Beliefnet
God's Politics

The latest news on Congress, Senate ethics bill, Iraq, Iran, global health, health insurance, and select Op-Eds.
Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail »

Full news summary:

Congress. After 42 Hours (or So), House Democrats Complete 100-Hour Push – “House Democrats met the goals of their 100-hour legislative offensive with plenty of time to spare, claiming that their successes proved they could govern.” Congress is off to a bipartisan start, but tougher tests lie ahead – “After a bitterly fought midterm election, Democrats controlling the new Congress pledged to transcend partisanship and tackle the big problems that concern Americans. Then, something happened that neither Washington insiders nor, probably, even the voters expected: Lawmakers began acting as if they meant it.” House Democrats take on global warming, oil issues – “As the House’s new Democratic majority celebrated the completion of their populist 100-hour agenda, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) unveiled the party’s next legislative target: an ambitious plan to wean the U.S. from foreign oil and slow global warming.”


Senate ethics bill. Senate Passes Ethics Package – “Senate Democrats and Republicans broke a difficult stalemate last night and approved 96 to 2 expansive legislation to curtail the influence of lobbyists, tighten congressional ethics rules and prevent the spouses of senators from lobbying senators and their staffs.” Senate approves major overhaul of ethics rules – “The legislation is aimed at reining in the influence of special interests by forbidding lobbyists and their employers from buying meals and gifts for lawmakers and paying for their junkets.” Senate Passes Vast Ethics Overhaul– “The Senate overwhelmingly passed sweeping changes to ethics and lobbying rules, overcoming bipartisan reluctance to ban many of the favors that lobbyists do for lawmakers and to illuminate the shadowy legislative practice of earmarking money for special projects.”


Iraq. Ambush Kills an American Teaching Democracy to Iraqis– “An American woman killed here on Wednesday when gunmen fired on her convoy of vehicles was ambushed just minutes after leaving the headquarters of a prominent Sunni Arab political party, where she had been teaching a class on democracy,” Perry grad killed in Iraq praised for her passion– “Perry- Lake County native Andrea “Andi” Parhamovich died doing what she loved most – helping other people. Parhamovich, 28, who worked for the Washington-based National Democratic Institute on International Affairs, was killed in an ambush in Baghdad, Iraq.”


Mahdi militia under siege in Sadr City “Mahdi Army fighters said yesterday they were under siege in their Sadr City stronghold as U.S. and Iraqi troops killed or seized key commanders in nighttime raids. By Steven R. HurstMahdi Army fighters said yesterday they were under siege in their Sadr City stronghold as U.S. and Iraqi troops killed or seized key commanders in nighttime raids.” Sadr fears for life in security crackdown – “Moqtada al-Sadr has moved his family to a secure location because of fears he will become the target of a security sweep of Baghdad,”


Iraq war cost to hit $8.4 billion a month – “The steadily rising cost of the Iraq war will reach about $8.4 billion a month this year, Pentagon spokesmen said Thursday, as the price of replacing lost, destroyed and aging equipment mounts … When U.S. combat costs in Afghanistan are factored in, the Pentagon will spend about $9.7 billion a month during the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. Since fiscal 2001, Congress has approved $503 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other aspects of the U.S. “global war on terrorism,” Partisan collision nears on Iraq plan – “President Bush’s confrontation with the Democratic-controlled Congress over Iraq is likely to worsen in coming months as Democrats pursue caps on troop levels and legislation denying funds for escalating the conflict while demanding that Iraq curb its sectarian violence.” Retired Generals Criticize Bush’s Plan for Iraq – “A panel of retired generals told a Senate committee that sending 21,500 additional troops to Iraq will do little to solve the underlying political problems in the country.”


Military planners in Iraq may soon be seeing ‘red’ – “The U.S. military has sent to Iraq a five-person team of dedicated skeptics, known in military jargon as a “red team.” In a war known for its missteps and unanticipated results, the team will be assigned to review, and question, military operations.”


Iran. Rebuke in Iran to Its President on Nuclear Role– “Iran’s outspoken president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appears to be under pressure from the highest authorities in Iran to end his involvement in its nuclear program, a sign that his political capital is declining as his country comes under increasing internation
al pressure.” Iran’s president spurns critics, UN on nuclear work – “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed back over the US military buildup in the Gulf, saying yesterday that Iran is ready for any possibility in the standoff over its nuclear program. The president made clear he was not backing down in his tough rhetoric toward the United States, despite criticism at home.”


US pushes for Middle East peace – “The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, will attempt to inject impetus into the drive for an Israeli-Palestine peace settlement by convening a meeting of the Quartet of Middle East negotiators early next month, for the first time for almost six months.” Analysis: Rice Highlights Opportunities After Setbacks On Mideast Trip – “Rice told reporters traveling with her that, despite the day-to-day headaches and setbacks, she thinks that conditions are right now for a fundamental reordering of the Middle East.”


Global health. Huge cut in measles deaths – “Measles deaths have been slashed by more than half by a concerted campaign that was hailed as a triumph for global public health and could pave the way for eradication of one of the world’s most infectious diseases. … Africa, where children are most prone to die when they catch measles because of poor nutrition and other infections including HIV, has led the way, with a 75% drop in deaths.” Groups Make Headway in Fight Against Measles – “A partnership of international health organizations said that it will seek to reduce the global death toll from measles to less than 10 percent of its 2000 level by 2010, spurred in part by bigger-than-expected gains against the disease in the past five years.”


Health insurance. Groups Offer Health Plan for Coverage of Uninsured – “A broad coalition of business and consumer groups, doctors, hospitals and drug companies laid out a major proposal on to provide health coverage to more than half of the nation’s 47 million uninsured by expanding federal benefit programs and offering new tax credits to individuals and families.”


Op-Ed


Abortion’s elusive middle ground (Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe)- “It’s not an accident that one of the first bills in the Senate with a new Democratic majority was the Prevention First Act, a wide-ranging family planning initiative. Rep resentative Louise Slaughter of New York will follow next week with a similar bill described in one mouthful as a “bipartisan, bicameral, pro choice, pro life innovative approach to reducing unintended pregnancies.” Then Representatives Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Tim Ryan of Ohio , a pro choice-pro life duo, will reintroduce an omnibus family planning and support bill with the lumbering title, “The Reducing the Need for Abortions and Supporting Parents Act.”

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus