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God's Politics

the latest news on Iraq, Darfur, immigration, Afghanistan and the Korean hostages, Iran, the census report, Israel-Palestine, churches and global warming, education, and select opinion pieces

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Afghanistan-Korean hostages. Taleban release S Korean hostages “Taleban rebels in Afghanistan free eight of the 19 South Korean hostages they have been holding since July.” Taliban hands over hostages -“The Taliban has released eight of its 19 South Korean hostages and says the remaining will be released soon.” Hostage deal fuels Taliban legitimacy “Scenes of joy from South Korea filled television screens as the Taliban announced a deal to release 19 kidnapped church volunteers. Far away from the celebrations, however, observers worried that the end of the hostage crisis marks the beginning of a new stage in Afghanistan’s insurgency.”


Iran . Detained Iranians freed in Iraq “US forces have released seven Iranians hours after arresting them at a central Baghdad hotel, Iraq’s state television said.” U.S. forces say free eight Iranians held in Iraq “U.S. forces said on Wednesday they had detained eight Iranians overnight and seized a suitcase full of money from their central Baghdad hotel but later freed them after consultations with the Iraqi government.”


President Bush-Iraq, Iran. Bush again talks tough on Iran, Iraq “President Bush warned that the Middle East faces a bleak future if the United States fails in Iraq, evoking a “dark vision” of terrorist havens, disrupted energy supplies and a regional arms race triggered by a nuclear-armed Iran.” Bush warns against ‘nuclear holocaust’ “President Bush warned that allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons risks putting the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.” Bush sells Iraq troop-surge policy, slams Iran “The president said Iranians were supplying extremists in Iraq with money and weapons that were killing U.S. troops. “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities,” he said.”


Iraq-more funding. Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War “President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.”


Immigration. In Mexico for trade talks, Perry blasts immigration policies “Leading a large delegation of Texas executives trying to drum up business in Mexico, Gov. Rick Perry criticized the U.S. Congress for failing to pass an immigration bill that would legalize millions of workers.” Joint federal, local force arrests over 160 illegals “Federal immigration agents, assisted by local police and sheriff’s deputies, raided one of the nation’s largest suppliers of fresh and frozen poultry products yesterday and arrested more than 160 illegal aliens.” U.S. immigrants worry as families face deportation “A day after one of the largest workplace immigration raids in Ohio, the Hispanic community in Cincinnati’s suburbs was scrambling to track down missing family members and arrange care for children whose parents were caught up in the raid.”


Iraq-troops speak out. Active-duty US troops become outspoken critics of Iraq war “In books and professional journals, blogs, and newspapers, active-duty military personnel are speaking publicly and critically as never before about an ongoing war. Respectfully, but with a directness and gritty authenticity that comes from combat experience – sometimes written from the battlefield – they offer a view of current strategy, military leadership, and the situation on the ground that is more stark than Pentagon and White House pronouncements.”


Census report. Census Shows a Modest Rise in U.S. Income“The nation’s median household income grew modestly in 2006 even as the percentage of people without health insurance hit a high.” U.S. Poverty Rate Drops; Ranks of Uninsured Grow “The nation’s poverty rate declined last year for the first time this decade, but the number of Americans without health insurance rose to a record 47 million, according to annual census figures released yesterday.” Number of Americans without health insurance hits new high “The continued loss of job-based coverage helped push the number of Americans without health insurance to 47 million last year, the highest total on record and the sixth straight year that the ranks of the uninsured have grown.” Poor picture of Ohio“Cleveland had the lowest median household income of any major city in the country. Cincinnati had the third-worst poverty rate of big cities. In Columbus, more than a fifth of the population lives below the poverty line.” How the individual states ranked “Here are the median household income and percentage of people living in poverty, by state.”



Israel-Palestine. Gains Unclear as Israeli and Palestinian Leaders Meet “It was unclear how closely the leaders of the two states moved toward a foundation for a final settlement on the core issues of contention between their peoples.”



Darfur . U.N. Secretary General to Meet Sudanese Leader “Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that he would travel to Sudan, Chad and Libya next week to press for an end to fresh violence in Darfur and for speedy deployment there of a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force.”


Churches and global warming. Churches put their faith in green power “The greening of faith communities has become a growing phenomenon over the past decade, especially in the area of global climate change.”


Education. As a Nation Heads Back to School, a Look at the Numbers “School is beginning or already under way for fully one in four American youngsters and adults enrolled in the nation’s more than 95,000 public elementary and secondary schools.”


Editorial. (New York Times) A Sobering Census Report: Americans’ Meager Income GainsNew data on incomes and poverty indicates that the spoils of the nation’s economic growth have flowed almost exclusively to the wealthy and the extremely wealthy.” A Sobering Census Report: Bleak Findings on Health InsuranceA large increase in the number of Americans who lack health insurance ought to send a strong message to Washington: action is needed to reverse this trend.”


Opinion.


On Poverty, Maybe We’re All Wrong (Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post) “Most years, what passes for the national debate about poverty is confined to the 24 hours after the government releases its annual report on household incomes, as it did yesterday.”


Counting what counts (Douglas W. Nelson, Washington Times) -“The poverty figure itself is deeply flawed and almost comically out of date. Developed in the 1960s, the poverty line was drawn by the federal government by calculating the cost of a rudimentary grocery budget and multiplying by three – because back in the 1960s food represented one-third of a typical family’s budget. … Today, virtually no one supports the poverty threshold – currently set at $20,444 for a family of two adults and two children – as a realistic assessment of families’ genuine economic needs and circumstances.”


A Strange Way to Woo Religious Voters (Michael Gerson, Washington Post) “The Democratic Party has undertaken an ostentatious outreach to religious voters, creating a Faith Advisory Council and cultivating clergy around the country. But these efforts might be more credible if Democrats were not simultaneously trying to incite conflict between Roman Catholics and Protestants in Louisiana — and managing to offend both groups in the process.”


Immigrants become target for all of society’s ills (Kirsten A. Powers, USA Today) “What Ronald Reagan once referred to as the “illegal-alien fuss” has fulminated into a frenzy of demonizing where behind every social ill lurks a brown-skinned illegal immigrant.”

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