Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Liberal Perspective 12-15-10

From Sojourners,…


Faith Leaders Join Jericho March around Senate for DREAM Act “Faith leaders and supporters of the DREAM Act participated in a ‘Jericho march’ around the U.S. Senate building on Tuesday in hopes that opponents to the bill will fall in favor of the immigration reform.”
Study says recession catching up to churches “After two years of only moderate impact on offerings, the recession has caught up with America’s churches, according to new figures compiled by LifeWay Research.”
Atheist Ads on Buses Rattle Fort Worth “A public bus rolls by with an atheist message on its side: ‘Millions of people are good without God.’ Seconds later, a van follows bearing a riposte: ‘I still love you. — God.’”
World rabbis denounce edict forbidding Jews from renting homes to Arabs “More than 900 rabbis from around the world have signed a letter expressing “great shock and pain” at a ruling backed by scores of Israeli rabbis forbidding Jews from renting or selling property to non-Jews.”


DREAM Act. Dream Act may come back to haunt the GOP “After years of courting Latino voters with a softer tone on immigration, Republican leaders in Congress have all but abandoned that posture, risking what remains of GOP support among the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.”
START treaty. Senate set to begin debate on nuclear arms treaty “The Senate is expected to debate a proposed nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia as early as Wednesday, despite continuing Republican objections that there is too little time this year to properly evaluate the controversial measure.” New START: What’s at stake “As Congress races to the finish of its lame-duck session, one of the last pieces of business is the status of the New START treaty, the latest bilateral effort by the United States and Russia to reduce strategic weapons.”
Afghanistan war policy review. Intelligence Reports Offer Dim Views of Afghan War “As President Obama prepares to release a review of American strategy in Afghanistan that will claim progress in the nine-year-old war there, two new classified intelligence reports offer a more negative assessment and say there is a limited chance of success unless Pakistan hunts down insurgents operating from havens on its Afghan border.” War review cites strides, is less confident on Afghan governance “President Obama met for nearly two hours with top national security aides Tuesday to give final approval to a year-end review of his war strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan before a summary of the assessment is publicly released Thursday.” Afghanistan policy review expected to point to modest US troop withdrawal “Barack Obama is expected to publish an Afghanistan policy review tomorrow that will report sufficient progress to allow the US to begin a modest pullout of troops in July.”
Tax deal. Tax deal stumbles toward final vote “With the tax-cut deal poised for Senate passage Wednesday at noon, House Republicans trying to tamp down discontent in their ranks from fiscal conservatives are issuing a simple message: This isn’t the bill we would’ve written, but it’s good enough.”  House Democrats may tweak tax deal “As the Senate prepared Tuesday to push through a sweeping tax package negotiated by the White House and congressional Republicans, House leaders were looking to amend the measure to satisfy the concerns of angry liberals without unraveling the deal altogether.” Right Flank Puts Pressure on G.O.P. on Tax-Cut Bill “Republicans are under pressure from the Tea Party movement and some other conservatives to reject the compromise tax bill, potentially complicating its passage and highlighting how the Republican Party is likely to face a persistent rightward push when it takes control of the House next month.”
Health-care debate. Mandatory coverage moves to forefront of health-care debate “With a court ruling in Virginia this week that the government cannot require Americans to buy health insurance, President Obama has landed in the position of defender-in-chief of an idea he once opposed.” Ruling Has Some Mulling the Necessity of Mandating Insurance “In the wake of the decision Monday, which held that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, some lawmakers and some consumer advocates are investigating possible alternatives.” Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition “The opposition stems from the tension between two competing traditions in the American economy. One is the laissez-faire tradition that celebrates individuality and risk-taking. The other is the progressive tradition that says people have a right to a minimum standard of living.”
Remembering Richard Holbrooke. Richard Holbrooke: sudden void at a focal point of US foreign policy “Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy on Afghanistan-Pakistan policy who took on America’s toughest diplomatic challenges, was remembered as a ‘champion in the cause of peace.’”  Holbrooke’s war remark called banter, not entreaty “As friends and colleagues from four decades of diplomatic life reflected on the intensity of Richard C. Holbrooke’s dedication, many were not surprised to learn that concerns about the Afghanistan war were apparently among his final thoughts.”
Census data. Immigrants Make Paths to Suburbia, Not Cities “Immigrants fanned out across the United States in the last decade, settling in greater numbers in small towns and suburbs rather than in the cities where they typically moved when they first came to this country, new census data show.” Census data shows ’surprising’ segregation “Despite increased racial and ethnic diversity, American neighborhoods continue to be segregated and some of the progress made toward integration since 1980 has come to a halt this decade.”
Time person of 2010. Zuckerberg is Time person of 2010 “Time magazine has picked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as its annual Person of the Year, the figure it believes had the most influence on events in 2010.”


Growing political tensions lead to protests in Europe. Greek strikers clash with police “Greek police have clashed with protesters in the capital Athens as unions stage a general strike against government austerity measures.” Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote “The atmosphere on Tuesday was highly charged as the worst clashes in years erupted in Rome. Nearly 100 people were wounded when protesters skirmished violently with the police, set vehicles ablaze, detonated small explosives and smashed shop windows.”
Iran. Suicide attack hits Iran mosque “A suicide attack has killed at least 41 people and wounded more than 60 others near a mosque in the southeastern Iranian city of Chabahar as Shias marked the climax of Ashoura.” Iran mosque bombing kills dozens “A Sunni Muslim rebel group, Jundallah, claimed it was responsible for the attack, which took place outside the Imam Hussein mosque in the port city of Chahbahar, near the border with Pakistan.”
North Korea. US envoy hopes to ‘calm’ N Korea “US envoy Bill Richardson is travelling to North Korea at Pyongyang’s request on an unofficial diplomatic mission to try to ease regional tensions.” North Korea ‘could be preparing for third nuclear test’ “South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo daily cited an intelligence official from Seoul as saying a tunnel was being dug at a North Korean nuclear test site that could be completed in March next year, possibly heralding a new test.” U.S. Concludes N. Korea Has More Nuclear Sites “The Obama administration has concluded that North Korea’s new plant to enrich nuclear fuel uses technology that is “significantly more advanced” than what Iran has struggled over two decades to assemble.”


A U.N. Plan for Israel (Robert Wright, New York Times) “The United Nations created a Jewish state six decades ago, and it can create a Palestinian state now. It can define the borders, set the timetable and lay down the rules for Palestinian elections (specifying, for example, that the winners must swear allegiance to a constitution that acknowledges Israel’s right to exist).”
Pork is back on the menu (Dana Milbank, Washington Post) “It was probably inevitable that the Tea Party activists would be betrayed, but the speed with which congressional Republicans have reverted to business-as-usual has been impressive.”
My husband, the conscientious objector, has his fate decided on Friday (Lillian Lyons, Guardian) “On Friday a 24-year-old navy medic faces a decision that could lead him to military prison after becoming one of the few conscientious objectors in the Royal Navy since the second world war. That man is my husband, Michael Lyons.”

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