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God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq-politics, Homeless veterans, young adults and church, Israel-Palestine, Iran, immigration, infrastructure spreading, and select op-eds.
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Iraq-politics. Iraqi government unraveling as more ministers boycott “Iraq’s government, already unable to reconcile rival Sunni and Shiite Muslim factions, seemed headed for complete paralysis as five more Cabinet ministers announced that they’d boycott government meetings.” More ministers walk out on Iraq PM “The unity government of Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, has been plunged deeper into crisis after five ministers withdrew from cabinet meetings, less than a week after the main Sunni Arab bloc quit.” 5 Ministers Threaten to Leave Iraq’s Cabinet “The move struck yet another blow to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s faltering efforts to present his religious Shiite-led coalition as a “national unity” government.”


Israel-Palestine. Olmert travels to Jericho for talks in Palestine “For the first time in seven years Israeli and Palestinian leaders met for talks in the Palestinian territories, the latest round in a wave of Middle East diplomacy.” Olmert and Peres: Palestinian state on 100% of West Bank area, with swaps “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is examining a new framework for peace in which Israel will propose transferring to the Palestinian state areas equivalent to 100 percent of the territories conquered in 1967.” Olmert visits Abbas to talk peace “Spokesmen for both leaders said their three-hour meeting was the start of an effort to shape the agenda of a Middle East peace conference that President Bush has called for this fall. But they announced no agreements except to keep meeting frequently.”


Iran. Bush Differs With Karzai on Iran “Mr. Karzai characterized Iran as “a helper” in a CNN interview broadcast Sunday. But when the two men greeted reporters here on Monday, Mr. Bush pointedly disagreed, saying, “I would be very cautious about whether the Iranian influence in Afghanistan is a positive force.” Bush, Karzai hold summit on strategy “President Bush declined to say Monday whether the United States would seek permission from Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf before attacking top Al Qaeda leaders if intelligence indicated they were hiding in Pakistan.”


Homeless veterans. Shelters take many vets of Iraq, Afghan wars “As more troops return from deployments, social workers and advocates expect the number of the homeless to increase, flooding the nation’s veterans’ shelters, which are already overwhelmed by homeless veterans from other wars.”


Immigration. At Odds Over Immigrant Assimilation “…a question that has recently entered the national immigration debate, one some researchers say is important as new trends challenge old integration patterns: Should the government encourage assimilation? The Bush administration is taking steps to do that. The Task Force on New Americans, created by executive order last year, recently presented initiatives that supporters say will help immigrants “become fully American.”


Infrastructure spending. Bridge Disaster Revives Question About SpendingIn the past two years, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota twice vetoed legislation to raise the state’s gas tax to pay for transportation needs. Now, with at least five people dead in the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge here, Mr. Pawlenty, a Republican, appears to have had a change of heart.”


Young adults and church. Young adults aren’t sticking with church “Protestant churches are losing young adults in “sobering” numbers, a survey finds. Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 – both evangelical and mainline – who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to the survey by LifeWay Research. And 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30.”


Op-Eds.


Who speaks for America’s evangelicals? (Mark Pinsky, USA Today) “The answer is not as clear-cut as in years past. In fact, a younger generation of ministers is changing the face and voice of this very influential constituency. With the 2008 election approaching, that’s no small thing.”


Immigrants a scapegoat for blacks’ unemployment (DeWayne Wickham, USA Today) “One of the most interesting, and possibly decisive, tugs of war in the immigration policy debate is happening largely beneath the radar of this nation’s media organizations. … While this argument – that blacks are disproportionately losing jobs to illegal immigrants who take low-paying jobs – has been around for some time, it hadn’t gotten any traction among mainstream civil rights groups.”


For Romney, Traction in Iowa (E.J. Dionne, Washington Post) – “Watch out, Fred Thompson: By the time you get into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney may have run away with your constituency. And while Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have decided not to compete in next Saturday’s Republican straw poll in Iowa, they now have a powerful interest in preventing Romney from turning what they had hoped would be a nonevent into a meaningful victory.”

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