God's Politics

the latest news on John Bolton’s resignation, congress, school integration, Iraq, Venezuela, Mideast, Jim Wallis radio address, AIDS conference, and faith-based initiatives

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News Alert U.N. Ambassador Bolton Resigns – “President Bush has accepted U.N. Ambassador John Bolton’s resignation, effective when his recess appointment expires.”

Congress. Lame-Duck Congress May Run Out the Clock – “Congress will convene on Tuesday for what some fear will be the lamest of lame-duck sessions, and GOP leaders have decided to take a minimalist approach before turning over the reins of power to the Democrats. Rather than a final surge of legislative activity, Congress will probably wrap up things after a single, short week of work.” Lawmakers Wrapping Up Session but Leaving Loose Ends – “Congressional leaders said election losses had sapped Republican enthusiasm for trying to finish nine spending measures that were due Oct. 1. Congress will instead pass a stopgap measure to keep the government running until mid-February, leaving the fiscal tangle for the new Democratic majority to sort out next year.”

School integration. Supreme Court to Review Integration Plans – “More than 50 years after the Supreme Court decided in Brown v. Board of Education that separate schools are inherently unequal, the court will consider tomorrow whether race can still be a factor when school systems design programs to promote racial integration.” Cases retread Brown vs. Board of Education steps – “In Seattle, the school board adopted a policy – now suspended – that gave “nonwhite” students an edge if they sought to enroll in a popular, mostly white high school. In Jefferson County, Ky., which includes Louisville, the school district said the black student body at each elementary school should range from 15% to 50%.”

Iraq. Bush Is Weighing Options for New Strategy in Iraq, Aide Says – “Nearly four years after invading Iraq, President Bush is sorting through an array of options — none of them easy — for a way out, including a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from violence-plagued cities and a redeployment near Iraq’s borders with Iran and Syria, his top security aide said yesterday.” Rumsfeld Memo on Iraq Proposed ‘Major´ Change– “Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a memo to the White House that acknowledged that the administration´s strategy in Iraq was not working and called for a major course correction.” (Text of the Memo) Annan Adds His Voice to a Growing Chorus That Is Calling the Situation in Iraq a ‘Civil War’ – “Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, said Sunday that Iraq had descended into a civil war that was even deadlier and more anarchic than the 15-year sectarian bloodshed that tore Lebanon apart.”

Venezuela. Chávez wins by a landslide – “Hugo Chávez wins third six-year term as president of Venezuela, after trouncing his rival, Manuel Rosales.” Chavez wins Venezuela election – “With most of the ballots counted, Mr Chavez had taken more than 60% of the vote, officials said. The president, who has secured the support of the poor by using oil to fund welfare, told crowds his left-wing “Bolivarian revolution” had triumphed.”

Mideast. North and south (Haaretz) – “There will be a war next summer. Only the sector has not been chosen yet. The atmosphere in the Israel Defense Forces in the past month has been very pessimistic. The latest rounds in the campaigns on both fronts, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, have left too many issues undecided, too many potential detonators that could cause a new conflagration. The army’s conclusion from this is that a war in the new future is a reasonable possibility.”

Wallis radio address. Democrats tap religious leader for radio talk – “Democrats turned to an evangelical Christian to give their weekly radio address on Saturday, citing a desire to avoid partisanship after last month’s elections that gave them control of Congress.” Rev. Wallis: Dems, GOP must cooperate – “Democrats and Republicans should work together to find new ways to end poverty, curb government corruption and strengthen families, Rev. Jim Wallis said Saturday.”

AIDS conference. AIDS fight needs churches, Obama says – “U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois told more than 2,000 evangelical leaders in Orange County on Friday that he “respectfully but unequivocally” disagrees with those who oppose condom distribution to fight the AIDS pandemic. But he said a solution to the worldwide spread of AIDS would also come from churches guiding people to make moral decisions.” Christians Work Together Against AIDS Amid Controversy – “Controversy within the Christian community surrounded the Global AIDS Summit hosted last week by Rick and Kay Warren. Despite an emerging church movement in the fight against HIV/AIDS, some Christians dwelled on the evangelical pastor’s invitation to Sen. Barack Obama.” Obama converts evangelicals to Democrat cause – “If Barack Obama ends up running for the White House, expect to see this footage run over and over on a television screen near you: the charismatic black Democratic senator from Illinois talking the language of God and receiving a standing ovation from a packed crowd at one of the country’s most prominent conservative evangelical mega-churches.”

Faith-based initiative. Democrats inspect faith-based initiative – “Two leading Democrats on the House International Relations Committee said they want to investigate President Bush’s faith-based initiative to determine whether taxpayer funds are being used to reward Bush’s Christian conservative supporters and whether the faith-based groups are using the funds to help gain converts.” Justices to Decide if Citizens May Challenge White House’s Religion-Based Initiative– “The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether private citizens are entitled to go to court to challenge activities of the White House office in charge of the Bush administration’s religion-based initiative.”

Op-Ed. Rebuilding the middle class – “OVER THE LAST 20 years, the United States has regressed into what one economist calls a “plutonomy” – a society in which the largest economic gains flow to an ever smaller portion of the population. According to recent economic statistics, from 1999 to 2004, the inflation-adjusted income of the bottom 90% of all U.S. households grew by 2%, compared with a 57% jump for the richest 10%. Incomes rose by more than 87% for households annually making $1 million and more than doubled for those that take home about $20 million a year. Most disturbingly, workers losing the most economic ground are not the uneducated and unskilled but those with high school, community college and even four-year degrees. Overall, the middle class, in relative if not absolute terms, has lost purchasing power,”

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