Friday, October 06, 2006

Morning News Roundup (06 October)

BushCo's Wars
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Iraq yesterday and noted, “What the American people see on their television screens is the struggle. It is harder to show the political process that is going on at local levels, at provincial levels and indeed at the national level.” Iraqis, she said, are “making progress.” [NYTimes]

    After returning home from a week in Iraq, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) yesterday told reporters, “[I]n two or three months, if this thing hasn’t come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function, I think it’s a responsibility of our government internally to determine: Is there a change of course that we should take?” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Juan Cole notes that 61 people were killed or announced dead on Thursday during Rice's visit, with the following examples from Reuters' security development Factbox:
    BAGHDAD - A total of 30 bodies, most of them shot and tortured, were found in different districts of Baghdad during the past 24 hours, a source in the Interior Ministry said.

    BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed two people and wounded eight in Hurriya district in northwestern Baghdad, a source in the Interior Ministry said. The target of the explosion was not clear.

    BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb wounded 20 labourers as it exploded near a crowd of men waiting for day jobs in central Baghdad's Tayaran square, a source in the Interior Ministry said.
  • Top officials from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China were supposed meet in London to figure out what's next regarding Iran's nuclear program. But Condoleeza Rice's plane was delayed flying out of Baghdad, so the meeting has been postponed to next week. They are expected to confirm that negotiations are not going anywhere, and refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council. [Foreign Policy's Passport]

  • Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, again said the Bush administration is suppressing a classified intelligence report on Iraq that paints a “grim” picture of the situation. Harman wrote a letter to CIA Director Michael Hayden requesting the document’s release. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

Climate Crisis
  • Office workers who leave two million computers on every night are speeding up climate change, according to new research. One in five white-collar workers told a national survey that they left their computers on at least three times a week, wasting more than £100m of electricity every year. According to the PC Energy Report, power stations generating the electricity emit 200,000 tonnes of carbon a year - equivalent to the exhaust fumes of 120,000 4x4 cars. Switching off would save as much pollution as from all the cars in a city the size of Liverpool. [London's The Independent via my Hugg]

  • Rising temperatures in the 11 Western states due to global warming will cause more prolonged droughts, more widespread wildfires, and extensive die-offs in regional plant, fish and game habitats, according to a report Thursday from the National Wildlife Federation. The researchers cited growing evidence that rising regional temperatures had already caused warmer winters, earlier springs and less snow — increasing the likelihood of winter flooding and of diminished summer water supplies.

    To address climate change, the organization urged national limits on the greenhouse gases responsible for rising temperatures, such as carbon dioxide and methane. California recently adopted such limits. [LATimes]

Losing My Religion
  • It's not just Mark Foley, but the Washington Post reports this morning that the Republicans' "God gap" appears to be shrinking. Voters who've backed the GOP in recent years because they agree with the party's position on social issues like abortion and gay marriage are thinking twice because of the war in Iraq, because of what some of them see as a failure to deliver the spoils they thought they had coming and because of the way that House leaders have handled the House page scandal. [Salon's War Room]

  • A nationwide poll of 1,500 registered voters released yesterday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of white evangelicals are inclined to vote for Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a 21-point drop in support among this critical part of the GOP base.

    Even before the Foley scandal, the portion of white evangelicals with a "favorable" impression of the Republican Party had fallen sharply this year, from 63 percent to 54 percent, according to Pew polls. [WaPo]

  • Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.
    Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be “Bible-believing Christians” as adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation.

    While some critics say the statistics are greatly exaggerated (one evangelical magazine for youth ministers dubbed it “the 4 percent panic attack”), there is widespread consensus among evangelical leaders that they risk losing their teenagers.
    Over and over in interviews, evangelical teenagers said they felt like a tiny, beleaguered minority in their schools and neighborhoods. They said they often felt alone in their struggles to live by their “Biblical values” by avoiding casual sex, risqué music and videos, Internet pornography, alcohol and drugs. [NYTimes]

Domestic Potpourri
  • President George W. Bush is intensifying his bid to win his party credit for an improving economy, a move given new urgency by Republicans' difficulty in making moral values and the war on terror central issues in the mid-term elections.

    Today, Bush will visit a FedEx Corp. facility in the Washington area to talk up his economic achievements. In remarks to workers, he'll trumpet progress in trimming the federal budget deficit, the millions of new jobs created on his watch, and a pro-growth business environment that he attributes to tax cuts.
    With much of the Republicans' core message obscured by controversy, the White House has little choice but to hit the economic issue hard. What remains unclear is whether voters, who have been more pessimistic about the economy than the president, will give his party credit for the recent spate of good news after years in which family finances have been stretched thin. [Bloomberg]

And one more thing... Glenn Greenwald on the spasm of Republican finger-pointing over L'Affair Foley, emblematic of their usual avoidance of all responsibility:
[T]his scandal is like the CliffsNotes version of a more complicated treatise on how the Bush movement operates. Every one of their corrupt attributes is vividly on display here:

The absolute refusal ever to admit error. The desperate clinging to power above all else. The efforts to cloud what are clear matters of wrongdoing with irrelevant sideshows. And the parade of dishonest and just plainly inane demonization efforts to hide and distract from their wrongdoing: hence, the pages are manipulative sex vixens; a shadowy gay cabal is to blame; the real criminals are those who exposed the conduct, not those who engaged in it; liberals created the whole scandal; George Soros funded the whole thing; a Democratic Congressman did something wrong 23 years ago; one of the pages IM'd with Foley as a "hoax", and on and on. There has been a virtual carousel -- as there always is -- of one pathetic, desperate attempt after the next to deflect blame and demonize those who are pointing out the wrongdoing. This is what they always do, on every issue. The difference here is that everyone can see it, and so nothing is working.

Oh, and one last thing...
[A Time] poll suggests the Foley affair may have dented Republican hopes of retaining control of Congress in November. Among the registered voters who were polled, 54% said they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress, compared with 39% who favored the Republican. That margin may be fueled by the rolling scandal over sexually explicit e-mails sent to teenage pages by Republican Representative Mark Foley. Almost 80% of respondents were aware of the scandal, and only 16% approve of the Republicans' handling of it. [Time]

[ posted with ecto ]


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