God's Politics

The latest news on politics-McCain to run, Iraq-regional conference, Iraq-war, child care, church-state, Darfur, immigration, Episcopal church, and select Op-Eds.

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Iraq-regional conference. Iran to Join Iraq Talks in Highest Contact With U.S. in 2 Years “The top Iranian national security official, Ali Larijani, indicated that Iranian officials would take part in a regional security conference on Iraq,” Iran willing to join U.S. at Iraq talks – “Iran has long insisted that only a regional solution involving all of Iraq’s neighbors, along with the withdrawal of foreign forces, can end the violence. “If we find the conference in favor of the Iraqi nation, we will take part in it,” Larijani told reporters.” US praised for diplomacy ahead of summit – “The Bush administration won rare praise for its diplomacy on Iraq as plans for an international conference on stabilising the country gathered pace, with Syria and Iran indicating they would participate.” In U.S. Overtures to Foes, New Respect for Pragmatism– “In the span of just two weeks, the United States has agreed to hold high-level contacts with Iran and Syria, and to start down the path toward formal diplomatic recognition of North Korea. Has the Bush administration gone soft on its foes?”

Iraq-war. U.S., Iraqis tout gains in joint security effort – “U.S. and Iraqi officials announced what they said were signs that a 2-week-old joint security crackdown was working – even as car bombs, mortar attacks and shootings continued to claim lives across the country.”Soldiers Shift to Baghdad Outposts – “American soldiers are leaving their sprawling fortress-cities and establishing many small outposts in the capital’s most violent neighborhoods in a major tactical shift under the two-week-old Baghdad security plan.” US ‘faces Vietnam-style collapse’ – “An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq – or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.”

Politics-McCain to run. McCain Says He’ll Seek Presidency, Plans to Make It Official in April – “Sen. John McCain of Arizona declared last night that he will join the 2008 race for the White House and will formally announce his candidacy in April.” In Newly Usual Way, McCain Says He’ll Run – “His remarks erased entirely whatever doubt could have existed about his ambitions for the Republican nomination.” Looking past the candidates – “Conservative activists are shifting their 2008 focus to recapturing the House and Senate, hoping that GOP control of at least one chamber of Congress would thwart liberal policies that could come either from a Democratic or moderate Republican White House.”

Church-state. Court Hears Arguments Linking Right to Sue and Spending on Religion – “The Supreme Court heard arguments on whether taxpayers who object to the way the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives spends its money can get into federal court.” High court hears case of faith-based funding – “An atheist group that alleges President Bush’s faith-based initiative is unconstitutional asked the Supreme Court to allow taxpayers to sue the administration for giving federal money to religious groups,” Faith-based case divides justices – “Several members of the Supreme Court sharply questioned whether taxpayers ought to be able to challenge President Bush’s use of government funds to finance social programs operated by faith-based groups.” Justices Weigh Right to Sue Over Church-State Separation – “The Supreme Court, for the first time under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., confronted the devilishly complicated issue of church-state separation.”

Child care. Survey finds many states lax in child-care center oversight – “Many states are lax in their regulation and oversight of child-care centers, according to a new nationwide survey, which gives its lowest marks to Idaho and Louisiana and its highest grade to the far-flung system run by the US military.”

Darfur. Sudan Opposition Leader Speaks Out – “The main Sudanese opposition leader said the government is refusing to allow U.N. peacekeepers into the violent Darfur region because it believes the troops would help hunt down war crimes suspects for the International Criminal Court.”

Immigration. White House renews effort to overhaul laws – “President Bush waded gingerly back into the debate over immigration Wednesday, as two of his top lieutenants urged Congress to grant “legal status” to an estimated 12 million people now living in the country illegally.” Bush Aides Pledge Work for Immigration Bill– “Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested that offering temporary legal status, instead of citizenship, to illegal immigrants would be enough to persuade them to emerge from the shadows and register with the government, which has been a key national security goal.” Colorado to use inmates to fill migrant shortage – “since passing what its Legislature promoted as the nation’s toughest laws against illegal immigration last summer, Colorado has struggled with a labor shortage as migrants fled the state. This week, officials announced a novel solution: Use convicts as farmworkers.”

Episcopal church. Episcopal leader calls for calm, patience – Los Angeles Times – “The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church said Wednesday that it is being pushed toward painful decisions on questions of sexuality and scriptural interpretation by “impatient forces” eager for clarity, but she urged members to wait and be without fear as the church struggles through a difficult time.”

Op-Ed. My link to Strom Thurmond – (Al Sharpton Jr.,Los Angeles Times) – “Last week,I received the shock of my life. I found out that my family was enslaved by the family of the leading segregationist of our time, the late Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. I don’t know whether Thurmond himself was my blood relative; there has been no DNA testing yet. What I do know now is the horrific details of how my great-grandfather and family were slaves, directly owned and leased out like chattel animals. This revelation about my ancestors has made slavery real to me. It is no longer an abstract horror. It is my family history – and the Thurmonds’.”

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