Monday, June 02, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS Monday June 2, 2008

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New York Times
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-Winning Again, Clinton Ponders Continuing
Hillary Rodham Clinton won by 2 to 1 in Puerto Rico’s Democratic primary, but some supporters suggested it would be best if she dropped her threat to battle on past the final voting on Tuesday.

-Taliban Leader Flaunts Power Inside Pakistan
An appearance by the reclusive leader of the Pakistani Taliban underscores the wide latitude Pakistan’s government has granted the militants under a new series of peace deals.

-A Battered Feeling at Obama’s Former Church
CHICAGO — For weeks, the members of Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of the city felt battered by the national spotlight that had accompanied the growing fame of their longtime member, Senator Barack Obama.
First came the endless television coverage of incendiary statements by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., their controversial former pastor. Then reports of a visiting Roman Catholic priest who had mocked Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. And finally on Sunday, a day after Mr. Obama announced that his family was leaving the church, satellite trucks idling again outside the 7:30 a.m. service. Inside the packed sanctuary of more than 2,000, the Rev. Otis Moss III, the new pastor, did not directly mention in sermons the political tumult surrounding the church. But in a flier that workers slipped into church programs, Mr. Moss commented at length about the situation, calling the decades-old Trinity a “new church being birthed in the crucible of a public moment.”

-In Louisiana, Inklings of a New (True) Champion of the Right
Religion and fiscal stringency have a friendly home at the state Capitol here, with a conservative, Bobby Jindal, in the governor’s office, a host of straight-arrow novice legislators eager to please him and an honored spot for the Louisiana Family Forum in the old marble halls. The newly conservative tone of state government is seeping through a host of successful bills — on school vouchers, creationism, stem-cell restrictions and tax and spending cuts — and it is adding to the speculative frenzy here surrounding Mr. Jindal as a potential vice-presidential choice for Senator John McCain. Politicians here say they are certain that Mr. Jindal would balance a McCain ticket, and not just because he is an Indian-American. The Christian right has a new champion in Mr. Jindal, a serious Catholic who has said that “in my faith, you give 100 percent of yourself to God.”

-Mugabe in Europe for Food Conference
ROME — Defying European restrictions on his international travel, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe arrived in Rome over the weekend to attend a United Nations food conference, and raised protests Monday from some European and other lawmakers. The Australian foreign minister, Stephen Smith, who is also set to attend the conference, called Mr. Mugabe presence “frankly obscene.” But the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which has convened the gathering, brusquely rejected the criticism. “The fact that Mugabe and other leaders the West may not approve are attending a U.N. meeting in Rome is not a scandal,” said a spokesman for the organization, Nick Parsons. “The U.N. is about inclusiveness, not exclusivity, giving all nations the right to participate.”

-Kennedy Having Surgery for Tumor
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will undergo surgery Monday at Duke University Medical Center for his cancerous brain tumor, his office said. The 76-year-old senator was diagnosed last month with a malignant glioma, an especially lethal type of brain tumor. A statement from the Massachusetts Democrat's office said he would be operated on Monday morning in Durham, N.C., by Dr. Allan Friedman, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Anthony Coley, a Kennedy spokesman, said the surgery is expected to begin around 9 a.m. It is expected to last about six hours. ''I am deeply grateful to the people of Massachusetts and to my friends, colleagues and so many others across the country and around the world who have expressed their support and good wishes as I tackle this new and unexpected health challenge,'' Kennedy said in the statement. ''I am humbled by the outpouring and am strengthened by your prayers and kindness.''

-Mr. Rove Talks, but Doesn’t Answer
The House Judiciary Committee should see that Karl Rove testifies about his role in the Justice Department’s decision to prosecute Don Siegelman.

Washington Post
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-Climate Action in the Senate
Sadly, even having a debate is progress.
THE SENATE is scheduled to vote today on a motion to proceed to debate on the Climate Security Act of 2008. Given this nation's sluggish response to global warming, that will qualify as a big step. The chances of passage this year are worse than 50-50. But the markers being laid for the next president are worth pursuing.
The world has clamored for U.S. leadership on climate change. Yet for seven years the Bush administration denied and dithered while the planet warmed.
Initially, it questioned the science underpinning the warnings about climate change. Today, President Bush believes global warming is real, but he has resisted concrete actions to address it. Chief among them is putting a price on carbon, as would be required by the climate bill sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.).
The foundation of the legislation is a cap-and-trade system that would put a price on carbon by having a declining cap on greenhouse gas emissions permitted for each year between 2012 and 2050.

-Carbon's Power Brokers By George F. Will
An unprecedentedly radical government grab for control of the American economy will be debated this week when the Senate considers saving the planet by means of a cap-and-trade system to ration carbon emissions. The plan is co-authored (with John Warner) by Joe Lieberman, an ardent supporter of John McCain, who supports Lieberman's legislation and recently spoke about "the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring." Speaking of endless troubles, "cap-and-trade" comes cloaked in reassuring rhetoric about the government merely creating a market, but government actually would create a scarcity so that government could sell what it had made scarce. The Wall Street Journal underestimates cap-and-trade's perniciousness when it says the scheme would create a new right ("allowances") to produce carbon dioxide and would put a price on the right.

-The Audacity Of Growth
John McCain likes to say he is for economic growth. "End growth in America, and the lights go out all over the world," he has admonished. He offers a version of the narrative that Republicans have pitched for years: Their party stands for lower taxes, less regulation and freer trade; Democrats stand for tax-and-spend, government intrusion and trade protectionism. But this juxtaposition, at times reasonably persuasive, now rings hollow. The real pro-growth candidate in this campaign looks to be Barack Obama.
McCain's problem is that his party's standard economic pitch has become less and less relevant. Lowering taxes was terrifically pro-growth in Ronald Reagan's time, when the top income tax rate was slashed from 70 percent in 1980 to 50 percent in 1982, significantly changing incentives for work and risk-taking. But with the top rate at 35 percent today, a modest shift in either direction makes less difference. Given the yawning budget deficit and the coming demographic crunch, tax cuts aren't affordable anyway. The same goes for deregulation. Getting the nanny government out of trucking and airlines yielded huge benefits in the 1970s and 1980s.

-Poll: Mexicans see drug gangs winning
MEXICO CITY -- A majority of Mexicans believe the government is losing its escalating battle against drug gangs, according to a poll published Sunday.
Some 53 percent of Mexicans surveyed by the Mexico City newspaper Reforma said cartels are defeating security forces engaged in a nationwide crackdown. Only 24 percent said the government is winning, and 23 percent had no opinion. Reforma interviewed 1,515 people across Mexico on May 23-25.
The poll had margin of error of 2.5 percentage points. Mexico has seen violence soar despite the deployment of more than 25,000 troops to drug trafficking hotspots since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006.

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-Rachael Ray better watch her back
Maybe she'll terrorize people with grilled cheese
File this one under the category of people who really, really want to be offended: Seems like Dunkin' Donuts pulled an online advertisement featuring celebrity chef Rachael Ray after getting complaints — we are not making this up — that the fringed black-and-white scarf being worn by her was somehow giving symbolic support to Muslim terrorists. Conservative commentators, who obviously don't have enough to do, saw the ad and complained that the scarf Ray was wearing around her neck looked like the traditional Arab headdress, a kaffiyeh. Dunkin' Donuts said no symbolism was intended, and the scarf was actually paisley, but the ad was pulled anyway.
As for Rachael Ray, she might want to watch her back for a while. You never know if some half-baked blogger will claim that her spinach lasagna bears a strong resemblance to Osama bin Laden.,0,4106239.story

Fort Report
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-Obama chooses GOP convention city for rally
RAPID CITY, S.D. - Barack Obama selected St. Paul, Minn., where Republicans will hold their convention, as the site for a rally Tuesday night marking the end of primary season in the Democratic presidential contest. The decision to hold the rally on symbolic GOP turf telegraphed his confidence that the Democratic nomination was already his. The decision was announced yesterday, even as Democrats wrangled in Washington, D.C., over how to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan, the two states that broke Democratic Party rules by having early primaries. "It's the place where John McCain will accept the nomination. It's a good place for us to kick off the next phase of the campaign," said Robert Gibbs, Obama's communications director.
Minnesota was a swing state that eventually went for Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.


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