Sunday, February 01, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - February 01, 2009

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New York Times
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-To Nudge, Shift or Shove the Supreme Court Left
Justice John Paul Stevens, the leader of the Supreme Court's liberal wing, likes to say that he has not moved to the left since he was appointed to the court by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975. It is the court, Justice Stevens says, that has moved to the right.

-Republican Senator Is Top Choice to Run Commerce Dept.
Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, is the top contender to be President Obama's nominee for commerce secretary, the White House said Saturday, a move that could strengthen Democrats' control of Congress.

-Op-Ed Contributor: If We Buy American, No One Else Will
Hanover, N.H.: WORLD trade is collapsing. The United States trade deficit dropped sharply in November as imports from the rest of the world plummeted in response to the financial crisis and global recession. United States imports from China, Japan and elsewhere declined at double digit rates. The last thing the world economy needs is for governments to give a further downward shove to trade. Unfortunately, we may be doing just that.

-Editorial: The Nativists Are Restless
The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism. Now after several high-water years, the Republican tide has gone out, leaving exposed the nativism of fringe right-wingers clinging to what they hope will be a wedge issue.

-Op-Ed Columnist: Herbert Hoover Lives
HERE'S a bottom line to keep you up at night: The economy is falling faster than Washington can get moving. President Obama says his stimulus plan will save or create four million jobs in two years. In the last four months of 2008 alone, employment fell by 1.9 million. Do the math.

-Op-Ed Columnist: Obama's Long Shot for Peace
DAVOS, Switzerland: In any discussion of the Middle East at the World Economic Forum here in Davos, the central figure is a man who isn't even here: President Obama.

-Under Tight Security, Iraqis Vote on Almost Violence-Free Election Day
BAGHDAD - Iraqis voted on Saturday for local representatives, on an almost violence-free election day aimed at creating provincial councils that more closely represent Iraq's ethnic, sectarian and tribal balance. By nightfall, there were no confirmed deaths, and children played soccer on closed-off streets in a generally joyous atmosphere.

Washington Post
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-Raise the Gas Tax
A Revenue-Neutral Way to Treat Our Oil Addiction
By Richard G. Lugar
Reality is stark: Nearly every major foreign policy challenge we face is aggravated by our continued addiction to oil. Recent developments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa only underscore this fact. But a new president and changed economic conditions offer the chance to take a bold step toward freeing our nation from the grip of foreign petroleum.

-A Conversation with Mohamed ElBaradei
As director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), did
Mohamed ElBaradei soft-pedal Iran's nuclear ambitions to ensure that the Bush administration wouldn't attack that country? That's what many in the former administration, as well as nonproliferation experts of various political backgrounds, assert. Last week, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ElBaradei sat down with Newsweek-Washington Post's Lally Weymouth to defend his record. Excerpts:
Q: Some in the United States claim that between 2003 and 2007, you protected Iran because you did not want to see a U.S. military attack on it. In retrospect, do you think you allowed Iran to push the limits?

-Take Charge
The stimulus bill requires President Obama's intervention.
MOUNTING THE bully pulpit last week, President Obama gave Wall Street a lecture about the $18.4 billion in bonuses that the securities industry awarded itself in 2008. This was "outrageous," Mr. Obama said. In these tough times, he declared, financiers must "show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility." Well said. Now the president should make the same demand on those in Congress, including leaders of his own party, who are cluttering his fiscal stimulus plan with extraneous and counterproductive provisions.

-Daschle Delayed Revealing Tax Glitch
Report Details Payments From Health Sector
By Ceci Connolly, Joe Stephens and R. Jeffrey Smith
Thomas A. Daschle waited nearly a month after being nominated to be secretary of health and human services before informing Barack Obama that he had not paid years of back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a wealthy New York investor.

-Video: Zimbabwe's Terror, First Hand

-Defense Attorneys In Lawless Juarez Besieged on All Sides
'This Is Nothing Like Before. I Don't Even Take Narco Cases. Not Anymore.'
By William Booth
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- It is common for lawyers everywhere to cover their office walls with diplomas. The Mexican criminal defense attorney Salvador Urbina is making a different statement. His walls are hung with swords -- a hundred sabers, daggers, cutlasses and Japanese katanas, the blades kept sharp.

-Deadly Force
What a SWAT team did to Cheye Calvo's family may seem extreme. But decades into America's war on drugs, it's business as usual.

-GOP governors press Congress to pass stimulus bill
Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

-Televangelism empire in chaos over family split
Once one of the nation's most popular televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is watching his life's work crumble. His son and recent successor, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, has abruptly resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. The shimmering, glass-walled megachurch is home to the "Hour of Power" broadcast, an evangelism staple that's been on the air for more than three decades.

Wall Street Journal

-Gaza Militants Launch Rockets Into Israel
JERUSALEM -- Gaza militants launched two rockets into southern Israel early Sunday, drawing a threat of "disproportionate" military retaliation from Israel's prime minister and further straining a cease-fire that ended Israel's devastating Gaza offensive two weeks ago.

Miami Herald
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-Why politics has become so destructive
This one is for Doug. He was one of maybe 2,000 readers who fired off e-mails in response to a recent column criticizing that paragon of political analysis, Rush Hudson Limbaugh III. I excoriated Limbaugh for saying of Barack Obama's presidency, ''I hope he fails.'' As is generally the case when you exact a pound of flesh from Brother Limbaugh's hide, his legions of listeners were vociferous and unstinting in his defense.

Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
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-Blair 'not concerned' over release of Iraq secrets
By CNN's Simon Hooper
DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) -- Former British prime minister Tony Blair said Friday he was "not concerned" by a ruling that details of cabinet meetings in the run-up to the Iraq war should be made public and told CNN the release of the minutes was a decision for the current government. Blair committed UK forces to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite strong domestic opposition to British involvement. "My reaction is that this is for the government now to deal with," he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview at the World Economic Forum. "The consequences of this go far beyond the individual cabinet meetings when I was prime minister. I think it is best to leave to the present government." Asked whether he was concerned about the contents of the the minutes, Blair said: "I'm not concerned at all."

Fort Report
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-GOP govs break with party over stimulus
Most support economic plan that got no Republican votes in U.S. House
Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

-Obama remakes political rules
Three months after his election, President Barack Obama continues to remake the political landscape-and there's no clearer example than Friday's election of Michael Steele as the Republican National Committee's first black chairman.

-Clinton started 2009 with $6 million in debt
By Robert Yoon
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rang in the new year still saddled with $5.9 million in debts left over from her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, according to records filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission.

-Sheila Bair shakes up Washington, Wall Street
The Wall Street crowd that packed into the ballroom of the fancy Times Square hotel didn't know what was about to hit it. As the bankers and analysts sliced into their grilled beef tenderloin and chicken, Sheila Bair stepped up to the microphone and told them off.

-Daschle takes 'a bad first-day hit'
With President Obama and Senate Democrats rallying behind Tom Daschle after Friday's revelations of back tax troubles, Republican senators faced a difficult choice-whether to support the Cabinet nomination of a former member of their exclusive club, or strike a clean shot at the new Democratic president.

-At least half of Obama's Cabinet chiefs are millionaires
By Matt Kelley
At least eight of President Obama's 14 Cabinet secretaries appointed so far are millionaires, most own homes worth far more than the national average, and at least half already spend much of their time in the nation's capital, financial disclosure reports and property records show.

-Expert says attack ads are losing traction
By Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor
If you're sick of negative campaign ads, take heart. A recurring theme at a conference of campaign professionals, political scientists and journalists Friday was how ineffective many attack ads proved in Florida and elsewhere in 2008.

-WHO GETS WHAT: Billions for health care insurance
By Calvin Woodward
It will get vastly cheaper for most people to keep health insurance after losing a job if the government's stimulus plan becomes law. Some nickel and dime cuts in health coverage for the poor will be reversed, too. Geek jobs in medicine will grow.

-Tracking the big business of donated blood in Orlando
Dan Tracy
Blood is big business. It starts with Rebecca Zamrycki, 27, who lives in Orlando and has given a pint every eight weeks for a decade. It ends with people such as Ed Havill, the 67-year-old Lake County property appraiser who needs blood transfusions to battle his leukemia.,0,3756894.story?track=rss

-Health care groups paid Daschle $220K
Tom Daschle, tapped to be President Obama's health czar, was paid more than $200,000 by the health-care industry in the past two years, according to documents obtained by Politico.


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