorship.

North Korea is opening up to much more than fast-food chicken.

A team of U.S. experts is in North Korea this week to start disabling threekey facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear site -- just 13 months after thegovernment of Kim Jong Il stunned the world by exploding a nuclear device.The disabling process was off to "a good start," a State Department officialsaid Tuesday.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Decades-Long U.S. Decrease in Smoking Rates Levels Off

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 9, 2007; A07

The decades-long decline in smoking by Americans has stalled for threeyears, the first time smoking rates have leveled off for that long since thefederal government began collecting statistics more than 40 years ago.

After more than a decade of steep decline, moreover, smoking rates for highschool students also have hit a plateau in the past few years and evenincreased a bit. This comes amid controversy over the targeting of youngwomen by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. with its Camel No. 9 cigarette --which is packaged in "hot-pink fuchsia" and is advertised as "light andluscious."

Together, the data released by the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention yesterday present a worrisome picture of smoking patterns,experts said, especially because the trend had been downward for so long.

"Anytime we are not seeing a decline, it's a cause of real concern to us,"said Corinne Husten, head of the epidemiology branch of the CDC's Office onSmoking and Health. "Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable disease wehave, and we need to bring down the rates as quickly as we possibly can."

According to the CDC report, about 20.8 percent of American adults aresmokers -- with 80 percent of them (36.3 million people) smoking every dayand the rest smoking on some days. Adult smoking rates declined more than 15percent from 1997 to 2004 but have been stubbornly unchanged since.

more . . . . .


The Miami Herald

Minority voters again get U.S. help

Posted on Fri, Nov. 09, 2007

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is reversing course and hasbegun taking steps to enforce a 1993 law that's intended to make it easierfor poor minorities to register to vote.

The division, which has come under attack for allegedly pursuing policiesaimed at suppressing the votes of Democratic-leaning minorities, hasdemanded that 18 states provide evidence that they're complying with theNational Voter Registration Act.

It also has asked Florida about a state law seeking ''verification of voterregistration applications'' that disqualified new registrants if SocialSecurity numbers on their applications didn't match those in a SocialSecurity database.

If fully pursued, the new actions will represent the first significantreturn to traditional enforcement of voting-rights laws since a scandalerupted earlier this year over the alleged politicization of the JusticeDepartment.

McClatchy Newspapers disclosed last spring that the Civil Rights Divisionhad failed to enforce a variety of voting-rights laws intended to protectthe ability of minorities, especially African Americans, to vote. Thecontroversy led to the resignations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales andseven other officials, including Bradley Schlozman, the former acting civilrights chief.

more . . . . .


The Chicago Tribune,1,5304099.story?track=rss

House Planning Veto Showdown Over Iraq

Associated Press Writer
2:54 AM CST, November 9, 2007


House Democrats are planning another veto showdown with President Bush onthe Iraq war. And this time, they say they won't back down.

The House planned to vote as early as next week on a $50 billion warspending bill that would require Bush to begin withdrawing troops. Themeasure identifies a goal of ending combat by December 2008, leaving onlyenough soldiers and Marines behind to fight terrorists, train Iraqi securityforces and protect U.S. assets.

In a private caucus meeting on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi toldrank-and-file Democrats the bill was their best shot at challenging Bush onthe war. And if Bush rejected it, she said, she did not intend on sendinghim another war spending bill for the rest of the year.

"It's a war without end," Pelosi, D-Calif., later told reporters. "There isno light at the end of the tunnel. We must reverse it."

The bill is similar to one rejected by Bush in May. Unable to muster thetwo-thirds majority needed to override the veto, Democrats stripped thetimetable from the bill and approved a $95 billion emergency spending bill,mostly for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

more . . . . .


Los Angeles Times,1,7394476.story?coll=la-news-politics-national&track=crosspromo

If it is the economy, GOP may be in trouble
Any voter backlash over gas prices and the housing slump is expected topunish Republicans vying to replace Bush.

By Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 9, 2007

WASHINGTON - Republican strategists are beginning to fear that adeteriorating economy will pose serious obstacles for their party'spresidential candidates, who may ultimately have to answer for rising gasprices and a slumping housing market.

For most of the year, the campaign has been dominated by dueling positionson the war in Iraq, national security, immigration and healthcare. But withgas prices topping $3 a gallon and home foreclosures a deepening concern,the struggling economy could trump other issues in next year's generalelection campaign.

President Bush is in his second term and can't face reprisal at the polls.So to the extent there is a voter backlash, it would be aimed at thepresident's party -- chiefly the Republican candidates vying to succeed him,GOP consultants said.

Economic forecasts are worsening: On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairman BenS. Bernanke said he expected a "sluggish" economy in the coming months. Withmillions of sub-prime mortgages due to be reset over the next 14 months, hesaid, more homeowners are at risk of default. The stock market has beenvolatile, dropping more than 393 points over the last two days.

"Any economic pain comes out of the hide of the Republican Party," said DonSipple, a Republican strategist based in California.

more . . . . .


Los Angeles Times,1,328059.story?coll=la-news-comment

Hillary plays the winning gender card
Male politicians have always cast themselves as rescuers to women. Clinton'salso playing a rescuer -- but as a feminist.

By Susan Faludi
November 9, 2007

NO SOONER HAD Hillary Clinton proceeded from the Democratic presidentialdebate to a speech at Wellesley College last week than the wailing began.Barack Obama hit the "Today" show accusing her of playing the gender card,and a chorus line of media pundits denounced her for having hurt the causeof feminism by acting the part of the injured girl.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd contended that Clinton was trying toshow "she can break, just like a little girl. ... If she could become asenator by playing the victim after Monica, surely she can become presidentby playing the victim now." Fox News' Mort Kondracke preached: "I think itis very unattractive for a general election candidate, who wants to be thecommander in chief of the free world, to be saying, 'They're ganging up onme!' I mean, this is the NFL. This is not Wellesley versus Smith in fieldhockey."

Yet these indictments were conjured from the slimmest of evidence. WhatClinton actually said at her alma mater before a whooping and roaring crowdof more than 1,000 young women was: "In so many ways, this all-women'scollege prepared me to compete in the all-boys' club of presidentialpolitics. ... Fear is always with us, but we just don't have time for it,not now. So let's roll up our sleeves and get to work together. We're readyto shatter that highest glass ceiling."

What about that was so girl-with-her-finger-in-her-mouth frail?

The fact is, Clinton's opponents are mad because they feel robbed. Clintonhadn't acted the victim. The gender card she played was the one everysuccessful recent male presidential candidate has played -- the rescuercard.

more . . . . .


Boston Globe

Democrats Joe Biden and Bill Richardson warn Pakistan could go the way ofIran

By Philip Elliott, Associated Press Writer
November 8, 2007

MANCHESTER, N.H. --Two Democratic presidential candidates with extensiveforeign policy experience warned Thursday that the current unrest inPakistan is reminiscent of events that led up to the Iranian hostage crisisof 1979-81.

Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and BillRichardson, a former U.N. ambassador during the Clinton administration, saidthe U.S. is in danger of repeating the mistakes that led to one of thenation's worst international debacles of the last half century.

Biden and Richardson, speaking separately to the New Hampshire Institute ofPolitics at Saint Anselm College, both called for new aid policies torestore democracy and prevent a failed state.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule last Saturdayand granted sweeping powers to authorities to crush political dissent. BothDemocrats said U.S. support for Musharraf is similar to the support offeredto the unelected leader of Iran, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, before he wasoverthrown.

"Pakistan has strong democratic traditions and a large moderate majority,"Biden said. "But the moderate majority must have a voice in the system andan outlet with elections. If not, moderates may find that they have nochoice but to find common cause with extremists, just as the Shah'sopponents did in Iran three decades ago.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Rage of Reason

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, November 9, 2007; A21

It's official: Bush Derangement Syndrome is now a full-blown epidemic.George W. Bush apparently has reduced more of his fellow citizens tofrustrated, sputtering rage than any president since opinion polling began,with the possible exception of Richard Nixon.

That should be a pretty good indicator of where Bush will rank whenhistorians get their hands on his shameful record -- in the cellar,alongside the only president who ever had to resign in disgrace.

A Gallup Poll released this week showed that 64 percent of Americansdisapprove of how the Decider is doing his job. That sounds bad enough --nearly two-thirds of the country thinks its leader is incompetent. But whenyou look more closely at the numbers, you see that Bush's abysmal reportcard -- only 31 percent of respondents approve of the job he's doing --actually overstates our regard for his performance.

According to Gallup, if you lump together the Americans who "strongly"approve of Bush as president with those who only "moderately" feel one wayor the other about him, you end up with about half the population. Thatleaves a full 50 percent who "strongly disapprove" of Bush -- as high alevel of intense repudiation as Gallup has ever recorded in its decades ofpolling.

Gallup has been asking the "strongly disapprove" question since the LyndonJohnson administration. The only time the polling firm has measured suchstrong give-this-guy-the-hook sentiment was in February 1974, at the heightof the Watergate scandal, when Nixon's "strongly disapprove" number wasmeasured at 48 percent. Bush beats him by a nose, but the margin of errormakes the contest for "Most Reviled President, Modern Era" a statisticaltie.

The Gallup Poll found that among Bush's shrinking Republican base, he hasunusually strong support. Independents, though, have joined Democrats in theBush Derangement Syndrome clinic: They, too, "strongly disapprove" of thejob the president is doing.



[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: