Sunday, March 22, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - March 22, 2009

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New York Times
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-Mr. Obama and the Rule of Law
As much as it needs to happen, we never expected President Obama to immediately reverse every one of President George W. Bush's misguided and dangerous policies on terrorism, prisoners, the rule of law and government secrecy. Fixing this calamitous mess will take time and care - and Mr. Obama has taken important steps in that direction.

-Obama Responds to Criticism From Cheney
President Obama has hit back at former Vice President Dick Cheney, calling Bush administration policy on detainees at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, "unsustainable."

-Chávez Trims Budget to Offset Low Oil Revenues
CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chávez announced a series of economic measures Saturday night, including a reduction in this year's federal budget and a modest increase in the value-added tax, that are aimed at offsetting a recent plunge in the government's oil revenues.

-Sudan Scholars Urge President to Stay Home
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- Sudan's Islamic scholars have issued a religious edict calling on the president not to travel to an Arab summit because of the international warrant against him on war crimes charges, state media reported Sunday.

-Despair over financial policy
by Paul Krugman
The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It's exactly the plan that was widely analyzed - and found wanting - a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won.

-A Religious War in Israel's Army
JERUSALEM - The publication late last week of eyewitness accounts by Israeli soldiers alleging acute mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the recent Gaza fighting highlights a debate here about the rules of war. But it also exposes something else: the clash between secular liberals and religious nationalists for control over the army and society.

Washington Post
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-Obama's Campaign Army on Road Again
Volunteers Rally Support for Budget Plan
By Peter Slevin and Michael Laris
As she headed into the morning sunshine to talk up President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget proposal, Althea Thomas counted herself a citizen and a partisan picking up where she left off Nov. 4, backing the president she helped elect. "It's the change we all voted on," said Thomas, one of about 40 volunteers who fanned out from the Democratic Party headquarters here with clipboards, pledge cards and a sense of mission that flowed from their support of Obama when he was a candidate.

-5 Myths on Nuclear Power
Thirty years ago this week, a chain of errors and equipment malfunctions triggered the defining event in the history of American nuclear power: the accident at Three Mile Island. Although no one died and the health consequences were insignificant, the mishap was vivid confirmation that things could go wrong with a nuclear reactor. It almost instantly galvanized popular opposition to this form of power, giving rise to lingering misconceptions about one of our nation's largest sources of electricity. 1. Three Mile Island killed the idea of nuclear power in the United States.

-To: Detroit, From: Pittsburgh
By John G. Craig Jr.
The bottom was falling out of this city's economy in 1979, but you'd never have known it from the face we presented to the world. The Pirates were singing "We. Are. Famil-ee" and winning the World Series. Three months later, the Steelers beat the Rams in Pasadena to take a fourth Super Bowl. And what had been "The Steel Capital of the World" started calling itself the "City of Champions" instead.

-Women Ensnared By Iran
By Haleh Bakhash
To celebrate the Persian New Year, President Obama sent a videotaped message to the people of Iran. But his references to a "new day" for relations between Washington and Tehran may not be heard by many women there. Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old Iranian American freelance journalist from Fargo, N.D., has been in the infamous Evin prison for more than a month. The regime announced two weeks ago that it had completed its investigation of Saberi and reportedly planned to release her in "a few days." Saberi's arrest and delayed release are the latest twists in a frightening pattern of harassment and detainment of women and dual nationals by Iran's Intelligence Ministry, whose clout and reach have expanded under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The ministry is behind a stepped-up campaign to silence female writers, journalists and peaceful activists.

Fort Report
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-Irony Board
How many ways can Senate Republicans show intellectual hypocrisy?
By Dahlia Lithwick
Let's stipulate: You hate our nominees, and we hate yours. Our nominees are all godless baby killers and terrorist lovers. Yours are all God-crazed rights suppressors and misogynists. Fine. But isn't it also the case that when you reverse, rewrite, or undermine every rule and standard you've ever laid out for measuring the fitness of a presidential nominee, you become ridiculous-period?

-The virtues of public anger and the need for more
With lightning speed and lockstep unanimity, opinion-making elites jointly embraced and are now delivering the same message about the public rage triggered this week by the AIG bonus scandal: This scandal is insignificant. It's just a distraction. And, most important of all, public anger is unhelpful and must be contained or, failing that, ignored.

-What's Behind Dick Cheney's New Attacks?
By Bobby Ghosh
Dick Cheney has never had any qualms about defending the Bush Administration's war on terrorism or criticizing Democrats' alternative approaches to national security. But the former Vice President's vitriol-spewing turn on CNN last Sunday has left many in Washington wondering if it was about more than just protecting his legacy.,8599,1886603,00.html

-Misplaced outrage won't solve economic crisis
By Steven Pearlstein
We're angry. We're frustrated. We feel cheated and abused. We're not going to take it anymore. But then again, we don't have much choice, do we? Sure, we can demand that a few more heads roll on Wall Street or at the Treasury, or that a few hundred million are clawed back from financiers who never deserved it. But the reality is that no matter what we do now, tens of trillions of dollars in wealth have been lost. All that's left is simply an elaborate exercise in settling up the accounts.


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