Wednesday, January 07, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - January 07, 2009

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New York Times
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-Op-Ed Columnist: The Mideast's Ground Zero
The fighting, death and destruction in Gaza is painful to watch. But it's all too familiar. It's the latest version of the longest-running play in the modern Middle East, which, if I were to give it a title, would be called: "Who owns this hotel? Can the Jews have a room? And shouldn't we blow up the bar and replace it with a mosque?"

-Op-Ed Columnist: Sweet on Caroline
WASHINGTON: Ask not, you know, what your country can, like, do for you.
Ask what you, um, can, you know, do for your country. After a lifetime of shying away from the public spotlight, Caroline Kennedy asked herself what she could do for her country.

-Editorial: Reversing Discrimination
President-elect Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are already signaling a welcome new seriousness in Washington about protecting civil rights after eight years of erosion.

-Op-Ed Contributor: City of Cold Shoulders
Washington: THE scene of Roland W. Burris being escorted from the Senate by the Capitol police on Tuesday could be only the first act of an unpleasant and distracting drama. But in the days since Mr. Burris's appointment to Illinois's junior Senate seat was announced by that state's scandal-tainted governor, Rod Blagojevich, it has become clear that the Senate's power to reject Mr. Burris is, at best, highly debatable. The wisest course for the Senate is to end the dispute by accepting the appointment.

-CNN Reporter Tops List for Surgeon General
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and CNN's chief medical reporter, is the leading contender to become the next surgeon general, a pick that will give the moribund office a higher profile but one that has received a mixed reaction among public health advocates.

-London Journal
Atheists Decide to Send a Message, on 800 Buses
LONDON - The advertisement on the bus was fairly mild, just a passage from the Bible and the address of a Christian Web site. But when Ariane Sherine, a comedy writer, looked on the Web site in June, she was startled to learn that she and her nonbelieving friends were headed straight to hell, to "spend all eternity in torment."

-Europe Bucks World Stock Rally
LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks worked on their 10th consecutive session of gains on Wednesday, but European shares were breaking their winning streak and the dollar's recent drive upwards faltered.

Washington Post
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-What About Minnesota?
The Post asked election law experts and political scientists for lessons from the Senate contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. Below are thoughts from Jan Witold Baran, Robert Lenhard, Edward B. Foley, Richard L. Hasen, Eric Black, Steve Schier, Norman J. Ornstein.

-Who Will Run the RNC?
By Kathleen Parker
When it comes to the six Republicans competing for lead dog of the GOP leadership, all are on point: They love Ronald Reagan, are pro-life, advocate small government, and promise more diversity and fewer taxes. They are also, with one exception, locked and loaded -- armed in Second Amendment solidarity. During a 90-minute debate Monday at the National Press Club, only Michael Steele confessed to owning no guns.

-A Page From the Hoover Playbook
By Harold Meyerson
As the nation navigates through the most perilous straits it has seen since the 1930s, policymakers are looking back to the '30s to see which of the paths that Depression-era America embarked upon actually led toward recovery. Well, some of our policymakers. Others, it seems, have seized upon the very policies that deepened the Depression and are repackaging them as solutions for our time.

-A Surprise for Langley
By David Ignatius
On its face, it's a puzzling choice: Barack Obama selects as his spy chief a former congressman with no firsthand experience as an intelligence professional. Is Obama dissing the CIA? Is he further politicizing this badly bruised agency? What signal is he sending by picking Leon Panetta as CIA director?

-In Cuba, Pinning Hopes on Obama
Many Islanders Expect Better Relationship With U.S. Under New President
By William Booth
HAVANA -- Vicente González says that although Barack Obama is no Karl Marx -- "he is a capitalist and likely an imperialist" -- he has high hopes that the new president could begin to warm the relationship between Cuba and the United States, which remains frozen in a Cold War time warp. "It is time," the Havana barber said, perhaps unwittingly repeating the Obama slogan, "for a change."

-Senators Turn Burris Away at Capitol
But Democrats Are Now Considering Allowing Blagojevich Appointee to Serve
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Blocked from claiming a Senate seat, a man who once said his success in politics was the result of "divine intervention" stood outside the Capitol yesterday and declared: "Members of the media, my name is Roland Burris, the junior senator from the state of Illinois."

Wall Street Journal

-Obama Pushes States to Cover More Unemployed
President-elect Barack Obama plans to offer states $7 billion as incentive to permanently change their unemployment-insurance laws to cover part-time workers and prevent other laid-off workers from falling through cracks in the coverage. The proposal, which is set to be included in the president-elect's two-year economic-stimulus plan, will seek to use short-term aid to cash-strapped states to force long-term changes that the Obama team believes are overdue, Obama aides said Tuesday.

-National Security Adviser Says Pakistan Is Top U.S. Challenge
The biggest foreign-policy challenge awaiting President-elect Barack Obama isn't Iraq or Afghanistan but Pakistan, President George W. Bush's national-security adviser said.

Miami Herald
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-POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: Where Clint Eastwood draws the line
Clint Eastwood has had it up to here with sensitivity. ''A lot of people are bored of all the political correctness,'' he recently told The New York Times. ''. . . The country has come a long way in race relations, but the pendulum swings so far back. Everyone wants to be so'' -- and here, he gave a make-my-day grimace -- ``sensitive.''

Pew Research center
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-Then and Now: 2000 vs. 2008
States of the Union Before and After Bush
What a difference eight years can make -- or not. As shown in a series of tables, some things have changed a great deal since George W. Bush was elected president in 2000, but other things, most notably certain American beliefs and attitudes, have remained remarkably constant. Read more

From to
A new survey finds that voters expect the level of public engagement they experienced with President-elect Obama during the campaign, much of it occurring online, will continue into the early period of his new administration. Read more

-Evolving Conflicts
After Bush, Islam's Real Challenge
Scholar Va Nasr argues that the 2003 invasion of Iraq has fundamentally shifted the region's balance of power and that the most important conflicts of the Middle East now revolve around the Shia/Sunni sectarian divide. Read more

-Daily Number
74% - Uniters, Not Dividers
Only one week removed from a very negative campaign, roughly three-quarters of all voters (74%) -- including a solid majority of Republicans (56%) -- wanted GOP leaders to work with Obama even if means disappointing some supporters. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-Eric Holder and All Political Prisoners
By Debra Saunders
Conventional wisdom last week decreed that President-elect Barack Obama had done such a fine job culling his Cabinet that only one pick -- Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder -- would present a problem, but most likely, a surmountable hurdle.

-Judge: Government hiding evidence in Gitmo case
A federal judge on Tuesday accused the Bush administration of hiding evidence in the case of a Yemen man who has been held as a terror suspect at Guantanamo Bay for six years.

-A Win-Win Decision for Black Students
Now that the First Kids have started classes at Sidwell Friends in Washington, they are likely to face this decision in the years to come: Whether to join the school's Black Student Union. Or not. Will their choice matter either way? Sure, it will, unfair as that might be.

-Ex-astronaut may be Obama's pick to lead NASA
He would be the first black to be named administrator
A former astronaut who has made four trips into space is reportedly a leading candidate for the top job at NASA.


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