God's Politics

The latest news on the State of the Union Address-lead responses, Democratic responses, specific issues including domestic policy, health insurance, immigration and energy,- the new commander for Iraq, Jimmy Carter in the Mideast, China, Somalia, Iran, Tutu at the World Social Forum, and select editorials.

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Full news summary:

State of the Union – the lead stories.
Chicago Tribune. Bush seeks Dems’ help – “Issuing a bipartisan call “to achieve big things for the American people” at home and an appeal for patience with his new strategy for the war in Iraq, a weakened President Bush faced a doubting, Democratic-controlled Congress”

Washington Post Bush Urges Congress, Nation To Give His Iraq Plan a Chance – “Politically weakened and increasingly isolated, president confronts first Democratic-ruled Congress in a dozen years in his annual address.”

Washington Times. ‘We must not fail in Iraq’ – “President Bush pleaded with Congress to give his new strategy for victory in the struggle in Iraq a chance because “America must not fail in Iraq.”

Los Angeles Times. Bush seeks compromise, except on Iraq strategy – “President Bush, seeking to regain political ground lost to the new Democratic-led Congress, called for bipartisan action on energy and other domestic issues but forcefully defended his unpopular decision to send more U.S. troops to Iraq.”

New York Times. Bush Insists U.S. Must Not Fail in Iraq– “President Bush presented a modest agenda of energy and health care proposals while warning an assertive Congress against undercutting his new Iraq strategy.”

And the full Transcript of the speech.

State of the Union – the Democratic Response
Chicago Tribune. Sen. Webb: Congress may show way on Iraq – “While President Bush urged opponents of his planned troop increase in Iraq to give it a chance to see if it works, the Democrats turned to an old soldier to hammer away at the president’s war strategy.”

Washington Post. Va.’s Webb Offers a Blunt Challenge to Bush – “Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) delivered a forceful nine-minute response to President Bush’s State of the Union address, promising an aggressive challenge to Bush’s Iraq and economic policies”

Los Angeles Times
. Democrat says Bush ‘recklessly’ waged war – “Sen. Jim Webb delivers the rebuke in his party’s State of the Union response, also focusing on kitchen-table issues.”

New York Times. To Deliver Their Remarks, Democrats Opt to Put a Fresh Face Front and Center– “Senator Jim Webb invoked his own biography as he declared that today’s soldiers could no longer trust the judgment of their commander in chief.”

And the TEXT of the speech.

Some specific issues.
Domestic policy.Bush Adopts Some Priorities Of Congressional Democrats – “In an overture to the new majority in Congress, President Bush strayed into Democratic territory with proposals on health insurance, gasoline efficiency and even the first real tax increase of his presidency.”

Health insurance. Health reforms sought through tax incentives – “President Bush used his bully pulpit to argue that the nation should be doing much more to cover the uninsured.” Bush Revives Some Past Proposals and Offers a New Initiative on Health Insurance– a “major focus of Mr. Bush’s domestic proposals was an effort to expand access to affordable health insurance, by creating a new tax benefit for those buying insurance on their own rather than through their employer.”

Immigration. President renews push for bill on immigration – “President Bush said his administration has made huge strides clamping down on illegal border crossings, and called on Congress to finish the job this year by passing a guest-worker bill and extending citizenship rights to illegal aliens.”

Energy. Clean alternatives key to oil plan – “President Bush sought to counter criticism that he has failed to do enough to tackle global warming and energy security as he unveiled a 10-year plan to slash U.S. gasoline consumption by 20 percent.” Contradictions seen in alternative energy plan – “President Bush’s proposals to reduce U.S. gasoline consumption by 20% in 10 years include more specific and ambitious new goals than in previous White House statements, but they also appear to rely on assumptions about energy markets, politics and technology that some expe
rts say are debatable,”

In other news.
New commander for Iraq. Petraeus Expresses Confidence In Buildup – “Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the expected new top commander in Iraq, gave Congress a stark preview of the challenge ahead, saying sectarian violence has reduced Baghdad’s population to a daily struggle for survival,” General tells Senate Iraq ‘not hopeless’ – “Petraeus told Congress that the situation in the war-torn nation was dire and posed “tough days” ahead, but he pleaded for time to begin executing a new strategy.” General Says New Strategy in Iraq Can Work Over Time– “the general described the situation in Iraq as “dire” but not hopeless. He asserted that the “persistent presence” of American and Iraqi forces in strife-ridden Baghdad neighborhoods was a necessary step, but also cautioned that the mission would not succeed if the Iraqi government did not carry out its program of political reconciliation.”

Jimmy Carter and Mideast. Carter wins applause at Brandeis – “Jimmy Carter, in a carefully orchestrated visit, received multiple ovations last night during his speech at Brandeis University.” At Brandeis, Carter Responds to Critics– “Carter told an audience at Brandeis University that he stood by the book and its title, that he apologized for what he called an “improper and stupid” sentence in the book and that he had been disturbed by accusations that he was anti-Semitic.”

China. China Confirms Space Test; Denies Intent to Intimidate – “The Chinese government publicly confirmed a successful test of a new antisatellite weapon but said it had no intention of participating in a “space race.” Officials fear war in space by China – “China’s anti-satellite-interceptor test Jan. 11 is part of a covert space-weapons program designed to cripple the U.S. military in a conflict, defense officials said”

Somalia. U.S. Stages Second Airstrike in Somalia – “Air Force AC-130 gunship targets suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia, the second such attack in the country this month.”

Iran. U.S. ships headed to Mideast called a warning to Iran – “A second U.S. aircraft carrier group steaming toward the Middle East is Washington’s way of warning Iran to back down in its attempts to dominate the region, a top U.S. diplomat said.”

Tutu at World Social Forum. – Tutu says that the war against terror cannot be won by force – “The war against terror in the world will “never” be won by force and injustice, and will remain a problem “as long as there are conditions in the world that make people desperate,” like dehumanizing poverty, disease and ignorance, Nobel laureate and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has told participants at the 2007 World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi, Kenya.”

Boston Globe Editorial: Welfare as we knew it – “The nation once raged over welfare. Now, in a more globally troubled time, poverty might seem a less pressing issue. But state and federal governments must still act. Ending poverty isn’t enough; the country has to promote 21st-century success.”

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