Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - June 18, 2008

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New York Times
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-Bush Will Seek to End Offshore Oil Drilling Ban
President Bush's reversal of a longstanding position underscores the role ofgas prices as a major issue in the presidential campaign.

-Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction
Michelle Obama's eyes flicker tentatively even as she offers a trainedsmile. As her campaign plane arcs over the Flathead Range in Montana, she isasked to consider her complicated public image.

-Mr. Bush v. the Bill of Rights
A proposed bill that would expand President Bush's powers to spy onAmericans without a court order is a threat to the Bill of Rights.

-Iraq: Still Inscrutable bu THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
What we do next in Iraq - how and why - is barely getting discussed in thepresidential campaign. It might be useful to start talking about it. [...]We can continue debating the merits of the war all we want until Jan. 20,2009, but from that day forward there will be only one question for the nextpresident: In light of these three conflicting trends, what are you planningto do with the Iraq you're inheriting?

The party is about to begin. In a week or so, the trumpets will sound,heralding the start of 18 months of non-stop festivities in honor of CharlesDarwin. July 1, 2008, is the 150th anniversary of the first announcement ofhis discovery of natural selection, the main driving force of evolution. Since 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth (Feb. 12), as well asbeing the 150th anniversary of the publication of his masterpiece, "On theOrigin of Species" (Nov. 24), the extravaganza is set to continue until theend of next year. Get ready for Darwin hats, t-shirts, action figures,naturally selected fireworks and evolving chocolates. Oh, and lots of booksand speeches.

-Chimp's Sex Calls May Reflect Calculation
Intricate as the mating dance may be among people, for other primates likechimpanzees and baboons it is even more complicated. This is evident fromthe work of researchers who report that the distinctive calls made by femalechimpanzees during sex are part of a sophisticated social calculation.

-Israel Agrees to Truce With Hamas
Israel has agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Hamas for the Gazaarea starting Thursday, officials here said Wednesday. "Israel has acceptedthe Egyptian proposal," said David Baker, a spokesman for the Israeligovernment. "We hope this will lead to a cessation of the constant rocketfire on Israeli towns and cities."

-Pakistani Fury Over Airstrikes Imperils Training
The Pakistani military is so angry over the American airstrikes here lastweek that it is threatening to postpone or cancel an American program totrain a paramilitary force in counterinsurgency for combating Islamistmilitants, two Pakistani government officials said.

-Bill Promotes Universal College Loans
Responding to reports that some lenders have stopped offering federal loansat community and other colleges, two Democratic senators introducedlegislation Tuesday to prohibit lenders from picking and choosing amonginstitutions.

-Time Runs Out for Execution in Texas
A day of desperate filings climaxed at midnight on Wednesday when prisonofficials ran out of time to carry out the execution of a Texas death rowinmate who had lost his last-minute bids for a stay.

Washington Post
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-Vulgarian at the Gate
Michael Gerson
Warning: The following contains extreme vulgarity by a candidate for theU.S. Senate. In the razor-close and nationally important Senate race inMinnesota, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman is presented with a uniquepolitical problem. Should he raise in his ads the issue of comedian AlFranken's offensive vulgarity? Or would this risk a backlash against Colemanfor coarsening the public conversation? Remember that when Ken Starrdetailed Bill Clinton's most repulsive antics -- stained dresses and such --it was Starr who was accused of sexual obsessiveness.

-The Court McCain Wants
Conservatives, seizing on the Supreme Court's ruling last week on Guantanamo detainees, want to turn the court into election fodder. I hope theysucceed.

-Mr. Zebari's Message
Iraq's foreign minister has a chat with Barack Obama. SEN. BARACK OBAMAtold Iraq's foreign minister this week that he plans to visit the countrybetween now and the presidential election. We think that's a good thing, notbecause Sen. John McCain has been prodding the candidate to do it butbecause it will give Mr. Obama an opportunity to refresh his badly outdatedplan for Iraq. To do that, the Democrat needs to listen more to dedicatedIraqi leaders like Hoshyar Zebari, the foreign minister -- who, it seems,didn't hold back during their telephone conversation.

-CIA Had Larger Role in Advising Pentagon
Pentagon officials solicited CIA opinions on harsh interrogation techniques,implemented them over opposition from military lawyers, papers show.

-France's Whirlwind of Change
Remember this, Mr. President of the United States of America: You may haveregrets about things you were not able to finish in office. But onlywinners, like you and like me, ever get the chance to change their nations.Nicolas Sarkozy ended a farewell toast to George W. Bush at an informaldinner Friday night with that stunning mix of leaderly consolation andbravado. I paraphrase slightly the French president's words to capture theiressence, which tells you more about the speaker -- and his future -- thanabout the visiting guest of honor and his past.

-Vatican Accuses Jewish Groups on WWII Archives
Jewish groups have no cause to complain of the Vatican restricting archiveson Pope Pius XII, accused by some of ignoring the Holocaust, and should openall their own files, a Vatican official said on Tuesday.

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-Crist, McCain back oil rigs off Florida's coast
Backed by Gov. Charlie Crist, John McCain ignited an explosive presidentialcampaign issue Tuesday by proposing to lift the federal ban on oil and gasproduction off the shores of Florida.,0,5545540.story

Miami Herald
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-MEDIA: Launch a fiery campaign to reinvent newspapers
And then somebody brought a chicken into the newsroom. A sign affixed tothe bird -- a statue of a rooster in full crow -- said: ``Brought in by aSanteria priest . . . to help save our jobs. Make an offering.'' The bird,placed last week on a bank of file cabinets in the newsroom of The MiamiHerald, drew flowers, wine, pennies, peppermint, dolls, candles and otheroblations. A few days later, The McClatchy Company, which owns The Herald,announced it was cutting 10 percent of its workforce. At The Herald, thatmeans 190 jobs throughout the newspaper's various departments.

Fort Report
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-Obama Plans Spending Boost, Possible Cut in Business Tax
Sen. Barack Obama shed new light on his economic plans for the country,saying he would rely on a heavy dose of government spending to spur growth,use the tax code to narrow the widening gap between winners and losers inthe U.S. economy, and possibly back a reduction in corporate tax rates.

-McCain plays with fire on offshore drilling
By calling for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling, JohnMcCain is placing a risky bet. He is wagering that skyrocketing gas priceshave finally reached a tipping point, a threshold moment that has led votersto rethink their strong and long-held opinions against coastal oilexploration.

-Obama has narrow lead on McCain: Reuters poll
Democrat Barack Obama has a narrow 5-point lead on Republican John McCain inthe U.S. presidential race, but holds a big early edge with the crucialswing voting blocs of independents and women, according to a Reuters/Zogbypoll released on Wednesday.

-Obama meets with national security advisory group
Barack Obama is answering a question he faced often on the campaign trail.Whom would he turn to for advice when making foreign policy decisions? TheDemocratic White House hopeful has scheduled the inaugural meeting Wednesdayof what he's calling his Senior Working Group on National Security. Itincludes former members of Congress and high-ranking Clinton administrationofficials.

-Offshore oil drilling opponents are rethinking
The environmental movement, only recently poised for major advances onglobal warming and other issues, has suddenly found itself on the defensiveas high gasoline prices shift the political climate nationwide and triggerdefections by longtime supporters.,0,2078954.story?track=rss

-Democrats Sue For Investigation Of McCain Decision To Reject Public MoneyFor Primary
Democratic Party officials plan to file a new lawsuit to compel federalregulators to investigate whether Sen. John McCain violated election laws bywithdrawing from public financing. The Democratic National Committeeannounced Tuesday it will sue next week in U.S. District Court. It will askthe court to order the Federal Election Commission to examine, within 30days, the legality of McCain's decision to reject $5.8 million taxpayerfunds.

-Ex-Clinton backers now favor Obama
Democrat takes wide lead with female voters as McCain reaches out on 'TheView' and 'Ellen.' Marilyn Authenreith, a mother of two in North Carolina,felt strongly about supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democraticpresidential primary. But once the New York senator quit the race,Authenreith switched allegiance to Barack Obama, mainly because she thinkshe -- unlike Republican John McCain -- will push for universal health care."I can't understand the thinking of how someone would jump from Hillary toMcCain," she said. "It doesn't make any sense."

-Obama and Clinton Seek to Unite Donors in Joint Appearance
Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are set to appear togetherhere next week at a fund-raiser, their first side-by-side appearance sincethe long Democratic primary battle ended. The event, scheduled for June 26at the Mayflower Hotel, is intended to encourage Mrs. Clinton's contributorsto become part of Mr. Obama's financial team. An invitation was sent onTuesday to some of her biggest donors, asking them to unify behind Mr.Obama, the party's presumptive nominee.

-Michael Moore to publish `Election Guide'
Take cover, McCain. You too, Obama. Michael Moore is coming out with a newbook. The tome, titled "Mike's Election Guide," a manual of mockery for the2008 presidential election, will be published Aug. 19 by Grand Central Publishing, Jimmy Franco, a spokesman for the publisher, said Friday.,0,3954.story


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