God's Politics

The latest news on climate change, congress, Iraq-military, Iraq-anti-U.S. rally, Iraq, U.S. politics, Pope Benedict Easter message, Congress, immigration, presidential politics, hunger in Africa, homelessness, and select Op-Eds.

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Full news summary:

Iraq-anti-US rally. Huge turnout for anti-US rally – “Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets of two Shia holy cities in Iraq today and protested against “US occupiers.” Radical Shiite Cleric Calls on Iraqi Forces to Unite Against the U.S. Military– “Moktada al-Sadr, the rebellious Shiite cleric and power broker, exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for three days.”

Iraq-military. Patterns of War Shift Amid U.S. Force Buildup – “while the overall death rates for all of Iraq have not dropped significantly, largely because of devastating suicide bombings, a few parts of the capital have become calmer as some death squads have decided to lie low.” 10 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq – “Ten U.S. soldiers were killed over the weekend as armed groups avoiding Baghdad’s security dragnet attacked with bombs and other weapons in cities and towns just outside the capital.” Army Is Cracking Down on Deserters Army prosecutions of desertion and other unauthorized absences have risen sharply in the last four years, resulting in thousands more negative discharges and prison time for both junior soldiers and combat-tested veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army records show.”

Iraq-US politics. Senate Democrats say they won’t halt funding for troops – “Two leading Senate Democrats said their party will not cut off funding for U.S. troops in Iraq, distancing themselves from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who now says he supports doing so.” Conservative activists fear war dwarfing social agenda – “Social conservatives seeking to ban abortion and same-sex marriage are worried that their agenda is increasingly being overshadowed by the war in Iraq, making it more difficult for their voices to be heard in Congress and the presidential campaign than at any time in more than a decade.”

Pope Benedict Easter message. Pope decries ‘slaughter’ in Iraq -” Pope Benedict XVI has lamented that “nothing positive comes from Iraq”, in his Easter message in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. In a live televised address, the pontiff said Iraq was being “torn apart by continual slaughter”. In Easter address, pope laments global violence – “The pope’s comments came during his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message – Latin for “to the city and the world” – delivered at Easter and Christmas. “I am thinking of the scourge of hunger, of incurable diseases, of terrorism and kidnapping of people,” the pope continued, “of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons.”

Congress. Democrats’ Cause Is Tempered by Political Realities – “During the 12 years that Republicans ran the House, their leaders didn’t pay much attention to affordable-housing activists. … But now that Democrats took over the House in November, their leaders are affordable-housing activists.” Democrats’ Rise Has Pluses, Say G.O.P. Centrists – “many Republicans from swing districts in the Northeast are finding that life under Democratic rule has its advantages. During the 12 years that Republicans controlled the House, moderate Republicans were the stepchildren of their party, expected to vote with their conservative leadership on crucial issues, even if it meant taking positions that could anger centrist voters back home.”

Immigration. U.S. sued over detention of immigrants – “In flatlands beside silos and freight-train tracks, an old medium-security prison has been reborn as a detention site for suspected illegal immigrant families, helping end the nation’s controversial “catch-and-release” practice.”

Presidential politics. Clinton, McCain lose front-runner label – “After months of intensive campaigning, record fundraising and unusually high voter interest, the 2008 presidential campaign has lost its early front-runners on both sides, throwing the races wide open.”

Climate change. Scientists Detail Climate Changes, Poles to Tropics– “From the poles to the tropics, the earth’s climate and ecosystems are already being shaped by the atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases and face inevitable, possibly profound, alteration, the world’s leading scientific panel on climate change said Friday.” U.S., China Got Climate Warnings Toned Down – “Some sections of a grim scientific assessment of the impact of global warming on human, animal and plant life issued in Brussels yesterday were softened at the insistence of officials from China and the United States, participants in the negotiations said.” Bill ties climate to national security – “The CIA and Pentagon would for the first time be required to assess the national security implications of climate change under proposed legislation intended to elevate global warming to a national defense issue.”

Hunger in Africa. Even as Africa Hungers, Policy Slows Delivery of U.S. Food Aid– “For a third year, the Bush administration, which has pushed to make foreign aid more efficient, is trying to change the law to allow the United States to use up to a quarter of the budget of its main food aid program to buy food in developing countries during emergencies. The proposal has run into stiff opposition from a potent alliance of agribusiness, shipping and charitable groups with deep financial stakes in the current food aid system.”

Homelessness. Unprovoked beatings of homeless soaring, report says – “There has been a nationwide surge in violence largely by teens and young adults against some of America’s most vulnerable citizens. A 2006 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless found 142 attacks last year against homeless people, 20 of which resulted in death — a 65 percent increase from 2005, when 86 were violently assaulted, including 13 homicides.”

Having faith in women (Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, USA Today) – “In many facets of society, gender gaps have been narrowing. That’s the good news. The bad news? When it comes to women, the world of religion seems to be stuck in the past.” Centuries of progress – “From the biblical time of Eve, women have had powerful roles in Western religious theology, history and institutional life. Though it has been a slow climb, women have risen to official religious leadership positions throughout the world and specifically in the USA.”

Genocide in Darfur continues (Nat Hentoff, Washington Times) – “President Omar Bashir, head of the National Islamic Front government of Sudan, will not allow the International Criminal Court to question suspects involved in his nation’s genocide in Darfur (which he denies). His minister of foreign affairs, Al Samani El Wassili, insists, according to the March 25 Sudan, that the sovereign nation of Sudan is fully able to conduct its own investigation of alleged crimes in Darfur. This, he assures us, is because Sudan has one of the best systems of justice in Africa.”

On this day. April 9, 1945 – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and theologian, was executed in the concentration camp at Flossenburg for his role in the anti-Nazi resistance movement.

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