God's Politics

The latest news on the Asia-Pacific summit, global warming, faith and politics, Iraq, Congress, the presidential campaign, children’s health, the PATRIOT Act, global warming, immigration, Afghanistan, Darfur, Hurricane Felix, North Korea, life expectancy, and select op-eds.
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Iraq. Petraeus Open to Pullout of 1 Brigade “Army Gen. David H. Petraeus has indicated a willingness to consider a drawdown of one brigade of between 3,500 and 4,500 U.S. troops from Iraq early next year, with more to follow over the next months based on conditions on the ground,” Petraeus, Seeing Gains in Iraq as Fragile, Is Wary of CutsGeneral Petraeus’s view is considered overly cautious by some other senior military officials and some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” General urges U.S. to reduce Iraq ‘footprint’ “The U.S. military should reduce its “footprint’ in Iraq to counter the impression that it is an occupying force, a prominent retired Marine general said in congressional testimony that challenged the case for continuing the troop increase backed by the White House.”

Congress-Iraq. Iraq withdrawals “off the table”: Republicans “Leading Republicans in Congress declared that troop withdrawal legislation should be scrapped because the United States has made significant progress in the Iraq war, just as Democrats were resuming efforts to bring soldiers home.” Antiwar drive stalls on Hill “Rank-and-file Democrats in Congress are criticizing the party’s leaders for allowing the White House to sap momentum from the antiwar movement during the August recess.”

Asia-Pacific summit. Bush urges Asia-Pacific nations to keep up the anti-terror fight “U.S. President George W. Bush urged Asia-Pacific nations to keep up the anti-terror fight, deploying both military might and democratic ideals to turn the tide against extremists.” Bush Urges Pacific Rim to Expand Free Trade “President Bush called on Pacific Rim leaders to support efforts to expand free trade, saying that open markets are a crucial element in strengthening the “forces of freedom and prosperity.” Harper warns APEC to adopt climate action “Stephen Harper is warning major economies on the Pacific Rim to factor adequate climate change policies into their business development strategies, in order to prevent serious consequences for the planet.”

Presidential campaign. After 6-month, $80 million preseason, GOP race gets real “Actor and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson finally joined the contest Wednesday night, ending a months-long tease and giving voters a chance to see whether he can match the buildup that already has him in the top tier of public opinion polls.” Late entry could doom Thompson “Fred Thompson joined the Republican field already vying for the lead in one early presidential primary state, but analysts say as a first-time national candidate, he may have entered too late.”

Children’s health. Ex-Senator to Lead Global Drive on Children’s Health “Bill Frist, the Tennessee Republican who retired this year as Senate majority leader, announced that he would lead a drive by the charity Save the Children to make the preventable deaths of millions of children in the developing world an issue for Americans.”

Patriot Act. Federal judge strikes down key Patriot Act provision “For the second time, a federal judge struck down a Patriot Act provision that authorizes the FBI to demand, without court warrants, that phone companies, financial institutions and Internet providers secretly turn over records for use in national security investigations.” Judge Invalidates Patriot Act Provisions “The ruling by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York said the FBI’s use of secret “national security letters” to demand such data violates the First Amendment and constitutional provisions on the separation of powers,”

Global warming. NOAA Scientists Say Arctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Expected “The Arctic ice cap is melting faster than scientists had expected and will shrink 40 percent by 2050 in most regions, with grim consequences for polar bears, walruses and other marine animals, according to government researchers.” Scientists Project Huge Loss of Sea Ice “Computer predictions of a dramatic decline of sea ice in regions of the Arctic are confirmed by actual observations, according to scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

Immigration. Social Security Warns of Logjam From Immigration Ruling “The Social Security Administration says a federal judge’s ruling last week suspending a crackdown on employers who hire illegal immigrants could cause a major disruption in its processing of millions of routine retirement and disability claims.” Stepped up enforcement may not boost roundups “Yet, even if the administration prevails in court — and all 17 initiatives that are part of the crackdown proceed — there likely won’t be a significant increase in roundups or deportations in a nation with an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.”

Afghanistan. Berlin begs Ottawa to stay past 2009 “Stung by a thwarted terrorist attack and facing their own ugly parliamentary debate over the war, German leaders are begging Canada to avoid withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in early 2009 as

Darfur . Libya is surprise venue for Sudan peace talks “Libyaemerged yesterday as the surprise choice for full-scale peace talks next month between Darfur’s rebel leaders and the Sudanese government. The talks, due to start on October 27 and to be chaired jointly by the United Nations and the African Union,” Envoy Lauds China’s Role In Diplomacy With Sudan “Liu Guijin, China’s special representative to Darfur, yesterday trumpeted his country’s success in persuading the Sudanese government in Khartoum to approve a hybrid African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force for the troubled Darfur region.”

Hurricane Felix. Remote villagers despair of Felix’s effects “Authorities said Hurricane Felix killed at least 98 people from this and other fishing villages along the Miskito Coast, some of their bodies carried into neighboring Honduran waters. Other indigenous people were plucked from the sea barely alive, clinging to driftwood. Scores were missing.”

North Korea . Bush pushed on Korea peace deal “US President George W Bush has said a peace treaty with North Korea can be achieved once Pyongyang ends its nuclear weapons programme.” N Korea invites US nuclear input “Experts from America, Russia and China will travel to North Korea later this month to study how the country’s nuclear facilities can be shut down, a senior US official announced today.”

Faith and politics. Faith no entree to high office “Religious faith is not an automatic entree to elective office, according to a new Pew survey on belief and the 2008 election.” Voters steer through religious faith of candidates Religion may be important to voters, but it shows no sign of being “a clear-cut positive in the 2008 presidential campaign,” the Pew Research Center reports.” See Pew’s report on the survey.

Life expectancy. Thirty years: difference in life expectancy between the world’s rich and poor peoples “Life expectancy in the richest countries of the world now exceeds the poorest by more than 30 years, figures show. The gap is widening across the world, with Western countries and the growing economies of Latin America and the Far East advancing more rapidly than Africa and the countries of the former Soviet Union.”

Feature interview. Interview with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez “… an email exchange between the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Dallas Morning News editorial columnist William McKenzie.”

Editorial. Unprotected Dafur (Boston Globe) “Given the UN’s sad record of allowing Sudan’s National Islamic Front regime to thwart efforts to halt the ethnic cleansing, murdering, and raping of villagers in Darfur, it is hard not to be skeptical about the outcome of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s visit this week to Sudan.”


Labor Day election roundup — a year early (Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times) “It’s no longer true that presidential races begin on Labor Day (unless Presidents Day counts as the new Labor Day). But even with this year’s unprecedented early maneuvering, the contest still heats up as autumn temperatures cool.”

Let the poor save for their future (Rourke O’Brien, New America Foundation, Christian Science Monitor) “In order to qualify for government assistance, from cash welfare and food stamps to disability income, low-income families must demonstrate they are not only income-poor but asset-poor as well. These rules were understandably designed to preserve assistance for those truly in need. Yet, while policymakers created an asset test to keep hypothetical, unemployed trust fund brats from collecting government checks, these rules are sending a dangerous message to low-income families: Do not save.”

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