Friday, May 30, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS Friday May 30, 2008

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New York Times
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-Mounting Costs Slow the Push for Clean Coal
Despite support, plans to take the carbon dioxide that spews from coal-burning power plants and pump it back into the ground have hit roadblocks.

-The Reality Situation
We don’t understand the Iranians because the Iranians don’t understand themselves. Until they resolve their internal ambiguity, they won’t be able to make a strategic shift.

-Louisiana Tries Again
Gov. Bobby Jindal needs to make sure that the state’s new plan truly follows the Missouri model of a juvenile justice system.

-U.S. Withdraws Fulbright Grants to Gaza
The American State Department has withdrawn all Fulbright grants to Palestinian students in Gaza, because Israel has not granted them permission to leave.

-In New York City, Two Versions of End-of-Life Care
There are two starkly different paths toward death in New York City’s hospitals, one for patients at elite private institutions, another for those at public hospitals, according to new data compiled as part of a consumer rating system. Most elderly patients in their last two years of life have more intensive treatment, more tests, more days of hospitalization — and more out-of-pocket costs — at private teaching hospitals like N.Y.U. and Lenox Hill than their counterparts at Bellevue and the city’s other municipal hospitals, which have historically served the neediest New Yorkers. The city’s private hospitals were among the most aggressive of about 3,000 hospitals studied across the nation, ranking in the 94th percentile as a group, while the public hospitals landed in the 69th percentile, still significantly above the national average.

-NATO Chief in Afghanistan Says Pakistan’s Tack on Militants Is Not as Expected
KABUL, Afghanistan — The departing American commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan K. McNeill, raised concerns on Thursday that Pakistan had not followed through on promises to tackle militancy on its side of the border, and in recent months had even stopped its cooperation with NATO and Afghan counterparts on border issues. General McNeill said Pakistan’s failure to act against militants in its tribal areas and its decision to hold talks with the militants without putting pressure on them had led to an increase in insurgent attacks against United States and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan.

-End Of Democratic White House Race Could Be Near
The end is near. Probably. After five months of voting, 16 months of campaigning and more surprises, reversals and comebacks than any U.S. political race deserves, the grueling duel for the Democratic presidential omination could be entering its final days. With three small nominating contests left, Barack Obama has moved within a few dozen delegates of beating rival Hillary Clinton and securing the right to face Republican John McCain in November's presidential election. When the last votes are counted in Montana and South Dakota on Tuesday night, Obama will have either just enough delegates to the August convention to clinch the nomination or be just a few short. If he is shy of the magic number, a flurry of endorsements from some of the nearly 200 uncommitted superdelegates -- party leaders who can back any candidate -- would easily put him over the top and likely send Clinton to the sidelines.

-Rule Change Would Permit Weapons in National Parks
The federal government is considering a proposal to allow visitors to carry loaded, concealed weapons in some national parks, wildlife refuges and monuments. The National Rifle Association favors the proposed rule, arguing that it would help keep crime down and protect visitors from potentially dangerous wildlife. “You read stories about people attacked by animals or who stumble upon meth labs or women who are raped in a national park,” the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, said. “We don’t believe law-abiding citizens should be kept from protecting themselves and their families in national wildlife refuges or in national parks.”

Washington Post
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-Obama's Latest Pastor Disaster
By the time you finish watching this YouTube video (which had about 95,000 showings as of this morning) it will be well on its way to reaching: 1) its one hundred thousandth viewing, and, 2) its one millionth close reading by Clinton and McCain staffers. The action takes place at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Yes. That Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago! This time, however, the valedictory is made not by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but by a white Chicago Catholic priest by the name of Rev. Michael Pfleger. During his sermon, Father Pfleger mocked Hillary Clinton's tears before the New Hampshire primary, saying she cried because she felt "entitled" because she is white "and there's a black man stealing my show.''
Father Pfleger apologized late Thursday for the remarks, saying his sermon as "inconsistent with Senator Obama's life and message." But by delivering his remarks, Father Pfleger seems to have officially submitted his entry to the What Else Can We At Trinity Do to Further Assure that the United States Does Not Have Its First African-American President Any Time Soon? video competition. And this application has “Finalist” marked all over it.

-'Look What They've Done to Her'
How much anger is there among women about how Hillary Clinton has been treated during this campaign? Some of the nation's leading female politicians will tell you: quite a lot. "From the beginning, she's been treated very badly," says Therese Murray, president of the Massachusetts Senate. "No woman would have run with Obama's résumé. She wouldn't have been considered." But Clinton has been "demonized by the press and the talking heads. How do you get away with that?" Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) says she is regularly approached "by women of all races, of all ages, of all faiths. They stop me, grab my hand and say, 'Look what they've done to her, we were so close.' They wanted this for their daughters and randdaughters. . . . It's so heartbreaking."

-Vatican Says It Will Excommunicate Women Priests
The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests on Thursday, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication. The decree was written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect.

-Israel's Olmert Loses Key Support
Minister Urges Party To Prepare for Change
Israel's foreign minister on Thursday joined the growing ranks of senior politicians who have turned away from embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as expectations built that there will soon be fresh elections.
Tzipi Livni, a possible successor to Olmert and a fellow member of his centrist Kadima party, stopped short of calling for his resignation. But she did say the party needs to prepare for a new vote and indicated it should first pick a new leader.

-Marine in Iraq Suspended Over Coins Quoting Gospel
U.S. military suspended a Marine on Thursday for distributing coins quoting the Gospel to Sunni Muslims, an incident that has enraged Iraqis who view it as the latest example of American disrespect for Islam.
The Marine, stationed in the western city of Fallujah, handed out silver-colored coins this week that said in Arabic: "Where will you spend eternity? (John 3:36)." The other side read: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)."

Miami Herald
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-Burma's rulers sink to new low
In an appalling display of contempt for international public opinion and their own people, the generals who rule Burma have extended for one year the house arrest of democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. This completes a trifecta of tyranny for the junta. Over the past few weeks, it has denied access to international-aid workers following a devastating cyclone, held a sham referendum designed to tighten its grip on power and prolonged the punishment of the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize...

Pew Research center
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-General Election Matchup: Political Problems vs. Personal Negatives
While Barack Obama has opened up a wide lead in the Democratic primary, he now runs about even against John McCain. The tightening general election matchup between Obama and McCain shows some sullying of Obama's personal image over the past three months, despite his primary victories. Over this period, unfavorable views of McCain have risen as well. Read more

-Covering the Campaign: Character and the 2008 Primaries
A new analysis of media coverage during the first 10 weeks of the 2008 primary season finds the dominant personal narratives about Obama and Clinton were almost identical in tone, and were both twice as positive as negative. The coverage of McCain’s character was less positive than that of either Democratic candidate. Read more

-Puerto Rico Primary Primer
On Sunday, Puerto Rico holds one of the final Democratic primary contests. A new Pew Hispanic Center fact sheet provides key demographic information on eligible voters in Puerto Rico and compares them with eligible Latino voters and all eligible voters in the U.S. Read more

-Mac's Back in Media Spotlight...
After largely being treated as a bystander to the Democrats' contest, the GOP nominee emerged as a featured player in campaign coverage this week. But that exposure is not always wanted or positive attention, according to the weekly Campaign Coverage Index. Read more

-Public Focused On Obama
Fully half of the public said Obama was the candidate they had heard the most about in the news, while only 8% said the same of McCain despite a significant increase in news coverage of his candidacy, in this week’s News Interest Index. Read more

-Location, Location, Location
Middle Class Blues: Pricey Neighborhoods, High Stress
When it comes to anxiety about family finances, an old truism applies: Where you stand depends on where you sit. Or, more precisely, on where your house or apartment sits. Read more

-Daily Number
56% - Iraq War: Bring Troops Home?
Significantly fewer Americans now say things are going well in Iraq than did so in February, and support for a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces has climbed by seven points (to 56%). Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-The fight over Florida and Michigan
Here's what to expect when Democratic leaders meet to decide the fate of delegates from the two states' outlaw primaries. Nearly five months after the opening-gun Iowa caucuses, the last major clump of Democratic convention elegates will be awarded Saturday to two states that so badly wanted to be among the first. While there are technically still three primaries (PuertoRico, South Dakota and Montana) on the Democratic docket, the remaining drama will be played out in a hotel ballroom, when the party's 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee meets to modify its punishment of Michigan and Florida for holding January primaries in flagrant defiance of the officially anctioned schedule. Despite desperate cries from the Hillary Clinton camp to count every delegate from these two outlaw primaries, which she won, the contours of a half-a-loaf deal are already in place, according to Democratic nsiders. Key figures on the Rules Committee informally agreed by telephone Wednesday night to seat the entire Florida delegation based on the Jan. 29 primary, but to give them each only half a vote. The same principle would be applied to Michigan, but there are still unresolved complications over how to handle the "Uncommitted" delegates chosen in the Jan. 15 primary in which Barack Obama's name was not even on the ballot.


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