God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq-Congress, Latinos and religion, Iran, McCain announces campaign, deomcractic debate, climate change, Somalia, housing loans, abortion, Christianity around the world, and select op-eds.

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Full news summary:

Iraq-Congress.House Passes Iraq Pullout Timetable – “The House last night brushed aside weeks of angry White House rhetoric and veto threats to narrowly approve a $124 billion war spending bill that requires troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin by Oct. 1, with a goal of ending U.S. combat operations there by next March.” War Bill Passes House, Requiring an Iraq Pullout– “The narrow approval of the measure sets the stage for the first veto fight between President Bush and majority Democrats.” Dems toss down gauntlet, press Bush on war, ethics – “With a floor vote, a rhetorical flourish and a fistful of subpoenas, congressional Democrats escalated a fight with the Bush administration over Iraq and ethics on Wednesday — another sign that party leaders believe the same issues they credit for House and Senate gains last fall could pay off in 2008 as well.”

Iraq. U.N. report and Times data paint grim Iraq picture – “Academics are being assassinated, prisoners are being tortured, women are being murdered by their own families in so-called “honor killings,” and civilians continue to be cut down by rampant violence, the United Nations said in a report painting a grim picture of life in Iraq.” UN accuses Iraq of covering up rise in civilian deaths – “The UN accused the Iraqi government of trying to cover up a rise in civilian casualties from sectarian violence since the troop surge ordered by George Bush earlier this year. Iraq’s government had withheld civilian casualty statistics because it feared the data would be used to depict a “very grim” security situation, claimed the UN officials in Baghdad.” Baghdad’s Fissures and Mistrust Keep Political Goals Out of Reach – “U.S. military commanders say a key goal of the ongoing security offensive is to buy time for Iraq’s leaders to reach political benchmarks that can unite its fractured coalition government and persuade insurgents to stop fighting. But in pressuring the Iraqis to speed up, U.S. officials are encountering a variety of hurdles.”

McCain announces campaign. McCain makes 2008 bid official – “Eight years after he opened his first presidential bid, Sen. John McCain became a full-fledged candidate once again, portraying himself as the senior statesman the country needs to lead it through broken politics and a difficult war.” McCain touts experience, declares run – “Sen. John McCain officially declared his candidacy for president, kicking off a key stretch in which the Arizona Republican will be under pressure to revitalize a campaign that has gone far worse than many expected for a man once seen as the dominant GOP candidate in the race.” McCain Launches Candidacy With Bush Critique– “Senator John McCain formally began his second bid for the White House on with a thinly veiled critique of the Bush administration, pledging that he would restore competence to foreign and domestic policy and welcome compromise with Democrats.”

Democratic debate. Democrats to debate in South Carolina – “In an early taste of the debates that will help shape the crowded contest for the White House, all eight declared Democratic presidential candidates will climb onto the stage in a college auditorium to face 90 minutes of questions before a national television audience.” Race is onstage in South Carolina debate – “The issues likely to come up in tonight’s Democratic presidential debate are familiar ones – the war in Iraq, healthcare, the economy, education. The big difference in South Carolina is race, which overlays just about every policy discussion in the state, as it has since Emancipation and reconstruction.”

Latinos and religion. Latinos like lively masses, study says – “The nation’s Latino population overwhelmingly expresses its faith in church services with a charismatic style of worship and says religious beliefs influence its political thinking, according to one of the largest efforts to collect information about Latinos and religion.” Study Says Hispanics Alter U.S. Catholicism – “The study, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that half of Hispanic Catholics practice a “distinctive form” of charismatic Catholicism that includes speaking in tongues, miraculous healings and prophesying – practices more often associated with Pentecostalism.” Latinos reshaping nation’s religious landscape, study says – “The growing numbers of Latinos in the United States, and that population’s embrace of charismatic styles of worship, are reshaping the Roman Catholic Church and the nation’s religious landscape, according to a major study of Latinos and faith.” For the Pew report – Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion

Climate change. ’08 hopefuls tout climate-change plans – “Liber
al or conservative, declared or undeclared, candidates eyeing the 2008 presidential election are feeling political heat on climate change. They’re reading polls showing that most Americans think global warming is a serious problem, and they’re being pressured by interest groups who are keeping a close eye on candidates’ positions.”

Iran. Iran and EU ‘closer’ to nuclear deal – “Iran and the EU could be moving closer to an eventual deal to end the international deadlock over Tehran’s nuclear programme, negotiators said after talks today.”

Somalia. Tanks pound Somali insurgents – “Ethiopian and government troops are in control of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, after nine days of battles, the prime minister says.” Somalia crisis deepens – “Somalia today lurched closer to a humanitarian catastrophe as a new offensive began against insurgents in the capital, Mogadishu.”

Housing loans. Minorities hit by subprime loans costs – “Across the nation, black and Hispanic borrowers helped fuel a multiyear housing boom, accounting for 49% of the increase in homeowners from 1995 to 2005, says Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. But Hispanics and African-Americans were far more likely to leverage the American dream with subprime loans – higher-cost products for buyers with impaired credit – that are now going bad at an alarming rate.”

Abortion. Spitzer Pushing Bill to Shore Up Abortion Rights– “Gov. Eliot Spitzer said that he planned to introduce legislation to overhaul the state’s pioneering but antiquated abortion law, shoring up abortion rights in New York.”

Christianity around the world. Boom in Christianity Reshapes Methodists – “The United Methodist Church is the latest Protestant group caught in the shifting currents of world Christianity. While the American denomination is shrinking at home, its congregations in the developing world are growing explosively.” Turkey’s Christians face backlash – “As evangelical groups … make inroads among a largely Islamic population, their visibility has vexed many Turks who seem them as foreign interlopers. An increasingly violent nationalist backlash, fed by both secular and religious rhetoric from politicians and the media, church leaders say, has had deadly consequences for Turkey’s growing evangelical community.”

Opinion. Bush’s Barricade (Robert Novak, Washington Post) – “Bush, never entranced with life in Washington, detests dealing with a Democratic Congress. Reflecting annoyance and fatigue, he is unwilling to withstand incessant attacks from the likes of Reid and is ready to fight it out for the over 20 months left in his term. Retaining Gonzales means Bush has slipped behind the barricades.”

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