The latest news on children’s health insurance, Iraq-Senate, campaign spending, death penalty, a new Gilded Age, Iraq bombing, Iraq, antiwar movement, Darfur, Iran, North Korea, election- African Americans, Barack Obama, climate change, education, vatican, Lady Bird Johnson, and select commentaries.
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Death penalty. Execution Of Ga. Man Near Despite Recantations “A Georgia man is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Tuesday for killing a police officer in 1989, even though the case against him has withered in recent years as most of the key witnesses at his trial have recanted and in some cases said they lied under pressure from police.” Inmate’s sister insists time shouldn’t run out on the truth “[Martina] Correia will be one of several people who will try to persuade the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles that her brother’s sentence should be commuted; that he is, as he proclaims, an innocent man.”

A new Gilded Age. The Richest of the Rich, Proud of a New Gilded Agemany of the nation’s very wealthy chief executives, entrepreneurs and financiers echo an earlier era – the Gilded Age before World War I – when powerful enterprises, dominated by men who grew immensely rich, ushered in the industrialization of the United States.” New Economic Populism Spurs Democrats “Clearly influenced by some of their most successful candidates in last year’s Congressional elections, Democrats are talking more and more about the anemic growth in American wages and the negative effects of trade and a globalized economy on American jobs and communities.”

Children’s health insurance. Child Health Insurance Stalls in Congress “If anything looked like a sure thing in the new Congress, it was that lawmakers would renew, and probably expand, the popular, decade-old State Children’s Health Insurance Program before it expires this year.” Bush Is Prepared to Veto Bill to Expand Child Insurance “The White House said that President Bush would veto a bipartisan plan to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, drafted over the last six months by senior members of the Senate Finance Committee.”

Iraq bombing. At least 86 killed in Iraq bomb attacks “At least 86 people were killed and 180 wounded today as a suicide truck bomb and two car bombs rocked the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk in coordinated attacks.” Scores dead in Kirkuk blasts “As many as 80 people have been killed and over 100 wounded by two separate bomb blasts in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, police said. The blasts on Monday came from explosives packed into a car and a truck, according to the authorities.”

Iraq. Mahdi Army, Not Al-Qaeda, is Enemy No. 1 in Western Baghdad “The militia has a structure familiar to U.S. soldiers: brigade and battalion commanders leading legions of foot soldiers. Its fighters are willing and able to attack Americans with armor-piercing bombs, mortars, machine guns and grenades.” Mistrust as Iraqi Troops Encounter New U.S. AlliesThe United States has placed great hope in its deepening ties with Sunni leaders like Abu Azzam who have vowed to fight Islamist militants. But his mostly Sunni group, the Volunteers, is different from the American-allied tribes in the Sunni heartland of Anbar Province, in part because it patrols only 40 minutes from central Baghdad and close to large Shiite districts. So American commanders view this as a crucial test case for whether Shiite leaders will tolerate new alliances with Sunni groups.” Saudis’ role in Iraq insurgency outlined “Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.”

Iraq-Senate. G.O.P. Senators Press to Change Strategy in IraqWith the Senate stymied so far in its bid to assemble enough votes to sway the White House on Iraq, two leading Republicans offered a new approach on Friday that would require President Bush to present a strategy by October that began limiting the involvement of American forces.” White House rejects GOP call on Iraq “The White House on Sunday rejected a call by two leading Republican senators to submit plans to start redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq by year’s end, saying that doing so would be premature before military commanders present a major progress report in September.”

Antiwar movement. Antiwar forces take aim at GOP lawmakers “With the war in Iraq roiling Congress, antiwar groups are targeting dozens of lawmakers – many facing tough reelection races in 2008 – in a bid to peel off enough Republicans to force President Bush to end the war there. Organizers claim that breaks in GOP ranks over war strategy in recent weeks are a result of more heat from home – and that they helped to generate it.”

Darfur. Sudan agrees to meet with rebels – “In an international summit Sunday to push peace in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, the Sudanese government agreed to soon meet rebel groups that thus far have refused to join peace talks.” Talks on to resolve Darfur tangle “The United Nations and African Union have hosted a meeting in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, to evaluate the troubled peace process in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur.”

Iran. Iran issues warning on U.N. sanctions “Iranian officials said that any further United Nations Security Council sanctions on the country could jeopardize its recent decisions to grant international inspectors greater access to nuclear sites and disclose information about past activities.”

North Korea. North Korea shuts nuclear plant in deal with US -” Marking a significant step towards resolving a four-and-a-half-year stand-off with the US, North Korea has shut down its only operating nuclear reactor, the country’s state-run media announced yesterday.”

Campaign spending. Campaigns Raise, Burn More Cash, More Quickly “Candidates for the White House are not only raising far more than ever before, many are also spending that money as fast as they get it, leaving some close to being forced from the race almost six months before the first votes are cast.”

Election-African Americans. Veteran activists sense new spirit “the black community has an unprecedented opportunity to influence the next presidential election. There is the obvious factor, which is the candidacy of the most viable black presidential contender ever. But there are other influences, as well: White candidates who are making a serious play for black votes, a revised primary calendar that gives new weight to heavily black regions of the country and a recent Supreme Court decision that could remobilize the black community against segregation.”

Barack Obama. Obama attacks violence in Chicago “Speaking to a Sunday congregation in Chicago, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama used often-fiery rhetoric to mourn the city’s recent spate of gun violence and challenged the government, the gun lobby and the public to do more to stop it.” Barack Obama: Putting faith out front “as Obama promotes faith as a means of uniting a diverse America around a shared set of values, he has at times found himself in a political minefield. To the left are liberals uneasy with religious intrusions into politics; to the right, conservatives who have questioned his Christianity and denounced his ties to Wright’s Afrocentric church.”

Climate change. Climate Change Debate Hinges On Economics “Here’s the good news about climate change: Energy and climate experts say the world already possesses the technological know-how for trimming greenhouse gas emissions enough to slow the perilous rise in the Earth’s temperatures. Here’s the bad news: Because of the enormous cost of addressing global warming, the energy legislation considered by Congress so far will make barely a dent in the problem, while farther-reaching climate proposals stand a remote chance of passage.”

Education. No Child law’s authors work on a revision “The landmark No Child Left Behind law, which has drawn impassioned criticism from educators and parents unhappy with its stringent requirements for public schools to raise students’ test scores, is being rewritten on Capitol Hill to fix what the bill’s authors now acknowledge are flaws.” RELATED: Changes under consideration

Vatican. Vatican actions worry some in other faith traditions “Twice in the last week, Pope Benedict XVI acted to clarify what he described as mistaken interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the landmark conference in the 1960s that modernized the Roman Catholic Church.”

Lady Bird Johnson. Procession carries Lady Bird to burial “Locusts whistled and crickets chirped in the searing Texas heat as Lady Bird Johnson was buried in a ceremony that recognized her life as a first lady, a conservationist, and a grandmother.” Mourners recall Lady Bird Johnson as a first lady with many passions “Lady Bird Johnson’s wit, wisdom and love of beauty were remembered Saturday as family, friends and presidents bade farewell at her funeral.”


Why GOP can’t wait (Donna Brazile, Washington Times) “With the Iraqi government now failing to achieve even the most modest of benchmarks outlined earlier this year, the president is asking both Congress and the public to be patient and to hold on. Been there, done that. It’s time to let go, Mr. President, and end this war.”

Pope Benedict’s mistake (James Carroll, Boston Globe) “once we understand ourselves as belonging to one religious tradition among many, we lose the innocent ability to regard it as absolute. Once our internal geography recognizes that, however much we are a center, we are not the only one, we have no choice but to affirm the positions of others not as “marginal to our centers,” in a phrase of theologian David Tracy, “but as centers of their own.”

Things We Don’t Have to Know (Colbert I. King, Washington Post) “That people of faith express their convictions in the political realm is neither unusual nor inappropriate. But forcing campaigners to jump through hoops to prove their religiosity or — equally offensive — opening up the nation’s pulpits for election-year pandering is a manipulation of religion that’s bad for the nation’s political and spiritual life. Where is the dividing line these days?”

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