God's Politics

The latest news on housing discrimination, abortion, aid for Africa, Iraq- Congress, Iraq-war, Darfur, worker safety, nuclear weapons, Ethiopia, education, poverty, and select op-eds.

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Full news summary:

Iraq-Congress. Bush, Congress reach for war’s reins – “In a move that both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have anticipated for weeks, Congress and President Bush are heading into their first direct confrontation over funding the Iraq war.” War votes target GOP lawmakers – “As congressional Democrats move to force President Bush to veto a war spending bill that would start a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, they are simultaneously pursuing a carefully crafted offensive aimed at another target: Republican lawmakers.” Bush and Cheney Chide Democrats on Iraq Deadline– “President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney aggressively challenged the motives of Congressional Democrats, as the House and Senate prepared to consider a war spending bill.” Senate Leader Becomes Chief Critic of BushSenate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid accused President Bush this week of living in a “state of denial,” of having ignored warnings from military leaders about his Iraq strategy, and of becoming “isolated” and “obstinate” as public support for the war dwindled.”

Iraq-war. Group claiming to have killed 9 U.S. troops issues threats – “A group said to be affiliated with Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed nine U.S. soldiers and wounded 20 others in one of the deadliest single attacks against American troops in Iraq.” Outpost Attack Highlights Troop Vulnerabilities– “U.S. forces are increasingly exposed to danger and death as they step up their presence in Baghdad and volatile areas such as Anbar and Diyala provinces. Once housed in vast, highly secured bases, many now live in hostile neighborhoods inside isolated combat outposts,” UN claims Iraq underplays civilian death toll – “The UN criticised the Iraqi government for failing to provide civilian casualty figures and rejected the accusation that it is using the information in “inappropriate fashion”.

Abortion. Mexico City OKs abortion – “Lawmakers voted to legalize abortions in the Mexican capital during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, capping a heated debate in a Roman Catholic nation that now will have one of Latin America’s most liberal abortion policies.” Mexico City legalizes first-trimester abortions – “PRD supporters said the law was meant to address a widespread and hidden public health crisis: the deaths of thousands of women in Mexico each year as a result of illegal and unsafe abortions.” Mexico City Legalizes Abortion Early in Term – “Feminists hailed the vote as a clear victory. For decades, poor women here have resorted to clandestine clinics, traditional midwives and herbal potions to end unwanted pregnancies. Scores die every year in botched abortions.”

Darfur. Darfur refugees appeal to UN official for better security – “Refugee leaders pleaded with the visiting UN refugee chief for better security as he toured camps around this increasingly lawless regional capital, where feared janjaweed militiamen roam freely and have infiltrated the police forces.” Darfur peacekeepers understaffed, underequipped and now under fire – “The African Union Mission in Sudan (Amis) was heralded by the international community as an “African solution to an African problem”. Its role is to protect civilians from attacks by government-backed militia and rebel groups. But Amis is not even able to protect itself. It is under-staffed, underequipped and increasingly under fire from rebel groups.”

Housing discrimination. New Orleans’ blacks see rental block – “African Americans seeking rental housing in the New Orleans metropolitan area face significant discrimination and fewer accommodations to choose from since Hurricane Katrina,”

Worker safety. OSHA Leaves Worker Safety in Hands of Industry– “Across Washington, political appointees – often former officials of the industries they now oversee – have eased regulations or weakened enforcement of rules on issues like driving hours for truckers, logging in forests and corporate mergers.”

Nuclear weapons. U.S. nuclear arms policy for future is ill-defined, panel says – “The United States lacks a clear policy on the future of its nuclear weapons forces, complicating an effort to develop a new generation of bombs, a group of highly influential scientists said.”

Aid for Africa. Only 10% of G8 pledge raised – “In 2005, G8 pledged $50bn to help Africa, but now West accused of putting lives at risk. The west’s foot-dragging over aid pledges to Africa was described last night as “grotesque” and a threat to the lives of the world’s poor by the body set up by Tony Blair to monitor the results of Britain’s Gleneagle
s summit.”

Ethiopia. Ethnic Somali rebels kill 74 at oilfield in Ethiopia – “Rebels stormed a Chinese-run oilfield in eastern Ethiopia, killing 74 workers and destroying the facility, guerrillas and government officials said.” Ethiopian Rebels Kill 70 at Chinese-Run Oil Field– “Dozens of gunmen crept up to the oil field at dawn and unleashed a barrage of machine-gun fire at Ethiopian soldiers posted outside.”

Education. Billionaires Start $60 Million Schools Effort– “Eli Broad and Bill Gates, two of the most important philanthropists in American public education, have pumped more than $2 billion into improving schools. But now, dissatisfied with the pace of change, they are joining forces for a $60 million foray into politics in an effort to vault education high onto the agenda of the 2008 presidential race. Under the slogan “Ed in ’08,” the project, called Strong American Schools, will include television and radio advertising in battleground states.”

Poverty. Group Proposes Detailed Plan to Reduce Poverty by Half – “With a large increase in the minimum wage and a handful of other measures to raise the income of low-end workers, the United States could cut the number of people living in poverty by half within a decade, a report from a liberal research group says.” In Mexican Town, Maybe a Way to Reduce Poverty in New York – “It may seem strange that one of the world’s financial capitals should look to a small mountain town for answers to its own urban ills. But since this program got its start in rural Mexico in 1997, it has been heralded by the World Bank and others as a powerful model for fighting chronic poverty. …The percentage of Mexicans living in extreme poverty has fallen by 17 percentage points since 1996.”


Democrats still silent on gun control (Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe) – “The Democrats, not officially beholden to the National Rifle Association, have been cowards more concerned about reelection in centrist districts than the trauma to American children. The same Reid who bemoans the loss of life over a failed Iraq war said about Virginia Tech, “I hope there’s not a rush to do anything. We need to take a deep breath.”

Dead-ender presidency (Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times) – “GEORGE W. BUSH’S presidency is devolving into an extended holding action. On too many fronts, his top priority now appears to be delaying the inevitable.”

Court Knows Best (Ruth Marcus, Washington Post) – “How nice of Justice Kennedy to look out for me. Goodness knows, if I didn’t have the justice and his buddies hovering, I might make a terrible mistake. I mean, I’m so impulsive and muddle-headed, I sometimes don’t know what’s in my own best interest. Luckily, the Supreme Court does. I’m referring, of course, to the court’s insulting throwback of a ruling upholding the federal ban on the procedure known as “partial birth abortion.”

The challenge facing abortion-rights advocates (Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune) – “The challenge for abortion-rights advocates is not that this law will prevent abortions or impair the health of women getting them. It’s that it treats the fetus as more than a disposable inconvenience – as a living entity entitled to a measure of respect and protection. Once you take that step, there is no telling where it may lead.”

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