Thursday, December 20, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 20, 2007

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


Giuliani leads California but Huckabee gaining: poll

By Adam Tanner
Thursday, December 20, 2007; 6:18 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabeehas made dramatic gains in California but still trails front-runner RudyGiuliani, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The Field Poll conducted December 10-17 found 25 percent backing former NewYork Mayor Giuliani, unchanged from October, while former Arkansas Gov.Huckabee's support rose to 17 percent from 4 percent over the same twomonths in California, the biggest prize of all the primaries.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had 15 percent support, followed byArizona Sen. John McCain at 12 percent, according to the poll of 322 likelyRepublican voters that had a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points.

Although Iowa and New Hampshire, which hold the first two presidentialnominating contests early next month, have dominated the candidates'attention, California will select about one-fifth of the delegates needed tochoose the Republican and Democratic candidates who will face off in theNovember 2008 election.

Californians go to the polls on February 5, so-called "Super Tuesday," whenmore than 20 states hold primaries.

more . . . . .


Sarasota Herald Tribune

GOP candidate Ron Paul keeps donation from white supremacist


Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has received a $500 campaigndonation from a white supremacist, and the Texas congressman doesn't plan toreturn it, an aide said Wednesday.

Don Black, of West Palm Beach, recently made the donation, according tocampaign filings. He runs a Web site called Stormfront with the motto,"White Pride World Wide." The site welcomes postings to the "StormfrontWhite Nationalist Community."

"Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and inalienable rights. Ifsomeone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to Ron, thinkinghe can influence Ron in any way, he's wasted his money," Paul spokesmanJesse Benton said. "Ron is going to take the money and try to spread themessage of freedom.

"And that's $500 less that this guy has to do whatever it is that he does,"Benton added.

Black said he supports Paul's stance on ending the war in Iraq, securingAmerica's borders and his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants.

"We know that he's not a white nationalist. He says he isn't and we believehim, but on the issues, there's only one choice," Black said Wednesday.

On his Web site, Black says he has been involved in "the White patriotmovement for 30 years."

The Web site LoneStarTimes first reported on the Black donation on Oct. 25.


Miami Herald

Take a stand for the rule of law

Posted on Thu, Dec. 20, 2007

Should a person who breaks the law be given retroactive immunity because hethought he was doing the right thing and because the government asked him todo it? The short answer is No. The law is the law, and it should be appliedequally to all, a good prosecutor would say. Ignorance of the law is noexcuse -- and, in this case, a poor one at best.

This is the commonsense principle that should guide Congress as it considerswhat to do about the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretappingprogram. The Bush administration wants lawmakers to pass legislation thatwould give retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helpedthe NSA tap Americans' phone calls without a warrant. Most of the phonecompanies cooperated with the NSA's wiretapping requests, which increasedafter the Sept. 11 attacks. Recently, though, it has been learned that onecompany, Qwest of Denver, refused to go along.

Qwest's integrity

Bravo to Qwest for understanding that no one is above the law, not even thefederal government. It is especially important to be vigilant now, whenauthorities are saying that ''extraordinary circumstances'' warrant anexception. President Bush says that the search for terrorists and criminalsjustifies sidestepping the courts to violate Americans' privacy.

more . . . . .


New York Times

E.P.A. Says 17 States Can't Set Emission Rules

December 20, 2007

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday deniedCalifornia and 16 other states the right to set their own standards forcarbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

The E.P.A. administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said the proposed Californiarules were pre-empted by federal authority and made moot by the energy billsigned into law by President Bush on Wednesday. Mr. Johnson said Californiahad failed to make a compelling case that it needed authority to write itsown standards for greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks to help curbglobal warming.

The decision immediately provoked a heated debate over its scientific basisand whether political pressure was applied by the automobile industry tohelp it escape the proposed California regulations. Officials from theStates and numerous environmental groups vowed to sue to overturn the edict.

In an evening conference call with reporters, Mr. Johnson defended hisagency's decision.

"The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution,not a confusing patchwork of state rules," he said. "I believe this is abetter approach than if individual states were to act alone."

more . . . . .


New York Times

Editorial: A Pause From Death

December 20, 2007

The United Nations General Assembly voted on Tuesday for a global moratoriumon the death penalty. The resolution was nonbinding; its symbolic weightmade barely a ripple in the news ocean of the United States, wheregovernments' right to kill a killer is enshrined in law and custom.

But for those who have been trying to move the world away from lethalrevenge as government policy, this was a milestone. The resolution failedrepeatedly in the 1990s, but this time the vote was 104 to 54, with 29nations abstaining. Progress has come in Europe and Africa. Nations likeSenegal, Burundi, Gabon - even Rwanda, shamed by genocide - have decided toreject the death penalty, as official barbarism.

The United States, as usual, lined up on the other side, with Iran, China,Pakistan, Sudan and Iraq. Together this blood brotherhood accounts for morethan 90 percent of the world's executions, according to AmnestyInternational. These countries' devotion to their sovereignty is rigid, asis their perverse faith in execution as a criminal deterrent and aninstrument of civilized justice. But out beyond Texas, Ohio, Virginia,Myanmar, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe, there are growing numbers whoexpect better of humanity.

Many are not nations or states but groups of regular people, organizationslike the Community of Sant'Egidio, a lay Catholic movement begun in Italywhose advocacy did much to bring about this week's successful vote in theGeneral Assembly.

They are motivated by hope - and there is even some in the United States.The Supreme Court will soon hear debate on the cruelty of execution bylethal injection. On Monday, New Jersey became the first state in 40 yearsto abolish its death penalty.

That event, too, left much of this country underwhelmed. But overseas, thevotes in Trenton and the United Nations were treated as glorious news. Romecontinued a tradition to mark victories against capital punishment: itbathed the Colosseum, where Christians once were fed to lions, in goldenlight.


New York Times

Editorial: Qaddafi Plays Paris and Madrid

December 20, 2007

For 34 years, Libya's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, was not invited toParis. By the time he left last weekend, it was clear why. Having waited solong, Colonel Qaddafi seemed determined to spare no offense.

His host, President Nicolas Sarkozy, gave him abundant opportunities,starting with the timing. Here was Libya's leader-for-life, now in his 39thyear of running a nasty police state, being feted on International HumanRights Day by the leader of a country that authored the truly revolutionaryDeclaration of the Rights of Man. The symbolism was so repellent that theforeign minister, Bernard Kouchner, a longtime human rights activist, passedup an official dinner with the colonel at the presidential palace for aprevious engagement. The secretary of state for human rights, Rama Yade, wasstill more forthright, noting that people in Libya disappear: "No one knowswhat has become of them. The press is not free. Prisoners are tortured."

Mr. Sarkozy countered that he had raised such human rights issues with hisguest. The colonel said that the subject never came up. Legislators, totheir credit, turned down the colonel's request to address the NationalAssembly.

The visit was in part a reward for Libya's release - after lengthyimprisonment and abuse - of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctorunjustly accused of deliberately injecting patients with the virus thatcauses AIDS. Paris also pounced on the occasion to pursue lucrativecontracts with oil-rich Libya. Mr. Kouchner's absence from the officialdinner only left more room for businessmen eager to clinch deals.

France will help Tripoli build a civilian nuclear power plant and will sellmilitary equipment that will allow Libya to rebuild its forces after yearsof damaging international sanctions. On his way home, Colonel Qaddafi wasfeted in Madrid, dining with Spanish business leaders similarly eager forcontracts. Some of this commerce feels premature. The Libyan leader is nowquick to condemn terrorism, but just as quick to argue that one leadingcause of it is continued Western dominance of the United Nations and otherworld institutions.

more . . . . .


New York Times

News Analysis: Congress Is Still Pursuing Earmarks

December 20, 2007

WASHINGTON - It has a been a difficult few years for earmarks, the petspending projects that lawmakers pursue in Congress. They have been linkedto felony cases, blamed for the national debt, stripped from the budget,exposed to public scrutiny and subjected to ridicule. Yet earmarks and thelawmakers who love them will not be denied.

Despite an intense campaign by critics in and out of Congress againsthome-state projects, the year-end budget sent to President Bush on Wednesdaywas stuffed with almost 9,000 of them. They ran from one side of the countryto the other, from $500,000 for the Los Banos bypass for Merced County,Calif., to $300,000 for a child development center in Wewahitchka, Fla.

The bounty, estimated by the group Taxpayers for Common Sense at almost $8billion, reached the point that The Hill, a newspaper that follows Congress,carried the banner front-page headline: "An Earmark Christmas."

Sponsors of the varied projects that are the bread-and-butter of therank-and-file say lawmakers who won those dollars have nothing to hide.Instead, they say, they should gloat.

"I can't wait to put out a press release to tell people what I have done,"said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senateand an earmarker of long standing.

more . . . . .


New York Times

Year's Top Quotes: `Don't Tase Me, Bro'

December 20, 2007
Filed at 8:54 a.m. ET

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- It was the plea heard round the world. ''Don't taseme, bro'' -- shouted by a Florida college student as officers removed himfrom a speech by Sen. John Kerry -- tops this year's list of most memorablequotes, compiled by the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations.

Second on the list is a quote from Lauren Upton, the Miss Teen USAcontestant who gave a confused and mangled response to a question about whyone-fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a map.

''I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because somepeople out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that oureducation like such as in South Africa and Iraq and everywhere like such asand I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. shouldhelp the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asiancountries so we will be able to build up our future for us,'' Upton said.

The words of both young people were immortalized in videos posted onYouTube, the video-sharing Web site.

''These new media are spreading these things,'' said editor Fred R. Shapiro,53, associate librarian and lecturer in legal research at the Yale LawSchool. ''I'm not listing the most admirable quotes, the most eloquentquotes. It's the most memorable quotes.''

President Bush dominated last year's list with quotes about the Iraq war,but this year he didn't break into the top 10.

That doesn't mean politicians didn't say anything memorable this year.

Third on the list is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comment atColumbia University in New York: ''In Iran we don't have homosexuals like inyour country.''

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, took eighth place with ''(I have) a wide stancewhen going to the bathroom,'' his explanation for his foot touching the footof an undercover police officer in an airport men's room.



New York Times

Europe Proposes Binding Limits on Auto Emissions

December 20, 2007

PARIS - European Union officials told leading automakers on Wednesday tomake deep cuts in tailpipe emissions of the cars they produce or face finesthat could reach billions of euros.

Companies including Volkswagen and Renault immediately promised a fight toweaken the proposed legislation, saying that compliance would be difficultand that it would hurt their competitiveness around the world.

But European officials insisted that the legislation was necessary if theregion was to continue leading global efforts to reduce greenhouse gaseslike carbon dioxide.

A tough law for car pollution "demonstrates that the European Union iscommitted to being a world leader in cutting CO2 emissions and thedevelopment of a low-carbon economy," the president of the EuropeanCommission, José Manuel Barroso, said.

The European environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, said the industry'sdecade-old promises to meet emissions reduction targets voluntarily had notyielded the desired results, making the tougher action necessary.

more . . . . .


New York Times

Foundation Hopes to Lure Top Students to Teaching

December 20, 2007

Taking the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships as a model, the Woodrow WilsonNational Fellowship Foundation in Princeton is creating a fellowship programthat it hopes will lure top students into teaching and transform teachereducation in the United States.

"Research shows that providing excellent teachers is the single mostimportant way to improve student achievement," said Arthur E. Levine,president of the foundation, which coordinates a variety of academicfellowship programs. "But the quality of our teaching force today is not asstrong as it needs to be, and our teacher preparation programs are too weak.We hope this program will produce significant improvement in both andprovide models that the rest of the country will follow."

Other programs, like Teach for America and the New York City TeachingFellows, have also tried to attract more top students to the teachingprofession using approaches like recruiting at prestigious universities, andoffering fellowships and training. Dr. Levine, who became president of theWoodrow Wilson foundation last year, was previously president of TeachersCollege, Columbia University, and has been a strong critic of teachereducation in recent years.

The Woodrow Wilson program will offer about 33 national Leonore AnnenbergTeaching Fellowships a year, with $30,000 stipends, for students to attendgraduate education programs at Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, theUniversity of Virginia and the University of Washington. Applications willbe available next year for enrollment in fall 2009.

Another part of the program will provide fellowships in selected states,beginning with Indiana, at universities that agree to remake their graduateeducation programs along certain lines.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Baptists Not on Board

By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, December 20, 2007; A29

When Mike Huckabee went to Houston on Tuesday to raise funds for hisfast-rising, money-starved presidential candidacy, a luncheon for theordained Baptist minister was arranged by evangelical Christians. On handwas Judge Paul Pressler, a hero to Southern Baptist Convention reformers.But he was a nonpaying guest who supports Fred Thompson for president.

Huckabee greeted Pressler warmly. That contrasted with Huckabee's anger twomonths ago when they encountered each other in California. The formergovernor of Arkansas took issue then with comments by Pressler, a formerTexas appeals court judge, that Huckabee had been a slacker in the waragainst secularists within the Baptist church.

The warmth in Texas and hostility in California reflects the dualpersonality of the pastor-politician who has broken out of the presidentialcampaign's second tier. Huckabee can come across as either a Reagan or aNixon. More than personality explains why not all his Baptist brethren havesigned on the dotted line for Huckabee. He did not join the "conservativeresurgence" that successfully rebelled against liberals in the SouthernBaptist Convention a generation ago.

Criticism from co-religionists stands apart from criticism by the Club forGrowth, the Cato Institute and the Arkansas Eagle Forum of Huckabee's 10big-government, high-tax years as governor. Because no Republican candidatesince Pat Robertson in 1988 has depended so much on support fromevangelicals, opposition by Huckabee's fellow Southern Baptists issignificant.

Huckabee's base is reflected by sponsors of Tuesday's fundraising luncheonrequesting up to $4,600 a couple) at the Houston home of Steven Hotze, aleader in the highly conservative Christian Reconstruction movement. StateRep. Debbie Riddle was the only elected official on the host committee, mostof whose members were not familiar names in Texas politics. David Welch isexecutive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council. Jack Tompkins heads afirm providing Internet services to the Christian community. Entrepreneur J.Kest Lewis is an active Southern Baptist.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Taking a Turn for the Weird

By David S. Broder
Thursday, December 20, 2007; A29

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Maybe it's the rush of pre-Christmas preparations. Ormaybe it's the effects of too many holiday parties. But life has suddenlybecome very confusing on the way to the 2008 presidential election.

A bit over a week ago, almost everything seemed normal. True, Mike Huckabeehad come out of nowhere, trailing clouds of piety and home-school wisdom, toseize the lead among Republicans contending in Iowa. And thousands ofOprah-crazed Barack Obama fans were threatening to dethrone Mrs. Hillarybefore Loyal Spouse Bill could ride to the rescue. But upsets are par forthe course out in the cornfields.

Then, on a Wednesday afternoon, it turned very weird. The Republicancandidates trooped into the studios of Iowa Public Television, and thereamong them, beaming contentedly, was Alan Keyes. His path to the White Househit a bit of a bump back in 2004, when he lost decisively to Obama for aU.S. Senate seat from Illinois. And he had not been heard from since. Butthe Des Moines Register, the debate sponsor, discovered unsuspectedpotential in the firebrand screecher and installed him in the lineup of ninecontenders.

As if that were not enough to sabotage the real candidates, the Register'seditor and debate moderator, whose stern visage brooked no disagreement,declared in her introduction that Iraq and immigration were off theagenda -- ostensibly because they had already been discussed enough. Thethought that those were the topics that people most cared to hear aired atthe final debate before the Jan. 3 caucuses apparently had not occurred toher.

As a result, the only highlight of the next 90 minutes was Fred Thompson'sbravely refusing her order to the candidates to raise their hands if theybelieved in global warming. Thompson's show of courage was widely viewed asjump-starting his campaign -- or at least hopping it a bit.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

How to Fix Intelligence Oversight

By Tim Roemer
Thursday, December 20, 2007; A29

With the CIA's revelation that it destroyed taped interrogations of topal-Qaeda suspects, yet another intelligence scandal has exploded inWashington. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, this has become anall-too-frequent occurrence. When news breaks about potential misconduct inthe executive branch, be it warrantless wiretapping, secret prisons ordestroyed tapes, all eyes turn toward Congress's intelligence committees:Who knew about this? When did they know it? What did they do?

Part of Congress's job is to serve as a check against misuse of the greatpowers afforded to the executive branch, particularly in matters of war andnational security. But trying to discern which committee members werebriefed and what they did with the information misses the larger story: Intheir current structure, congressional intelligence committees arefundamentally ill equipped to effect real change.

Unfortunately for the intelligence committees, responsibility doesn'tnecessarily produce power. Unlike typical congressional committees, whichare able to exercise power over the agencies they oversee, the intelligence
committees are deprived of several tools because of the necessity ofsecrecy. Members of the intelligence committees cannot, for instance,leverage public opinion by alerting the media to executive branch foiblesand failures since the information members receive is classified.

The intelligence-authorizing committees in the House and Senate -- the oneswe look to when something goes wrong -- have, ironically, the least say overhow intelligence dollars are spent. Instead, the defense appropriationssubcommittees have final say over intelligence funding levels.

Authorizers are often circumvented or ignored by the intelligence community,which seeks to deal directly with appropriators. The defense appropriationssubcommittees, understaffed and preoccupied with a $600 billion defensebudget, simply don't have the time or resources to devote sufficientattention to intelligence funding -- one of the most important spendingpriorities for our country's national security.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

A Nuclear Site Is Breached: South African Attack Should Sound Alarms

By Micah Zenko
Thursday, December 20, 2007; A29

An underreported attack on a South African nuclear facility last monthdemonstrates the high risk of theft of nuclear materials by terrorists orcriminals. Such a crime could have grave national security implications forthe United States or any of the dozens of countries where nuclear materialsare held in various states of security.

Shortly after midnight on Nov. 8, four armed men broke into the Pelindabanuclear facility 18 miles west of Pretoria, a site where hundreds ofkilograms of weapons-grade uranium are stored. According to the SouthAfrican Nuclear Energy Corp., the state-owned entity that runs the Pelindabafacility, these four "technically sophisticated criminals" deactivatedseveral layers of security, including a 10,000-volt electrical fence,suggesting insider knowledge of the system. Though their images werecaptured on closed-circuit television, they were not detected by securityofficers because nobody was monitoring the cameras at the time.

So, undetected, the four men spent 45 minutes inside one of South Africa'smost heavily guarded "national key points" -- defined by the government as"any place or area that is so important that its loss, damage, disruption orimmobilization may prejudice the Republic."

Eventually, the attackers broke into the emergency control center in themiddle of the facility, stole a computer (which was ultimately left behind)and breached an electronically sealed control room. After a brief struggle,they shot Anton Gerber, an off-duty emergency services officer. Gerber laterexplained that he was hanging around because he believed (reasonably, inretrospect) that his fiancée -- a site supervisor -- was not safe at work.Although badly injured, Gerber triggered the alarm, setting off sirens andlights and alerting police stationed a few miles away.

Nevertheless, the four escaped, leaving the facility the same way they brokein.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Congress's Mixed Results
Democratic promises meet legislative reality.

Thursday, December 20, 2007; A28

FOR CONGRESSIONAL Democrats, the first session of the 110th Congress offereda sobering lesson in the practical limits of majority control. Democratsdelivered part of what they had promised to the voters who returned them topower last November and recorded some significant achievements. But moreoften, Democrats found their legislative plans stymied -- first by SenateRepublicans' willingness to filibuster any proposal with which theydisagreed, then by the president's newfound zeal to exercise his veto power.The scorecard, in the end, is disappointingly mixed. Still, Democrats aremore to blame for overpromising than for failing to deliver; theirtriumphant promises of January were never realistic. Given the slenderest ofSenate majorities and the willingness of the minority to wield thefilibuster with unprecedented frequency, Democrats' maneuvering room wasdramatically limited.

On the plus side of the legislative ledger, President Bush signed an energybill yesterday that will raise fuel economy standards for cars and lighttrucks for the first time in 32 years, to an average of 35 miles per gallonby 2020. That is a significant achievement, albeit one that could have beeneven greater had Republicans not blocked efforts to include new requirementsfor boosting use of renewable sources of energy and to eliminate tax breaksfor oil companies.

Likewise, Democrats were able to secure the first increase in the minimumwage in nine years and the largest expansion of college aid since the GIbill, cutting interest rates on subsidized student loans and increasing themaximum Pell grant. They passed an important lobbying and ethics reform billthat will shine light on the bundles of campaign cash delivered byregistered lobbyists and clamped down on lawmakers' ability to accept meals,travel and entertainment from lobbyists and those who employ them.

The keenest Democratic disappointment -- failing to force the president torapidly withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq -- is no disappointment to us.Although unhappiness with the war in Iraq helped propel Democrats tovictory, in the end President Bush was able to secure continuing funding forthe war with no strings attached. Of far more concern: Democrats could notovercome presidential vetoes of bills providing for federal funding ofembryonic stem cell research or expanding the State Children's HealthInsurance Program. The children's health issue deserves another try nextyear; the extension that Congress adopted jeopardizes existing coverage forsome children and makes it difficult for states to move forward with plannedexpansions of coverage.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Will Enough Men Stand By This Woman?
Hillary Clinton's Fight for the White House Reflects the Battle of the Sexes

By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 20, 2007; C01

Like many New Hampshire voters, Matthew McLaughlin is rather well schooledin presidential politics. He exhaustively reads newspapers, takes in thetelevision ads flooding his state these days and watches the debates. He isa former Navy pilot with a particular interest in the next commander inchief, and he certainly views himself as progressive enough to accept awoman in the job.

And this particular woman, in contention for the Democratic nomination?McLaughlin, 49, doesn't hesitate for a second, as he stands in the grocerystore on a recent snowy afternoon in Bedford, holding the basket while hiswife loads up on cold cuts.

"The thing I don't like about Hillary Clinton is that you cannot get astraight answer from her," says the registered Democrat. "She talks on bothsides of an issue. . . . I was struck when Barack Obama laid out hisposition on Social Security reform and she refused to give her opinion. Myview is: 'Like me or not. This is who I am, this is where I stand.' "

McLaughlin's choice for the Democratic nomination: New Mexico Gov. BillRichardson. "Here's the thing, you delete one thing on his r¿sum¿ and hestill has a ton of other credits to his name," McLaughlin says. "You takeaway her Senate years and what does she have? She was first lady."

more . . . . .


Washington Post

For Israel's Arab Citizens, Isolation and Exclusion

By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 20, 2007; A01

KARMIEL, Israel -- Fatina and Ahmad Zubeidat, young Arab citizens of Israel,met on the first day of class at the prestigious Bezalel arts andarchitecture academy in Jerusalem. Married last year, the couple rents anairy house here in the Galilee filled with stylish furniture and othermodern grace notes.

But this is not where they wanted to live. They had hoped to be in Rakefet,a nearby town where 150 Jewish families live on state land close to the mallproject Ahmad is building. After months of interviews and testing, thetown's admission committee rejected the Arab couple on the grounds of"social incompatibility."

They petitioned Israel's high court to end such screening, claimingdiscrimination, a charge town officials are challenging.

"We can't just be good citizens," said Fatina, 27, who is expecting thecouple's first child. "If they won't develop our villages, then we willchoose where we want to live. The problem lies not with us, but with Jewishsociety that does not accept the other."

The Zubeidats are players in a wider ethnic clash unfolding in the Galilee,a northern region where Arabs, those who remained in Israel after itscreation in 1948 and their descendants, outnumber Jews. Israel's policieshave deepened the gulf between Arab and Jewish citizens in recent years,through concrete walls, laws that favor Jews, and political proposals thatplace the Arab minority outside national life.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Strictures in U.S. Prompt Arabs to Study Elsewhere
Australia Is Viewed As 'More Welcoming'

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 20, 2007; A20

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- For Nabil Al Yousuf, a senior aide to theruler of the Persian Gulf state of Dubai, the indignities of arriving in theUnited States since 2001 have become routine, but remain galling.

A U.S. airport immigration official typically takes Yousuf's passport,places it in a yellow envelope and beckons. Yousuf tells his oldest son andother family members not to worry. And Yousuf -- who goes by "YourExcellency" at home -- disappears inside a shabby back room. He waitsalongside the likes of "a man who had forged his visa and a woman who haddrugs in her tummy," he recounted. He is questioned, fingerprinted andphotographed.

So when it came time this year for the oldest son to choose a university,there was one choice that seemed right to Yousuf, a fond alumnus ofuniversities in Arizona and Georgia.


"Australia's more welcoming," said Yousuf, the director general of the Dubaigovernment's executive office and the executive director of the Dubai Schoolof Government. He spoke in his glass-walled corner office high over thethrusting metallic skyline of the port city of Dubai, one of seven emiratesthat form the United Arab Emirates.

more . . . . .


Pew Research center

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:

December 19, 2007 The Year in Public Opinion

What Was -- and Wasn't -- on the Public's Mind in 2007
Economic concerns, including growing income equality, moved to the forefrontof America's concerns as did the early and fast-changing presidentialcontest. Interest in the Iraq war receded somewhat as the year progressedbut took on a less pessimistic cast. But other stories that generated bigheadlines in the media drew only passing attention among the public. Readmore

Gas Prices, Disasters Top News Interest in 2007
Man-made and natural disasters dominated the list of the public's top newsstories in 2007 but, as was the case in 2006, the rising price of gasolineattracted the largest audience of any news story. Read more

Dynamics Differ for the Two Parties in Early Races
The Democratic race in Iowa is likely to hinge on how well the campaigns canmotivate their potential backers to turn out for the complicated andtime-consuming caucuses. On the Republican side, the situation is morefundamental, hinging as it does on a potential divide between social andeconomic conservatives within the party.

How Exit Pollsters Plan to Cope with a Super-Crowded Primary Season
In an interview with Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut, premierexit pollster Joe Lenski describes how the people who will be measuringvoters' preferences in primaries and caucuses around the nation hope tohandle unprecedented problems from holiday distractions to winter weather.
Read more

Iraq Portrait: How the Press Has Covered Events on the Ground
Through the first 10 months of 2007, the news media's picture of Iraq waspainted mostly in bleak colors according to a new Project for Excellence inJournalism study of press coverage of events in Iraq from January throughOctober. But reports about daily attacks declined in late summer and fall,as did the amount of coverage from Iraq overall.

Events in Online Identity Management in the Age of Transparency
Unlike footprints in the sand, our online data trails often stick aroundlong after the tide has gone out. And internet users have become more awareof information that remains connected to their name online. A survey by thePew Internet Project finds that nearly half of all internet users (47%) havesearched for information about themselves online, up from just 22% in 2002.
Read more.

Science, Religious Belief and Public Attitudes
The combination of widespread religious commitment and leadership in scienceand technology greatly enlarges the potential for conflict between faith andscience in the United States. At the same time, conflicts, such as that overevolution -- where scientists and people of faith explicitly disagree onconcrete facts -- are not common in today's America. Read more

A 45%-plurality of Americans say they don't really care how they are greetedwhen they enter stores or businesses; 42% prefer a "Merry Christmas"greeting. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more



For those of us who don't want a few big companies deciding what we see,hear, and read in the news, it's a bad day.

The Bush-appointed FCC voted yesterday to loosen media ownership rules somedia titans like Rupert Murdoch can swallow up more local news outlets.1They did this despite a huge public outcry-when the FCC asked for publiccomments, 99% opposed media consolidation!2

The last thing our democracy needs is fewer independent media voices andmore news outlets like FOX. Congress has the power to reverse this rulechange, and a bipartisan group of 26 Senators already announced they'lltry.3 We need the rest of the Senate to know we're paying attention and wewant action.

Can you sign this petition asking Congress to reverse the FCC's mediaconsolidation decision-and forward this email to a couple friends who wouldcare about this issue?

Read the petition on the right, and click here to sign:

When we deliver thousands of petition signatures to Congress, we'll giveSenators who are on our side something that they can use to convince theircolleagues this issue is important and the public is paying attention.

For over 30 years, the rules prevented corporations from owning a newspaperand TV station in the same city. One goal was to increase the quality ofjournalism, which happens when news outlets compete. Another goal was toensure diversity of voices-preventing FOX owner Rupert Murdoch from gobblingup lots of news outlets in the same place and controlling the politicaldialogue.



Sacramento Bee

EPA denies California bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

By Dale Kasler and Jim Downing -
Published 3:48 pm PST Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Bush administration Wednesday blocked a landmark California law aimed atcurtailing greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the California law waseffectively pre-empted by the new national energy bill signed earlier in theday by President Bush. The energy bill ramps up fuel economy in motorvehicles and delivers significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, EPAAdministrator Stephen L. Johnson said in a conference call with reporters.

Johnson said the energy bill creates a "national standard" that will be moreeffective than "if individual states were to act alone." Global warming "isa global problem that requires a clear national solution," he added.

State officials had contended that their approach was tougher and moreeffective on combatting global warming. Not only does it require cuts tooccur more quickly, other states would join in and adopt California'sstandards, state officials said.

Johnson said he had called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to inform him of hisdecision and told the governor that California's efforts had helped prodCongress to pass the new energy bill.

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: