Monday, March 09, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - March 09, 2009

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Fort Report
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-Health overhaul tests Obama's political skills
By Liz Sidoti
Embarking on arguably his most complex political fight yet, President Barack Obama is using skills honed during his presidential campaign and lessons learned from past failures to try to overhaul the health care system. It's a feat none before him has achieved. As such, it would pay monumental dividends for a popular new president looking for history-making accomplishments ahead of his likely 2012 re-election campaign.

-Geithner, With Few Aides, Is Scrambling
Rarely have so few people had so little time to prop up so many pillars of the economy as those in the Treasury Department under Timothy F. Geithner. In the six weeks since Mr. Geithner took over as Treasury secretary, he and a skeleton crew of unofficial senior advisers have been racing to make decisions that will shape the future of the banking, insurance, housing and automobile industries.

-Boehner: Limbaugh talk a distraction
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) accused the White House Sunday of building up a conflict with Rush Limbaugh to "divert people's attention from the spending binge they've been on the last six weeks." On CBS's "Face the Nation," Boehner said: "This distraction won't create one single new job in America."

-Clinton trip shows different side
By Glenn Kessler
ANKARA, Turkey - When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with foreign officials, the initial welcome is formal, as in "greetings, madame secretary." But invariably, the officials slip into calling her "Hillary" - a global brand name on par with "Diana" or "Tiger."

-Bridge to Tehran
Better Relations Are Within Reach -- If Both Sides Make the Effort
By Mohammad Hassan Khani
TEHRAN -- The state of relations between the United States and Iran is based on a long history of hostility and lack of trust. For Iranians, this tension dates to the early 1950s, when a coup engineered by the United States and Britain brought down Iran's first democratically elected government and replaced it with a brutal dictatorship that lasted nearly three decades. This derailed the Iranian democratic movement, and this pattern of hostility was reinforced by the White House's support for Saddam Hussein during his bloody eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s. For Americans, the tension begins with the seizure of the U.S. embassy in 1979 and the humiliating hostage situation. It is possible this deeply rooted hostility can be overcome, but it will require genuine political will and effort from both sides.

-Most religious groups in USA have lost ground, survey finds
By Cathy Lynn Grossman
When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers. The percentage. of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers - or falling off the faith map completely.

-The public wins one
It is relatively rare these days for average folks to defeat business interests before the U.S. Supreme Court. That's why the ruling Wednesday that kept the door open for patients to sue drugmakers in state court was an encouraging victory. The high court said that the Food and Drug Administration's approval of a drug and its label does not preclude injured patients from bringing personal injury suits.


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