News, 02/06/07

Iraq: Envoy abducted; US Marine, 25 Iraqis killed
Rhinelander Daily News

“Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms seized an Iranian diplomat as he drove through central Baghdad, officials said Tuesday. Iran said it held the United States responsible for the diplomat’s ‘safety and life.’ One Iraqi government official said the Iranian diplomat was detained Sunday by an Iraqi army unit that reports directly to the U.S. military. A military spokesman denied any U.S. troops or Iraqis that report to them were involved. … Iraqis also faced more violence on Tuesday as U.S. and Iraqi forces set up more checkpoints in preparation for a security sweep in Baghdad amid complaints that the operation was moving too slowly. … A U.S. Marine was killed in fighting in the volatile Anbar province on Monday, the military said Tuesday. At least 25 people were killed in bombs, mortar attacks and shootings nationwide, including a parked car bomb that exploded in southern Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding three others and another one that struck an eastern district in the capital, killing five people and wounding 12.” (02/06/07)

http://tinyurl.com/369vtq

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Bush sends $2.9 trillion budget to Congress
MSNBC

“President Bush sent a $2.9 trillion spending plan to a Democratic-controlled Congress on Monday, proposing a big increase in military spending, including billions more to fight the war in Iraq, while squeezing the rest of government to meet his goal of eliminating the deficit in five years. Bush’s spending plan would make his first-term tax cuts permanent, at a cost of $1.6 trillion over 10 years. He is seeking $78 billion in savings in the government’s big health care programs — Medicare and Medicaid — over the next five years.” (02/05/07)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16989248/

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Republicans block Senate debate on Iraq
Belleville News-Democrat

“Republicans blocked a full-fledged Senate debate over Iraq on Monday, but Democrats vowed they would eventually find a way to force President Bush to change course in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. troops. ‘We must heed the results of the November elections and the wishes of the American people,’ said Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid, D-Nev., spoke moments before a vote that sidetracked a nonbinding measure expressing disagreement with Bush’s plan to deploy an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2lq9uo

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FL: Elderly man killed by police posing as drug dealers
First Coast News

“Family and friends took the opportunity at Isaac Singletary’s funeral Saturday to talk about all he did in his life. They also talked about the unusual way he died and some things they believe that need to change in Jacksonville. … ‘He was an 80 year old man who was shot and killed in his own yard, defending his own property from what he thought were drug dealers. He would not allow drug activity to take place on his property. Everyone in the community respected him — even the dope dealers,’ said Griffin.” (02/03/07)

http://tinyurl.com/34uw4v

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Parents rate high as Internet controls
San Francisco Chronicle

“Neil Rubenking, lead software analyst for PC Magazine, shared his personal strategy for exercising parental control over how his two children surf the World Wide Web: ‘I’m sitting in my home office and through the door I can see my kids,’ he said, adding that putting computers in common rooms, rather than bedrooms, is one low-tech way he has chosen to protect his 11- and 14-year-olds from either straying into or seeking out the seamy side of cyberspace. If only Web safety were as simple as controlling computer access. Nowadays, cell phones and video game consoles often come with Internet service. Social networking sites have become virtual hangouts for young people whose online profiles reveal intimate details.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/36pnsr

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Edwards healthcare plan entails tax increase
Boston Globe

“Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said yesterday that his plan for universal health care would require higher taxes and cost up to $120 billion year. ‘We’re asking everybody to share in the responsibility of making health care work in this country,’ the 2004 vice presidential nominee said. ‘Yes, we’ll have to raise taxes. The only way you can pay for a health care plan that costs anywhere from $90 [billion] to $120 billion is there has to be a revenue source,’ the former North Carolina senator said. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Edwards said his plan would aim to provide healthcare coverage for the 47 million people who currently lack it. He said it also would reduce the cost of health coverage for middle-class families, partly by making health care programs more efficient.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yw5vbx

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Convictions vs conviction: Watada’s court-martial begins
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Outside the Army post, a surge of anti-war demonstrators from across the country is gathering in peaceful support of a military officer who refuses to go to Iraq. Fort Lewis this week will become ground zero for the peace movement. Activists have called for a national day of action today, when the court-martial of 28-year-old 1st Lt. Ehren Watada begins.” (02/05/07)

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/302439_watada05.html

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TX: Republicans ask Gov. Perry to rescind vaccine mandate
Conway Log Cabin Democrat

“Several key Republicans urged Gov. Rick Perry on Monday to rescind his executive order making Texas the first state to require girls to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. Lawmakers should have been allowed to hear from doctors, scientists and patients before the state implemented such a sweeping mandate, said state Sen. Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the health and human services committee.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2qynq2

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Craigslist posts satisfaction
Christian Science Monitor

“Jim Buckmaster wasn’t always CEO of Craigslist. First he was a satisfied customer. ‘I got my current job off of Craigslist,’ says Mr. Buckmaster, who’s been at the helm of the online classified-ad site since 2000. ‘I put my resume up on Craigslist in late ’99. Craig saw it there and invited me in for an interview.’ Craig is Craig Newmark, who founded Craigslist in 1995 and who, according to lore, first thought of it more as a hobby than a business. Today Craigslist is the 37th most popular Internet site in the world, according to Alexa.com, which tracks online traffic. It receives more than 15 million unique visitors per month, people who are placing classified ads or looking for things — jobs, household items, information, tickets, personal connections, and much more.” [editor’s note: I almost bought my new (to me) car from a Criagslist poster – SAT] (02/05/07)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0205/p13s02-stct.html

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Gorbachev to Gates: Have mercy on teacher!
Fox News

“The former leader of the Soviet empire is reaching out to computer czar Bill Gates, pleading with him to ‘show mercy’ toward a poor school teacher accused of software piracy. Mikhail Gorbachev asked the Microsoft founder to show leniency on Alexander Ponosov, a teacher from the Urals who had used pirated software in the classroom … through an open letter on the former U.S.S.R. president’s website. ‘A teacher, who has dedicated his life to the education of children and who receives a modest salary that does not bear comparison with the salaries of even regular staff in your company, is threatened with detention in Siberian prison camps,’ the letter read, [and asked] … that the complaint against Ponosov be withdrawn, as the teacher ‘did not realize he was committing a crime.'” [editor’s note: I was not aware that Gates had the royal authority to grant pardons, especially across national borders! – SAT] (02/05/07)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250345,00.html

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FL: Feeding the homeless illegal in Orlando
International Herald Tribune [France]

“Orlando, population 200,000, works hard to conjure the image of a true-life Pleasantville. But its spotless sidewalks and twinkling skyline belie a real city with real maladies — most notably, a surging homeless population that authorities are struggling to control. After a law that banned panhandling was struck down by the courts, the city tried to discourage aggressive beggars by obliging them to carry ID cards, and later by confining them to 3-by-15-foot (90-centimeter-by-4.6-meter) ‘panhandling zones’ painted in blue on sidewalks downtown. Despite these laws, the number of people living on the streets of the metro area swelled, from roughly 5,000 in 1999 to an estimated 8,500 today, dwarfing the city’s shelter capacity for 2,000 people.S o in July, the city commission tried a ‘supply-side’ approach: It passed an ordinance regulating the feeding of large groups of people in Orlando’s downtown parks.” (02/03/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2qbxbm

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AZ: Groups’ drive to curb violence gains strength
Arizona Republic

“The peace movement in Arizona and beyond is gaining strength as Iraq falls deeper into chaos and polls indicate that the majority of Americans no longer support the war. ‘We’re at the point now that we’re like, ‘We told you so,” said Lorraine Krofchok, national director of Grandmothers for Peace, which has a chapter in Sun City. ‘We said this war was going to be a mess, and look at it.’ Nearly a dozen Arizonans will be in Washington today to lobby lawmakers to form a Department of Peace, a Cabinet-level department devoted to teaching and ensuring peace and non-violence in domestic and international affairs. Legislation to form the department will be introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic presidential hopeful from Ohio. The bill is supported by Rep. Raul Grijalva, [D-AZ].” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yp7nh7

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Astronaut charged with attempted kidnapping
Grand Island Independent

“An astronaut drove 900 miles and donned a disguise to confront a woman she believed was her rival for the affections of a space shuttle pilot, police said. She was arrested Monday and charged with attempted kidnapping and other counts. U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak, 43, who flew last July on a shuttle mission to the international space station, was also charged with attempted vehicle burglary with battery, destruction of evidence and battery. She was denied bail.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yuslww

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US government to set up DNA bank as law enforcement tool
Raw Story

“US authorities will soon begin collecting DNA samples from suspects arrested or detained by federal authorities, including hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, the New York Times reported. The new rules, which are being put in place by the US Justice Department, aim to make the practice of collecting DNA samples as routine as fingerprinting for anyone detained by federal agents. Until now, federal authorities have taken DNA samples only from convicted felons, but the new rules would allow a vast expansion of that practice. Illegal immigrants are by far the largest group affected by the policy change, the daily wrote.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yothub

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CA: Anti-war movement growing
San Diego Union-Tribune

“It hasn’t exactly been easy over the past few years for San Diego’s anti-war activists. They’ve been heckled. Dismissed by the media. A few have been arrested. Many of their events have attracted only a few dozen people or so. But some local war critics are cautiously optimistic that their movement may be gaining steam and mainstream support. They think a tipping point may have been reached. Their proof: More than 1,500 people jammed an anti-war rally in downtown San Diego on Jan. 27, making it one of the largest and most enthusiastic protests since the war began.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/3d7h4s

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Florida begins cleanup from deadly storms
Boston Globe

“Pulling blue tarpaulins over the houses that still had walls, neighbors, jail inmates, and National Guard troops began cleanup work in the rain yesterday after tornado-bearing thunderstorms ripped through central Florida, killing at least 20 people. The victims ranged from a 92-year-old man to 17-year-old Brittany May, killed by a falling tree that crushed her bedroom. President Bush designated four counties as disaster areas, releasing millions of dollars in aid for recovery and individual assistance. ‘It makes you sick to your stomach for what we saw,’ David Paulison, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said after touring the area yesterday morning with Governor Charlie Crist.” [editor’s note: Having both parents currently wintering at Lady Lake, I had a rough morning until I reached them — safe & sound and out driving around looking at the wreckage … about a mile away! – SAT] (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2psvce

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SD: Ban sought on hiring per-signature petitioning
San Diego Union-Tribune

“The state House of Representatives has voted to make it illegal to pay people per signature in campaigns to gather enough support to get a measure on South Dakota’s ballot. … State Rep. Mike Buckingham, who proposed the new law, said allowing payment for each signature collected on a petition is a temptation to fraud: People hired to gather signatures can pull names out of the phone book and fake signatures on petitions to make extra money, he said. If the new law passes, petition carriers could still be paid by the hour or get a set salary, and a quota could not be set on the number of names they must obtain. It would also require petition circulators to be South Dakota residents.” [editor’s note: Instead of restricting the signature process, a sane reform would just lower the requirements, so that even a half-serious campaign or third-party effort could achieve the ballot with volunteer help! – SAT] (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/38637l

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CO: Police chief supports expanded “Make my day”
Montrose Press

“Not everyone is a fan of a pending bill to expand Colorado’s ‘Make My Day’ protections to businesses, but Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn said he did not believe the measure’s passage would necessarily increase violence. House Bill 1011, which passed the House judiciary committee Wednesday, would allow business owners to use deadly force against intruders, in certain circumstances, without fear of prosecution. A provision that would have extended the same protection to vehicles was dropped.” (02/03/07)

http://www.montrosepress.com/articles/2007/02/03/local_news/3.txt

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In Senate, passage of Iraq resolution uncertain
Christian Science Monitor

“As the Senate launches a historic debate Monday over whether to oppose President Bush’s new strategy for the Iraq war, the outcome may well turn on a few votes on both sides of the aisle. Though not binding on the president, a vote in favor of a resolution to reject his plan to add 21,500 US forces in Iraq would be Congress’s first against the war since it authorized the use of force in 2002. Some backers of a compromise resolution worked out by Sens. John Warner (R) of Virginia and Carl Levin (D) of Michigan say it would be a first step toward pushing for more forceful moves, such as curbing war funds or setting a timetable for troop withdrawal. Opponents, including most Republican senators, say it would send a message of disunity to US friends and foes abroad and undermine prospects for success. Both sides are weighing the risks of action — or inaction.” (02/04/07)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0205/p01s01-usfp.html

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VA: William & Mary loses cross, controversy rising
Fox News

“A Catholic, Vince Haley often went to Mass at the College of William and Mary’s historic chapel as an undergraduate in the 1980s. Also a Catholic, school President Gene R. Nichol often slips into the 120-seat chapel alone at night to think in the quiet. Both men agree the chapel is a sacred space meaningful to students, alumni, faculty and staff who use it for secular school events — starting with freshman orientation programs — as well as weddings and religious services. They clash, though, over what to do with an unadorned, 18-inch brass cross that had been displayed on the altar since about 1940.” (02/04/07)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250154,00.html

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UK: Police seize, crush innocent car
This is Lancashire [UK]

“A father of four’s car was crushed after police wrongly accused him of driving without insurance. Officers stopped Steven Booth’s Peugeot while he was driving to work in Blackburn Road, Bolton. They told him that according to their database he had no insurance and made him get out and walk, leaving his car parked at the side of the road. Police then arranged for the car to be towed away. Because Mr Booth and his family could not raise the £105 fee for it to be released from the compound within the specified 14-day period, it was crushed.Y et the car was fully insured by the AA. Now Mr Booth and his family do not have any transport.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/3b5un8

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Who’da thought Bubble Wrap could change lives?
Tennessean

“Grayson Rosenberger punctuates the conversation by popping a sheet of Bubble Wrap. ‘I’m sorry,’ says the recently crowned King of All Bubble Wrap inventors. ‘I just can’t help it.’ Everyone pops this stuff. Even an eighth-grade inventor who plans to resurrect lives in Ghana by using the packing material to make ‘artificial skin’ for amputees. ‘Some of my friends think I’m winning a million bucks, that I’m worldwide famous,’ says the Franklin Road Academy trombonist and aspiring linebacker. Well, he did win a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond as winner of a national contest sponsored by Bubble Wrap manufacturer Sealed Air Corp. And NBC’s Today show has been in town to prepare a feature on the kid who was feted a week ago at the Rainbow Room in New York City.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2c64pv

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Mexico’s gangs take over US meth trade
Arizona Republic

“Four guards lay dead in pools of blood, their hands and feet bound with gray duct tape, as dawn broke over the Medix pharmaceutical plant in Mexico City. The gate was open, the security system dismantled. It looked as well-planned as a bank heist. Except these robbers made off with a far bigger treasure: more than one ton of the chemical pseudoephedrine, enough to make 4 million hits of crystal methamphetamine, the hottest drug in America. The finished product could fetch $120 million on U.S. street corners. The robbery at the Medix lab in July is part of a boom in Mexican meth as ‘superlabs’ controlled by Mexican cartels take over what was once a mom-and-pop business in the United States.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/284ur9

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Colleges reach out to prevent suicides
San Francisco Chronicle

“Not far into her freshman year, the once-outgoing and ambitious Dana Gatziolis started skipping classes, lost her appetite and slept whenever she could. Then followed a long struggle that included treatment, a suicide attempt and more treatment. Now she helps other students facing depression. Gatziolis, who is doing well as a sophomore at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., appears to be a success story at a time when college counselors across the country report seeing an increasing number of students with severe psychological problems. As universities and campuses — nationally and around the Bay Area — grapple with how to keep students safe, they’re experimenting with a range of mental health and suicide-prevention programs and initiatives, such as the promising Active Minds on Campus, started by students at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2q95mg

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Bush budget would limit all spending but for war
Yahoo! News

“President George W. Bush said on Saturday his upcoming budget proposal would emphasize restraint on domestic spending while making defense and war costs for Iraq and Afghanistan the top priority. ‘Cutting the deficit during a time of war requires us to restrain spending in other areas,’ Bush said in his weekly radio address. Previewing the fiscal year 2008 budget he will unveil on Monday, Bush also said it would show that his goal of erasing the deficit by 2012 could be accomplished while making his tax cuts permanent.” [editor’s note: Stop the war first, then we’ll talk! – SAT] (02/04/07)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070203/bs_nm/bush_budget_dc

Commentary, 02/06/07

Monkey-Fu Part III:Tactics
Backwoods Home Magazine

by Claire Wolfe

“The Toad considered the bill lying on his desk. It bore the name of a credibly bland Midwestern congressman as sponsor, though in fact like so many other bills making their way through Congress, it had been written by some faceless drone in an industry group or government bureau. Custom needs — custom laws; that’s how the game is played. The case for this particular bill had been presented to The Toad in a discreet Georgetown bistro by the representative of The Agri-Tech Industry Coalition — presented along with certain other considerations. Rep. Ted O’Day, the Great Centrist, smiled as he thought of those considerations. Some of them were now waiting for him in an Austrian bearer account. The bill’s title was ‘The Food Supply Health and Security Act.’ The few colleagues paying any attention were already calling it ‘A Chip in Every Chicken.'” (02/05/07)

http://www.backwoodshome.com/columns/wolfe070205.html

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Children vs School: Who is failing whom?
The Choice Channel

by R. Lee Wrights

“A few years ago I wrote an open editorial for a local newspaper in which I informed the superintendent of my daughter’s public school district that his services were no longer required. As far as my family and I were concerned, it was the day we fired the local bureaucrats and took our child out of a failing education system. I said it then and I say it now, government today is filled with politicians that think it is their job to take care of us. Either we are too lazy to care for ourselves and our children; or, we are too stupid to know what is best for our precious offspring and ourselves.” (02/05/07)

http://www.isil.org/channels/archives/6850

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Healthcare reform: Partial credit for Bush plan
Free Market News Network

by Steve Trinward

“With all the sound and fury surrounding his proposal for healthcare reform, presented during his State of the Union speech last month, President George W. Bush has garnered almost as much critical commentary as he has for his plans for the war in Iraq. From the right-wingers come praise for his efforts to equalize tax-status for the employer and employee, although some of the motives are suspect; from the ‘progressive’ left is applause for his attempt to break the link between employment and healthcare, although the motives behind that are also considered somewhat suspicious. The outcome of the Bush plan, at least on its own merits, would still be a healthcare system dominated by the Big Insurance industry — driven by that bottom-line, instead of by the individual choices of seekers of personal wellness. While calling for some dramatic changes in tax-status (likely to affect a significant number of people), there’s really not that much in the way of any major paradigm shift.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/24k6rl

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Wasting billions on military spending
Independent Institute

by Ivan Eland

“I know, there are wars on — which is the main justification given for the ballooning defense budget. It is true that during Bush’s tenure, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have squandered a staggering $500 billion — all to actually increase the chances that anti-American terrorism will again occur. But the military services, which play the bureaucratic budget game well, have used the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to fund high-tech military toys that have little to do with fighting against terrorism or in Iraq or Afghanistan. And according to the hawks, such as the Journal, the taxpayer should be happy that all of this wasted money, plus some legitimate spending on what should be relatively inexpensive efforts against terrorists, comes in at only 4% of the GDP! No armed force ever fought another — even a guerrilla army or terrorist group — with a percentage of GDP.” (02/05/07)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1906

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Fill’er up, terror free
Reason

by Katherine Mangu-Ward

“Last week saw the unofficial opening of the nation’s first Terror-Free Oil filling station, which sells only gas that originates from countries that do not support terrorism and oil companies that do not operate in the Middle East. The existence of the station was billed a s new way for U.S. customers to make a statement about energy policy and corporate behavior with their dollars. I was chewing on the idea on Thursday afternoon, when I stopped to fill up the tank of my busted 1998 Camry on my way to the Whole Foods in Cambridge, MA. As usual, I drove past the Citgo station to fill up at the Exxon station across the street in my own tiny version of protest about the country of origin of my fuel. These days, any purchase is fair game for an ideological battle.” (02/06/07)

http://www.reason.com/news/show/118507.html>

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Global warming: So what else is new?
Cato Institute

by Patrick J. Michaels

“The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a slim summary last Friday trimming down thousands of pages of its massive overall Fourth Scientific Assessment on global warming, which will be released in May. Hopefully the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ will be an accurate distillation. Hundreds of scientists have been involved in the review process, and it’s safe to say that means hundreds of bored scientists, because there’s very little in it that’s scientifically new. For example, it will report with increasing certitude that humans are responsible for most of the surface warming that began in the mid-1970s. That’s been pretty obvious for years.” (02/06/07)

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=7543

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Pigs at the public trough
LewRockwell.Com

by Charles H. Featherstone

“Does anyone remember the days when ‘libertarians’ spent their time arguing the merits of government contracting? That it would be more efficient, cheaper, and provide ‘better service’ to have ‘private contractors’ do the same jobs that ‘civil servants’ are currently paid to do? (Maybe there are ‘libertarians’ who still passionately argue these points, I don’t know.) The Sunday New York Times ran a lengthy story that ought to put paid to any notion that ‘private firms’ contracting with the government can do government’s work cheaper, better and faster …” (02/06/07)

http://www.lewrockwell.com/featherstone/featherstone66.html

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How to eliminate eminent domain
The Free Liberal

by Fred E. Foldvary

“Some Georgists, followers of Henry George, justify eminent domain as a way to maximize the economic rent of a site even if the government collects only a small part of it and most of it goes into the pockets of a developer who kicks out poor folks so that developers can indulge in rent seeking. In my judgement, under pure geoism, the philosophy inspired by the thought of Henry George, the title holder should have complete rights of possession so long as the economic rent of the land is distributed to the community, as the land rent properly belongs to the residents in equal shares, the land value being a creation of the community and of nature, not the exertions of the title holder. The complete right of possession, conditional only on the payment of the economic rent, would preclude eminent domain.” (02/06/07)

http://www.freeliberal.com/archives/002597.html

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Why America owes Rush Limbaugh a debt of gratitude
Liberty For All

by Joseph Seehusen

“Rush Limbaugh’s ordeal has exposed every drug warrior in America as a rank hypocrite, and for that the entire nation owes him a debt of gratitude. One thing we don’t hear from American politicians very often is silence, especially where the drug war is concerned. Yet when the story broke that Limbaugh was being investigated on suspicion for illegally procuring enough OxyContin pain medication ‘to kill a horse,’ as his housekeeper described it, we heard hardly a peep from the usual tough-on-crime crowd in Washington, DC.” (written 10/03; posted 02/05/07)

http://www.libertyforall.net/?p=502

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Can “the market” really fix healthcare?
The Medical Freedom Channel

by Steve Trinward

“Every time a libertarian tries to argue for getting the government out of a ‘social issue’ (thereby presumably removing the element of enforced coercion from the equation?), the immediate response from the average non-believer is, ‘well how are you going to handle it?’ And the knee-jerk reply of the libertarian is apt to be some minor variation on, ‘the market will take care of it.’ In spite of the validity of this claim, in an ideal world of free society — with no coercive government, just individuals choosing to do the ‘right’ things to perpetuate the culture — it falls far short of an explanation of liberty for those who have yet to absorb the reading-list and drink the right kool-aid. The transition from the current state-dominated culture and ‘market’ (which is about as far from ‘free’ as it gets), if it succeeds at all, will require a considerable amount of rethinking, if it is to avoid causing major havoc on all those caught in the backwash. All it takes to realize this is a glance at the day’s headlines.” (02/05/07)

http://www.isil.org/channels/archives/6843

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Pledge of Allegiance = Worship of Government
The Libertarian Enterprise

by Tinny Ray

“‘Stop The Pledge,’ a libertarian pressure group, works to repeal laws in those states that still retain a daily Pledge ritual in government schools. The group asks for your aid in notifying the public to contribute information (via email at pledge-of-allegiance@earthlink.net or the contact info below) for a study of how many students are taught the whole history of the Pledge; how many students still chant robotically each day; and how many students feel they would be disciplined or persecuted for refusals.” (02/04/07)

http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2007/tle404-20070204-03.html

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Gay marriage and democracy
America’s Future Foundation

by James Kirchick

“On January 3rd, the Massachusetts Legislature — convened in a joint session of its House and Senate known as a Constitutional Convention — voted 62 to 134 to place an amendment banning gay marriage on the state ballot in 2008. If the measure once again gains the support of 25% (50 members) of the legislature in the next legislative session, it will have cleared the last hurdle before voters have their say on the matter. Gay marriage advocates in Massachusetts, where the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state Constitution mandated gay marriage in 2003, immediately cried foul.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2bqtue

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Retirement syndrome
Boston Globe

by James Carroll

“Four years ago today, then Secretary of State Colin Powell testified before the UN Security Council on the absolute necessity of going to war against Saddam Hussein. What followed is history. That testimony will define the bleak legacy of Colin Powell, but lately he has marked his distance from the war that his testimony both justified and enabled. In December, he contradicted administration claims to declare that the United States is ‘losing’ the war in Iraq, and last month he contradicted the Bush ‘surge’ strategy by calling for a ‘drawdown’ of forces. Clearly, the former secretary of state is a man in the grip of regret. Powell’s example calls to mind the long American tradition of powerful figures who, while in office, put in place structures of unbridled violence, only, upon leaving office, to warn of them.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2285al

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Bush’s double standard on race in schools
Christian Science Monitor

by Alec Ian Gershberg & Darrick Hamilton

“The Supreme Court is considering two school desegregation cases that will probably result in limits on the use of race as a criterion for admission to public elementary and high schools. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration is supporting the plaintiffs’ arguments that the use of such racial criteria is unconstitutional. … But Bush officials are being inconsistent. They don’t apply that standard to their own public education policies. It’s time they embraced the premise of their own student testing rules — race matters — and support efforts to promote access and diversity in schools. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, is remarkable because it deals with racial issues in a manner at odds with nearly every other policy advocated by the Bush administration — including its current argument to the Supreme Court that school desegregation plans must be ‘race neutral.'” (02/05/07)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0205/p09s01-coop.html

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Green distortions
Competitive Enterprise Institute

by Christopher C. Horner

“It is, of course, political ritual for ideological factions to flog their own issue as one for which an elected majority was granted a mandate, even when that issue was demonstrably eschewed during the campaign by the victors. The case of global warming or climate change in the 2006 elections is no different, as revealed in the remark attributed to Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, that ‘the politics of global warming has changed and a new consensus for action is emerging.'” (02/04/07)

http://www.cei.org/gencon/019,05746.cfm

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Above the law
Truthout

by David Swanson

“So, there you have a position from an official representative of the Bush administration testifying before Congress. This president believes that laws passed by Congress can be overturned by the president. Only after the Supreme Court has ruled on each point of law is the president obliged to obey and properly execute. So, why have a Congress at all? Its sole function would seem to be the appointment and impeachment of Supreme Court justices. We should be able to at least cut back on its budget if that’s all it has to do.” (02/05/07)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/020507B.shtml

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Money, money, money … and the Presidency
Fox News

by Susan Estrich

“A million dollars. That’s what it will reportedly take to make it into Hillary’s top tier of fundraisers. That’s 10 times what George W. Bush charged for membership in his top tier, but times have changed. Here’s my prediction: it will be a crowd. The usual suspects and then some. There will be no shortage of would-be new best friends and best friends forever for the Former First Lady. According to some of the folks I know who are getting the calls and e-mails, there’s nothing subtle about the pitch. The train is leaving the station. Don’t give to the other candidates. Now is the time to max out for both the primary and the general election, for both you and your partner, and grown children if you have them.” (02/04/07)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250227,00.html

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The market and political freedom
Foundation for Economic Education

by John Marangos

“The history of civilized societies is a timeless effort to enhance freedom. Freedom must be viewed as a whole, and anything that reduces it in one aspect of life is likely to reduce it in others as well. Free people make decisions through their independent minds and have the courage to pursue their own convictions through exchange relations in the market. Thus a free person rejects attempts by others to exercise power over his own choices.” (written 06/99; posted 02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/27v8am

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Nuclear power looks better amid rising concerns
Tennessean

by H.L. Dodds

“All evidence suggests that the United States will maintain its currently diverse portfolio of electricity generation options in the future; namely, coal, oil, natural gas, renewables, and nuclear. However, nuclear has some distinct advantages over the other options: Nuclear is cleaner because it does not pollute the air or emit greenhouse gases; nuclear is less expensive to produce; it has an outstanding safety record in the U.S.; and most importantly, it helps to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. For the United States to realize the full benefits of electricity generated by nuclear power, two concerns must be addressed.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/ysnjsd

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Challenge market fundamentalism
Tom Paine

by Ruth Rosen

“Women have gained the potential for enormous power in D.C. with Nancy Pelosi’s election as speaker of the House. The Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues will grow to become perhaps the largest in Congress, but the question remains: How will these newly empowered women use their power? Among the issues on the wish list of newly elected women, according to Women’s eNews, are women’s health, educational equity, sex trafficking, women in prison and international domestic violence. All are important but will go nowhere if women leaders don’t challenge market fundamentalism, the exaggerated and quite irrational belief in the ability of markets to solve all problems, an economic fundamentalism that has dominated our national political debate for a generation.” [editor’s note: The characterization of this phenomenon as having anything to do with the “free market” is ludicrous of course, but once we pass by the terminology, replacing the term with its correct label (corporatist oligarchy, engineered by abusing government power), it’s a well-reasoned piece – SAT] (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yqn8qs

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Net reality of net neutrality
Frontiers of Freedom

by Chuck Muth

“The Internet has grown and flourished because it’s a great idea enabled by advanced technology which is affordable to the average consumer combined with minimal government involvement. Yes, the net still has some problems with ‘spam’ and viruses and such, but private enterprise is addressing and fixing those problems every day. Life’s not perfect on the worldwide web, but it’s pretty doggone good. That could soon change if the federal government successfully gets its busy-body nose under the e-tent with a really bad idea known in political circles as ‘net neutrality.'” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2ggu79

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Taking Cheney’s words seriously
Common Dreams

by Ira Chernus

“If we want to have any chance of curing the public’s appetite for war, we can’t prescribe just another dose of the same old ‘corporate greed’ story. Not that we should ignore corporate greed. It’s part of the story of every war. But we need to put our message in a broader context that can explain not merely why we go to war, but why we lose. … We, Cheney says, are fighting mainly to send a symbolic message to the world, and to ourselves. It’s a demonstration war. It’s war as theater. The victory we want to score can happen only inside the minds of the audience. That’s why we can’t ever know for sure when we’ve won. We can’t even say for sure what ‘victory’ might mean. And that means our fighters won’t ever have the same zeal for victory as their opponents.That should be a fairly simple message to get across to the public. But first we have to take some of Cheney’s words seriously. ” (02/05/07)

http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0205-26.htm

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Attention: Deficit disorder
The American Prospect

by Robert Bixby & Robert Kuttner

Rebuttal from the Concord Coalition’s executive director to TAP’s Kuttner: Bixby: “Robert Kuttner’s attack on the Concord Coalition … misstates important facts and ignores others in dismissing our call for bipartisan cooperation on fiscal policy. The immediate source of Kuttner’s scorn was an ad we ran in The New York Times calling on Congress and the President to negotiate a balanced budget plan and begin a bipartisan process for addressing the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. We observed, ‘a realistic strategy will require reductions in promised benefits, higher revenues, or a combination of both.’ Kuttner’s view is essentially that there is no need for a bipartisan solution to the budget deficit because the deficit isn’t much of a problem, and to the extent that it is a problem the cure is to repeal the Bush tax cuts.” [Kuttner’s response follows at the end of this piece – SAT] (02/05/07)

http://www.prospect.org/web/view-web.ww?id=12436

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Posner’s catastrophes, and ours
Ludwig von Mises Institute

by J.H. Huebert

“Richard Posner is widely described as a libertarian, but as many of this journal’s readers likely know, this is not true. And the latest of his many books, Catastrophe: Risk and Response, may be his most statist work yet, for it wants nothing more than to scare you into accepting bigger, ever-more-powerful government. It is part of a stream of recent work from University of Chicago court intellectuals advocating bigger government and explicitly attacking those who warn against trading liberty for security.” (02/05/07)

http://www.mises.org/story/2470

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Declassified, but still unavailable
In These Times

by Nat Parry

“At the stroke of midnight on December 31, hundreds of millions of pages of secret government documents — including 270 million pages of FBI files — were instantly declassified, promising to shed light on everything from the Cuban Missile Crisis to government surveillance of antiwar and civil rights activists in the ’60s and ’70s. It was to be a ‘Cinderella moment,’ said the New York Times, for researchers of the government’s secret history. But upon contacting the National Archives, researchers learned that declassification is not the same thing as release — none of the documents were publicly available for review.” (02/05/07)

http://www.inthesetimes.com/main/article/3007/

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On its day, a look at Mexico’s constitution
Mexidata

by Alan Wall

“February 5th is Mexican Constitution Day. … The Mexican Constitution spells out the same basic rights as the U.S. Constitution — freedom of speech, religion, petition, legal rights — yet it goes farther, guaranteeing Mexicans the right to a good job (Article 123), decent housing, and health protection and care (Article 4). And the aforementioned Article 123 spells out workers’ rights in detail. … Nevertheless, as Mexican history has shown, just because you decree a right doesn’t mean it exists …. The right to bear arms is part of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and it is also guaranteed in the Mexican Constitution (Article 10). But Mexican weapons’ laws are more restrictive than in the U.S. Needless to say, this hasn’t prevented Mexican criminals from bearing arms, including rocket launchers and grenades, as recent news reports demonstrate.” (02/05/07)

http://www.mexidata.info/id1244.html

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The next war has already begun
The Nation

by Laura Flanders

“Last weekend’s peace march in Washington was short a few bodies. A plane-load of potential marchers was held up by British Airways on our way back from the World Social Forum in Nairobi. No, we weren’t detained, just delayed, by an engine failure discovered late at night on the runway. There we were, packed, pumped up, and eager for action after a week of talk when the pilot came on the sound system and announced that one of the jumbo jet’s four engines had failed and our departure was put off for a day. … But after ten days in Kenya, the contrast in priorities between the peace agenda in DC and that in Nairobi couldn’t be starker. Dig as I might into the reporting on Saturday’s event, I can’t find any serious mention of the US intervention in Somalia.” (02/02/07)

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?pid=162840

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Political power and the rule of law
Texas Straight Talk

by US Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

“With the elections over and the 110th Congress settling in, the media have been reporting ad nauseam about who has assumed new political power in Washington. We’re subjected to breathless reports about emerging power brokers in Congress; how so-and-so is now the powerful chair of an important committee; how certain candidates are amassing power for the 2008 elections, and so on. Nobody questions this use of the word ‘power,’ or considers its connotations. It’s simply assumed, in Washington and the mainstream media, that political power is proper and inevitable. The problem is that politicians are not supposed to have power over us– we’re supposed to be free. We seem to have forgotten that freedom means the absence of government coercion. … Remember that one’s relationship with the state is never voluntary. … That is why political power must be fiercely constrained by the American people.” (02/05/07)

http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2007/tst020507.htm

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Now it’s official: Iraq’s a mess
Asia Times

by Jim Lobe

“Just in case they needed reminding ahead of passing a non-binding resolution on President George W Bush’s plans to send more troops to Iraq, US senators have it officially: a civil war is raging in Iraq and the country’s troubles won’t end any time soon. The US intelligence community’s report also debunks a frequent Bush claim that Iran plays a major role in support of Shi’ite militias.” (02/05/07)

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB06Ak02.html

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The message in the bomb scare
Boston Globe

by Jeff Jacoby

“Suppose for a moment that the harmless Lite-Brites that threw Boston into such pandemonium last week hadn’t been so harmless after all. Suppose that the 38 illuminated devices attached to highway overpasses and other public spots around the city hadn’t been ‘guerrilla art’ intended to promote an animated show on cable TV, but the terrorist bombs that authorities at first feared they were. Suppose the individuals behind this operation in Boston and nine other cities had been devotees not of ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force,’ an inane cartoon about talking fast food, but of Al Qaeda and its violent, totalitarian version of Islam. Suppose the worst had very nearly come to pass, and had been averted only by the grace of God and the nick-of-time intervention of the police department bomb squads. What would we be doing now? Patting ourselves on the back for winning a round in the war against terrorism? Hardly. We would be gasping at how close we had just come to suffering a devastating attack.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/26ow3d

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What “Israel’s right to exist” means to Palestinians
Christian Science Monitor

by John V. Whitbeck

“Since the Palestinian elections in 2006, Israel and much of the West have asserted that the principal obstacle to any progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace is the refusal of Hamas to ‘recognize Israel,’ or to ‘recognize Israel’s existence,’ or to ‘recognize Israel’s right to exist.’ These three verbal formulations have been used by Israel, the United States, and the European Union as a rationale for collective punishment of the Palestinian people. The phrases are also used by the media, politicians, and even diplomats interchangeably, as though they mean the same thing. They do not. ‘Recognizing Israel’ or any other state is a formal legal and diplomatic act by one state with respect to another state. It is inappropriate — indeed, nonsensical — to talk about a political party or movement extending diplomatic recognition to a state. To talk of Hamas ‘recognizing Israel’ is simply to use sloppy, confusing, and deceptive shorthand for the real demand being made of the Palestinians.” (02/04/07)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0202/p09s02-coop.html

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Agenda: The principles behind editorial positions
South Bend Tribune

by staff

“We support the Second Amendment to the Constitution and do not believe that sensible gun control and the Constitution are in conflict. We believe gun sales should be subject to a waiting period that allows purchasers’ qualifications to be verified. Violations of gun laws should be aggressively investigated and prosecuted.” [Editor’s note: Ah, those ‘sensible gun laws’ – MLS](02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2sefqr

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The blame game
The American Prospect

by Gareth Porter

“After promising that the Bush administration would publish a document this week detailing the evidence for its charge that Iranians in Iraq are providing arms and advice to Shiite militias to kill American troops, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack suggested Wednesday that no such document would be forthcoming any time soon. Paul Richter of The Los Angeles Times reported that some officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, had resisted the release of the dossier, because they believed the assertions contained in it would have so little credibility that it would backfire politically. As Richter wrote, ‘They want to avoid repeating the embarrassment that followed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, when it became clear that information the administration cited to justify the war was incorrect.'” (02/02/07)

http://www.prospect.org/web/view-web.ww?id=12433

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Education reform: Pass or fail?
In These Times

by Adam Doster

“The Cerveny Middle School in Northwest Detroit looks like any other aging public school in a depressed urban area. The ominous brick structure is checkered with Cold War-era bomb shelter signs, the linoleum tile floors are scuffed from years of foot traffic and a busted clock rests on a hallway wall in dire need of a paint job. But one classroom on the second floor is markedly different. A Malcolm X quotation — ‘I never felt free until I began to read’ — lines the outer wall, and Gary Paulsen’s teenage classic Hatchet leans against the chalkboard alongside a biography of Che Guevara. When the bell rings, a seventh grade language arts class enters the room and begins an orderly, active and sophisticated discussion about the effects of depopulation on their once-enormous city. Welcome to English class with Nate Walker.” (02/04/07)

http://www.inthesetimes.com/main/article/3025/

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Which side are you on?
The Nation

by staff

“Rarely does the response to a State of the Union address create more buzz than the presidential pontification itself. But that’s what happened with the sharp lesson in populist economics delivered by Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. Webb’s indictment of the Iraq War was direct and powerful, but it was his use of the language of class conflict in discussing domestic policy that really had the country buzzing after January 23. Talk-radio host Laura Ingraham referred to Webb’s response, warning the National Review Institute Conservative Summit, ‘The party that comes off as the party that represents the American worker best is the party that wins in 2008.'” (02/02/07)

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070219/editors

Global warming — not worse than we thought, but bad enough

Reason
by Ronald Bailey

“Details like sea level rise will continue to be debated by researchers, but if the debate over whether or not humanity is contributing to global warming wasn’t over before, it is now. The question of what to do about it will be front and center in policy debates for the next couple of decades. How strongly humanity may want to mitigate future climate change and at what cost depends on how likely the worst case projections turn out to be. … However, as the new IPCC Summary makes clear, climate change Pollyannaism is no longer looking very tenable.” (02/02/07)

http://www.reason.com/news/show/118479.html

Neocons to Iraq: Screw you

AntiWar.Com
by Justin Raimondo

“Having destroyed the Iraqi state, and murdered some 600,000 Iraqis in the process, the War Party is now denying all responsibility for the subsequent civil war threatening to plunge the nation into a maelstrom of sectarian violence. Hard to believe, I know, but here’s Charles Krauthammer – always in the avant-garde of neocon-dom – blaming it all on … the Iraqis!” (02/05/07)

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=10469

Project for the New American Disaster

LewRockwell.Com
by Tom Chartier

“The world is six years into a new century. Unfortunately, the new century has not handed the world a clean slate with which to start civilization over again. Sadly, old men do not forget. Last century’s grudges and feuds are alive and well in this century. With angry intolerance and dreams of conquest, mankind continues to grab at empire. Enter the Project For The New American Century. Well known to those who actively follow national and world developments, PNAC along with other think tanks governing national policy such as The American Enterprise Institute, operate beyond the view of the average American who listens to talk-radio on the way to work. And yet such think tanks exert an enormous influence and power over the future of the United States and with it mankind. Woe to those who do not see through the rationale and revisionist history used by these think tanks to justify their agenda. ” (02/05/07)

http://www.lewrockwell.com/chartier/chartier60.html

No more funding fads

Cato Institute
by Adam B. Schaeffer

“Only school choice puts parents in charge of their children’s futures, so naturally, supporters hope this shift in funding opens the door to a voucher program that allows parents to send their children to religious and independent schools. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, a voucher program is likely to run into a heap of legal trouble because the state constitution explicitly bans any government funds from being used at religious institutions. The Blaine Amendment, so named for 19th century House Speaker James G. Blaine, isn’t always a death sentence for vouchers, but it will surely scare some supporters away and give cover to many others. Since education tax credits are private money, not public funds, they don’t run afoul of state constitutional restrictions like vouchers might.” (02/05/07)

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=7354

States revolt over national driver’s license

Yahoo! News

“A revolt against a national driver’s license, begun in Maine last month, is quickly spreading to other states. The Maine Legislature on Jan. 26 overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005. The federal law sets a national standard for driver’s licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases. Within a week of Maine’s action, lawmakers in Georgia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state also balked at Real ID. They are expected soon to pass laws or adopt resolutions declining to participate in the federal identification network. … About a dozen states have active legislation against Real ID, including Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2nbjxp