Wednesday, July 02, 2008


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New York Times
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-China Inspired Interrogations at Guantánamo
An interrogation class at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was based on a 1957 study ofChinese Communist techniques used to obtain confessions, many of them false,from U.S. prisoners.

-In Court Ruling on Executions, a Factual Flaw
A blog pointed out that a part of the Supreme Court's analysis leading it torule against capital punishment for child rape was based on incorrectinformation.

-Not Winning the War on Drugs
Despite the billions of dollars the United States has spent battling thecartels, it has hardly made a dent in the cocaine trade. [...] Whileseizures are up, so are shipments. According to United States governmentfigures, 1,421 metric tons of cocaine were shipped through Latin America tothe United States and Europe last year - 39 percent more than in 2006.

-Airport's Ban on Guns Is Disputed in Atlanta
A decision by Georgia legislators to relax the state's gun laws has led to adispute over whether people can legally carry concealed firearms in thenation's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International. AGeorgia gun rights group filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court inAtlanta on Tuesday after airport officials said they would continue toenforce a ban on concealed weapons in the terminal despite the changes tothe state law. The changes, which were approved by the Georgia legislaturein the spring and took effect on Tuesday, relax the state's prohibition oncarrying weapons on public transportation and in some other areas, includingrestaurants serving alcohol.

Washington Post
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-Reporting Among Gangsters
PRAGUE -- Last fall, Alisher Saipov, a human rights reporter for Voice ofAmerica and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was denounced byUzbekistan's state-controlled media. Not long afterward, the 26-year-oldjournalist was fatally shot in front of his office in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Humanrights groups believe that Saipov, an ethnic Uzbek who was born inKyrgyzstan and lived there, was killed by the ruthless security services ofneighboring Uzbekistan.

-Spy Games in Iran
U.S. Half Steps Mask Indecisive Policy
In the new cold war between America and Iran, the United States appears tobe running some limited covert operations across the Iranian border. Butaccording to knowledgeable sources, this effort shares the defect of broaderU.S. policy toward Iran -- it is tentative and ill-coordinated, and itundermines diplomacy without bringing serious pressure on the regime.

-Surrogate Silliness
Can we please stop talking about meaningless bloopers?
ENOUGH ALREADY! The country's at war, the economy is struggling, oil pricesare surging. The Republican and Democratic presidential candidates havedramatically different approaches to all this and more. And we've justconcluded Day Three of the latest surrogate pseudo-drama: "Gen. Wesley K.Clark: Stupid Comment or Deliberate Slight?"

-An African Failure
The continent's leaders respond weakly to Robert Mugabe's murderousrepression. ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO, a United Nations deputy secretary general,bluntly told the African Union summit Monday that the crisis in Zimbabwepresented "a moment of truth for regional leaders." Sadly, those leadersfailed to rise to the occasion. Yesterday, the summit, badly divided betweendemocrats outraged by Robert Mugabe's campaign of terror against his ownpeople and dictators who have applied similar repression, could agree onlyon a weak statement calling for a "unity government." The truth the leadersdodged is that there can be no political peace in Zimbabwe until Mr. Mugabeand the clique of thugs around him give up power -- and that, in turn, isunlikely to happen if Zimbabwe's African neighbors do not apply tangiblediplomatic and economic sanctions.

-U.S. Deaths Rise in Afghanistan
June Is Deadliest Month for Troops as Country Sees Taliban ResurgenceJune was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the warthere began in late 2001, as resilient and emboldened insurgents havestepped up attacks in an effort to gain control of the embattled country.

-Home Schooling a Constitutional Right?
Home schooling at its heart is about disengaging from the map laid out bypopular culture and questioning the authority of shared civil society. I cansay that confidently, since I was chosen to give a commencement speech overa decade ago at my homeschool high school graduation in Los Angeles to acrowd of classmates I'd never met. (In true spirit, I didn't show up but thespeech I wrote was essentially one long Thoreau quote on the joys ofsolitude). With that in spirt in mind, it is fitting that a landmark courtcase that could tip the balance of the homeschooling movement's fate ishappening well beneath the radar of the mainstream media. This week theSecond District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles reconsiders its earlierdecision which sent shock waves around the nation when it said that parentshad to have a teaching credential in order to educate their children athome. This is a vital issue for the large number of religious Americans whohave chosen in recent years to educate their children outside normativeparameters. But I would think that all Americans who support the freedom ofindividuals to chose their own fate would want California to reconsider.

-Groups Sue U.S. for Data On Tracking By Cellphone
Two civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. governmentyesterday, seeking records related to the government's use of cellphones astracking devices. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ElectronicFrontier Foundation sued the government in federal court in Washington underthe Freedom of Information Act. Last November, the ACLU had filed a FOIArequest with the Justice Department for documents, memos and guidesregarding the policies for tracking people through the use of theircellphones.

-Gen. Clark won't back off critique of McCain
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark rejected suggestions he apologize Tuesday forsaying John McCain's medal-winning military service does not qualify him forthe White House. Elaborating, Clark said a president must have judgment, notmerely courage and character. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidentialhopeful, said Clark's comments had been inartful. McCain said Obama shouldgo further than that.

-Obama Proposes Expanding Faith-Based Program
Sen. Barack Obama, seeking to reach out to religious voters, proposedstrengthening the White House program assisting faith-based social serviceorganization Tuesday, while insisting that those groups not discriminateagainst aid recipients or aid workers.

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-Suicides account for 55% of all gun deaths in U.S.
The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gun ownership last week focused oncitizens' ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. Butresearch shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons onthemselves. Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation's nearly 31,000firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics areavailable from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.,0,311808.story

-Leona Helmsley's multibillion-dollar estate may go to dogs
Sure, the hotelier and real estate magnate Leona Helmsley left $12 millionin her will to her dog, Trouble. But that, it turns out, is nothing muchcompared with what other dogs may receive from the charitable trust ofHelmsley, who died in August. Her instructions, specified in a two-page"mission statement," are that the entire trust, valued at $5 billion to $8billion and amounting to virtually all her estate, be used for the care andwelfare of dogs, according to two people who have seen the document and whodescribed it on condition of anonymity.,0,5546760.story

-The Supreme Courtiers
Out of 16 major American institutions, Congress ranks dead last in the eyesof the American people, according to Gallup. Even HMOs are more revered. IfCarrot Top and Joey Buttafuoco were elected to Congress, it would improvethe legislative branch's reputation. The reasons for Congress' standing aretoo long to list here. But some culprits never get blamed, even though theyare hiding in plain sight. Chief among them: the U.S. Supreme Court.,0,7193176.story

-You may not really know this document
As we celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the nation's founding,it is also a time to think about the Constitution. Here are 10 things youmay not know: The Constitution applies only to government. That meansstudents at a private university have no First Amendment right todemonstrate, while students at a public college have protection. If you workin the private sector, you cannot wear a button supporting a candidate whileon the job if your employer objects.,0,1718256.story

Miami Herald
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Don't attack the patriotism of our patriots
I have no idea when reverence fled these shores. That it did, however, seemsobvious. What else can you conclude when the service of military menbecomes a routine object of mockery and misinformation in the name ofpolitics? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you John McCain: traitor.

Technology Review
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-Garbage In, Megawatts Out
Ottawa will build the first gasification facility in North America to makeenergy from waste. This week, city counselors in Ottawa, Ontario,unanimously approved a new waste-to-energy facility that will turn 400metric tons of garbage per day into 21 megawatts of net electricity--enoughto power about 19,000 homes. Rather than burning trash to generate heat, aswith an incinerator, the facility proposed by Ottawa-based PlascoEnergyGroup employs electric-plasma torches to gasify the municipal waste andenlist the gas to generate electricity. A few waste-to-energy gasificationplants have been built in Europe and Asia, where landfilling is moredifficult and energy has historically been more costly. But Plasco Energy's plant would be the first large facility of its kind in North America. Thecompany's profitability hinges on its ability to use a cooler gasificationprocess to lower costs, as well as on rising energy and tipping fees toensure strong revenues.§ion=

Inside Higher Education
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-Viewbook Diversity vs. Real Diversity
In September of 2000, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and theUniversity of Idaho were both embarrassed when they were forced to admitthat they had doctored promotional photographs to make their campuses lookdiverse. In both cases, non-white faces were added to real studentphotographs of all-white groups. At the universities involved, officialsinsisted that they meant well, but just about everyone agreed that Photoshopdiversity isn't the real thing. But what if photos, even real photos of reallive students, convey a false impression?

Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
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-Police `torture' videos cause uproar in Mexico
Videos showing Leon police practicing torture techniques on a fellow officerand dragging another through vomit at the instruction of a U.S. advisercreated an uproar Tuesday in Mexico, which has struggled to eliminatetorture in law enforcement. Two of the videos - broadcast by nationaltelevision networks and displayed on newspaper Internet sites - showed whatLeon city Police Chief Carlos Tornero described as training for an eliteunit that must face "real-life, high-stress situations," such as kidnappingand torture by organized crime groups. But many Mexicans saw a sinisterside, especially at a moment when police and soldiers across the country arestruggling with scandals over alleged abuses. "They are teaching police torture!" read the headline in the Mexico City newspaper Reforma. Humanrights investigators in Guanajuato state, where Leon is located, are lookinginto the tapes, and the National Human Rights Commission also expressedconcerned.

Fort Report
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-The GOP's December Surprise
NEWS: Is the GOP cooking the books to avoid recession till after ElectionDay? Is the worst over? Are we on the road to recovery? Will the nextpresident take office against a backdrop of economic improvement, as BillClinton did in 1993? Or has something deeper and more intractable gonewrong?

-Jerusalem Post: Why more Jews won't be voting Democrat this year
Defenders of Barack Obama, and sometimes Obama himself, seem frustrated thatsome American Jews refuse to assume their traditional role of support forthe Democratic presidential nominee. The Obama defenders are irked that notall Jews accept at face value Obama's expressions of devotion to Israel andcommitment to her security.

-What Latinos want from their president
Any candidate who wants to attract this crucial voting bloc must addressracial equality. Discuss Article Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaignhas reignited an examination of race relations in America. It has led someto question how deep the divide is between black and white Americans. Frommy perspective, the question ignores the reality of our diverse society. Wemust also consider the divide between the majority from another group, onethat I happen to belong to: Latinos.,0,3101128.story

-Could be Biden time
He's got experience, foreign relations chops, and a moving personal story.
Is Joe Biden near the top of Barack Obama's veep list? Fizzling in the Iowacaucuses with 1 percent support is an unusual way to achieve liftoff on thenational ticket. But six months after Joe Biden ended his long-shotpresidential campaign, the chairman of the Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee appears to be in serious competition to be Barack Obama's runningmate, or secretary of state, should the Democrats win in November. Whilevice-presidential speculation should come with a surgeon general's warning,the 65-year-old Biden has made a stirring recovery for a politician whoflat-lined in the Hawkeye State.

-Memo to Obama: Moving to the Middle is for Losers
Last Friday afternoon, the guests taking part in Sunday's roundtablediscussion on This Week had a pre-show call with George Stephanopoulos. Oneof the topics he raised was Obama's perceived move to the center, and whatit means. Thus began my weekend obsession. If you were within shoutingdistance of me, odds are we talked about it. I talked about it over lunchwith HuffPost's DC team, over dinner with friends, with the doorman at thehotel, and the driver on the way to the airport.

-Memo to Obama: Moving to the Middle is for Losers by Arianna Huffington
Running to the middle in an attempt to attract undecided swing voters didn'twork for Al Gore in 2000. It didn't work for John Kerry in 2004. And itdidn't work when Mark Penn (obsessed with his "microtrends" and missing themegatrend) convinced Hillary Clinton to do it in 2008. Fixating on -- andpandering to -- this fickle crowd is all about messaging tailored to avoidoffending rather than to inspire and galvanize. And isn't galvanizing theelectorate to demand fundamental change the raison d'etre of the Obamacampaign in the first place?

-Occupying the centre
How Barack Obama is taking to the middle of the road
THE love-in last week in Unity, New Hampshire, when Barack Obama and HillaryClinton stood together, was a marker in Mr Obama's campaign to be president.Mrs Clinton spoke of standing "shoulder to shoulder" with her Democraticformer rival; he gushed about "how good she is, how tough she is, howpassionate she is". It was the first time since Mrs Clinton dropped out ofthe race that the two had appeared together in public. From now on Mr Obamawill tap Mrs Clinton's financial donors, enlist some of her staff and reachout to her supporters.

-300,000 more Georgians sign up to vote
The number of Georgia voters has increased by 300,000 since the first of theyear, with more than 4.7 million people on the active rolls for the July 15primary, according to data released Tuesday. Local registration officialshave seen the number of people signing up to vote at a pace that picks upwith each passing month.

-Colin Powell in Private Confab With Obama
Sen. Barack Obama and former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell metprivately two weeks ago, according to an exclusive report in the NationalJournal's On Call blog. Powell, who last month in British Columbia hintedthat he might vote for Obama, met with the all-but-certain Democraticpresidential nominee in Powell's Alexandria, Va., office on June 18.

-Kennedy leads renewed effort on universal healthcare
Presses for bipartisan support before new president takes officeSenator Edward M. Kennedy's office has begun convening a series of meetingsinvolving a wide array of healthcare specialists to begin laying thegroundwork for a new attempt to provide universal healthcare, according toparticipants.

-US Politicians Find Ways To Play On Racial Fears
With Obama Atop Dem Ticket, Candidates From Mississippi To Wisconsin UseRace As Wedge Issue
A Republican congressional candidate in a majority-white Mississippidistrict runs ads trying to tie his Democratic rival with Barack Obama'sformer pastor, seen by some as an anti-white firebrand. Democrats distributefliers accusing the Republican of wanting a statue to honor the founder ofthe Ku Klux Klan.

-Slow but steady progress made in Iraq
White House report states the government has met twice the number ofbenchmarks as last year. No matter who is elected president in November,his foreign policy team will have to deal with one of the most frustratingrealities in Iraq: the slow pace with which the government in Baghdadoperates. While the Iraqi government has made measurable progress in recentmonths, the pace at which it's done so has been achingly slow.

-Kennedy leads renewed effort on universal healthcare
Presses for bipartisan support before new president takes officeSenator Edward M. Kennedy's office has begun convening a series of meetingsinvolving a wide array of healthcare specialists to begin laying thegroundwork for a new attempt to provide universal healthcare, according toparticipants.

-A patriotic signpost
Sen. Barack Obama is wearing his American flag lapel pin again, mostappropriately during his speech this week in Missouri on patriotism. Hiscritics may call that a flip-flop. I call it a sign that he's learning. Asrecently as the debate before the Pennsylvania primary, the presumptiveDemocratic presidential nominee gave eloquent reasons why he didn't think aflag pin was as important as the patriotic beliefs he held in his heart. Butflag-pin lovers vote too.,0,7232187.column


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