Thursday, July 03, 2008


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New York Times
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-Hostages Freed in Colombia Return Home
CARACAS, Venezuela - Hours after Colombian commandos in disguise infiltratedthe FARC terrorist group in a daring rescue operation, three Americanhostages were flown to safety in the United States and another freedcaptive, a French-Colombian politician held for six years, was reunited withher family.

-Late-Period Limbaugh
'The Rush Limbaugh Show' goes on the air every weekday at 12:06 P.M. EasternStandard Time. At one time, Limbaugh did his program from a MidtownManhattan skyscraper he dubbed, with tongue-in-cheek grandiosity, theExcellence in Broadcasting Building. These days, he mostly broadcasts out ofa studio in Palm Beach, Fla., which he calls the Southern Command, anddescribes on the air as a "heavily fortified bunker."

-A Supreme Court on the Brink
Some of the most important decisions came on 5-to-4 votes - a stark reminderthat the court is just one justice away from solidifying a far-rightmajority.

-Don't Teach Our Children Crime
Jailing and criminalizing young Americans causes a lot more crime than itprevents. Congress should update and reauthorize the 1974 law on juvenilejustice.

-What We Learned in the War by GAIL COLLINS
Americans of all ages tend to both respect military service and ignore itwhen picking a president. John McCain presumably understands this.

-The Imprecise Meaning of War
Companies ripping off taxpayers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may neverbe fully prosecuted unless Congress does more to go after war profiteers.

-U.S. Is in No Shape to Give Advice, Medvedev Says
MOSCOW - Russia's new president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, less swaggering thanhis predecessor but as touchy about criticism from abroad, said in aninterview that an America in "essentially a depression" was in no positionto lecture other countries on how to conduct their affairs.

-The Struggles of Detroit Ensnare Its Workers
Their pickups and sport utility vehicles are not selling, and now GeneralMotors, Ford Motor and Chrysler have to pay thousands of auto workers not tomake them. With more than 15 of their assembly plants across the countryset to be idled or slowed because of shift cutbacks, the Detroit automakerswill temporarily lay off upward of 25,000 auto workers this summer and fall.

-Big Job Cuts Announced at American
American Airlines expects to cut nearly 7,000 employees by the end of theyear, or about 8 percent of its worldwide work force, as it reduces flightsand grounds aircraft because of high fuel costs, the airline told employeesWednesday.

-Personal Best
To Beat the Heat, Learn to Sweat It Out
YOU already know that if you exercise outside on hot and humid days, youshould drink plenty of water. And you are probably well aware of the risk ofheat stroke given the countless reports about the warning signs.

-Assisted Suicide of Healthy 79-Year-Old Renews German Debate on Right toDie
FRANKFURT - When Roger Kusch helped Bettina Schardt kill herself at home onSaturday, the grim, carefully choreographed ritual was like that in manycases of assisted suicide, with one exception.

Washington Post
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-Today on the presidential campaign trail
McCain to meet Mexican president on Thursday at end of Latin American trip... Obama, McCain competing for the center, an elusive, disengaged yetcrucial crowd ... Wary evangelical leaders discuss rallying around McCain,supporting Huckabee as VP choice

-A look at the political center
A recent AP-Yahoo News poll shows that 15 percent of the electorate _ peoplewho call themselves moderates and aren't solidly supporting a candidate _make up the persuadable middle. More than half are independents and, judgingby history, many probably don't vote party line. The center of theelectorate is where the White House is all but certain to be won or lost.Both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are aggressively goingafter these voters, the most prized group but also the most difficult toreach.

-One Nation No More? by David S. Broder
Is America's increasing diversity eroding its identity?

-The Bradley Project - "E Pluribus Unum"
Link to the report discussed above:

-Global Action to Save Global Growth by Ban Ki-moon
Global growth is the leitmotif of our era. The great economic expansion, nowin its fifth decade, has raised living standards worldwide and liftedbillions out of poverty. Yet today, many wonder how long it can last. Thereason: Plenty comes at an increasingly high price. We see it daily in therising cost of fuel, food and commodities. Consumers in developed countriesfear the return of "stagflation" -- inflation coupled with slowing growth oroutright recession -- while the world's poorest no longer can afford to eat.[...] Those of us who have benefited from the global boom must find waysto extend its benefits to those who have been left behind.

-One Nation No More?
Civics Needs a Boost, but Our Identity Endures
Just in time for Independence Day, a conservative think tank has delivered acontroversial report asking whether America's national identity is erodingunder the pressure of population diversity and educational slackness.

-Conservative evangelicals discuss backing McCain
Conservative evangelical leaders met privately this week to discuss puttingaside their misgivings about John McCain and coalescing around theRepublican's presidential bid while urging him to consider socialconservative favorite Mike Huckabee as a running mate.

-San Francisco to Halt 'Sanctuary' Policy
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that the city wouldbegin handing over for deportation juvenile illegal immigrants with drugconvictions, reversing a controversial policy of flying the youths back totheir home countries at the city's expense.

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-Colombian military tricks guerrillas into freeing hostages
In a daring rescue Wednesday, the Colombian military freed 15 hostages heldfor years by leftist guerrillas, including Ingrid Betancourt, the formerColombian presidential candidate, three Floridians working under a U.S.Defense Department contract, and 11 Colombian military and police.,0,2125213.story

-Zimbabweans seek refuge at US embassy in capital
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe says about 200people are seeking refuge at the American embassy in the capital. JamesMcGee said by phone Thursday that the group was from the oppositionheadquarters in Harare. Opposition supporters have been coming under attackfrom supporters of President Robert Mugabe. Riot police were seen at theembassy as well as people with small bundles of possessions. Police saidthey did not have immediate comment. McGee said embassy officials wereworking with humanitarian organizations to find accommodation for the group.,0,864918.story

-The 'mushy middle' hard to reach for Obama, McCain
They're the most fickle voters, and potentially the most powerful. Thus,with party nominations secure, John McCain and Barack Obama now are pushingtoward the center to win them over. Meet the "mushy middle," a complexchunk of people likely to decide the presidential election but difficult toreach and hard to please.,0,903861,print.story

Miami Herald
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-Five-year wait for Florida dad held hostage in Colombia ends
The 16-year-old son of one of the U.S. hostages released in Colombia ispreparing to see his father for the first time in five years. His father isgetting medical attention on Thursday in Texas.

-Colombia's Betancourt says she'll run for president
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Rescued hostage Ingrid Betancourt says she still aspires``to serve Colombia as president.'' Betancourt says she believes PresidentAlvaro Uribe's 2006 re-election was ''very good for Colombia.'' She says shesaw from her six-year jungle captivity that the military buildup he promotedhad great effect in debilitating her rebel captors.

-THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT: Obama's trade pledge may hurt U.S.
MEXICO CITY -- When I asked Mexican President Felipe Calderón aboutDemocratic presumptive presidential candidate Barack Obama's pledge torenegotiate the U.S. free trade agreement with Mexico, I expected him to saythat such a move would be catastrophic for Mexico. Interestingly, his firstreaction was to say that it would be catastrophic for the United States.

Pew Research center
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U.S. Traveler Advisory: Where in the World Is the Welcome Mat Still Out?The United States has lost much of its global popularity in recent years.Yet trip planners will be glad to know that recent surveys show that thecountries that Americans are most likely to visit are, for the most part,countries that like Americans. Read more

-A Time to Drill
Gas Prices Change Energy Priorities
Americans are giving higher priority to mining and drilling, rather than toenergy conservation; concern about the environment fades as support for ANWRdrilling rises. Read more

-Whither Republicans
Campaign Interest Not Bipartisan
Last week marked the largest partisan gap in campaign interest since thestart of the presidential race in early 2007. Democrats were almost twice aslikely as Republicans to say they followed the campaign very closely (52%vs. 28%). Read more

-Summer Rerun: Media Returns to Coverage of Divided Democrats
While differences between Barack Obama and John McCain over energy policyplayed a major role, most of the campaign narrative focused on Democrats'efforts to reunite the party. Read more

-Evangelical Evolution
American Evangelicalism: New Leaders, New Faces, New Issues
Scholar Michael Lindsay argues that the sharpest division in the movement isnot between the political left and right, or the young and old, but between"cosmopolitan" and "populist" evangelicals. Read more

-Internet Index
Home Broadband Adoption 2008
Even as many broadband users opt for premium services, access stalls amonglow-income Americans. Read more

-Education Examined
Explaining the English Language Learner Achievement Gap
A new analysis finds that lagging scores of students designated as Englishlanguage learners can be partly explained by their concentration inlow-performing schools. Read more

-Daily Number
44% - Bush's Third Term? Voters are split on whether a McCain presidencywould be a continuation of Bush's policies (44%) or a new direction (45%).Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-A short but sweet gathering
Barack Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee are toyingwith a convention scheduling change that has been broached before in theorybut never seriously considered: cutting the party's conclave in Denver shortby one day to give Obama an extra day of post-nomination bounce in thecrowded August calendar.,0,6789486.story

-Bush urges Americans to pressure Congress on drilling
President Bush urged American citizens to pressure their congressionalrepresentatives to allow for more domestic oil drilling on Wednesday, thelatest salvo in the ongoing battle with Congressional Democrats over highgas prices. "I want [the American people] to understand fully that we havegot the opportunity to find more crude oil here at home, in environmentallyfriendly ways, and they ought to be writing their Congress people about it,"Bush said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

-Is Barack A Typical Pol?
McCain wants you to think so--which is good, in the long run, for Obama.Two weeks ago, Obama was "Obambi"--a guy so innocent he'd struggle to crossa major intersection, much less survive a match-up against the GOP. ThenObambi opted out of the public financing system and stiff-armed McCain onsome town-hall meetings, and all of a sudden he was Lee Atwater. TheWashington Post's David Broder wondered whether Obama's "motives will beaccepted by the voters who are only now starting to figure out what makeshim tick." Within a week, Time's Mark Halperin--whose CW-setting powersrival Broder's in his prime--observed that Obama was looking "more like anordinary politician than an inspiring leader," thanks in part to hiscampaign-finance decision and some rightward shading on policy. Perhaps moretellingly, McCain abruptly made the contrast between his honor and Obama'scynicism the central theme of his campaign. "For John McCain, country firstis how he has lived his life," read a "memo" released by strategist SteveSchmidt last Thursday. "We have seen Barack Obama forced to choose betweenprinciple and the interests of himself and his party. He has always chosenthe latter."

-Obama Unlike Any Politician, Black or White
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama is the first nonwhite candidate in U.S. historyto win a major-party presidential nomination. That fact alone makes him atradition-breaking, political pioneer. Much less discussed is that Mr.Obama is an atypical, nontraditional African-American politician, too.

-Can Barack Buy the Presidency?
On the money front, how do Sens. Obama and McCain stack up? No contest, itseems. Since the campaign began, Mr. Obama has raised a staggering $295-plusmillion, versus Mr. McCain's almost $122 million. But that's misleading.Mr. Obama spent a lot to win the nomination. So how much cash did he and hisrival have when the general election effectively began in June? As of May31, Mr. Obama had $43.1 million on hand while Mr. McCain had $31.6 million -a significant but not overwhelming advantage.

-Hispanic Voters Back Obama
Hispanic voters may have preferred Sen. Hillary Clinton over Sen. BarackObama in the Democratic primaries, but a new Gallup poll shows them liningup slidly behind Obama over Sen. John McCain in the general election, 59%to 29%. Meanwhile, the New Mexico Independent reports that in New Mexicoand other "battleground" states with large Hispanic populations -- Colorado,Nevada, Florida, and possibly Arizona -- pollsters found Obama leadingMcCain in those states 57% to 26%.

-The Flip-Flop Fallacy
It may be wildly hypocritical for McCain to attack Obama as a flip-flopper,but that doesn't mean it can't work. My colleague Noam Scheiber argues inhis piece yesterday ("Is This Man a Typical Pol?") that John McCain's newcampaign strategy of painting Barack Obama as an unprincipled flip-flopperis bound to fail. Noam posits that painting Obama as a "typical politician"is not a damaging enough accusation in a year when the public overwhelminglyprefers a Democratic president. Maybe--but I think McCain's strategy is alittle more potent than Noam gives it credit for.

-The 'mushy middle' hard to reach for Obama, McCain
They're the most fickle voters, and potentially the most powerful. Thus,with party nominations secure, John McCain and Barack Obama now are pushingtoward the center to win them over. Meet the "mushy middle," a complexchunk of people likely to decide the presidential election but difficult toreach and hard to please.

-The Case Against Mitt Romney
On Wednesday, The Fix made the case that former Massachusetts governor MittRomney is an ideal vice presidential pick for John McCain. Today, theopposite case. Can't We All Just Get Along?

-McCain is no maverick
DURING the primaries, Barack Obama was said to be the darling of the newsmedia. Not anymore. While the 2008 John McCain literally embraced W andcourted the Religious Right, many in the news media believe he's secretlythe 2000 McCain, who campaigned against W and the Religious Right.

-Will of the people, will of the justices could become a war of the worlds
If the long conservative era that began with Ronald Reagan's election isover, will the judges appointed during the right's ascendancy be...If thelong conservative era that began with Ronald Reagan's election is over, willthe judges appointed during the right's ascendancy be able to block,frustrate and undermine the efforts of a new progressive majority?

-Is U.S. ready to serve?
Experts: Bipartisan support, societal woes could aid Obama's attempt toboost volunteerism
From Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton and George W.Bush, presidents and those who aspire to be president have long put forthcalls for greater public service. Some found success, while others fellshort of their lofty rhetoric.,0,5754842.story

-Talking Points for an Energy Crisis
Airlines are cutting back on water for plane toilets to save weight andfuel. They had better come up with a better business plan than that. And inthe face of the burgeoning oil-price crisis, America had better come up witha plan as well.


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