Beliefnet
God's Politics

The latest news on the Senate, the Bush-Pelosi pledge cooperation, defense department, election, immigration, Bolton, Middle East, Iraq, military training, global poverty, women and Islam, Darfur, passing of Ed Bradley, and a message from the UK (The Guardian).

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Full news summary:


Senate.
Democrats Take Senate; Concession in Virginia Completes Midterm Sweep – “Democrats gained control of the Senate, giving them a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1994 and increased influence over President Bush’s policies at home and abroad, starting with the war in Iraq.” Allen Concedes Election, Democrats Win Control of Congress – “Democrat James Webb, who campaigned for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat by opposing the war in Iraq and calling for economic fairness, succeeded in his improbable bid to unseat Republican George Allen,”  Democrats savor Senate win – “Democrats solidified control over both chambers of Congress as Republican Sen. George Allen conceded defeat to Democrat James Webb in Virginia’s tight Senate contest, giving Democrats and their independent allies a 51-49 majority in the Senate.”


Bush-Pelosi Pledge Cooperation. Bush Meets With Pelosi; Both Pledge Cooperation – “President Bush, confronted face to face with the reality of divided government, broke bread with the two top House Democrats at the White House and vowed not to allow partisan divisions to hobble the remaining two years of his presidency.”  Democrats Weigh New Power as Leaders – “When Democrats take control of the Senate in January, they will immediately assume far more power to influence President Bush’s agenda,”

Defense Department. After Rumsfeld: Bid to Reshape the Brain Trust – “Robert M. Gates,   President Bush’s choice to become defense secretary, has sharply criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war and has made it clear that he would seek advice from moderate Republicans who have been largely frozen out of the White House,”  Old Hands From the Family Business – “With the war in Iraq going badly and Congress captured by the opposition, a commander in chief who has labored to demonstrate independence from his presidential father is now seeking help from some key veterans of George H.W. Bush’s team to salvage the remainder of his own administration.”


Election. In this election, swing voters make comeback – “Ever since the contested election of 2000, when the presidential race resulted in a near tie, pundits have pointed to the polarized, 50-50 nature of American politics. Now, with a chastened President Bush talking the language of common ground and Democrats owing their takeover of the House and the Senate to political independents, the center is back.” GOP Moderates’ Ouster Widens House Divide – “Tuesday’s electoral upheaval wiped out many of the few remaining Republican moderates in Congress, further cementing the geographic partitioning of the House and potentially widening the ideological divisions that have contributed to partisanship and gridlock on Capitol Hill.”  RNC asks Steele to replace Mehlman – “Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, whose party just lost both chambers of Congress, will leave his position in January, and the post as party chief has been offered to Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele.”


Immigration. Democratic Victory Raises Spirits of Those Favoring Citizenship for Illegal Aliens – “Supporters of granting citizenship to some or all illegal immigrants say the Democratic takeover of Congress has galvanized their cause and could lead to sweeping changes in immigration law.” Bush presses immigration reform– “In their first face-to-face meeting, President Bush pledged to Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon on Thursday that he would work for a “comprehensive” rewrite of U.S. immigration laws, including creation of a temporary-worker program for foreigners.”  Latinos throw more support to Democrats – “Anger over anti-immigrant rhetoric helped fuel a shift in the Latino vote to Democrats, damaging Republican hopes of luring this fast-growing population into its fold,”


Bolton. U.N. envoy confirmation unlikely – “John R. Bolton’s prospects for remaining the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations dwindled as Democrats and a key Republican senator rejected efforts to have the still-Republican- controlled Senate confirm his nomination.”


Mideast. Palestinians Mourn Civilians Killed by Israel – “Palestinians marched in anger and mourning on Thursday for 18 civilians killed by Israeli artillery — baring for cameras the battered faces of two dead children. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel offered to ease tensions by meeting the Palestinian president “anytime, anyplace.”


Iraq. Iraqi health official raises estimate of slain civilians  – “A new civilian deat
h count emerged as Iraq’s health minister estimated at least 150,000 have been killed in the war — about three times previous estimates.”  Iraqis estimate civilian deaths at 150,000 – “Previous estimates of Iraq deaths held that 45,000-50,000 have been killed in nearly 44 months of conflict, according to partial figures from Iraqi institutions and media reports. No official count has ever been available.”


Military training. U.S. seeks better ties by aiding militaries – “Concern about leftist victories in Latin America has prompted President Bush to quietly grant a waiver that allows the United States to resume training militaries from 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries.”


Global poverty. UN ‘reform must tackle poverty’ – “The United Nations is failing the poorest and most vulnerable because its funding projects are undermined by too many agencies duplicating each other’s work, a high-level panel warned yesterday.”  A global clean-water shortage – “While people in wealthy suburbs of Africa use water to maintain lush lawns and fill swimming pools, many slum dwellers struggle to obtain the crucial resource and pay much more per gallon for what little of it they can get, according to a United Nations Development Program report calling for an end to “water apartheid.”


Women and Islam. Muslim women find their voice –“In what many scholars are calling a significant step, more than 100 Muslim women leaders will gather in New York City this month to launch an advisory council–one that could provide alternative opinions and become a voice for women’s rights in the traditionally male-dominated field of Islamic law.”


Darfur. A Darfur town empties as the janjaweed return  TINE, SUDAN – “All but a few civilians have fled this town in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. Instead, Tine’s marketplace is filled with feared janjaweed fighters sporting flip-flops, assault rifles, and a mishmash of uniforms and T-shirts. African Union (AU) commanders say more than 1,000 janjaweed militiamen arrived in town just over two weeks ago to back up 3,000 government troops.”


Passing of note. Ed Bradley, TV Correspondent, Dies at 65 – “Ed Bradley. a fixture in American living rooms on Sunday nights for a quarter century as a correspondent on “60 Minutes” and one of the first black journalists prominently featured on network television, died yesterday in Manhattan.”


Message from the UK.  (The Guardian) Thank You, America – “For six years, latterly with the backing of both houses of a markedly conservative Republican Congress, George Bush has led an American administration that has played an unprecedentedly negative and polarising role in the world’s affairs.  On Tuesday, in the midterm US congressional elections, American voters rebuffed Mr Bush in spectacular style and with both instant and lasting political consequences. … Maybe the more pragmatic Republican old guard can come to the rescue of this disastrous presidency in its most catastrophic adventure. But it has been the American voters who have at last made this possible. For that alone the entire world owes them its deep gratitude today.”

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