God's Politics

The latest news on poverty, immigration, Iran, global warming, Iraq war funding, the budget, Darfur, Presidential politics- Dem fundraising, Republicans, the Middle East, White House and select Op-Eds and Editorials.

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Iran. Tehran says all 15 ‘confess’ – “All 15 of the British service personnel held in Iran have confessed to having illegally entered the country’s waters, an Iranian state-run television channel said today.” Students attack British Embassy – “More than 150 students pelted the British Embassy in Tehran with firecrackers, stones and a smoke grenade, demanding an apology and the closing of the mission following Iran’s detention of 15 British sailors and marines in the northern Persian Gulf.” U.S. Keeping Pressure on Iran Over Seizure of 15 Britons at Sea – “The White House sought to increase pressure on Iran to return the 15 British sailors and marines it is holding, but took care to defer to Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has emphasized that he is seeking a diplomatic solution.” Iran: Attack fears spurred nuclear block – “Iran, in a confidential letter posted on an internal Web site of the U.N. nuclear monitor, said its fear of attack from the U.S. and Israel prompted its decision to withhold information from the agency.”

Immigration. Immigrants’ advocates look to churches – “Religious leaders from a range of denominations are launching efforts to win passage of a bill that creates a path toward citizenship for the nation’s illegal immigrants.” Pleading to Stay a Family – “As the government’s crackdown on illegal immigrant workers has intensified in recent months, so have the consequences for a large subgroup of U.S. citizens: American-born children of illegal immigrants.”

Global warming. Poor Nations to Bear Brunt as World Warms– “Wealthy countries are spending far more to limit their own risks from global warming’s consequences than to help the world’s most vulnerable regions.”

Iraq war funding. Army’s War Funds Can Last Through July, Report Says– “Democrats quickly seized on the findings to defend their handling of the legislation to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.” New Perspective, New Unity Among Hill Democrats on Iraq – “President Bush continues to warn that Democratic demands for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq are reckless, even dangerous. But for the first time since the conflict began four years ago, Democrats are not flinching in their opposition.” Democrats To Widen Conflict With Bush – “Even as their confrontation with President Bush over Iraq escalates, emboldened congressional Democrats are challenging the White House on a range of issues — such as unionization of airport security workers and the loosening of presidential secrecy orders — with even more dramatic showdowns coming soon.”

Budget. Democrats put their stamp on US budget – “these budget resolutions give a first look at how the new Democratic majority on Capitol Hill plans to rework the fiscal priorities – and legacy – of the Bush White House.” Expanded Health Program for Children Causes Clash– “The Bush administration says it will strenuously resist Democratic plans for a threefold expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, ensuring a clash with Congress over the most important health care legislation being considered this year.”

Poverty. The war on poverty is winnable – “The United States could dramatically reduce poverty – if it really wanted to. Instead, the number of American households in severe poverty (those with incomes less than half that of the official poverty level) has been growing, not shrinking.”

Darfur. Splintering of Rebel Groups Adds to Chaos in Darfur – “there is a growing sense that the biggest obstacles to peace in Darfur are not only the Sudanese government and its militias, but the Darfur rebels themselves. After four years of conflict, the western region of Sudan has become fragmented among at least a dozen rebel groups,” African troops killed in Darfur – “Five African Union peacekeepers have been killed in an attack in Sudan’s western Darfur region, officials say. AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni said the soldiers were guarding a watering point near the Chad border when attacked.” Darfur on Their Radar – “For months it’s looked like the genocide in Darfur has fallen off the agenda of a White House desperately fighting fires in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Yet last Monday President Bush’s anger rocked the Oval Office when aides presented him with a plan for sanctions against the Sudanese government. Raising his voice, he demanded that his special envoy for Darfur, Andrew Natsios, and national security adviser Stephen Hadley come up with something stronger.” After Darfur, Starting Anew in the Midwest– “As many as 300 people originally from Darfur are living in Fort Wayne, with others scattered across smaller Indiana cities like Elkhart, South Bend and Goshen. Together, they form one of the largest concentrations of Darfuri in the United States.”

Presidential politics-Dem fundraising. Clinton Shatters Record for Fundraising – “Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) raised $26 million in the first quarter of the year, almost three times as much as any politician has previously raised at this point in a presidential election … John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, also topped the previous record, reporting at least $14 million for the quarter that ended Saturday.” Dems raise historic sums – “Although the numbers are historic for a candidate of either party, they fell short of the sky-high expectations that had developed for Clinton, a former first lady with a massive fundraising base in New York who employed her husband, President Bill Clinton, to help her beat the bushes for donations across the country.”

Presidential politics-Republicans. Thompson announces ’08 candidacy – “Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson yesterday announced his intentions to run for president, calling himself the “only reliable conservative” in the race for the Republican nomination.” GOP presidential hopefuls fight for attention – “Candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback hope a conservative message will trump money and fame.”

Middle East. Israel calls on Saudi Arabia to take lead in talks – “Responding to an Arab peace initiative, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert invited Arab leaders to meet with him, saying he is prepared to talk to moderate Arab states about ways to resolve the Arab- Israeli conflict.”

White House. Ex-Aide Details a Loss of Faith in the President– “The chief 2004 campaign strategist for President Bush said he was disappointed with Mr. Bush’s leadership, becoming the first member of an inner circle to break so publicly with the president.”

Passover and the Passion (James Carroll, Boston Globe) – “WHY IS THIS week different from all other weeks? It begins with Passover and ends with Easter. These two rituals are rites of spring, yet each is the organizing act of a religion that has spent most of two millennia in tension with the other. Because the Christian observances of Holy Week are structured around the last days of Jesus, which were themselves structured around his own Jewish observance of Passover, the two are intrinsically linked, and always will be.”

A passion for moderation (Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today) – “These are not the brightest times for religious moderates. Mainstream Episcopalians, Methodists, Catholics and the like, they’re being upstaged by the more aggressive actors at the polar ends of the spectrum. From Christian conservatives flies rhetoric that pays little heed to the inclusiveness, reasonable tones and subtlety of the ecumenical middle. And from anti-religion author Sam Harris and like-minded atheists comes the damning suggestion that moderates enable violent fundamentalism and that moderation,”

Negotiating gang peace (Anthony A. Braga and Jeffrey L. Brown, Boston Globe) – “THERE IS no single answer to Boston’s gang violence problem. To deal with complex gang problems, cities need to blend multiple strategies such as community organization, strategic law enforcement, and the provision of social services and employment opportunities.”

Talking Darfur to Death(New York Times) The world has been discussing the genocide in Darfur for more than three years. But some 200,000 deaths later, it has yet to take effective action to force the Sudanese government to stop sponsoring the mass murder, rape, torture and forcible evictions being carried out on its orders in the region.

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