Thursday, July 17, 2008


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New York Times
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-Problems Persist With Red Cross Blood Services
For 15 years, the American Red Cross has been under a federal court order toimprove the way it collects and processes blood. Yet, despite $21 million infines since 2003 and repeated promises to follow procedures intended toensure the safety of the nation's blood supply, it continues to fall short.

-Seattle's Automated Toilets Go Way of the Box and Chain
After spending $5 million on its five automated public toilets, Seattle iscalling it quits. In the end, the restrooms, installed in early 2004, hadbecome so filthy, so overrun with drug abusers and prostitutes, thatalthough use was free of charge, even some of the city's most destitutepeople refused to step inside them.

-Editorial: Talking Sense on Iraq
It has been obvious from the start of the 2008 campaign that the wars inIraq and Afghanistan are the biggest foreign policy challenges awaiting thenext president. But there has been precious little detailed discussion ofthem on the campaign trail.

-Op-Ed Columnist: Prosecuting Genocide
Many aid workers and diplomats suffered a panic attack when the chiefprosecutor of the International Criminal Court sought an arrest warrant thisweek for the president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for committinggenocide. They feared that Mr. Bashir would retaliate by attackingpeacekeepers and humanitarian workers.

-Op-Ed Columnist: France on Amphetamines
A few decades back, when we were young, Joni Mitchell sang of "sitting in apark in Paris, France" but dreaming of California because "I wouldn't wantto stay here; it's too old and cold and settled in its ways here." Throughthe big sleep of the Mitterrand and Chirac years, Joni could have come backand written the same lines. France changed, because everything and everyonedoes, but a remote, monarchical president continued to preside over acountry more alarmed than charmed by modernity.

-Editorial: The Right to Know
In the face of near hysterical opposition from the Bush administration, theSenate Democratic leadership intends to take up a proposed shield law toprovide journalists with limited protection against being compelled toreveal confidential sources in federal court. A similar measure won Houseapproval last October in a bipartisan 398-to-21 landslide. But the WhiteHouse, as ever, is playing the fear card, orchestrating a barrage ofwarnings that the law would "wreak havoc" on national security and"completely eviscerate" the ability to investigate terrorism.

-France Urges Iran to Get Specific In Nuclear Talks
VIENNA/DAMASCUS (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said onThursday big powers were waiting for specific proposals from Iran in newtalks over its disputed nuclear work and Iran's foreign minister said U.S.participation was "positive." The United States said on Wednesday it wassending an envoy to Geneva to join nuclear talks with Iran for the firsttime to underline to the Islamic Republic and others that Washington desireda diplomatic solution to the volatile impasse.

-While the U.S. Spends Heavily on Health Care, a Study Faults the QualityAmerican medical care may be the most expensive in the world, but that doesnot mean it is worth every penny. A study to be released Thursday highlightsthe stark contrast between what the United States spends on its healthsystem and the quality of care it delivers, especially when compared withmany other industrialized nations.

Washington Post
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-What McCain Economic Policy?
"Government is not the solution to our problem," Ronald Reagan told hisfellow Americans in his first inaugural address. "Government is theproblem." For modern American conservatism, Reagan's words may as well havebeen inscribed on the tablets handed down at Mount Sinai. The market was godand Reagan was its Moses, and Republicans have sworn fealty to both for thepast quarter-century. One invariable feature of the 2007-08 Republicanprimary debates was the effort of each candidate to cast himself as Reagan'sone true heir. John McCain proudly recounted how he enlisted as a footsoldier in Reagan's revolution. How was he to know that government was aboutto become a solution again?

-Listening To the Governors
When the luck of the draw made him the chairman of the National GovernorsAssociation in this, the centennial year of its first meeting -- withPresident Theodore Roosevelt -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty knew how andwhere he wanted to celebrate the occasion. He invited all the living formergovernors to join those now in office at this birthplace of the Republic.And so it was that on Saturday evening, a disappointing turnout of 27 stateexecutives mingled with 32 of their predecessors around the Liberty Bell totoast our unique form of government.

-A New Chance to Curb Gun Violence
The Supreme Court decision last month overturning the District's handgunban, though controversial, may have ended a long-standing political logjam.As a local law enforcement official, I hope this decision will allow aworkingcoalition to transcend partisan disagreements and support strategiesproven to reduce gun violence.

-Who's On the Watch List
The federal government's consolidated terrorist watch list has become acentral issue in the debate about how we can best secure our homeland.Unfortunately, myths about the watch list continue to grow in just aboutevery report and retelling.

-The Fannie-Freddie Dodge
The costs and contradictions of bailing out housing
THE PARLOUS financial condition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac threatens theglobal economy. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.'s request forstandby authority to lend the mortgage giants more money and, if necessary,inject capital seeks to reduce this "systemic risk." Democratic leaders inCongress plan to attach the Fannie-Freddie rescue to housing legislationalready passed by the Senate and slated for House consideration. Strangely,though, both the Senate and House versions of the bill potentially increasethe very risks Mr. Paulson's plan is intended to mitigate.

-Slowing Economy Gives Way to Global Role Reversals
The global slowdown stemming in part from the deepening U.S. financialcrisis is hitting the world's richest nations the hardest even as emergingnations, some with once-fragile economies, are proving relatively resilient.

-White House Blocks Release of FBI Files: Privilege Is Cited in CIA LeakCase
The White House yesterday blocked a House committee's attempt to obtaininternal FBI reports about the leak of a CIA officer's identity, assertingthat notes from interviews of Vice President Cheney and other administrationofficials are protected by executive privilege.

-Chief's Pay Criticized As Charity Cuts Back
Food & Friends, a nonprofit organization that provides meals and othernutritional services to homebound HIV-AIDS and cancer patients across theWashington region, is scaling back its services, citing declining donationsand rising fuel and food costs.

-Census Won't Count Gay Marriages
Diane Curtis and Ellen Leuchs tied the knot in May 2004, less than a weekafter Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage and a decade after beginningtheir life as a couple. To the U.S. Census Bureau, however, their marriagedoes not count. Or, more specifically, it will not be counted in the 2010census.

Miami Herald
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-McCain hasn't ignited the passions of evangelicals
Stirring her morning coffee, lifelong Republican Grace Droog voiced herdoubts - and those of many evangelical voters - about what she isn't hearingfrom John McCain in this year's presidential election. "I look forsomething about his faith," she said. "It's very important, it's what ournation was founded on."

-THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT: It's time for Americans to master a secondlanguage
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's recent comment thatAmericans should get their children to study Spanish or another secondlanguage has drawn an avalanche of criticism from English-only advocates andcable television anti-immigration zealots. But Obama couldn't have beenmore right. Whether it's Spanish, or other languages, Americans are waybehind the rest of the industrialized world when it comes to mastering otherlanguages.

Fort Report
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-McCain courts skeptical blacks at NAACP event
Republican John McCain courted skeptical black voters yesterday, pledging tothe nation's oldest civil rights group that he will expand educationopportunities, partly through vouchers for low-income children to attendprivate school.

-Bush hitting dry holes in energy blame game
Despite President Bush's less-than-subtle jab this week, Florida is not thereason why gas prices are more than $4 per gallon. On Monday, Mr. Bushindulged his passion for empty symbolism by lifting a presidential ban onoffshore oil and gas drilling, a ban his father established. The gesture issymbolic because Congress would have to go along, and Congress won't,primarily because Democrats won't.

-The Current Oil Shock
Why there's no relief in sight from the energy reality we're facing. Lastweek, after hitting $146 a barrel, the price of crude oil took a sudden,two-day, $9 plunge, based in part on comments by Iranian PresidentAhmadinejad that an attack on Iran was unlikely and on a mid-Atlantic turnnorth by Bertha, the season's first significant hurricane, away from theoil-rig and refinery rich Gulf of Mexico. It was just long enough forpundits to wonder, hesitantly and somewhat wistfully, whether the globaleconomic bad weather had finally hit the oil market, and whether lowereddemand meant that a new (downward) trend was on the way. That was, ofcourse, before the Iranians started lobbing missiles, and traders got edgyabout a promised week-long strike at Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobrasand the kidnapping of at least one foreign oil worker in the Niger Deltaregion of Nigeria. By Friday, the "trend" was toast and the price of abarrel of crude had briefly crested above $147.


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