Friday, April 10, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - April 10, 2009

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New York Times
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-Medically Assisted Torture
There was a great deal to be troubled by in a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross documenting the kinds of torture and abuse inflicted on terrorism suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency. One disturbing footnote is that medical personnel were deeply involved in facilitating the abuses, which were intended to coerce suspects into providing intelligence. The report, prepared in 2007 but kept secret until it was published by The New York Review of Books, was based on Red Cross interviews in late 2006 with 14 "high-value detainees," who include some of the most dangerous terrorists in custody. The prisoners' complaints gain credibility because they described similar abuses and had been kept in isolation at different locations, with no chance to concoct a common story.

-Humanity Even for Nonhumans
One of the historical election landmarks last year had nothing to do with race or the presidency. Rather, it had to do with pigs and chickens - and with overarching ideas about the limits of human dominion over other species.

-Israel Cries Wolf
ISTANBUL - "Iran is the center of terrorism, fundamentalism and subversion and is in my view more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb, whereas the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option."

-Columbine Plus 10
It is impossible to view last week's killing of 13 people in Binghamton, N.Y., in isolation. It will soon be the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School and the second anniversary of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech. In the last month, multiple shootings have claimed the lives of more than 50 Americans.

-C.I.A. to Close Secret Prisons for Terror Suspects
The Central Intelligence Agency said Thursday that it would decommission the secret overseas prisons where it subjected Al Qaeda prisoners to brutal interrogation methods, bringing to a symbolic close the most controversial counterterrorism program of the Bush administration.

-As Stocks Surge, Fears Linger About the Economy
As one of the most dizzying bear market rallies in Wall Street history enters its second month, a nagging question faces investors: Is the stock market making real progress, or glossing over deeper problems in the economy that will start a new wave of losses?

-Mr. Medvedev's Silence
After a year in office, it is time for the president of Russia to make a stand for rule of law that was blunted under Vladimir Putin.

Washington Post
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-The Real Pelosi
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
"I give Republicans credit for this: They vote the way they believe. . . . I think that they vote with more integrity than they get credit for." That review of Republican motivations and commitments comes not courtesy of a partisan blog but from Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House.

-Who Pays Taxes
The super-rich can't plug the budget gap on their own. THE CONGRESSIONAL Budget Office recently released some details of U.S. tax liabilities that should dispel myths on both sides of the budget debate. The numbers will be particularly useful in informing the discussion when tax increases for households other than the super-rich are finally on the table -- and like it or not, once the economy has recovered, they will be.

-Keeping Africa's Turnaround on Track
By Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
For more than a decade, much of Africa has been moving forward. Economic growth is rising, poverty is falling and democratic governance is spreading. But the global financial crisis threatens to undo this progress by reducing investment, exports and aid just as they should be expanding to build on these successes.

-Democrats for Rich Heirs?
By Michael Kinsley
Members of Congress across the political spectrum have had fun the past few weeks playing umbrage leapfrog regarding the bonuses to executives at AIG and other companies. Who can express more indignation over the spectacle of greedheads taking billions in government bailout money and then carting millions of it home in wheelbarrows?

-Crimes That Deserve Punishment
By Eugene Robinson
It's no longer possible to mince words, or pretend we didn't know. The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration's so-called "enhanced" interrogation methods, used on "high-value" terrorism suspects, plainly constituted torture.

Wall Street Journal
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-Emanuel Now a Backer of Immigration Action
As the White House gears up to push an immigration overhaul, advocates are finding they have an unexpected ally in White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Mr. Emanuel has long been a voice of caution on easing rules for immigrants, fearing such a position could hurt Democrats at the polls. That stance has antagonized Hispanic lawmakers and activists, who favor a clearer, easier path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants.

Pew Research center
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-Public Says Partisan Bickering is Back
But Obama Retains Strong Support on Economy
The president continues to inspire confidence on economic matters, as majorities believe his policies will both improve economic conditions (66%) and reduce the budget deficit over time (54%). There has been no improvement in the GOP's image. Read more

-Gotta Light?
Smokers Can't Blow Off Stress
Many smokers say they light up to relieve stress. But it doesn't seem to work. A new survey finds smokers are more likely than former smokers or non-smokers to say they often experience stress in their daily lives. Read more

-Race and Law
Many Hispanics Skeptical of U.S. Criminal Justice System
Latinos are interacting more than ever with police, courts and prisons, but their confidence in the system is closer to the low levels expressed by blacks than to the high levels expressed by whites. Read more

-Study Abroad
Media Follow Obama, Economy to Europe
The president's trip abroad gives an international flavor to a now familiar story. Read more

-Obama's Trip Closely Followed
Obama's trip to the G-20 summit got a good deal more attention than Bush's first international summit travel in 2001. Read more

-Christian, Yes -- God, No
Not All God Deniers Reject Religion
Only a quarter of the 5% of Americans who do not believe in God consider themselves atheists. In fact 14% self-identify as Christians. Read more

-Daily Number
28% - Republicans: Fewer, More Conservative
Slightly more than a quarter of registered voters call themselves Republicans, a low in 16 years of polling by the Pew Research Center; most GOPers now think their party should move further to the right. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-Obama hosts friends, aides at Seder dinner
President Barack Obama hosted close friends and staff at a private White House meal Thursday evening to mark Passover. It's part of the new president's effort to reach out to Jewish voters.

-The End of Christian America
By Jon Meacham
The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now-and what, as a nation, we are about to become.

-Stevens file paperwork with FEC for 2014 race, but aide says move is only procedural
Former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska has filed a statement of candidacy for the 2014 election, but an aide cautions against reading too much into the move. Campaign treasurer Tim McKeever says the filing does not mean Stevens has decided to seek re-election. He says it simply was done to accept donations that came into the campaign after the November election.,0,7534553.story


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