Tuesday, July 08, 2008


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New York Times
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-G-8 Leaders Pledge to Cut Emissions in Half by 2050
Environmentalists criticized the pledge by the leaders of the world'srichest nations because it failed to set a short-term goal for greenhousegas cuts.

-After the Battle, Fighting the Bottle at Home
A growing body of evidence suggests that alcohol abuse is rising amongveterans of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

-Interactive Map: Tour de France
Follow the 95th Tour de France with stage results, complete coverage,photos and multimedia.

-Obama's Campaign Shifts to a Bigger Stage for His Big Night
Borrowing from the political repertory of John F. Kennedy, Senator BarackObama will accept his party's nomination outside of the main Democraticconvention hall this August, in the Denver Broncos' football stadium thatseats more than 75,000 people.

-Compromising the Constitution
The Senate should reject a bill this week that would weaken the ForeignIntelligence Surveillance Act and expand the government's ability to spy onAmericans.

-Lurching With Abandon
Senator Barack Obama is not just tacking gently toward the center. He'szigging so fast it's guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash.

-Flyby of Mercury Answers Some Old Questions
Mercury, the smallest planet, bakes in the heat of the Sun, but it has waterin some form. It has volcanoes. It appears to have an active magnetic fieldgenerated by a molten iron core. And it has shrunk more than scientiststhought.

-Mercury SlideShow - Craters, Volcanoes and Scarps

-Seeing Helms Plain
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of "The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons,and an Unlikely Road to Manhood," says "all the fawning over the ghost ofJesse Helms" demonstrates why there are so few black Republicans. "WhenCarol Moseley Braun was elected to the Senate, Helms would sing Dixie in theelevator whenever saw her, with the intent, as he told Orrin Hatch, ofmaking Moseley-Braun cry," Coates writes on his personal blog. "Behindclosed doors, Helms reportedly referred to all black people as 'Fred.'"

Washington Post
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-Mr. Obama on Iraq
His hint of softening on his unrealistic withdrawal plan is only sensible.BARACK OBAMA has taken a small but important step toward adjusting hisoutdated position on Iraq to the military and strategic realities of the warhe may inherit. Sadly, he seems to be finding that the strident and rigidposture he struck during the primary campaign -- during which he promised towithdraw all combat forces in 16 months -- is inhibiting what looks like aworthy, necessary attempt to create the room for maneuver he will need tocapably manage the war if he becomes president.

-Protectionism That Endangers
This week G-8 and African leaders meet in Hokkaido to discuss how to respondto rising prices for commodities such as food. The food crisis highlightsthe need for farmers in developing countries to become productiveparticipants in the global economy. One of the most important steps toachieve that goal would be for members of the World Trade Organization to toliberalize their agricultural markets.

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-Fed plans new rules to protect future homebuyers
The Federal Reserve, trying to stabilize a shaky U.S. financial system, maygive squeezed Wall Street firms more time to tap the central bank'semergency loan program, chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday. And, in aneffort to prevent a repeat of the current mortgage mess, Bernanke said theFed next week will issue new rules aimed at protecting future homebuyersfrom dubious lending practices.

Miami Herald
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-Ecuador: The president's ire
According to a recent news report President Rafael Correa of Ecuador reviledthe Human Rights Foundation's leaders as ''scoundrels.'' Why? Because theNew York-based institution had sent him several well-reasoned lettersdenouncing painful violations of human rights that had occurred in Ecuador.

-How students can help
Standing outside the East Side Community Ministry in Zanesville, Ohio, lastweek, Sen. Barack Obama said that his experience working with faith-basedgroups in Chicago led him into public service. He pointed to millions ofAmericans who share a similar view of faith-inspired service and who feel amoral obligation to help others in communities across the country. Moreover,he called for the establishment of a new Council for Faith-Based andNeighborhood Partnerships to foster grass-roots partnerships..

-CONGRESS: Gutting the Constitution
The U.S. Senate this week is expected to vote on an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with a few small amendments intended toimmunize telecommunications corporations that assisted our government in thewarrantless and illegal wiretapping it has grown to love.

Fort Report
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-Party scrambles to meet Obama's call for change
Democrats are on the clock, racing to adjust to a wide range of logisticalchanges following their candidate's decision to accept the nomination in anew location. The Democratic National Committee (DNC), the convention hostcommittee and the Barack Obama campaign all acknowledged that there is a newset of questions without answers now that Obama will make his speech atInvesco Field at Mile High Stadium instead of inside the Pepsi Center inDenver.

-DNC, Obama to seek broad input for party platform
The Democratic National Committee and Barack Obama's presidential campaignwill hold meetings in all 50 states to get voters more involved indeveloping the party platform. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will chair thePlatform Drafting Committee, the DNC and the Obama campaign were scheduledto announce Tuesday. The committee will invite members of the public toattend meetings around the country, with policy experts and other Democraticofficials on hand to answer questions.

-Obama Lumps McCain In With Bush On Economy
Democrat Barack Obama blamed Washington for the country's economic woesMonday and sought to link Republican rival John McCain to President Bush'spolicies as the presidential candidates maneuvered for the upper hand on atop concern of voters.

-McCain's Economic Plan Looks DOA
John McCain's campaign has released a repackaged "economic plan," which willbe the focus of a series of events this week. I put the term in quotesbecause it's not so much a "plan" as a hodge-podge of McCain's domesticpolicy agenda, and it's less about the economy than about the candidate'sdecision to re-embrace a pledge--abandoned in April--to balance the federalbudget by the end of his first term.

-Budget analysts skeptical of Obama's promises
In more than a year of campaigning, Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obamahas made a long list of promises for new federal programs costing tens ofbillions of dollars, many of them aimed at protecting people from the painof a souring economy. But if he wins the presidency, Obama will behard-pressed to keep his blueprint intact.

-Washington Post Signals Shift With a New Editor
Signaling a generational change at one of the nation's most influentialnewspapers, the new publisher of The Washington Post on Monday selected anoutsider as the paper's top editor. Marcus W. Brauchli, a former top editorof The Wall Street Journal, will become the executive editor of The Post onSept. 8, at a time of great upheaval in the industry. At age 47, he is youngenough to remain in place for many years, working alongside the publisher,Katharine Weymouth, who is 42 and has been in her job for five months.

-Healthcare overhaul would be risky for a President Obama
The news last week that Democratic senators, led by an ailing but determinedTed Kennedy, are already laying the groundwork for a major revamping of thenational health system may or may not be welcome news to Barack Obama. Onthe one hand, the move clearly indicates that the senators are expecting anObama victory, with their party controlling Congress. And Obama, whoseSenate aides have participated in Kennedy's planning sessions, has promisedto provide universal coverage by the end of his first term.

-California Dreaming _ Can McCain Win?
McCain Faces Tough Test In California, A Democratic Stronghold In
Presidential Contests
John McCain is starting a California campaign that might already be over.The Republican presidential candidate opens a handful of political officesthis week in the nation's most populous state, the historical turf of Reaganand Nixon that in recent years has become a Democratic fortress in
presidential contests.

-The Latest Spin From Voting Machine Makers: What Problems?
Last week, I testified before the Texas House Committee on Elections (youcan read my testimony). I've done this many times before, but I figured thistime would be different. This time, I was armed with the research from theCalifornia "Top to Bottom" reports and the Ohio EVEREST reports. I was partof the Hart InterCivic source code team for California's analysis. I knewthe problems. I was prepared to discuss them at length. Wow, was Idisappointed. Here's a quote from Peter Lichtenheld, speaking on behalf ofHart InterCivic: Security reviews of the Hart system as tested inCalifornia, Colorado, and Ohio were conducted by people who were givenunfettered access to code, equipment, tools and time and they had no threatmodel. While this may provide some information about system architecture ina way that casts light on questions of security, it should not be mistakenfor a realistic approximation of what happens in an election environment. Ina realistic election environment, the technology is enhanced by electionsprofessionals and procedures, and those professionals safeguard equipmentand passwords, and physical barriers are there to inhibit tampering.Additionally, jurisdiction ballot count, audit, and reconciliation processessafeguard against voter fraud.

-Silly ballot questions, serious intent
A mock election in Sarasota County today will test new voting equipmentChildren, uncleared felons, British vacationers and just about anybody elsewill be able to vote today in what will be an unusual election, even byFlorida standards. Polls open at 7 a.m. today in a mock election to test anew $3 million voting system -- Sarasota County's third one this decade.

-Local pollster hasn't seen this much voter anger in 30 years of surveyingvoters
When Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum sued Countrywide Financial Corp.last week, he accused the disgraced mortgage lender of a pattern ofdeceptive trade practices. But McCollum could fairly be said to be engagingin a little of that himself. Critics say he's just the latest officeholderlooking to tamp down rising voter unrest by taking a headline-grabbing --but ineffective -- step.

-FLORIDA BETS ON GAMBLING: Crist must deal or fold
In casinos, the laws of chance always favor the house. In the courts, Gov.Crist found out last week, the laws of Florida also favor the House. And theSenate. The Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Gov. Cristexceeded his authority last November when he signed a deal that, in exchangefor payments to the state of at least $100 million a year, gave the SeminoleTribe exclusive right to offer high-stakes card games such as blackjack andbaccarat at seven tribal casinos. For the deal to be valid, the court said,the Legislature would have to approve it. Such approval is a long shot,since House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, opposes expansion of gamblingand filed the lawsuit that overturned the agreement - also called acompact - that the Supreme Court stuck down.

-U.S. scientists fear for the nation's coral reefs, share data at FortLauderdale seminar
Nearly half of the U.S. coral reefs are in poor or fair condition, federalofficials announced Monday. And in the Atlantic and Caribbean, thepercentage of declining coral is even higher -- 75 percent.

-Internet service providers' actions on content raise questions aboutcensorship
Rant all you want in a public park. A police officer generally won't ejectyou for your remarks alone, however unpopular or provocative...Rant all youwant in a public park. A police officer generally won't eject you for yourremarks alone, however unpopular or provocative.

-Docs risking ire of GOP on Medicare
Lobbying groups representing physicians have been taking a noticeablypartisan tack in their fight to protect their Medicare fees, siding withDemocrats and risking a backlash from Republicans in the process. Tradegroups tend to be wary of favoring one party, since politicians have longmemories and today's minority could be tomorrow's majority.


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