God's Politics

The latest news on the minimum wage increase, Iraq, Sudan-Darfur, Iran, Somalia, children’s health insurance, homelessness and church giving.

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Minimum wage. House OKs hike in minimum wage – “The House’s Democratic majority, exercising its new political clout, approved the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade – from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years.” House Backs Minimum-Wage Rise – “82 Republicans joined all 233 Democrats in supporting the bill, unwilling to cast a vote that could have made them appear unsympathetic to Americans trying to get by on a minimum wage that has not been raised since September 1997.” House Passes Increase in Minimum Wage to $7.25 – “The 315 to 116 vote could begin the process of ending Congress’s longest stretch without a minimum-wage increase since the mandatory minimum was created in 1938.”

Iraq-President’s speech. Bush to Add 20,000 Troops In an Effort to Stabilize Iraq – “President Bush appealed directly to the American people last night to support a renewed campaign to pacify Iraq, saying it is necessary to add new troops so that the beleaguered Iraqi government can regain control of the streets of Baghdad and revive the process of political reconciliation and economic rebuilding.” Bush commits 21,500 more troops – “A subdued President Bush, presenting his long-awaited new blueprint for Iraq, acknowledged for the first time that his previous strategy had failed.” Bush Adds Troops in Bid to Secure Iraq– “President Bush embraced a major tactical shift in the war in Iraq when he declared that the only way to quell sectarian violence there was to send more than 20,000 additional American troops into combat.”

Iraq-government. Bid to Secure Baghdad Relies on Troops and Iraqi Leaders– “With his new plan to secure Iraq, President Bush is in effect betting that Iraqi leaders are committed to building a multi-sectarian state, and his strategy will stand or fall on that assumption.” Promising Troops Where They Aren’t Really Wanted– “As President Bush challenges public opinion at home by committing more American troops, he is confronted by a paradox: an Iraqi government that does not really want them.”

Iraq-intensified violence. Some doubt increase will stem violence – “Many military analysts and former senior officers expressed doubt that an additional 21,500 US troops in Iraq will be enough to bring the raging violence under control, and some said they fear that any escalation will fan the flames of the anti-American insurgency and civil war.”Intensified Combat on Streets Likely – “President Bush’s plan to send tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi reinforcements to Baghdad to jointly confront Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias is likely to touch off a more dangerous phase of the war, featuring months of fighting in the streets of the Iraqi capital,”

Iraq-Democrats. Democrats say they will force lawmakers to vote on increase – “Democrats derided President Bush’s plan to increase troop levels in Iraq and said they will force members of Congress to vote on whether they back an escalation of the unpopular war.” Democrats united against troop buildup – “President Bush’s plan to send additional troops to Iraq has further united Democrats on Capitol Hill, who nearly unanimously condemned the president’s proposals.” Democrats Aim to Block Funds for Plan – “Senior House Democrats said that they will attempt to derail funding for President Bush’s proposal … setting up what could become the most significant confrontation between the White House and Congress over military policy since the Vietnam War.” Democrats Plan to Fight Expansion of Troops– “The new Democratic leaders of Congress accused President Bush of ignoring strong American sentiment against the war in Iraq and said they would build a bipartisan campaign against his proposed military expansion.”

Iraq-Republicans. Some in GOP express skepticism over Bush plan for Iraq – “President Bush’s plan to deploy more US troops to Iraq drew rebukes from a range of congressional Republicans, a break from the lock-step support for the war that the president has long enjoyed from members of his own party.” Bush faces GOP doubters – “Sen. Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican, would rather not be in the position of publicly disagreeing with President Bush. But when it comes to Iraq, Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are breaking away.”

Iraq-risks. Plan faces skeptics in D.C., Iraq, Pentag
– “President Bush has been in this position many times–speaking solemnly to Americans from the White House about war and terror–but he has never been in this place. He finds himself asking for more–of the military, of Congress, of the Iraqi government and of the American people–but possessing so much less.” Bush’s Strategy for Iraq Risks Confrontations – “By stepping up the American military presence in Iraq, President Bush is not only inviting an epic clash with the Democrats who run Capitol Hill. He is ignoring the results of the November elections, rejecting the central thrust of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and flouting the advice of some of his own generals.”

Iran. Tough moves on Iranians and Syrians in Iraq planned – “U.S. forces will step up their offensive against Iranians and Syrians in Iraq as part of President Bush’s new plan for the country,” To Counter Iran’s Role in Iraq, Bush Moves Beyond Diplomacy– “In promising to stop Iran from meddling in Iraq, President Bush returned to a strategy of confrontation in dealing with Tehran.” US to target anti-Iraq activity – “US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned that the US will take action against countries destabilising Iraq. Her statement comes hours after US forces stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil.”

Sudan-Darfur. Sudan’s Leader Agrees to 60-Day Cease-Fire in Darfur – “Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir agreed on to a 60-day cease-fire in his nation’s troubled Darfur region but again rejected calls for a U.N. force to help end one of Africa’s bloodiest conflicts.” Sudan’s president says UN forces are not needed in Darfur – “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir rebuffed calls for UN peacekeeping troops in war-ravaged Darfur despite personal pleas from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.”

Somalia. Ethiopian prime minister says U.S. targeted 20 terrorists – “Ethiopia’s prime minister said that the U.S. military targeted 20 high-level members of an Islamic movement linked to Al Qaeda in an airstrike earlier this week in southern Somalia.” Mogadishu Awash in Anger – “A messy, low-level battle for control of the battered streets of Mogadishu continued as a fighter shot a rocket-propelled grenade at a convoy of Ethiopian trucks passing through the combustible Somali capital.”

Children’s health insurance. Federal health aid sought to cover poor children – “Red tape and rising health-care costs threaten Ohio’s efforts to close the health insurance gap for thousands of poor children. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program helped pay the medical bills last year of 143,000 children who did not qualify for Medicaid. Hospitals and children’s advocates say the program needs more federal dollars to meet the consequences of an ailing economy that continues to throw families out of work.”

Homelessness. ’05 U.S. study finds 744,000 homeless – “There were 744,000 homeless people in the United States in 2005, according to the first national estimate in a decade. … A little more than half were living in shelters, and nearly a quarter were chronically homeless … A majority of the homeless were single adults, but about 41 percent were in families.”

Church giving. Study finds church giving on the decline – “An annual study of church giving shows most offerings go to activities and needs within local congregations, and activities focused beyond the congregations increasingly go unfunded as donations decline.”

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