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God's Politics

The latest news on minimum wage, Iraq, global warming, baseball, 9/11 legislation, Somalia, Iran, and selct op-eds.

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Nice guys don’t always finish last. Cal’s counted in at Cooperstown – “To Ripken, hard-working kid from Aberdeen turned Orioles legend and baseball’s all-time iron man, the only essential piece of information was that he had made it, that he would be joining the sport’s immortals this summer in Cooperstown, N.Y.” Gwynn joins Ripken in Cooperstown – “Tony Gwynn is a Hall of Famer. The eight-time National League batting champion and Baltimore’s Cal Ripken Jr. received confirmation this morning that they have been voted into the Hall of Fame.” Ripken, Gwynn Get First-Ballot Nod – “The symbolism of the Ripken-Gwynn pairing, at the exclusion of McGwire and all other candidates, is clear: The two players, the 197th and 198th major leaguers to enter Cooperstown, were bound not only by their great, overlapping careers, but also by the fact they spent the entirety of those careers with their hometown teams and were admired as much for their comportment and willingness to be ambassadors for the game as for their prodigious on-field achievements.”

9/11 legislation. House Passes Bill to Implement More of 9/11 Panel’s Suggestions – “In a lopsided vote that masked underlying divisions, House Democrats approved legislation to implement many of the remaining recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission even as portions of the sprawling package faced immediate problems in the Senate.” Democrats’ first of 6 goals, anti-terror bill, clears House – “Anti-terror legislation sailed through the House, the first in a string of measures designed to fulfill campaign promises made by Democrats last fall.”

Iraq-more troops. Bush to request more troops – “President Bush spent hours practicing in front of cameras, preparing to make his case for increasing the U.S. military commitment in Iraq in a prime-time address to the nation tonight, even as congressional Democrats readied legislation to block any increase in the number of troops.” Bush faces tough job to sell war strategy – “Faced with mounting resistance in Congress and a deeply skeptical public, President Bush on Wednesday night will call for a shift of strategy in Iraq that includes a temporary increase of U.S. forces, a series of benchmark tasks for the Iraqi government and economic initiatives aimed at ending a conflict in which more than 3,000 American troops have died.” With Iraq Speech, Bush to Pull Away From His Generals – “When President Bush goes before the American people tonight to outline his new strategy for Iraq, he will be doing something he has avoided since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003: ordering his top military brass to take action they initially resisted and advised against.”

Iraq-Congress. Democrats step up battle over troops – “The showdown between President Bush and the new Democratic Congress over Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq reached a new level yesterday, with party leaders threatening to use their legislative majority — and control of federal spending — to halt any escalation of the war.” Democrats Plan Symbolic Votes Against Bush’s Iraq Troop Plan– “Democratic leaders said that they intended to hold symbolic votes in the House and Senate on President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Baghdad, forcing Republicans to take a stand on the proposal and seeking to isolate the president politically over his handling of the war.” Democrats feel liberals’ antiwar heat – “Antiwar activists, who believe that Democrats owe their 2006 election victories to voter discontent with the Iraq war, are thrilled that most congressional Democrats oppose Bush’s proposed troop increase. But lawmakers are divided over how far to go in fighting the plan, and activists worry that the party will not have the political stamina to block the escalation and, beyond that, force a withdrawal of all troops.”

Iraq-the war. U.S. and Iraqis Hit Insurgents in All-Day Fight – “More than 1,000 American and Iraqi troops, backed by Apache attack helicopters and fighter jets, battled insurgents all day Tuesday and late into the night in downtown Baghdad, in one of the most dramatic operations in the capital since the invasion nearly four years ago.” U.S. Airstrikes Back Troops in Baghdad Clash – “With F-15 fighter jets and Apache helicopter gunships providing cover, U.S. and Iraqi troops battled hundreds of Sunni Arab insurgents firing from apartment buildings and houses in downtown Baghdad in one of the fiercest clashes in the capital in recent memory.”

Somalia. Assault presses ahead in Somalia – “Attack helicopters strafed suspected Al Qaeda fighters in southern Somalia yesterday, according to witnesses, following two days of air strikes by US forces.” Airstrik
e Rekindles Somalis’ Anger at the U.S.
– “Somali officials said Tuesday that dozens of people were killed in an American airstrike on Sunday, most of them Islamist fighters fleeing in armed pickup trucks across a remote, muddy stretch of the Kenya Somalia border. … Several residents of the area, in the southern part of the country, said dozens of civilians had been killed, and news of the attack immediately set off new waves of anti-American anger in Mogadishu, Somalia’s battle-scarred capital,”

Minimum wage. House Dems Move to Boost Minimum Wage – “After not budging for 10 years, the federal minimum wage could be going up, increasing paychecks for hundreds of thousands of janitors, fast food clerks and other workers at the bottom of the wage scale.” Tax Cut Measure Could Be a Stumbling Block for Increase in Minimum Wage – “As part of their 100-hour legislative blitz, House Democrats are expected to vote today to increase the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $7.25 an hour, in a move that economists say will raise pay for 13 million workers. The bill’s chances are less certain in the Senate, largely because of friction over a Republican push to include tax breaks for small business in the bill.” Life at $7.25 an Hour – “But even if the matter is settled in Congress, it isn’t settled at all in Atchison, and Robert Iles’s drive home is proof. Every stop he made on his ride home revealed a different facet of how complicated the minimum wage can be in the parts of America where, instead of a debatable issue, it is a way of life.”

Global warming. The warmest year ever – “On the fever chart of rising temperatures, 2006 was the warmest year on record for the 48 contiguous states–in some places daffodils bloomed out of season and bears forgot to hibernate–government climate experts reported Tuesday.” Climate Experts Worry as 2006 Is Hottest Year on Record in U.S. “People should be concerned about what we are doing to the climate,” said Jay Lawrimore, chief of the climate monitoring branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Burning of fossil fuels is causing an increase in greenhouse gases, and there’s a broad scientific consensus that is producing climate change.”

Iran. U.S. Prohibits All Transactions With a Major Iranian Bank – “The United States, moving to raise pressure on Iran, on Tuesday barred American financial institutions from doing business with a major Iranian bank after concluding that it had been involved in illicit weapons programs.”

Op-Ed. The lynching of Iraq (By James Carroll, Boston Globe) – “THE HANGING of Saddam Hussein Dec. 30 offered a view into the grotesque reality of what America has sponsored in Iraq, and what Americans saw should inform their response to President Bush’s escalation of the war.”

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