Saturday, May 31, 2008


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New York Times
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-Troubled Oceans
Five years have elapsed since the Pew Oceans Commission’s seminal report urging prompt action to arrest the alarming decline of this country’s ocean resources. Four years have elapsed since a blue-ribbon presidential commission said much the same thing, urging special attention to problems like overfishing and the deterioration of coastal wetlands and estuaries.
Despite an occasional burst of energy, however, the Bush administration and
Congress have left much to be done. And time is running out. As is true with
many environmental issues — climate change comes immediately to mind — the
states have done a better job. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have
either passed legislation or established a regulatory structure to better
manage their coastal waters (states control the first three miles, the
federal government controls the rest until international waters begin 200
miles offshore). California, always at the leading edge, has begun setting
up a network of fully protected zones where fish can flourish with minimal
commercial intrusion.

-The Worst Way of Farming
In the past month, two new reports have examined how farm animals are raised
in this country. The report funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts calls the
prevailing system “industrial farm animal production.” The report from the
Union of Concerned Scientists prefers the term “confined animal feeding
operations.” No matter what you call it, it adds up to the same thing.
Millions of animals are crowded together in inhumane conditions, causing
significant environmental threats and unacceptable health risks for workers,
their neighbors and all the rest of us. The astonishing increase in the
number and size of confined animal operations has been spawned largely by
the very structure of American farm supports, which always has been skewed
in a way that concentrates farming in fewer and fewer hands. As both of
these reports make clear, the so-called efficiency of industrial animal
production is an illusion, made possible by cheap grain, cheap water and
prisonlike confinement systems.

-Pakistani Nuclear Scientist Denies Selling Secrets
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, was
reported on Friday to have withdrawn an admission that he sold nuclear
technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, saying that he had made it under
pressure from President Pervez Musharraf. He made the comment in a telephone
interview with a correspondent in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, from The
Guardian, a British newspaper, which called the conversation his first with
the Western media since an emotional television appearance in 2004 in which
Dr. Khan admitted selling nuclear technology to other countries. “It was not
of my own free will,” he told The Guardian, saying he had been forced to
make the admission by Mr. Musharraf. “It was handed into my hand,” he was
quoted as saying. Western intelligence agencies fear that any technology
passed on by Dr. Khan could be used by terrorists. But in the interview he
maintained his longstanding resistance to being questioned by investigators
from the International Atomic Energy Agency or the United States.

-Mocking of Clinton at Obama’s Church Reverberates
Reverberations from the Sunday sermon of a Roman Catholic priest who mocked
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton at Senator Barack Obama’s home church here
continued to spread Friday, after the priest offered an apology and the
archbishop of Chicago gave him a public reprimand for “partisan
campaigning.” In a guest appearance at Trinity United Church of Christ, the
priest, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who resigned about two weeks ago from an
unpaid position on the Obama campaign’s Catholic advisory council, delivered
a tirade against Mrs. Clinton that included fake tears, a high-pitched voice
and top-of-the-lungs screaming. He also gave a racially tinged critique of
so-called “white entitlement,” of which he says Mrs. Clinton is guilty.
“When Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on — I really don’t
believe it was put on,” said Father Pfleger, 59, the white pastor of a
predominantly black South Side church. “I really believe that she just
always thought: ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife, I’m white and this is mine.
I just got to get up and step into the plate.’ And then, out of nowhere,
came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama.’ And she said, ‘Oh, damn. Where did you come
from? I’m white. I’m entitled. There’s a black man stealing my show.” Father
Pfleger, a well-known longtime activist and friend of Mr. Obama, issued an
apology late Thursday. “I regret the words I chose on Sunday.

-Job Climate for the Class of 2008 Is a Bit Warmer Than Expected
Given that the economy is flagging, this would seem an inauspicious time to
be graduating from college and looking for full-time employment. Job
prospects this year, however, have been better than career counselors and
recent graduates had expected. Employers are still extending offers, just
not as many as last year.
Economists said the class of 2008 has been helped by employers concerned by
the impending exodus of baby boomers from the work force. But they warn that
the job market is going to get tougher as the full extent of the nation’s
financial problems emerges, and they predict a growing inequality in access
to employment between elite and lower-achieving students.

Washington Post
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-Democrats Meet Today To Hash Out Fla., Mich.
When Democratic Party leaders voted on Aug. 25, 2007, to sanction Florida
Democrats for moving up the date of their presidential primary, no one
anticipated that the decision would lead to a tense showdown that will help
decide the outcome of the nomination battle between Sens. Barack Obama and
Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Today, the 30 members of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and
Bylaws Committee will hear challenges to that decision and a later ruling,
which together barred delegations from Florida and Michigan from the
national convention in Denver because those states violated the party's
rules governing the nomination process. Democrats on and off the committee
said yesterday that a compromise appears likely that would restore half of
the delegations from each state, although the precise terms remained under
discussion. "It's clear something's going to be worked out," said Carol
Fowler, the party chair in South Carolina and a member of the rules
committee. Fowler is also an Obama supporter but was not speaking for the
campaign. Among the unresolved issues is how to allocate the delegates
between the two candidates, particularly delegates from Michigan, where
Clinton's name was on the ballot in the Jan. 15 primary but Obama's was not.
There was growing talk yesterday that the committee could agree to split the
state's delegates evenly between Clinton and Obama, a blow to Clinton.

-Hard-Line Lunacy
Raul Castro is making changes, but U.S. policy toward Cuba remains stupid,
childish, counterproductive -- and insane.

-The Price Of Forgetting A Presidency
John Edwards made reducing poverty a centerpiece of his presidential
campaign. Yet he never mentioned Lyndon Johnson, the first -- and only --
president to declare war on poverty and sharply reduce it. Recounting the
achievements of Democratic presidents, Barack Obama cites Franklin
Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy -- but not LBJ, the president
responsible for the laws that gave him (and millions of others) the
opportunity to develop and display their talents and gave this nation the
opportunity to benefit from them.
When Hillary Clinton noted that "it took a president" to translate Martin
Luther King's moral protests into laws, she broke the taboo and mentioned
Johnson, only to be rebuked. Lyndon Johnson is the invisible president of
the 20th century. The tragedy of Vietnam created a cloud that still obscures Johnson's achievements.

-A New Direction in Latin America
Latin America has never mattered more to the United States. The region is the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States and a strong partner in the development of alternative fuels. It is one of the United States's fastest growing trading partners, and its biggest supplier of illegal drugs. Latin America is also the largest source of U.S. immigrants, both documented and undocumented. No less important, nearly all Latin American nations are now vibrant, if imperfect, democracies. Not only does the United States affect Latin America, but Latin America increasingly shapes the United States as well. Yet despite these deepening strategic, economic, cultural and political ties, U.S. policies toward the region have remained relatively unexamined. A new Council on Foreign Relations report, U.S.-Latin America Relations: A New Direction for a New Reality, takes stock of these changes in the Western hemisphere and assesses their consequences for U.S. policy toward the region. It finds that the decades-old U.S. foreign policy trifecta of trade support, drug eradication and democracy promotion is not effectively advancing U.S. interests.

-How Abu Dhabi Differs From Exxon
Abu Dhabi, the largest of seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates, is swimming in oil revenue - and it's investing some of that money in solar power. That's more than can be said for Exxon Mobil Corp., which rebuffed a Rockefeller initiative at yesterday's annual meeting to nudge the company toward renewable energy. A shareholder resolution sponsored by the company's founding family was easily defeated. Exxon's stance is an assertion that today's primacy of oil will continue for years to come, and that what the oil giant does best is look for oil and gas, not manufacture solar panels.
But Abu Dhabi is doing the sort of forward planning that the Rockefellers wish Exxon would consider for tomorrow. Today Masdar, part of the industrial development arm of the Abu Dhabi government, unveiled plans to invest $2 billion in thin-film photovoltaic solar technology. True, this amounts to about a month of Exxon Mobil's projected capital spending this year. But in the solar world, it's substantial and noteworthy and probably just the sort of thing the Rockefellers would like Exxon to do.

-Hastert to Join Lobbying Firm Dickstein Shapiro
Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has agreed to join the lobbying law firm Dickstein Shapiro as a senior adviser, the District-based firm said yesterday. Hastert served as speaker from 1999 to 2006. He resigned his House seat, which he had held since 1987, last November. The former high school wrestling coach stepped down from the Republican leadership after the 2006 midterm elections, when his party suffered heavy losses, including control of the House. At Dickstein, Hastert "will not be lobbying; he will be providing strategic counseling to our clients," a spokeswoman for the firm said.

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-Dunkin' Donuts pulls Rachael Ray ad after complaints
Dunkin' Donuts has pulled an online advertisement featuring Rachael Ray after complaints that a fringed black-and-white scarf that the celebrity chef wore in the ad offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism. The coffee and baked goods chain said the ad that began appearing online May 7 was pulled over the past weekend because "the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee." In the spot, Ray holds an iced coffee while standing in front of trees with pink blossoms. Critics, including conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, complained that the scarf wrapped around her looked like a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress. Critics who fueled online complaints about the ad in blogs say such scarves have come to symbolize Muslim extremism and terrorism.,0,4986751.story

Miami Herald
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-Not doing enough to address racism By ACLU
For two days, beginning Sunday, a United Nations expert on racism will be in Miami on a fact-finding mission. Below are excerpts from the American Civil iberties Union's report on the issue, ''Race and Ethnicity in America: Turning a Blind Eye to Injustice.'' The full report is at

-Racial and ethnic discrimination and inequality remain ongoing and pervasive in the United States, and the U.S. government has not done enough to address these important problems.
Hurricane Katrina exposed to the world many of America's grave, persistent economic and social disparities, and their impact on African-American and other minority communities. U.S. policies and practices at the federal, state and local level continue to disproportionately burden the most vulnerable groups in society: racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, non-U.S. citizens, low-wage workers, women, children and the accused.
Profiling of drivers
Minorities are unfairly victimized by racial profiling, a practice law enforcement uses that is based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or perceived immigration status. Authorities investigate, stop, frisk, search, or use force against individuals based on subjective, personal characteristics, rather than on concrete evidence of unlawful behavior. People of color are profiled while they drive, shop, pray, stand on the sidewalk waiting for work, or travel on airplanes, trains and buses.

-Who's being sexist now?
So here's the latest mystery media meme: If Hillary Clinton doesn't become the Democratic presidential nominee, ''women'' will be upset. Women? Yeah, you know, ``women.'' The idea has been building. In January, Gloria Steinem wrote a New York Times Op-Ed article complaining that ''gender is probably the most restricting force in American life. . . . Black men were given the vote a half-century before women . . . and generally have ascended to positions of power . . . before any women.'' In other words: Support Clinton, or ally yourself with the forces of sexist oppression. Later that month, ABC News reported: 'Women Angry . . . Some Say Oprah Is a `Traitor' for Endorsing Obama and not Clinton.'' It was ''Obama versus the sisterhood'' in a March article in The Los Angeles Times. By mid-May, as Clinton's odds of gaining the nomination dwindled, the assertion that ''women'' were getting upset became ever more common. [...] It's a compelling story line -- and it's also wrong. It's wrong for assuming that women, as a group, share a unified set of political views, and doubly wrong for the underlying assumption that women should automatically favor female political candidates.

The Top of the Class
The complete list of the 1,300 top U.S. high schools

Rupert Murdoch Predicts Landslide for Democrats
News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch on Wednesday predicted a Democratic landslide in the U.S. presidential election against a gloomy economic backdrop over the next 18 months. Murdoch has yet to endorse a U.S. presidential candidate but considers Barack Obama very promising, the media magnate said in an interview by two Wall Street Journal reporters at an annual conference for high-tech industry insiders.

Fort Report
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-House Broker
Nancy Pelosi believes in being direct. With the Democratic presidential contest running hot, in March a reporter with Boston TV station NECN asked the House speaker about the possibility of a dream ticket uniting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Doe eyes wide, the nation's highest-ranking Democrat flashed her trademark smile ominously. "I think that the Clinton administration [sic] has fairly ruled that out by proclaiming that Senator McCain would be a better [long pause, dismayed half- laugh] commander-in-chief than Obama. I think that ticket--either way--is impossible."

-The Bush Chronicles: A Tell-All TallyFormer press secretary Scott McClellan is only the latest former Bush administration insider to point a finger at White House failures in a tell-all book. But you can't settle scores without a score card, so here's how the president's onetime mouthpiece stacks up alongside other recent they-a culpas:

-Priest's apology to Clinton does little to quiet storm
Obama camp calls his remarks 'outrageous,' but her aides want an outright rejection

-Obama tackles flap over priest
He's a white priest at a largely black church. He's held hands with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. He's been arrested dozens of times and battled anyone he thinks has wronged his parish – from gun dealers to a local Catholic sports league. Now the Rev. Michael Pfleger is something else: the latest thorn in the side of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

-Obama angles for showcase win in Montana
HELENA, Mont. -- The Rocky Mountain region represents friendly terrain for Barack Obama, who is angling to add Montana to his string of victories on Tuesday. Demographically, the state would seem to suit rival Hillary Rodham Clinton almost perfectly _ overwhelmingly white and rural. But political observers and a statewide poll suggest Obama has the advantage here. The Illinois senator has outperformed Clinton in Rocky Mountain states, winning contests in Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Clinton won Arizona and a cliffhanger in New Mexico. Only 16 delegates are at stake in Montana's primary, but depending on several other factors _ what the Democratic National Committee rules panel decides this weekend about seating Florida and Michigan delegations and Puerto Rico's primary Sunday _ the state could put Obama over the top for the nomination. He was about 40 delegates shy of victory on Friday.


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