Friday, January 04, 2008


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New York Times

Huckabee Wins Round One But Bruising Fight Ahead

January 4, 2008
Filed at 3:12 a.m. ET

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an affableBaptist preacher, won over Iowans with his religiosity and charm, outfoxingrival Mitt Romney who heavily out-spent him.

Huckabee on Thursday won the Republican caucuses in Iowa, the first U.S.state to nominate candidates for the November 2008 election.

He relied on an informal network of conservative bloggers and evangelicalChristians to compensate for Romney's huge financial advantage and negativeads aimed at his record.

Religion plays a big role in the United States, where levels of belief andchurch attendance are much higher than in Europe. Evangelicals number around60 million in the country of 300 million people.

His opposition to abortion and gay marriage -- rallying cries for theparty's evangelical base -- was shared by the rest of the Republican fieldwith the notable exception of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

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New York Times

Obama, Huckabee Sweep to Iowa Victories

January 4, 2008
Filed at 8:56 a.m. ET

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won the Iowacaucuses last night as the candidates move on to New Hampshire.

On the Democratic side, Obama scored 38 percent of the vote with JohnEdwards second with 30 and Hillary Clinton third with 29. Obama won 16delgates with Clinton getting 15 and Edwards 14. Overall, Clinton leads with175 delegates, including superdelegates, followed by Obama with 75 andEdwards with 46.

For the Republicans, Huckabee won with 34 percent, with 25 percent for MittRomney, 13 percent each for Fred Thompson and John McCain, 10 percent forRon Paul and 3 percent for Rudy Giuliani. Huckabee scored 30 delegates andRomney got 7.

After the caucuses, Democrats Joe Biden and Chris Dodd dropped out of therace.

Obama, 46 and a first-term senator from Illinois, told a raucous victoryrally his triumph showed that in ''big cities and small towns, you cametogether to say, 'We are one nation, we are one people and our time forchange has come.'''

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New York Times

Analysis: Evangelicals Choose One of Own

January 4, 2008
Filed at 12:02 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Evangelical Republicans in Iowa chose one of their own inMike Huckabee.

''Wherever it ends -- and we know where that's going to be -- it startedhere in Iowa,'' the emboldened candidate proclaimed as he promised morevictories in states to come.

But the looming question is whether the Southern Baptist minister turneddecade-long Arkansas governor is strong enough to triumph outside friendlyIowa territory, and go the distance to the nomination.

That test begins immediately as Huckabee turns to New Hampshire, where hewill run head-on into town meetings full of secular voters, and John McCain,the Arizona senator who has pinned his second White House bid on the statehe won in 2000.

New Hampshire holds the nation's first primary in just five days, andHuckabee also will face a rematch there with Mitt Romney, the formerMassachusetts governor who desperately needs a victory in neighboring NewHampshire to prove his candidacy isn't crippled after an Iowa defeat.

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Miami Herald

Wide-open race now heads to N.H.

Posted on Fri, Jan. 04, 2008

Iowa voters broke the presidential race wide open Thursday, withconservative Christians fueling Republican Mike Huckabee's victory and arecord-setting turnout propelling Barack Obama to the front of theDemocratic pack.

By turning its back on Republican Mitt Romney's more sophisticated campaignand Democrat Hillary Clinton's front-runner status, Iowa keeps up thesuspense of the first presidential race in decades without an incumbentpresident or vice president.

Now it's up to a handful of other states with early and influential conteststhis month -- including Florida, on Jan. 29 -- to uphold Iowa's verdict orcast it aside.

The increasingly unsettled race means Florida may be called on to winnow thefield before two dozen states vote one week later.

''Florida could be huge,'' said state Rep. David Rivera of Miami, a Huckabeesupporter who sponsored the legislation to move up the state's primary fromMarch to January. ``It could become the defining state for the nomination.''

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Boston Globe

A look at Huckabee, Obama Iowa victories

By Alan Fram, Associated Press Writer
January 4, 2008

Religion played a huge role in Mike Huckabee's triumph in the IowaRepublican caucuses, though there are some mixed signals for him on the roadahead. On the Democratic side, it was fresh blood -- and an outcry forchange -- that helped propel Barack Obama to his victory in the state.

Eight in 10 Huckabee supporters said they are born again or evangelicalChristians, according to an entrance poll for The Associated Press andtelevision networks. Another six in 10 said it was very important to sharetheir candidate's religious beliefs. In both categories, none of the formerArkansas governor's opponents came close to that kind of support.

In addition, six in 10 Huckabee supporters -- more than his rivals -- saidit was most important that their candidate shared their values. Only 4percent of his backers said they wanted a contender with experience, and 2percent said they were looking for a Republican who can win the White Housein November.

On the Democratic side, more than a third of Obama's support was from votersunder age 30, eclipsing Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards among theyoung, according to those entering the caucuses. In contrast, more than athird of Clinton's vote came from people age 65 and older, far more than hertop rivals.

More than half of Edwards' supporters were veteran caucus goers, while mostof Clinton's and Obama's backers were first-timers. And a desire for changewas like a rocket booster for Obama -- half of Democrats said the ability toforce change was the pivotal factor in picking a candidate, and half of thembacked the youthful Illinois senator.

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St. Petersburg Times

Politics: Three things we learned from Iowa

By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published January 4, 2008

1. This race isn't ending any time soon. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the onlycandidate who could come back from a second or third place finish in Iowa,and Barack Obama's win all but guarantees a drawn out primary.

She and Obama both have the financial resources to keep fighting. It's evenmore wide open on the Republican side, where Mike Huckabee, John McCain,Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney each has a shot at winning the nomination.

2. Democrats are much more energized than Republicans. For weeks leading upto the caucuses, Iowa voters packed into campaign events for even the leastcelebrated Democratic candidates.

Then, last night, a surge of Democratic voters overwhelmed caucus sites witha turnout of over 225,000, almost double 2004.

Republicans never generated the same kind of across-the-board enthusiasm fortheir field of candidates. Turnout was up from the last time the GOPcaucused, in 2000, to just over 120,000.

3. Money isn't everything. Mitt Romney spent a year in Iowa building a vastground operation using a big chunk of the $62-million in campaign money athis disposal. And until about mid November he commanded the polls.

But an upstart candidate with an easy manner, very, very little money andalmost no campaign operation vaulted past him and cruised to a surprisinglyeasy win.


Seattle Times

Who won and who lost

By The Dallas Morning News


Religious conservatives: They formed a huge share of GOP caucus-goers andstrongly supported Mike Huckabee, giving him a big win.

Hope, Ark.: The little town that could, birthplace of Bill Clinton, hasanother presidential front-runner in Huckabee.

Oprah Winfrey and Chuck Norris: In the battle of star power, the celebritieswere on the winning side.

Change: Voters in both parties went for candidates offering a much differentapproach to politics than the standard-bearers.

Racial healing: The symbolism of a black man named Barack Obama winning inan overwhelmingly white state is undeniable.


Mitt Romney: It wasn't just that he lost the state where he spent so muchtime and money, it was the size of the loss.

The Northeast: Yankees Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Romney allfell short.

Bill Clinton and John Mellencamp: The former president couldn't transfer hisnatural political appeal to his wife. Mellencamp's late appearances for JohnEdwards didn't move the needle much.

Experience: Sen. Clinton argued that she could bring change because she haddone so before in Washington. Democrats went for Obama instead.

Big campaign money: Romney spent a fortune, but Huckabee, on a shoestringbudget, whipped him. The biggest traditional money machine in Democraticpolitics, the Clinton network, couldn't compete with Obama.

Chris Dodd's children: The Connecticut Democrat moved his family to Iowa,even enrolling his children in school there. He won less than 1 percent.


Dallas Morning News

Eugene Robinson: We Washington insiders need to get out more

08:13 AM CST on Friday, January 4, 2008

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: People in Washington reallyshould get out more.

By "Washington," I mean not just the city but the state of mind, and by "getout," I mean spend time surrounded not just by a different geography but bya different demography, as well. If we did, the high-blown debates we havehere - and by "we," I mean politicians, lobbyists, advocates, bureaucrats,scholars, journalists and all the rest trapped in the Washington echochamber - might bear more relation to what people who live outside ourbubble think of as reality.

Case in point: When former Pakistani Prime
Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated last week, Washington tied itselfin knots trying to figure out which presidential candidates on theDemocratic and Republican sides would benefit in the Iowa caucuses. This wasthe kind of shocking event that could prove pivotal, said the conventionalwisdom in Washington - with pro forma apologies, of course, for implyingthat Ms. Bhutto's death would actually be "good," in terms of politicaladvantage, for one campaign or another.

But when I was in Iowa last weekend, I failed to find Iowans for whom thetragic events in Rawalpindi were a political issue. It's not that Iowansdon't recognize why instability in Pakistan is important or why it mightimpact their lives. It's just that they had put the shocking murder in whatthey considered its proper context.

Another example: In Washington, it is conventionally wise to think ofgovernment gridlock as basically a good thing, even something of which mostAmericans approve. To have a president from one party and a Congresscontrolled - or at least reined in - by the other, we tell ourselves,prevents too-abrupt shifts in policy. Gridlock is supposed to forcebipartisan consensus, which is held as a kind of Holy Grail, the only way totackle the nation's biggest problems.

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Pew Research center

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Republicans Run Neck and Neck, Clinton Holds Lead Nationally
As the 2008 caucus/primary season kicks off, Giuliani's once solid lead innationwide polls has vanished and religion has become a larger factor forGOP voters as Huckabee has become better known. The Democratic contestremains largely stable nationwide despite close races in early statecontests. Read more
Global Outlook
Despite an Upbeat Pre-Election Mood, Ethnic Conflicts Troubled Many Kenyans
Until recently, Kenya was considered something of a success story in atroubled region and -- as the latest Pew Global Attitudes surveyhighlighted -- before last week's election, Kenyans were feeling relativelygood about the direction of their nation and the prospects for theirdemocracy. However, the survey also revealed that, despite economic progressand an upbeat pre-election mood, concern about tribal rivalries in Kenya wasgreater than in all but two other African nations surveyed. ReadmoreCyberwatch
In Search of Solutions: Using the Internet, Libraries and Government to FindHelp
A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, in partnershipwith the University of Illinois -Urbana-Champaign, challenges the assumptionthat libraries are losing relevance in the internet age. However, ingeneral, more people turn to the internet (at home, work, libraries or otherplaces) than any other source of information and support, including expertsand family members. Read moreState Legislative Roundup
2007 Marked by Activism
Disgusted with federal gridlock, states are carving out their ownglobal-warming and immigration laws, expanding health coverage for uninsuredchildren and warning they may ignore federal plans for national driver'slicense standards. provides a rundown on these and otherlively happenings around the nation. Read moreThe Daily Number
34 Points: Latinos Leaving GOP
Some 57% of Hispanic registered voters now say they are Democrats or leanDemocratic while just 23% align with the Republican Party -- a34-percentage-point gap in partisan affiliation. Check back every weekdayfor another number in the news. Read more


Chicago Tribune,0,72608.story?coll=chi_tab01_layout


Obama, Huckabee strike first with Iowa victories
Edwards ekes by Clinton for 2nd amid huge turnout

By Christi Parsons and John McCormick, Tribune staff reporters Tribune staffreporters John Chase and Monique Garcia contributed from Des Moines andnational correspondent Mike Dorning contributed fr
January 4, 2008


Young voters and independents flooded gyms and church basements in recordnumbers Thursday night, delivering a historic and decisive victory in theIowa caucuses to Sen. Barack Obama, as he vanquished Sen. Hillary Clintonand certified his standing as her principal challenger for the Democraticpresidential nomination.

The Illinois Democrat spoke of the night as a "defining moment in history"to a throng of ecstatic supporters here, many of them young voters who havepowered his campaign all along. The extraordinary crowds that Obama haddrawn throughout the campaign proved a strong measure of his support.

He also finished solidly ahead of former Sen. John Edwards of NorthCarolina, who barely inched out Clinton of New York for second place.

"You have done what the cynics said we couldn't do," Obama told the crowd athis caucus- night party.

"You came together as Democrats, Republicans and independents to stand upand say that we are one nation, we are one people and our time for changehas come."

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Los Angeles Times,0,2739052.story?coll=la-home-center

2003 letter told CIA: Trashing tapes would harm image
Rep. Harman discloses her warning against disposing of interrogation videos.

By Greg Miller and Richard B. Schmitt
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
January 4, 2008

WASHINGTON - More than two years before the CIA destroyed interrogationvideotapes, top officials were urged to preserve them by a senior lawmakerwho warned that disposing of the recordings would "reflect badly on theagency."

The warning came in a February 2003 letter from Rep. Jane Harman of Venice,then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

The letter was released publicly by Harman's office on Thursday, after itscontents were declassified by the CIA, and one day after the JusticeDepartment opened a criminal investigation into the destruction of thetapes.

The existence of Harman's letter had been reported; but its precisecontents, previously unrevealed, provide details on then-classifieddiscussions between the CIA and senior members of Congress about the tapesand the agency's desire to get rid of them.

Harman wrote the letter after learning in a classified briefing that the CIAplanned to destroy the tapes. She urged the agency to reconsider. "Even ifthe videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preservedunder the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written recordis accurate, if such record is called into question in the future," shewrote.

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Boston Globe

Political history a warning for early-season winners

By Peter S. Canellos, Globe Staff | January 4, 2008

DES MOINES - Now comes the hard part for Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, theinsurgents who last night took center stage in their parties' presidentialraces, but who will now face the daunting scrutiny of the political andmedia world, with many of their own parties' leaders arrayed against them.

The triumphs of Obama, a freshman senator who four years ago was serving inthe Illinois legislature, and Huckabee, the little-known former governor ofArkansas, were dazzling and even historic in their own ways: Each struck arich vein of anti-Washington feeling in Iowa and withstood strong challengesfrom far more famous opponents. Obama scored the double victory of defeatinga rival anti-establishment candidate, former senator John Edwards of NorthCarolina.

Democrats saw Obama, whose mixed-race background makes him a symbol ofchange in Washington and of a new era of understanding in the world, as thestrongest possible corrective to President Bush's often abrasive foreignpolicy. Hillary Clinton, the favorite of the Democratic establishment, wasflayed by Obama for being too close to Bush in supporting military action inIraq and assessing the Iran threat.

Iowa Republicans, too, chose a candidate who called Bush's foreign policy"arrogant" but for the most part eschewed the harsh rhetoric of his party'sbetter-known candidates.

However, recent history hasn't been kind to candidates who won earlycaucuses and primaries, with all of them faltering in later states. Obamaand Huckabee now join Democrats Gary Hart (1984) and Paul Tsongas (1992),and Republicans George H.W. Bush (1980), Bob Dole (1988), Pat Buchanan(1996), and John McCain (2000), who each marshaled time-for-a-change angerto win a hotly contested race in Iowa or New Hampshire, only to fall to thefavorite of their party's establishment.

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Los Angeles Times,1,2651744.story?coll=la-news-politics-national&track=crosspromo

Obama's victory upends his party's politics
His promise of change resonates more than Clinton's claim of experience

By Peter Wallsten
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 4, 2008

DES MOINES - Barack Obama's surprisingly convincing win in Iowa on Thursdayupended the Democratic presidential race and overturned some of thefundamental assumptions of modern-day American politics.

Voters in an overwhelmingly white state embraced an African Americancandidate.

Women, given the chance to vote for the first credible female White Househopeful in Hillary Rodham Clinton, voted in larger numbers for a man.

And the Democratic Party's most formidable political machine, drawing ondeep-pocket donors and the celebrity of former President Clinton, was beatenby a man who just three years ago held an office no higher than statelegislator.

Amid it all, Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, changed the rules ofthe Iowa caucuses.

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USA Today

Attention shifts to first presidential primary

By Martha T. Moore, USA TODAY

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The first plane landed here from Iowa even before thecaucuses started Thursday. But the rest of the presidential pack was rightbehind Sen. John McCain, as planeloads of candidates, campaign workers andmedia arrive today for the last push to the first primary.

After a year of sharing the spotlight and the candidates with Iowa, NewHampshire becomes the sole focus of the 2008 presidential race untilTuesday's primary.

RELATED: Huckabee moves to 'front of this campaign'
The last few days before voting "are always the most memorable of anyprimary campaign," state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley says. "Theelectricity is amazing."

Races in both parties are tight. A Franklin Pierce University poll outThursday shows Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, winner of Iowa's Democraticcaucuses, virtually tied with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. AmongRepublicans, Arizona's McCain leads former Massachusetts governor MittRomney by six percentage points.

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Washington Post

The Conventional Wisdom Defied

By Paul Kane and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, January 4, 2008; A01

During the hot Chicago summer, with polling data showing his campaignlagging and the national media fixated on an "inevitable nominee," advisersto Barack Obama divided into warring factions.

Angry that their candidate was nearly 30 points behind Hillary RodhamClinton in national polls, some supporters worried that fundraising wouldsoon dry up. Some wanted a confrontational strategy drawing sharp contrastswith the front-runner. Still others wanted the candidate to rest up for thefinal months of battle.

But Obama and his inner circle decided to stay focused on their originalbattle plan: lay the groundwork in the early-voting states of Iowa, NewHampshire and South Carolina, and push an aggressive message for change butone of unity and not harsh rhetorical attacks, according to interviews withadvisers, fundraisers and supporters.

"The natural reminder here is O.J. [Simpson] -- how does an African Americancandidate attack a white woman?" said Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), afellow Chicagoan whose father ran for president twice in the 1980s but wasnever as close as Obama is now to securing the Democratic nomination.

With a win in the Iowa caucuses last night, Obama shook conventional wisdomto its political core, preaching "post-partisan" comity and becoming thefirst African American candidate in either party to win thefirst-in-the-nation balloting. Obama went into a state of 3 million people,just 2 1/2 percent of whom are black, and cleaned up, topping Clinton andformer vice presidential nominee John Edwards by more than eight percentagepoints.

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Washington Post

Why Iowa Matters (and New Hampshire, Too)

By Warren Rudman
Friday, January 4, 2008; 12:00 AM

Iowa voters who went to the caucuses yesterday, and New Hampshire voters whohead to the polls next week, must battle the widespread criticism that ournation's primary election process puts too much power in the hands of a fewsmall unrepresentative states, unfairly positioning winners and losersbefore the national voting audience has a chance to fully evaluate all thecontenders.

It may not be surprising for a former New Hampshire senator to come to thedefense of the early voting states. But I believe my argument stands on itsown: There is plenty of time and there are plenty of ways for voters aroundthe country to learn about the candidates. Yet the best way to get a senseof the candidates' characters and positions is to force them into targeted,up-close-and-personal, Iowa-style campaigning.

In response to the criticism that the early primaries and caucuses, followedby a quick succession of nominating contests, deprive most voters ofsufficient time for deliberation, it should be noted that this presidentialrace has been going on for more than a year. It has dominated nationalheadlines and political talk shows. It has included nearly three dozennationally televised or online debates. And everything from campaign ads tothe candidates' favorite books can be found easily on the Web.

That said, official websites and paid advertising, circumscribed debates androped-off events, promote canned commentary and poll-tested messaging moreappropriate for marketing breakfast cereal than running for the highestoffice in the nation. They allow candidates to avoid hard questions. Theymake it hard to tell what's manufactured and what's real.

The early primaries and caucuses offer no such shelter. Whether at a diner,a town hall meeting or on a factory floor, there is little separationbetween those seeking office and those who can help get them elected.Strategies driven by Madison Avenue and K Street tend to flounder. Attemptsto provide cosmetic answers to complex challenges are often met withdisaffection and more than a few lost votes, especially among thoseever-important independents. On the other hand, votes can be won whencandidates convey that they mean what they say.

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New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist: Dealing With the Dragon


On both Wednesday and Thursday, the price of oil briefly hit $100 a barrel.The new record made headlines, as well it should have. But what does itmean, aside from the obvious point that the economy is under extra pressure?

Well, one thing it means is that we're having the wrong discussion aboutforeign policy.

Almost all the foreign policy talk in this presidential campaign has beenmotivated, one way or another, by 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Yet it's a verygood bet that the biggest foreign policy issues for the next president willinvolve the Far East rather than the Middle East. In particular, the crucialquestions are likely to involve the consequences of China's economic growth.

Turn to any of several major concerns now facing America, and in each caseit's startling how large a role China plays.

Start with the soaring price of oil. Unlike the oil crises that followed theYom Kippur War and the overthrow of the shah of Iran, this crisis wasn'tcaused by events in the Middle East that disrupted world oil supply.Instead, it had its roots in Asia.

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New York Times

Editorial: Saudi Arabia's Promised Reforms

January 4, 2008

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did the right thing when he pardoned the"Qatif girl." The perfect injustice of the case, in which a young woman wasgang raped and then sentenced to 200 lashes for being alone in a car with aman to whom she was not married, left him no choice. Now another ugly faceof Saudi justice has been revealed, one that cannot be explained byreligion, ancient tradition or culture. The detention last month of anoutspoken blogger, Fouad al-Farhan - only confirmed by the Interior Ministrythis week - is an act of thoroughly modern despotism and one the king shouldimmediately overrule.

Mr. Farhan's Web site,, has posted a letter from him inwhich he said he was being investigated because of his writings aboutpolitical prisoners. If King Abdullah is really serious about reforming hiskingdom's legal system, as he has indicated that he is, then he must changenot only the Sharia-based courts but also the organs of state security thatsilence critics in his name.

King Abdullah's announced reforms include the creation of a Supreme Court aswell as specialized courts for criminal, commercial, labor and familymatters, and the training of legal staff. These plans have been especiallywelcomed by foreigners doing business in Saudi Arabia, who have beenhamstrung by the capriciousness of the religious judges.

The case of the woman from the Eastern town of Qatif should make clear tothe king that his reforms cannot stop at making life easier for businessmen.They must also make life far better for women, who are denied basic legaland social rights, and they must give more legal protection to those whocriticize the government.

Defenders of the existing Saudi system argue that change in this traditionalsociety must come slowly. Many Saudis are clearly eager for more and fasterchange. A Gallup poll conducted last year showed that a majority want morefreedoms for women. King Abdullah has demonstrated a laudable desire forreform. He must understand that cruelty, sex discrimination and censorshipcannot be part of a modern legal system or a country that wants toparticipate in the modern world.

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New York Times

Outsourced Wombs
Tags: India, surrogate motherhood

January 3, 2008, 6:29 pm

The voice was commanding, slightly disdainful and officious.

"The legal issues in the United States are complicated, having to do withthat the surrogate mother still has legal rights to that child until theysign over their parental rights at the time of the delivery. Of course, andthere's the factor of costs. For some couples in the United States surrogacycan reach up to $80,000."

This was "Julie," an American thirtysomething who'd come to India to pay apoor village woman to bear her baby. She went on:

"You have no idea if your surrogate mother is smoking, drinking alcohol,doing drugs. You don't know what she's doing. You have a third-party agencyas a mediator between the two of you, but there's no one policing her in thesense that you don't know what's going on."

Would you want this woman owning your womb?

The Indian surrogate mothers quoted along with Julie in a report on AmericanPublic Media's "Marketplace" on NPR last week didn't much appear troubled bythat kind of thought. After all, the money they were earning for theirservices - $6,000 to $10,000 - might have been a pittance compared to whatsurrogates in the United States might earn, but it was still, for theirfamilies, the equivalent of 10 to 15 years of normal income.

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New York Times

Evolution Book Sees No Science-Religion Gap

January 4, 2008

In 1984 and again in 1999, the National Academy of Sciences, the nation'smost eminent scientific organization, produced books on the evidencesupporting the theory of evolution and arguing against the introduction ofcreationism or other religious alternatives in public school scienceclasses.

On Thursday, it produced a third. But this volume is unusual, people whoworked on it say, because it is intended specifically for the lay public andbecause it devotes much of its space to explaining the differences betweenscience and religion, and asserting that acceptance of evolution does notrequire abandoning belief in God.

"We wanted to produce a report that would be valuable and accessible toschool board members and teachers and clergy," said Barbara A. Schaal, avice president of the academy, an evolutionary biologist at WashingtonUniversity and a member of the panel that produced the book.

The panel, convened by the academy and the Institute of Medicine, itsmedical arm, was headed by Francisco Ayala, a biologist at the University ofCalifornia, Irvine, and a former Dominican priest.

The 70-page book, "Science, Evolution and Creationism," says, among otherthings, that "attempts to pit science and religion against each other createcontroversy where none needs to exist." And it offers statements fromseveral eminent biologists and members of the clergy to support the view.

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Washington Post

Judge Him by His Laws

By Charles Peters
Friday, January 4, 2008; A21

People who complain that Barack Obama lacks experience must be unaware ofhis legislative achievements. One reason these accomplishments areunfamiliar is that the media have not devoted enough attention to Obama'sbills and the effort required to pass them, ignoring impressive, hardevidence of his character and ability.

Since most of Obama's legislation was enacted in Illinois, most of theevidence is found there -- and it has been largely ignored by the media in akind of Washington snobbery that assumes state legislatures are not to betaken seriously. (Another factor is reporters' fascination with the horserace at the expense of substance that they assume is boring, a fascinationthat despite being ridiculed for years continues to dominate politicaljournalism.)

I am a rarity among Washington journalists in that I have served in a statelegislature. I know from my time in the West Virginia legislature that thechallenges faced by reform-minded state representatives are no less, ifindeed not more, formidable than those encountered in Congress. For me, atleast, trying to deal with those challenges involved as much drama as anyelection. And the "heart and soul" bill, the one for which a legislatorgives everything he or she has to get passed, has long told me more thananything else about a person's character and ability.

Consider a bill into which Obama clearly put his heart and soul. The problemhe wanted to address was that too many confessions, rather than beingvoluntary, were coerced -- by beating the daylights out of the accused.

Obama proposed requiring that interrogations and confessions be videotaped.

This seemed likely to stop the beatings, but the bill itself arousedimmediate opposition. There were Republicans who were automatically tough oncrime and Democrats who feared being thought soft on crime. There were deathpenalty abolitionists, some of whom worried that Obama's bill, by preventingthe execution of innocents, would deprive them of their best argument.Vigorous opposition came from the police, too many of whom had becomeaccustomed to using muscle to "solve" crimes. And the incoming governor, RodBlagojevich, announced that he was against it.

Obama had his work cut out for him.

He responded with an all-out campaign of cajolery. It had not been easy fora Harvard man to become a regular guy to his colleagues. Obama had managedto do so by playing basketball and poker with them and, most of all, bylistening to their concerns. Even Republicans came to respect him. OneRepublican state senator, Kirk Dillard, has said that "Barack had a way bothintellectually and in demeanor that defused skeptics."

The police proved to be Obama's toughest opponent. Legislators tend to quailwhen cops say things like, "This means we won't be able to protect yourchildren." The police tried to limit the videotaping to confessions, butObama, knowing that the beatings were most likely to occur duringquestioning, fought -- successfully -- to keep interrogations included inthe required videotaping.

By showing officers that he shared many of their concerns, even going so faras to help pass other legislation they wanted, he was able to quiet thefears of many.

Obama proved persuasive enough that the bill passed both houses of thelegislature, the Senate by an incredible 35 to 0. Then he talked Blagojevichinto signing the bill, making Illinois the first state to require suchvideotaping.

Obama didn't stop there. He played a major role in passing many other bills,including the state's first earned-income tax credit to help the workingpoor and the first ethics and campaign finance law in 25 years (a law a Poststory said made Illinois "one of the best in the nation on campaign financedisclosure"). Obama's commitment to ethics continued in the U.S. Senate,where he co-authored the new lobbying reform law that, among itshard-to-sell provisions, requires lawmakers to disclose the names oflobbyists who "bundle" contributions for them.

Taken together, these accomplishments demonstrate that Obama has whatDillard, the Republican state senator, calls a "unique" ability "to dealwith extremely complex issues, to reach across the aisle and to deal withdiverse people." In other words, Obama's campaign claim that he can persuadeus to rise above what divides us is not just rhetoric.

I do not think that a candidate's legislative record is the only measure ofpresidential potential, simply that Obama's is revealing enough to merit farmore attention than it has received. Indeed, the media have been equallydelinquent in reporting the legislative achievements of Hillary Clinton andJohn Edwards, both of whom spent years in the U.S. Senate. The media shouldcompare their legislative records to Obama's, devoting special attention totheir heart-and-soul bills and how effective each was in actually makinglaw.


Washington Post

Jobless Rate Hits 5 Percent, 2-Year High

By Howard Schneider
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 4, 2008; 11:00 AM

Unemployment in December jumped to its highest rate in two years and newhiring slowed to a trickle as a cooling economy and a continued downturn inthe housing sector registered soundly in the country's labor force.

U.S. markets dropped sharply on the news. The Dow Jones industrial averagewas down nearly 164 points, or about 1.3 percent, after the first hour oftrading; the tech-heavy Nasdaq had posted an even greater proportionateloss, falling more than 61 points, or more than 2.3 percent. The S&P 500 hadlost nearly 1.5 percent.

According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment on aseasonally adjusted basis increased to 5 percent last month, compared to 4.7percent in November. Around 7.7 million Americans were estimated to be outof work -- about 1.1 million more than were out of work a year ago.

A scant 18,000 jobs were added over the month -- the smallest monthlyincrease since 2003, and a sharp drop from the 115,000 jobs added bybusinesses and government agencies in November.

The construction and manufacturing sectors shed 70,000 jobs between them.While some parts of the economy continued to hire, such as education andhealth companies, it was only the addition of 31,000 government jobs thatkept the number of overall payroll positions from falling in December.

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Washington Post

After Bhutto's Death, Sharif Steps Forward
Ex-Premier Hopes to Become Unifying Force

By Emily Wax and Imtiaz Ali
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, January 4, 2008; A14

LAHORE, Pakistan, Jan. 3 -- In the polished marble foyer of his mansion,former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif keeps two ferocious-lookingstuffed lions. They were purchased in Africa, and they greet visitors withpiercing eyes.

Sharif and his trademark lions and tigers are splashed across his campaignbillboards throughout Pakistan. In a way, they have become a tellingmetaphor for a man who was once on the brink of political extinction but whohas reemerged as a powerful force in a tense time.

"Pakistan is in a very serious situation. I'm here to do what I can," Sharifsaid Thursday, sitting in a gold and silk thronelike chair in his lavishcountry home. "But the country doesn't need a one-man show. Pakistan hasbecome a laughingstock. We need General Musharraf to step down. We need areturn to the judges, a return to rule of law, a return to democracy."

In November, after Sharif returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile, hewas largely overshadowed by Benazir Bhutto, whose personal magnetism andstoried lineage dominated the political landscape here. Now, a week afterBhutto's assassination, Sharif is the country's most experienced oppositionleader and regarded by many as the one to watch.

In light of Bhutto's death, Sharif, 58, who was prime minister whenPakistan's first nuclear bomb was detonated and who once attempted to imposeIslamic law, is trying to recast himself from a vilified -- and allegedlycorrupt -- figure into a viable leader capable of uniting disparatepolitical and religious parties. His ability to do so is all the moreimportant at a time when political instability and rising Islamic extremismare heightening security concerns not only in this region, but also inWashington.

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Washington Post

CIA in 2003 Planned Destruction of Tapes
Congresswoman Argued Against the Move

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 4, 2008; A03

A key member of Congress disclosed yesterday that the CIA said in February2003 that it planned to destroy videotapes of harsh interrogations after theagency's inspector general finished probing the episodes, an account thatadds detail to recent CIA statements about the circumstances surrounding thetapes' destruction.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) released a declassified copy of a letter shesecretly wrote to the CIA in February 2003, in which she quoted then-CIAGeneral Counsel Scott W. Muller as telling her a tape of the agency'sinterrogation of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, better known as AbuZubaida, "will be destroyed after the Inspector General finishes hisinquiry." The CIA yesterday confirmed Harman's account of Muller'sstatement.

Harman at that time had recently become the ranking Democrat on the Houseintelligence committee, and in her letter she urged Muller to "reconsider"that plan and predicted that the tapes' destruction "would reflect badly onthe agency." Agency officials nonetheless destroyed the tapes in 2005, andon Wednesday, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey ordered a formal criminalprobe into the destruction.

In recent public accounts about the tapes, CIA officials have said that nodefinitive decision was made about destroying the tapes until 2005.Beginning in early 2003, senior officials expressed an "intention todispose" of the videos, according to a Dec. 6 statement by CIA DirectorMichael V. Hayden. But an internal debate over the tapes' dispositioncontinued for two more years, with senior CIA lawyers advising against theirdestruction.

According to several senior intelligence officials, who spoke on thecondition of anonymity because the matter is under criminal investigation,the videotaping at issue was conducted at secret CIA detention sitesoverseas with the approval of CIA headquarters. The interrogations gotunderway after the administration in August 2002 authorized what Mullerdescribed in a Feb. 28, 2003, letter to Harman as a "handful of speciallyapproved interrogation techniques."

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