Monday, July 21, 2008


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New York Times
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-Influx of Voters Likely to Test New Machines
Election officials fear that new voting technologies paired with millions ofnew voters may cause the nation's system to buckle under the increasedstrain.

-Mideast Faces a Choice: Crops or Water
Some countries in the region import 90 percent or more of their staples, butthe worldwide food crisis is making them rethink that math.

-After 2000, McCain Learned to Work Levers of Power
Once better known for criticizing the Senate than for influencing it, JohnMcCain has evolved into perhaps the chamber's most influential member.

-Zimbabwe Rivals Sign Agreement
Zimbabwe's feuding political leaders appeared jointly for the first time inyears on Monday to sign a preliminary agreement laying out terms fornegotiations to wrest their land out of political chaos.

-Op-Ed Columnist: Sobriety, Herr Obama
Barack Obama has already won the U.S. election by a landslide. In Europe,that is. Polls show the French putting the first African-American in theWhite House with 86 percent backing. Obamania is about as intense in Germanyand Britain, the two other European countries the Senator will visit thisweek.

-Muzzling the Joneses
It is an infringement of free speech to ban residents of a town or countyfrom placing political signs on their lawns.

-Chimps Aren't Chumps
Misrepresentations of chimpanzees may not be as repugnant as racism, bigotryor sexism. But they can still serve as a benchmark for our society's moralprogress.

-Op-Ed Contributor: Obama at the Gate
ANGELA MERKEL, Germany's chancellor, has made known her displeasure at thepossibility that Barack Obama might use an appearance before the BrandenburgGate here to present himself to the world as a politician of balance andintegrity. Such an event would doubtless be heavy with symbolism as well asheavily attended, and one should always be wary meddling in another nation'selections.

-Op-Ed Contributor: Catching a War Criminal in the Act
Servian, France: THE prosecutor of the International Criminal Court hasmade the tough decision to seek an arrest warrant for a leader of a countryat war - Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. He is to be charged withgenocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during the last five yearsof war in Darfur.

-Networks Fight Shorter Olympic Leash
For several years now NBC has meticulously planned all the details for itscoverage of the many sports events at the Summer Olympics in China.

-Clinton Lends Her Campaign More Money as Its Debt Proves Stubborn
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton lent her campaign an additional $1 million atthe end of June, underscoring the difficulty she is having staying ahead ofcreditors and retiring a mountain of campaign debt, filings with the FederalElection Commission show.

-McCain and Obama Agree to Attend Megachurch Forum
It has taken a man of God, perhaps, to do what nobody else has been able todo since the general election season began: Get Barack Obama and John McCaintogether on the same stage before their party conventions later this summer.

Washington Post
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-In Iraq, and Under the Spotlight
I asked one of the Republican Party's smartest, most candid heavy hitterslast week whether John McCain really has a chance to defeat Barack Obama inthis season of Republican discontent. "No, if the campaign is about McCain,"he replied. "Yes, if it's about Obama." That underlines the importance ofObama's visit to Iraq, beginning weeks of scrutiny for the Democraticpresidential candidate under a GOP spotlight.

-Faith-Based Obama
His proposal for government-funded initiatives is carefully tailored.
BARACK OBAMA gave a speech promoting faith-based initiatives recently thatmanaged to upset both sides of the debate over whether and how to blendgovernment funding and religious institutions. The strict separation ofchurch and state types expressed dismay that Mr. Obama promised acontinuation of what they see as undue entanglement. Some religious groupswere unhappy about Mr. Obama's caveat: "[I]f you get a federal grant youcan't use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and youcan't discriminate against them -- or against the people you hire -- on thebasis of their religion."

-ONE OF US: Black. Female. Accomplished. Attacked.
There she is -- no, not Miss America, but the Angela-Davis-Afro-wearing,machine-gun-toting, angry, unpatriotic Michelle Obama, greeting her husbandwith a fist bump instead of a kiss on the cheek.

-Rice says Iran not serious at weekend nuke talks
SHANNON, Ireland -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran onMonday of not being serious at weekend talks about its disputed nuclearprogram despite the presence of a senior U.S. diplomat, and warned it maysoon face new sanctions.

-The Addicted Journalist
David Carr's latest subject is a pathetic human being, a thug, a
manipulative jerk who uses people and puts his own kids in danger. . . .. "After Mr. McCain said he opposed child adoptions to gay and lesbiancouples, his campaign clarified that he wasn't making policy and would leavethe issue to the states.

-Anglicans Face 'Severe Challenge'
Archbishop Urges Work on Issue of Homosexuality
CANTERBURY, England, July 20 -- The head of the Anglican Communion saidSunday that the global fellowship faces "one of the most severe challenges"in its history, and he urged bishops at their once-a-decade LambethConference to do the hard work of finding solutions. Archbishop ofCanterbury Rowan Williams said the Anglican family's most immediate need isfor "transformed relationships" that will not break apart overinterpretations of the Bible, particularly regarding homosexuality.

Miami Herald
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-We know what works -- now let's do it
This will be the last What Works column. [...]
I am often asked whether I've found common denominators in all thesesuccessful programs, anything we can use in helping kids at risk. The shortanswer is, yes. [...] You want to know what works? Longer school days and longer school years work. Giving principals the power to hire good teachers andfire bad ones works. High expectations work. Giving a teacher freedom to huga child who needs hugging works. Parental involvement works. Counseling fortroubled students and families works. Consistency of effort works.Incentives work. Field trips that expose kids to possibilities you can't seefrom their broken neighborhoods, work. Indeed, the most important thingI've learned is that none of this is rocket science. We already know whatworks. What we lack is the will to do it.

-Learn how you can avoid foreclosure
Here's what we all know about foreclosures: They're going up. Here'ssomething you probably didn't know: As many as half of them may beavoidable. Borrowers and lenders didn't talk in 53 percent of foreclosuressince 2005. But, when they did talk, foreclosure rates plummeted.

-Drilling offshore won't help us much
Raise your hand if you actually believe that offshore oil drilling willbring down gasoline prices at the pump. Raise your other hand if you believein Peter Pan, unicorns and variable-rate mortgages.

When John F. Kennedy challenged America to put a man on the moon in 10years, many called it impossible.
Now, Al Gore has given a major speech with another visionary call:"Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of ourelectricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within10 years." This is huge. For someone with as much stature and credibilityas Vice President Gore to embrace a goal this big and ambitious could begame-changing. But first, you've got to see it for yourself. Click here towatch the video:

Pew Research center
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-Obama Abroad: Warm Welcome in Europe, Not So in the Middle East
By all accounts, Barack Obama will be enthusiastically greeted when hetravels to Europe, where polls show large majorities voice confidence inhim. But his trip will take him into less friendly territory in the MiddleEast where Muslims remain skeptical about the future of U.S. foreign policy,regardless of who is elected in November. Read more

-Belief that Obama is Muslim is Durable and Bipartisan
The persistent belief that Obama is Muslim appears to have virtually noeffect on Republican voters, who overwhelmingly support McCain in any case.But Democrats who share the misperception are significantly less likely tosupport the Democratic contender. Read more

-Obama v. Jackson
Are critics like Jesse Jackson more -- or less -- in touch with the AfricanAmerican public? A look at what survey data tell us about black attitudesand priorities. Read more

-Should Women Worry Obama?
Obama is doing better among young and independent women than either of thelast two Democratic nominees, but many older Democratic women remainundecided. Read more

-And in Other Election News...
Cell Phones and the 2008 Vote: An Update
The latest Pew Research Center national survey, conducted June 18-29including a sample of 503 adults on a cell phone, finds that the overallestimate of voter presidential preference is modestly affected by whether ornot the cell phone respondents are included. Read more

-Candidates' Policy Positions Still Not Widely Known
Despite extensive media attention to the presidential campaign, relativelyfew Americans are familiar with either Obama's or McCain's foreign anddomestic policy positions. Read more

-Gaffe Coverage: Jackson Tops Gramm
Statements by two non-candidates steered the campaign narrative last week,but Jesse Jackson's derogatory remarks about Obama drew more media attentionthan did Phil Gramm's remarks about whiny America. Read more

-The Daily Number
46% vs. 42% Good Connections Beat Hard Work
Overall, the United By a margin of 46-42, Americans say that the rich arerich mainly because they know the right people or are born into wealthrather than because of hard work, ambition or education. Check back everyweekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-Robert Wexler weighs in on Obama, progressives
Back in early 2007, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., became one of the firstelected officials to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president, even thoughSen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was heavily favored to win the Democraticnomination.

-Obama campaign hits the streets of Florida
Fed up with the status quo in U.S. politics, Lauren Andersen quit her job atan English-language newspaper in Chile and joined Democratic Sen. BarackObama's presidential campaign recently. Now, the Connecticut native's legsare lined with mosquito bites, a farmer's tan is visible beneath her whitebutton-up blouse, and occasionally Republicans yell at her.

-Rice: Obama's success is great gain for blacks
Condoleezza Rice says it's a remarkable accomplishment that a blackpolitician is on track for his party's presidential nomination. Thesecretary of state said Democrat Barack Obama's likely nomination shows thenation's progress in race relations.

-Turning election into popularity race
Movement seeks to skirt Electoral College, ensure presidency goes tocandidate with most votes nationwide
A measure that would push the Electoral College to the fringes of Americanpolitics has been an unlikely beneficiary of this year's protractedpresidential primaries. Buoyed by a long presidential primary season thatfocused attention on states that usually are overlooked in the calculus ofwinning a nomination, states as far-flung as Massachusetts and Hawaii havepassed or are considering legislation that would guarantee that thecandidate who got the most votes nationwide would win the White House.,0,5711183.story

-CAMPAIGN 2008: Obama Abroad
He's been called a naive idealist. But in terms of foreign policy, he's thetrue realist in the race. The rap on Barack Obama, at least in the realm offoreign policy, has been that he is a softheaded idealist who thinks that hecan charm America's enemies. John McCain and his campaign, conservativecolumnists and right-wing bloggers all paint a picture of a liberal dreamerwho wishes away the world's dangers. Even President Bush stepped into thefray earlier this year to condemn the Illinois senator's willingness to meetwith tyrants as naive. Some commentators have acted as if Obama, touring theMiddle East and Europe this week on his first trip abroad since effectivelywrapping up the nomination, is in for a rude awakening.

-'Ich bin ein Commander'
Obama has to persuade the public he can lead the free world. Remember the3-o'clock-in-the-morning test--Hillary Clinton's dig at Barack Obama'scommander-in-chief credentials during the primaries? As Obama heads toEurope and the Mideast this coming week, he is embarking on what might becalled his "Ich bin ein Commander" test. It may well be the decisive one ofhis candidacy, especially with so many media stars--including three networkanchors--along for the ride. One major reason why Obama's opponent, JohnMcCain, has managed so far to rise above the public's grim assessment of theRepublican Party is that, for many voters, he has already passed this test.Even though Americans think by a two-to-one margin Obama would do more toimprove the country's image abroad than McCain, according to the newWashington Post-ABC News survey, only 48 percent said the Democrat wouldmake a good commander in chief compared to 72 percent for his Republicanrival. And "head to head, McCain was judged as the one with greaterknowledge of the world by more than 2 to 1," the Post reported.

-Giuliani takes McCain out to the ballgame
VP rumors circulate as the politicians mingle
With Democrat Barack Obama on the other side of the planet, Republicanpresidential candidate John McCain visited Yankee Stadium with former MayorRudy Giuliani. The two high-profile Republicans are longtime friends,despite having campaigned against each other in the GOP primaries in whichMcCain ultimately prevailed. When Giuliani bowed out of the race, heimmediately endorsed McCain.

-McCain flops on emissions standards
Would someone please tell Sen. John McCain, the GOP's presidential wannabe,that straight talk and flip-flopping don't mix. Not in the space of amonth. Not when the issue -- whether the next president supports allowingindividual states to set emissions rules for new cars and trucks -- meansDetroit's automakers could face billions more in R&D spending should theso-called EPA waiver sought by California and a dozen or so other statesbecome law.

-Obama visits Iraq as part of world tour
Barack Obama on Monday began his first on-the-ground inspection of Iraqsince launching his bid for the White House - with U.S. commanders ready tobrief him on progress in a war he long opposed and Iraqi leaders wantingmore details of his proposals for troop withdrawals.

-Economic View: Means Testing, for Medicare
RIGHT now, the United States is in the midst of a financial crisis, but evenmore pressing problems may lie ahead - and the presidential candidates aren'taddressing them. No matter who sits in the Oval Office next year, there won't be many degrees of freedom in the federal budget. That's because spending onentitlement programs is largely locked into place, and the situation willbecome much worse as Americans age and health care costs rise. Even if thegovernment is conservative in its spending, just paying out promisedbenefits implies that tax rates will rise to a crushing level - a range of60 to 80 percent of income - well before the end of this century.

Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
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-Nine Reasons to Investigate War Crimes Now
Retired General Antonio Taguba, the officer who led the Army's investigationinto Abu Ghraib, recently wrote in the preface to the new report, Brokenlaws, Broken Lives: "There is no longer any doubt as to whether the currentadministration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains tobe answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held toaccount."


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