Beliefnet
God's Politics

The latest news on the senate, malaria summit, Iraq, 2008 election, FEC fines, immigration, income gap, computer games, child abuse, Darfur, and select op-eds and editorials.
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Full news summary:

Senator critical.S.D. Sen. Johnson in critical condition – “Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson was in critical condition Thursday after late-night brain surgery, creating political drama about which party will control the Senate next month if he is unable to continue in office.” Democratic Sen. Johnson Falls Ill – “Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) had surgery after falling ill at the Capitol, introducing a note of uncertainty over control of the Senate.”

Malaria summit. Laura Bush to open malaria summit – “Laura Bush will open a White House summit on malaria today to rally global partners and ordinary Americans, including schoolchildren, to work together to eliminate the scourge, which kills about 1 million people a year, mostly in Africa.”

Iraq. Bush warns he won’t be rushed on plans for Iraq – “The president says a delay will allow input from his new Defense secretary. He meets with the Joint Chiefs.” Joint Chiefs Advise Change In War Strategy – “The nation’s top uniformed leaders are recommending that the United States change its main military mission in Iraq from combating insurgents to supporting Iraqi troops and hunting terrorists, said sources familiar with the White House’s ongoing Iraq policy review.” Democrats Plan to Tighten Reins on Iraq Spending– “Democrats said that they would move toward integrating the war spending into the regular federal budget.”

2008 election. Voters favor McCain over Clinton in ’08 – “Democrats have an overwhelmingly favorable view of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but she would be soundly beaten if she ran for president against Republican Sen. John McCain now, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.”

FEC Fines. FEC Fines 3 ‘527’ Groups for Use of Large Donations in ’04 – “The Federal Election Commission slapped heavy fines on three independent fundraising groups it said had illegally injected tens of millions of dollars into the 2004 presidential campaign,” FEC fines Swift Boat, MoveOn – “In 2004, Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth played a highly visible role in the presidential campaign by running ads in key states questioning the Vietnam War record of the Democratic candidate, Sen. John F. Kerry, and charging that “he cannot be trusted.” Likewise, the MoveOn.org Voter Fund criticized President Bush, repeatedly referring in its ads to his “failure of leadership.”

Immigration. Illegal Immigrants at Center of New Identity Theft Crackdown – “Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a broad new plan to crack down on illegal immigrants who steal the identities of American citizens to get jobs. The strategy, he warned, would likely have economic consequences for the industries that rely heavily on illegal workers.”

Income gap. Rich-Poor Income Disparity Is Cause for Alarm Among Americans, Poll Shows – “Americans overwhelmingly say the growing gap between rich and poor has become a serious national concern, a sentiment that may bolster Democrats’ plans to narrow the income divide when they take control of Congress.”

Somalia-Ethiopia. Regional War May Loom in Africa – “Ethiopian government says it is at war with Somalia’s Islamic Courts movement; all-out conflict in Horn of Africa may be unavoidable.” Somalia’s Islamists and Ethiopia Gird for a War– “The inevitability of war threatens to further destabilize the troubled Horn of Africa.”

Feature interview. Modern ‘monastery’ – “Shane Claiborne, 31, the author of the new book “The Irresistible Revolution,” is a symbol of a movement toward living out one’s faith radically.”

Computer game. Christian groups spar over video game – “Talk about warfare. A Christmas season turf war is underway over whether a new computer game, laced with violent virtual battles and spiritual messages stressing the urgent need for salvation, is authentically Christian.”

Child abuse. Gonzales concentrates outrage on child abuse – “Punishing abusers has become a particular passion with Gonzales, who is emphasizing the issue like no other attorney general before him. He has launched an energetic campaign by the Justice Department to confront sexual predators with new prosecution tactics, new programs and the promise of more money to combat the problem. Arrests and prosecutions in child exploitation cases have risen sharply since Gonzales took office nearly two years ago. Federal prosecutions jumped last year by the largest one-year margin in the past decade, from 1,244 to 1,576.”

Darfur. Sudan dismisses Darfur ‘threats’ – “Sudan has dismissed warnings of tough action by the US and the UK if it continues to block the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force. Foreign
Minister Lam Akol told the BBC that “threats, blockades and no-fly zones… would not solve the problem” but would increase suffering in Darfur”. Except for Darfur, oil-rich Sudan enjoys boom times – “New office buildings are popping up across the capital, and the country’s first shopping mall is packed. Nearby, cell phone and computer stores line city streets that just a few years ago were dusty lanes.”

Op-Ed. America, Iran can find common ground (Reza Aslan, Chicago Tribune) – “It is true that the regional interests of the U.S. and Iran are deeply at odds, especially with regard to such thorny issues as the fractious Lebanese government and the ceaseless cycle of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. And there is no doubt that Iran has played a significant role in nurturing violence and instability in Iraq by funneling money and weapons to Shiite militias like the ghoulish Mahdi Army. However, on at least three key concerns, the U.S. and Iran are very much in agreement.”

Editorials.
Is resistance to Iran futile? (Chicago Tribune) – “Over the weekend, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to his bully pulpit yet again to bluster about his country’s expanding nuclear program. He has elevated defiance of the West to an art.”

China and Darfur (Washington Post) – “Newspapers have been running harrowing ads on the genocide in Darfur. They feature images of suffering coupled with appeals to President Bush to halt it. But the key to this tragedy lies not in the killing fields of western Sudan nor even in the White House. It is to be found instead in Khartoum,”

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