Sunday, January 27, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 27, 2008

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


N.H. law opens the door to unions

The Associated Press
January 27, 2008

If the rainbow-painted deck chairs, fluttering rainbow flag and purpleshutters don't make it clear, the Highlands Inn's toll-free number,877-LES-B-INN, leaves no doubt as to whom this White Mountains resort catersto.

Innkeeper Grace Newman began hosting commitment ceremonies at thisself-proclaimed "lesbian paradise" in the 1980s. Newman says she has losttrack of the number of commitment ceremonies that have happened there; sheestimates about 300 couples have honeymooned at the inn after getting civilunions in Vermont or marriages in Quebec, Canada, both short drives away.

The inn's 25th anniversary coincides with another milestone: legalrecognition of civil unions by New Hampshire, which began Jan. 1.

Newman plans to get her own civil union with longtime partner Maria Doyle inSeptember at the inn.

The new law plants another rainbow flag in New England, which has grownincreasingly gay-friendly since neighboring Vermont became the first stateto legalize civil unions in 2000. It has been a quick reversal for NewHampshire, where as recently as 2004 lawmakers reacted to Massachusetts' gaymarriage law by passing a ban on recognizing those unions here.

more . . . . .


Disabled Spy Satellite Threatens Earth

Associated Press Writer
7:26 AM EST, January 27, 2008


A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in lateFebruary or early March, government officials said Saturday.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardousmaterials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, theysaid. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the informationis classified as secret. It was not clear how long ago the satellite lostpower, or under what circumstances.

"Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation," said GordonJohndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, when asked aboutthe situation after it was disclosed by other officials. "Numeroussatellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. Weare looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage thissatellite may cause."

He would not comment on whether it is possible for the satellite to perhapsbe shot down by a missile. He said it would be inappropriate to discuss anyspecifics at this time.

A senior government official said that lawmakers and other nations are beingkept apprised of the situation.

more . . . . .


New York Times

Obama Carries South Carolina by Wide Margin

January 27, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Senator Barack Obama won a commanding victory over SenatorHillary Rodham Clinton in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday,drawing a wide majority of black support and one-quarter of white voters ina contest that sets the stage for a multistate fight for the party'spresidential nomination.

In a bitter campaign here infused with discussions of race, Mr. Obama'sconvincing victory puts him on equal footing with Mrs. Clinton - with twowins each in early-voting states - and gives him fresh momentum as thecontest plunges into a nationwide battle over the next 10 days.

Former Senator John Edwards, a native of South Carolina who was trying torevive his candidacy, came in third place but vowed to keep his campaignalive, despite failing to win a single state so far.

With 99 percent of the electoral precincts reporting, Mr. Obama had 55percent of the vote, Mrs. Clinton had 27 percent, and Mr. Edwards had 18percent.

"Tonight, the cynics who believed that what began in the snows of Iowa wasjust an illusion were told a different story by the good people of SouthCarolina," Mr. Obama told a euphoric crowd here after the results came in."After four great contests in every corner of this country, we have the mostvotes, the most delegates and the most diverse coalition of Americans we'veseen in a long, long time."

more . . . . .


New York Times

News Analysis: His Mettle Tested, Obama May Emerge Still Stronger

January 27, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Senator Barack Obama proved in South Carolina on Saturdaythat he could not only endure everything the Clinton campaign threw at himin the most confrontational week of the presidential contest so far but alsodraw votes across racial lines even in a Southern state.

Still, his victory came in part because Mr. Obama was able to turn out largenumbers of black voters, a dynamic that will not necessarily prove asdecisive in the 22 states that hold nominating contests on Feb. 5.

And his share of the white vote in South Carolina, 24 percent, was lowerthan what he drew in Iowa or New Hampshire, raising questions about whetherrace will divide Democrats even as the party shows tremendous enthusiasm forits candidates.

If the South Carolina result buoyed the Obama team, it left Senator HillaryRodham Clinton's campaign facing a new set of questions. Her advisers'steady attacks on Mr. Obama appeared to prove fruitless, if notcounterproductive, and the attack-dog role of former President Bill Clintonseemed to have backfired.

Surveys of voters leaving the polls showed that many Democrats who believedthat Mr. Clinton's role in the campaign was important ended up voting forMr. Obama.

more . . . . .


New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist: The Billary Road to Republican Victory

January 27, 2008

IN the wake of George W. Bush, even a miracle might not be enough for theRepublicans to hold on to the White House in 2008. But what about twomiracles? The new year's twin resurrections of Bill Clinton and John McCain,should they not evaporate, at last give the G.O.P. a highly plausible routeto victory.

Amazingly, neither party seems to fully recognize the contours of the roadmap. In the Democrats' case, the full-throttle emergence of Billary, thejoint Clinton candidacy, is measured mainly within the narrow confines ofthe short-term horse race: Do Bill Clinton's red-faced eruptions andfact-challenged rants enhance or diminish his wife as a woman and acandidate?

Absent from this debate is any sober recognition that a Hillary Clintonnomination, if it happens, will send the Democrats into the general electionwith a new and huge peril that may well dwarf the current wars over race,gender and who said what about Ronald Reagan.

What has gone unspoken is this: Up until this moment, Hillary hassuccessfully deflected rough questions about Bill by saying, "I'm running onmy own" or, as she snapped at Barack Obama in the last debate, "Well, I'mhere; he's not." This sleight of hand became officially inoperative once herhusband became a co-candidate, even to the point of taking over entirelywhen she vacated South Carolina last week. With "two for the price of one"back as the unabashed modus operandi, both Clintons are in play.

For the Republicans, that means not just a double dose of the one steroid,Clinton hatred, that might yet restore their party's unity but also two fattargets. Mrs. Clinton repeatedly talks of how she's been "vetted" and that"there are no surprises" left to be mined by her opponents. On the "Today"show Friday, she joked that the Republican attacks "are just so old." Sofar. Now that Mr. Clinton is ubiquitous, not only is his past back on thetable but his post-presidency must be vetted as well. To get a taste of whatsurprises may be in store, you need merely revisit the Bill Clintonquestions that Hillary Clinton has avoided to date.

more . . . . .


New York Times

Editorial: Unkept Promises in Darfur

January 27, 2008

The new United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur is not offto an encouraging start. The five-year-long genocide has already killed some200,000 people and driven two and a half million more from their homes. Whatis urgently needed to save those who remain are more peacekeepers, betterequipment and a lot less obstruction from Sudan.

The joint force took over this month from an earlier African Union force of7,000 that was too small and too poorly equipped. The new one was supposedto be the largest international peacekeeping force ever authorized, withnearly 20,000 more soldiers and police officers, modern helicopters andother advanced equipment.

By the start of this year, barely a tenth of those additional forces were inplace, and much of the needed new equipment had not arrived. When thepeacekeepers were quickly attacked by Sudanese forces, they had to withdrawwithout returning fire.

While claiming that it will cooperate, Khartoum has repeatedly tried tohobble the force: refusing to accept some non-African peacekeepers, tryingto limit the peacekeepers' use of helicopters and demanding other untenablerestrictions. Last week, Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, chose anotorious leader of the janjaweed, the militias that have carried out mostof the killing, to be a senior government adviser.

Nobody pretends that bringing a stable peace to Darfur will be easy. Theconflict involves not just the janjaweed and the Sudanese Army but alsorival Darfur rebels and militias. Underlying it all is a desperatecompetition between nomads and farmers for land and water in a parchedregion. There is no hope at all until a credible and credibly armedpeacekeeping force is deployed.

The world's leaders say they care desperately about Darfur's suffering. Butcaring is not enough. What is needed is troops, equipment and a lot morediplomatic pressure on Sudan. The word of the United Nations is on the line,and so are the lives of Darfur's people.


New York Times

Op-Ed Contributor: A President Like My Father

January 27, 2008

OVER the years, I've been deeply moved by the people who've told me theywished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people didwhen my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. Thatis why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries,Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three areintertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed theirlives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he askedthem to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to itschildren. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy waspresident, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special abilityto get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest idealsand imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments,when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach forwhat we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn't that the othercandidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may notbe enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country - just as wedid in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences.However, the candidates' goals are similar. They have all laid out detailedplans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing inearly childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character andjudgment play a larger role than usual.

more . . . . .


New York Times

Pakistan Rebuffs Secret U.S. Plea for C.I.A. Buildup

January 27, 2008

WASHINGTON - The top two American intelligence officials traveled secretlyto Pakistan early this month to press President Pervez Musharraf to allowthe Central Intelligence Agency greater latitude to operate in the tribalterritories where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups are allactive, according to several officials who have been briefed on the visit.

But in the unannounced meetings on Jan. 9 with the two American officials -Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Gen. Michael V.Hayden, the C.I.A. director - Mr. Musharraf rebuffed proposals to expand anyAmerican combat presence in Pakistan, either through unilateral covertC.I.A. missions or by joint operations with Pakistani security forces.

Instead, Pakistan and the United States are discussing a series of otherjoint efforts, including increasing the number and scope of missions byarmed Predator surveillance aircraft over the tribal areas, and identifyingways that the United States can speed information about people suspected ofbeing militants to Pakistani security forces, officials said.

American and Pakistani officials have questioned each other in recent monthsabout the quality and time lines of information that the United States hasgiven to Pakistan to use in focusing on those extremists. American officialshave complained that the Pakistanis are not seriously pursuing Al Qaeda inthe region.

The Jan. 9 meetings, the first visit with Mr. Musharraf by senioradministration officials since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, alsoincluded the new army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the director ofPakistan's leading military intelligence agency, Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj.American officials said the visit was prompted by an increasing sense ofurgency at the highest levels of the United States government that Al Qaedaand the Taliban are intensifying efforts to destabilize the Pakistanigovernment.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Primary Considerations
Weighing the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates

Sunday, January 27, 2008; B06

CONTRARY TO most expectations, it's possible that the Feb. 12 presidentialprimaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District will count for something.On Feb. 5 the voters in more than 20 states, including New York andCalifornia, might settle the nominations, but they might leave the races asfluid as ever, in one or both parties. So this seems a useful time for amidcourse assessment.

We start, as do many voters, with the truisms that the world is a dangerousplace and that the United States needs a leader with the fortitude andwisdom to navigate its dangers. That means the ability not only to guide thenation in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and against al-Qaeda but also tofind the right balance between security and human rights; to combat climatechange, global poverty and disease; to bolster liberty against risingauthoritarianism in Russia, Iran, China and many other nations; and torestore America's respect in the world with strength tempered by humility.At the same time, a leader must encourage economic growth while amelioratinginequalities at home.

For the challenge of keeping America safe, the leading Democrats would beimprovements over the incumbent in important ways. They recognize theimportance of fighting terrorism but with a balanced view of other threatsand problems. They promise to put more faith in diplomacy than has thecurrent administration while understanding that diplomacy alone cannot solveevery problem. On a wide range of other issues, including climate change,health care and tax reform, they promise to restore balance and common sensemissing under the current administration.

On some issues, the three leading Democrats are almost equallydisappointing. On certain topics -- among them trade, school accountabilityand, most disturbingly, Iraq -- facts and reason have given way tovote-seeking ideology. The refusal of the candidates to acknowledge theindisputable military progress of the past year is troubling; even more soare their suggestions that they would withdraw most or all U.S. troops fromIraq within a year regardless of the circumstances or consequences. Theyspeak as if this strategic, even pivotal Middle East nation, with theworld's second-largest oil reserves, can simply be written off, as if a warthat they regard as wrong has somehow made Iraq unimportant to

more . . . . .


Washington Post

The GOP Strikes Up The Bland

By David S. Broder
Sunday, January 27, 2008; B07

You would never realize how high the stakes are in Tuesday's winner-take-allFlorida Republican primary if you judged only the behavior of the leadingpresidential candidates these past few days.

Their final pre-primary debate was bland to the point of apathy. MittRomney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and even iconoclastic RonPaul were on their best behavior -- as if oblivious to what the 57 delegatesavailable in Florida could mean to anyone who pulls out a plurality victory.

A win could establish either McCain or Romney as the man to beat in themassive round of Feb. 5 primaries. It could launch Giuliani into a late rushfor the nomination, wiping out his weak showing in the earlier contests. Andan upset by Huckabee would force an upward revision in his prospects, whichhave been diminished since he surprised the field in Iowa.

But their televised confrontation in Boca Raton on Thursday was haunted bythe spirit of the departed Fred Thompson. It was as if the actor and formersenator had left a blanket of boredom behind when he exited the race afterfinishing third, behind McCain and Huckabee, in South Carolina.

The big Tennessean departed so quickly and quietly that it was hard toremember the trumpet fanfares that had greeted his entry into the race asthe last of the "major contenders" to announce.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

A Better Way to Deal With Downturns

By Andrew A. Samwick
Sunday, January 27, 2008; B07

Shortly after House leaders and the White House reached a tentative dealThursday to stimulate the economy, President Bush hailed the agreement asthe result of "patience, determination and good will on all sides." Whilepolitically expedient, the stimulus package is unjustified in the short runand harmful in the longer term. We would be better off if "forethought" hadfigured into Bush's description.

The $150 billion agreement calls for tax rebates to low- and middle-incomehouseholds as well as business incentives. Doubtless, this will boosteconomic activity. If you pull levers, you get movement. Personalconsumption and business investment will increase relative to what theymight otherwise have been. But there is no discussion of repaying the moneythrough higher taxes in the near term. Let's drop the euphemism of "stimuluspackage" and call this agreement by its proper name: "deficit spending."

It is ironic that additional borrowing is prescribed as the remedy for amalady that arose from unwise borrowing. In recent years, cheap credit andsome imprudent lending policies generated excessive consumption andinvestment in the real estate sector. This boosted economic activity beyondthe level that would have prevailed with more sensible policies. That levelof economic activity is the starting point for discussion of a recession. Ifwe acknowledge that bad loans fueled the activity, why is it now a widelyshared policy objective to maintain that level of activity?

The answer is a combination of three factors. The first is electedofficials' fear that they will be punished in November for an economicdownturn unless they do "something" to avoid it. Few things precipitatebipartisan agreement so quickly. Using the incomes of future taxpayers topurchase reelection today is irresponsible but common public policy.

The second factor is policymakers' fear that unless "something" is done, atemporary economic downturn could become more protracted. This fear, to theextent that it is justified, is better addressed by the Federal Reservelowering short-term interest rates, which would stimulate the economy morequickly and comprehensively than would fiscal policy. The Fed did just thison Tuesday. Yet the fiscal-policy lever has been yanked before any data haveindicated whether the Fed's stimulus has had its intended effect.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Fairness On the Ballot

By George F. Will
Sunday, January 27, 2008; B07

Come November, voters will decide on more than half a million federal, stateand local officeholders and ballot initiatives. Ninety-nine percent of thesedecisions will matter less than will the five civil rights initiatives thatmight be on the ballots in Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma andMissouri.

If the initiatives qualify for those states' ballots, all probably willpass. But the initiatives must surmount ferocious opposition from defendersof racial preferences, such as the politicians who administer and benefitfrom Missouri's racial spoils system. The crux of the Missouri Civil RightsInitiative (MoCRI) would amend that state's constitution to say: "The stateshall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, anyindividual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or nationalorigin in the operation of public employment, public education or publiccontracting."

Similar language has been approved by voters in California (in 1996),Washington state (1998) and Michigan (2006). California's initiative passed55 percent to 45 percent, even though opponents outspent supporters 13 to 1.Washington's initiative won 58 to 42 against 10-to-1 spending. Michigan'sinitiative won 58 to 42, although supporters were outspent 5 to 1. Thosespending disparities understate the initiatives' disadvantages, because ineach state, opponents were assisted by the "diversity" industry thatadministers racial preferences in the public and private sectors.

Missouri law requires the secretary of state to draft a summary of aninitiative, which appears on the ballot "in the form of a question usinglanguage neither intentionally argumentative nor likely to create prejudiceeither for or against the proposed measure." The following, not the MoCRIlanguage quoted above, is what the state's Democratic secretary of state andDemocratic attorney general proposed to put on the ballot:

"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to: Ban affirmative actionprograms designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improveopportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employmentand education; and allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color,ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal program funds eligibilitystandards as well as preferential treatment for bona fide qualificationsbased on sex?"

more . . . . .


Washington Post

A Margin That Will Be Hard To Marginalize

By Alec MacGillis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2008; A01

Across South Carolina last week, African American voters came in droves tosee Sen. Barack Obama. They came, they said in interviews, not just for aglimpse of the first black candidate with a serious chance at winning theWhite House but because they were drawn by his message of bringing Americansof all backgrounds together.

"He speaks of things that touch the heart of everyday people. We allcollectively as a society have to hold onto our hope together," said BeverlyNewsome, a teacher in North Charleston. "How else are we going to make it ifwe don't join together to create a better society for everyone?"

Obama rode this surge of excitement for all it was worth, badly needing abig win after losses in New Hampshire and Nevada. In crowded high schoolgyms in impoverished towns, the senator from Illinois made few directmentions of the historic nature of his candidacy but subtly encouragedvoters not to give in to self-doubt. ("Don't let people make you afraid," hesaid in Kingstree.) He emphasized themes of interest to black voters -- hischurch-going, the high numbers of young blacks in prison. And he built arapport with his jubilant, boisterous audiences unlike anything he hadenjoyed elsewhere, parrying shouted remarks from the crowd and dropping intothe vernacular with just enough irony to avoid accusations of pandering.

"I need your Cousin Pookie to vote!" he'd say with a smile, in a plea for abig turnout.

Voters loved it. After a rally in Kingstree on Thursday, Harrison McKnight,the county coroner, said the only thing that came close to it was when theRev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited the town for a speech at the high schoolfootball field in 1966. "It's wonderful. It's something new that wasn't herebefore," McKnight said.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

In Fla., McCain and Romney Argue About Iraq

By Michael D. Shear and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 27, 2008; A01

SARASOTA, Fla., Jan. 26 -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona accused formerMassachusetts governor Mitt Romney of having once supported a U.S. troopwithdrawal from Iraq, sparking an angry demand for an apology from Romney,who called the statement "dishonest."

Both Republicans abandoned all pretense of civility as they campaignedacross central Florida in advance of the state's primary Tuesday. Recentpolls show a dead heat between McCain and Romney, and the winner here willgain a huge advantage as the nomination fight moves to 21 states a weeklater.

Stumping in Fort Myers on Saturday, McCain went on the attack first, linkingRomney with Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.): "If we surrenderand wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, asGovernor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos, genocide, and thecost of American blood and treasure would be dramatically higher."

He added to reporters that "one of my opponents wanted to set a date forwithdrawal that would have meant disaster."

Romney, who said in April that the military should consider a "privatetimetable" but not public deadlines, shot back: "That's dishonest, to saythat I have a specific date. That's simply wrong. . . . I know he's tryingdesperately to change the topic from the economy and trying to get back toIraq, but to say something that's not accurate is simply wrong, and he knowsbetter."

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Edwards's Appeal Overshadowed by Rivals' Celebrity

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2008; A01

In a quiet moment of an otherwise-fiery Democratic debate Monday, BarackObama reflected on the frenzy sparked by seemingly every one of his andHillary Rodham Clinton's utterances.

"I'm not entirely faulting the media," Obama offered. "There's no doubt thatin a race where you've got an African American and a woman," then, after anuncomfortable pause, he continued, "and John . . ."

The camera flashed to former senator John Edwards, smiling bashfully amid achorus of audience laughter, the white man on a presidential stage thatuntil this year was dominated by white men.

"Who could have imagined 20 years ago, 15 years ago, the white guy in therace would be the afterthought?" presidential historian Robert Dallek askedlast night. "It's amazing."

The debate moment crystallized the problem faced by the man who was theDemocratic Party's vice presidential nominee four years ago, a problemreflected boldly last night in his third-place finish in the state of hisbirth. Edwards is simply not breaking through.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Former Indonesian Dictator Suharto Dies at 86

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, January 27, 2008; 5:21 AM

Suharto, who in 32 years of authoritarian rule of Indonesia turned one ofAsia's largest and poorest countries into a fast-growing tiger economy, diedtoday in Jakarta. He was 86.

The Associated Press reported that the chief presidential doctor, MarjoSubiandono, issued a statement that listed the cause of death multi-organfailure. The former leader had been admitted to a hospital earlier thismonth with kidney, heart and lungs problems and his condition dramaticallyworsened over the weekend.

Suharto rose from poor farmer's son to five-star army general, thenpresident, a man of quiet determination who came to believe in his ownindispensability, historians say. His strong anti-communism made him a closeU.S. ally for much of his rule.

He was forced from office in 1998 when military officers and politicalallies abandoned him in the face of massive street protests over corruption,repression and a financial panic that stalled the country's advance towardaffluence.

During his long rule, Indonesians rarely saw him or heard him speak, knowinghim mainly as the face in portraits that hung in offices throughout thecountry.

more . . . . .


Houston Chronicle

Could both parties' conventions be brokered?
Split in delegate totals may provide a scenario not seen since Reagan-Ford

Jan. 26, 2008, 11:08PM

WASHINGTON - What happens if the primaries don't produce presidentialnominees for one party - or the other - or both?

For Democrats, the Hillary Rodham Clinton-Barack Obama race could continuethrough the primaries. If John Edwards stays in, he could win enoughdelegates to prevent either Clinton or Obama from securing enough conventiondelegates to win the nomination.

On the Republican side, the once implausible seems possible. Threecandidates - Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Mitt Romney - each have wonimportant early contests. All show strength among disparate partyconstituencies. A fourth candidate, Rudy Giuliani, hasn't seriously competedin any primaries yet. It's possible that the four could split primary wins -and delegates - all the way through the primary season, leaving none with amajority of delegates.

Suddenly those summer conventions - ridiculed in recent years as four-dayparties with scripted outcomes - could matter: Delegates might have to stayawake and sober long enough to choose a nominee.

An era of party bosses
"It's not so amazing," said R. Craig Sautter, who's written three books onpresidential nominating conventions. "Any time you have more than twocandidates who are strong, you have the possibility of nobody going into theconvention with enough delegates."

more . . . . .


Detroit News

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Charles Krauthammer

The audacity of John Edwards' farce

There's losing. There's losing honorably. And then there's John Edwards.

Mike Huckabee is not going to be president. The loss in South Carolina, oneof the most highly evangelical states in the union, made that plain. With aceiling of 14 percent among nonevangelical Republicans, Huckabee's base issimply too narrow. But his was not a rise and then a fall. He came fromnowhere to establish himself as the voice of an important nationalconstituency. Huckabee will continue to matter, and might even carry enoughremaining Southern states to wield considerable influence at a fracturedRepublican convention.

Fred Thompson will also not be president. His campaign failed, but quitehonorably. He never tacked. He never dissimulated. He refused to reinventhimself. He presented himself plainly and honestly. Too plainly. What helacked was the ferocious near-deranged ambition (aka, fire in the belly)required to navigate the bizarre ordeal that is today's nominating process.Political decency is not a common commodity. Thompson had it. He'd make afine attorney general, and not just on TV.

Then there is John Edwards. He's not going to be president either. He staysin the race because, with the Democrats' proportional representation system,Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton might end up in a very close delegaterace -- perhaps allowing an also-ran with, say, 10 percent of the delegatesto act as kingmaker at the convention.

It's a prize of sorts, it might even be tradeable for a Cabinet position.But at considerable cost. His campaign has been a spectacle.

Edwards has made much of his renunciation of his Iraq War vote. But he hasnot stopped there. His entire campaign has been an orgy of regret andrenunciation.




Pelosi's stimulus deal irks some Democrats
Others say she held her own in negotiations

The New York Times

January 27, 2008


Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spent her first year as speaker battling herpolitical opponents with mixed results.

Now, she has begun her second session by antagonizing some of her allieswith a major economic proposal that could mark a turning point in herleadership of the House.

Pelosi's decision to abandon central Democratic tenets of past economicrecovery measures to instead funnel cash directly to more Americans isdrawing criticism from some lawmakers, labor leaders and representatives ofcore Democratic constituencies who contend she settled for too little.

But her calculation was instrumental in reaching a quick accord on the $150billion package with the Bush administration and House Republicans, anagreement that put her on a more equal policy footing with the White Houseand showed increasing confidence in asserting her authority.

"There isn't any way you are speaker for a year and don't have growth," saidPelosi, referring to her personal and political development as she describedher rationale in trading expanded unemployment benefits and added food stampmoney for making 35 million lower-income households eligible for a federalcheck later this year.



Chicago Tribune,0,6210300.story

Blacks separating church from vote

By Anthony Stanford

January 27, 2008

Amid the tiffs and truces about race involving Sens. Hillary Clinton andBarack Obama, one thing has become clear: The way that presidentialcandidates court, and win, the African-American vote is undergoingsignificant change.

Numbered are the days when white politicians, such as Bill and HillaryClinton, can show up at a black church, clap and sway to the beat, and leavewith a guarantee of votes.

The transformation of politics in the pew, brought about in large part byObama's candidacy and his refusal to engage in customary pulpit pandering,is causing consternation for white candidates. It's also bringingconsiderable anxiety to members of the black clergy who long wielded thepower to deliver support.

The Obama-Clinton clash is a mere skirmish, the beginning of a change thatwill shake up longtime alliances in churches across the country.

White politicians will have to rethink their political strategies in theblack community. They will have to spend more time understanding problemsand offering real solutions, and less time merely honing their soulfuloratory and learning to keep rhythm with Negro spirituals.



Chicago Tribune,0,1870901.story

Sexism is dealing Clinton a bad hand
We pick her apart, pouncing on the superficial
By Jessica Reaves

Tribune staff reporter

January 27, 2008

A few months ago, a colleague posed this question: "Let's say theDemocratic race comes down to Obama and Clinton. Who do you think couldwin?"

"Obama," I answered, without hesitating. "Definitely."

My co-worker, who happens to be a black man, looked at me as if I werecrazy. And then he told me I was crazy. "You think this country would electa black man before a white woman?"

After Obama's victory in Iowa, the same colleague came back.

"When I'm wrong," he said, shaking his head, "I'm wrong."

He was surprised, he told me, not by Barack Obama's ascendancy, but by themedia's treatment of Hillary Clinton. I wasn't surprised at all, I told him.But I was royally ticked off.

From Day 1 of this seemingly endless election cycle, it has been clear thatthe media don't have any idea how to handle Clinton. She was first lady foreight years, so it's not as if we haven't seen her before. It's just thatwe've never seen her like this: a candidate on her own terms, the equal ofany man, with a real shot at the presidency.

And so we did what we've always done to women who overstep their bounds: Wepicked her apart, piece by piece, ignoring the substance and pouncing on thesuperficial. We sniped about her hair, her laugh, her pantsuits, her voice(which Chris Matthews, MSNBC's resident blowhard, likened to "nails on ablackboard").

In other words, we resorted to every cheap trick in the book. And virtuallyno one called us on it. Gloria Steinem wrote a blistering Op-Ed on thesubject for The New York Times. And several women's groups demandedapologies from Matthews for his numerous idiotic comments. But for the mostpart, the onslaught has gone unchecked, because women have remained largelysilent.



Houston Chronicle

Jan. 26, 2008, 2:53PM

Today's Obama sounds an awful lot like '92 Clinton


It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopefulnamed Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The WashingtonPost in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn't allowto pass their lips.

Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. Hepraised Reagan's "rhetoric in defense of freedom" and his role in "advancingthe idea that communism could be rolled back."

"The idea that we were going to stand firm and reaffirm our containmentstrategy, and the fact that we forced them to spend even more when they werealready producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy, I thinkit hastened their undoing," Clinton declared.

Clinton was careful to add that the Reagan military program included "a lotof wasted money and unnecessary expenditure," but the signal had been sent:Clinton was willing to move beyond "the brain-dead politics in bothparties," as he so often put it.

His apostasy was widely noticed. The Memphis Commercial Appeal praisedClinton two days later for daring to "set himself apart from the pack ofcontenders for the Democratic nomination by saying something nice aboutRonald Reagan."

Clinton's "readiness to defy his party's prevailing Reaganphobia and admitit," the paper wrote, "is one reason he's a candidate to watch."

I have been thinking about that episode ever since Hillary Clinton'scampaign started unloading on Barack Obama for making statements aboutReagan that were, if anything, more measured than Bill Clinton's 1991comments. Obama simply acknowledged Reagan's long-term impact on politics,and the fact that conservatives once constituted the camp producing newideas, flawed though they were.



Los Angeles Times,1,4477486.story?track=crosspromo

A vote for Obama, and for something larger
Blacks in Orangeburg, S.C., the site of a notorious civil-rights protest,hope their ballots are a new page in history.

By James Rainey
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 27, 2008

ORANGEBURG, S.C. - People around this small Southern town say they know toowell that it's dangerous to guess at history before it's happened -- to hopethat times have changed.

But after voting for Barack Obama on a chilly winter Saturday, in a townwith a history of racial unrest, many African Americans couldn't help butlet themselves feel that they were taking part in something larger.

They saw their votes as helping to push a black man to victory in the SouthCarolina presidential primary -- one that felt much bigger than JesseJackson's win in the Democratic primary here 20 years ago.

On Saturday, African American schoolteachers talked about how an Obama inthe White House would motivate students who complain that the deck isstacked against them. Parents hoped it would help them keep distracted sonson the straight and narrow. One woman felt it might even push thoseConfederate flags into the shadows.

Earthalee Brown, 85, cast her ballot around noon in the gymnasium at SouthCarolina State University, then allowed herself to imagine what it would belike to see Obama taking the oath of office next January in front of theCapitol dome.

"It's going to feel like God is still on the throne," said Brown, who grewup in segregated Orangeburg County. As she said it, Brown turned her palmsskyward and laughed from deep inside.

Travis Chandler, a senior at the historically black university, was the 15thconsecutive person to leave the polls around midday reporting a vote forObama. "I never thought an African American would have a chance to win anelection on this level," Chandler said. "I think history could be made. AndI want to do my part."



Washington Post

Reaching for a Place in History

By Lou Cannon and Carl M. Cannon
Sunday, January 27, 2008; B01

As President Bush prepares to deliver his last State of the Union addresstomorrow night, a legion of pundits, politicians and, yes, historians isalready assigning the 43rd president his final place in history. Thesecommentators, and especially those who confidently assert that Bush is the"worst president in history," would do well to remember the Britishhistorian C.V. Wedgwood's observation: "History is written backward butlived forward. Those who know the end of the story can never know what itwas like at the time." We all know -- or think we do -- what things are likein our union now, with an economy hitting a rough patch and a foreign wargrinding on with no end in sight. But we don't know how the story will turnout.

Bush is admittedly so unpopular that even Republican presidential candidatesrarely mention him, preferring instead to compare themselves to the GOP'sgreat icon, Ronald Reagan. We both actually think that Bush bears somecomparison to Reagan, at least on the home front. Even so, it's a safe betthat the Republican nominee who emerges from the present melee will not beeager to have Bush at his side during the fall campaign.

Such downturns are hardly new in U.S. history. For decades after the GreatDepression, no Republican candidate wanted Herbert Hoover within hailingdistance. Fifty-six years ago, few Democrats cared to share a platform withthe discredited Harry S. Truman, widely seen as an ill-spoken, partisan rubewho had led the nation into a needless foreign war. (Sound familiar?) Trumanhit the lowest job-approval ratings in the history of the Gallup poll,including Richard M. Nixon's on the eve of his resignation.

Today, the pendulum has swung. Many historians blame Hoover's predecessors,not Hoover, for the high tariff rates and other excesses that led to theDepression. Meanwhile, historians place Truman close to the top rank ofmodern presidents. These reversals of historical fortune raise the question:Why is it so difficult to judge presidents, especially while they stilloccupy the Oval Office?



Chicago Tribune,0,847324.story

For the Democrats: Obama
January 27, 2008

In 1996, this page endorsed a Chicago attorney, law school instructor andcommunity activist named Barack Obama for a seat in the Illinois Senate.We've paid him uncommon scrutiny ever since, wryly glad that he lived up toour modest prediction: We said Obama "has potential as a political leader."

Since then, so much has been written about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama that it'seasy to forget how far an entire nation's scrutiny of him "as a politicalleader" has led us all. No longer does every article obsess on whethervoters are ready for a black man in the White House.

Most Americans, we'd wager, by now have concluded that the color of his skinmatters less than his evident comfort within it. Yes, he is vilified byless-secure Democrats for acknowledging Ronald Reagan was a transformativepresident who "put us on a fundamentally different path because the countrywas ready for it." Our takeaway: Obama has the confidence to speak truth,poll-tested or not.

Barack Obama is the rare individual who can sit in the U.S. Senate yet havehis career potential unfulfilled. He is the Democrat best suited to leadthis nation. We offer him our endorsement for the Feb. 5 Illinois primary.

By one measure, this endorsement is a paradox. We're urging votes for acandidate whose political views we often disagree with. But this is a morecomplicated contest, and a more complex candidate, than the norm. Thisnation's next president inherits a war -- against terrorists in Iraq andelsewhere -- that has found many ways to divide Americans. Capitol Hill isgridlocked and uncivil. Our discourse is hostage to blame.

Obama can help this nation move forward. A Tribune profile last May labeledhis eight years in Springfield as "a study in complexity, caution andcalculation. In the minority party for all but his final two years in theStatehouse, he tempered a progressive agenda with a cold dash of realism,often forging consensus with conservative Republicans when other liberalswanted to crusade."

Racial profiling, death penalty reform, recording of criminalinterrogations, health care -- when victory was elusive, Obama seizedprogress. He did so by working fluidly with Republicans and Democrats. Hesought out his ideological foes. He listened closely to them. As a result,many Republicans in Illinois have warm words for Barack Obama.

Obama's key opponent, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, unifies only her foes. Herpenchant for gaming every issue -- recall her clumsy dodging when asked in aPhiladelphia debate whether illegal immigrants should be licensed todrive -- feeds suspicion of maneuvering that would humble Machiavelli.

As this campaign has progressed, Hillary Clinton in moments of crisis hasn'tbeen an ennobling sight. Her reliance on her husband, theless-than-presidential Bill, to trash-talk Obama reaffirms that the Clintonsdo whatever it takes to prevail. Depicting Obama's record on Iraq as a"fairy tale" is instructive: Think what you will of the war, but Sen.Clinton was an enabler when that was popular. In Kerryspeak, she was for thewar before she was against the war.



Washington Post

Veto of Wiretap Measure Is Threatened
Bush Wants to Add Immunity for Phone Companies

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2008; A05

The White House warned Democratic leaders yesterday that President Bushwould veto a proposal to extend an expiring surveillance law by 30 days,saying that Congress should quickly approve a Senate bill favored by theBush administration.

The move is aimed at forcing Congress to renew and expand the ProtectAmerica Act -- which is due to expire at the end of the day Thursday -- andescalates a national security showdown between Democrats and the White Housejust before the president's annual State of the Union address.

A senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymitybecause of ongoing negotiations with Congress, said lawmakers "have had sixmonths to not pass a bill -- they don't need 30 more days to not pass abill."

The veto threat prompted a swift condemnation from Senate Majority LeaderHarry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who called the warning "irresponsible" and said Bushwas "posturing" just before Monday night's speech.

"When it comes to providing a strong long-term Foreign IntelligenceSurveillance bill, Democrats in Congress are focused on solutions, whileRepublicans are obviously playing politics," Reid said in a statement.

The White House and Republicans want the temporary surveillance law madepermanent. But many Democrats, spurred on by objections from civil libertiesand liberal groups, have balked at the administration's demand to add legalimmunity for telephone companies, which face dozens of lawsuits over theirrole in warrantless wiretaps conducted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.



CBS News

Analysis: Bill Clinton's Lost Legacy's Vaughn Ververs: Inflammatory Remarks Tarnish Ex-President'sReputation

(CBS) This analysis was written by senior political editorVaughn Ververs.

The man crowned as America's first black president for his unprecedentedpersonal connection to the African-American community has abdicated thethrone.

By injecting himself into the Democratic primary campaign with a series ofinflammatory and negative statements, Bill Clinton may have helped hiswife's presidential hopes in the long term but at the cost of his reputationwith a group of voters that have long been one of his strongest bases ofpolitical support.

Illinois Senator Barack Obama won an overwhelming victory in South Carolinawith the support of African American voters who made up 53 percent of thevote, according to CBS News exit polls. Eighty percent of those voters choseObama.

The rout came after weeks of racial polarization, much of it involving theformer president, who thrust himself into the fray in a manner morereminiscent of backwoods Arkansas politicking than conduct befitting aformer commander in chief.

Bill Clinton was once seen as a big asset for his wife's campaign,especially among Democrats. After the thrashing Hillary Clinton took inSouth Carolina, the former president may find himself in the doghouse, ifnot the bullpen.



Boston Globe

Obama claims diverse win
By Charles Babington, Associated Press Writer | January 26, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. --An exultant Barack Obama said his overwhelming win in SouthCarolina disproved notions that Democratic voters are deeply divided alongracial lines.

"We have the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalitionof Americans we've seen in a long, long time," the Illinois senator toldjoyful supporters at a rally. "They are young and old; rich and poor. Theyare black and white; Latino and Asian."

As if anticipating his remarks, his supporters chanted "Race doesn't matter"before Obama took the stage in Columbia, and again as he spoke for 20minutes.

Obama praised runners-up Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards withoutnaming them. But he took a veiled shot at the sometimes edgy comments madeby the former first lady and former President Clinton in recent days.

"We're looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington," Obamasaid. "And right now, that status quo is fighting back with everything it'sgot; with the same old tactics that divide and distract us from solving theproblems people face."

"We are up against the idea that it's acceptable to say anything and doanything to win an election," Obama said. "We know that this is exactlywhat's wrong with our politics. This is why people don't believe what theirleaders say anymore. This is why they tune out. And this election is ourchance to give the American people a reason to believe again."

The crowd repeatedly chanted, "Yes we can!"



Los Angeles Times,1,824667.story?track=crosspromo

Rush is not happy with his GOP choices

Also, the inside story on why Fred Thompson really ran, er, walked and5-year-olds ask ex-presidents the darndest things.

January 27, 2008
Good news for Rush-haters.

Not only has the controversial conservative radio talk-show host got a sorethroat, but he's anguishing over the inadequacy of the current field ofRepublican presidential candidates.



[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: