Saturday, April 09, 2005


NY Times: G.O.P. Consultant Weds His Male Partner

NY Times:

By ADAM NAGOURNEY - Published: April 9, 2005

WASHINGTON, April 8 - Arthur J. Finkelstein, a prominent Republican consultant who has directed a series of hard-edged political campaigns to elect conservatives in the United States and Israel over the last 25 years, said Friday that he had married his male partner in a civil ceremony at his home in Massachusetts.


Washington Post: Conservative conference attacks "supremacist" judges

Washington Post

The Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration hosted a conference in Washington today at which the conservative Eagle Forum president, Phyllis Schlafly, called for passage of a quartet of bills in Congress that would remove courts' power to review religious displays, the Pledge of Allegiance, same-sex marriage and the Boy Scouts. Her speech brought a subtle change in the argument against the courts from emphasizing "activist" judges -- it was, after all, inaction by federal judges that doomed Schiavo -- to "supremacist" judges. "The Constitution is not what the Supreme Court says it is," Schlafly asserted.

DH: I cannot overstate how radical this is. A 1803 decision by the Supreme Court, Marbury v. Madison, established the precedent that the Supreme Court declares the constitution's meaning and can declare an act of Congress unconstitutional. Schlafly's statement would reverse that precedent, uproot 200 years of constitutional precedent, gut the courts' powers and upset the 3-part balance of powers our Founding Fathers so carefully gave us.


Boston Globe says GOP in rift over Schiavo

Boston Globe

Rift emerges in GOP after Schiavo case
Boston Globe Sat, 09 Apr 2005 0:41 AM PDT
WASHINGTON -- Top conservative leaders gathered here a week after Terri Schiavo's death to plot a course of action against the nation's courts, but much of their anger was directed at leading Republicans, exposing an emerging crack between the party's leadership and core supporters on the right.

Friday, April 08, 2005


MMfA: CNN says Martinez memo not important, after learning Dems didn't fake it


CNN's Daryn Kagan downplayed Martinez memo, asking: "I don't get it ... Is this town just too sensitive?"

Following the revelation that an aide to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) drafted a memo extolling the potential political windfall from the Terri Schiavo case to Republicans, which Senate Republicans had previously denied producing, CNN host Daryn Kagan downplayed the memo's significance and attempted to shift the discussion to make an issue of how Democrats dealt with the Schiavo case. Ignoring the political impact of Martinez's revelation on conservatives' efforts to blame Democrats for the memo (efforts to which The Washington Post and CNN's Inside Politics lent legitimacy), Kagan asked: "Is this town [Washington, D.C.] just too sensitive?"

Discussing the Martinez memo with CNN congressional correspondent Ed Henry on the April 7 edition of CNN Live Today, Kagan questioned the validity of the controversy surrounding the memo, attributing it to the "sensitivity" of the Washington establishment. She then tried to re-focus the discussion on the Democrats, despite their having had no role in the memo's creation: "the Democrats did have a tough time with it [the Schiavo case]. I think a lot of people felt they didn't speak up like they should have." But it was not clear what Henry's report on new revelations about the source of the memo had to do with the Democratic response to the Schiavo case. Full story.


Miami Herald says Schiavo memo makes Sen. Martinez look bad

Miami Herald

Schiavo memo trips up rookie senator

Republicans worry that Mel Martinez's involvement in a politically charged memo about the Terri Schiavo case could tarnish the freshman U.S. senator from Florida.

BY LESLEY CLARK lclark@herald.com

The campaign ads were bitterly divisive, even by the standards of a bare-knuckle primary, accusing the opponent of then Republican senatorial hopeful Mel Martinez of playing to the ``radical homosexual lobby.''

Martinez blamed the ads on ''young Turks'' in his campaign and apologized to his GOP rival. Weeks later Martinez found himself again blaming a staff member after a press release from his campaign likened U.S. immigration agents to ''armed thugs'' for seizing Elián González from his Miami home in 2000.

Now, for the third time, Martinez finds himself under fire -- and blaming an aide for the conflagration. This time, Martinez said he has accepted the resignation of a staff member in his Senate office for penning the now-infamous political memo that suggested Republicans in Washington could use the plight of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo to bash Democrats, singling out Martinez's fellow Florida senator, Democrat Bill Nelson. Full story.


Sun-Sentinel says senate aide made scapegoat over Schiavo memo


Martinez aide resigns over memo on how to capitalize politically on Terri Schiavo

Sun-Sentinel Thu, 07 Apr 2005 1:37 PM PDT
WASHINGTON -- The strategy memo outlining how Republicans could gain political capital by intervening in the Terri Schiavo case was written by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez's legal counsel, who abruptly left his job Wednesday.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Congressional bill declares "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government"

H.R. 1070 in the House of Representatives and its companion bill in the Senate, S. 520, declares that no official can be sued for declaring "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," and that no federal courts have jurisdiction to review this bill if it passes, and no court decisions since the passage of the constitution are binding any longer, and no law since the constitution was passed can be considered by any federal court in its decision making, and any judge or justice who violates this bill if it's passed can be impeached.

Thomas Congressional Reports


MMfA zaps CNN for failure to correct Sen. Cornyn's misstatement on violence against judges

Media Matters for America

In a report on political fallout from the Terri Schiavo case, CNN congressional correspondent Ed Henry said that the case had "fueled Republican anger at state and federal judges," but he omitted the fact that liberal and conservative judges alike rejected appeals by Schiavo's parents to restore her feeding tube. In addition, while airing a portion of Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) Senate floor speech suggesting that "judicial activism" had motivated violence against judges, Henry neglected to note that two recent incidents of violence targeting judges were both apparently motivated by personal grievances, not by alleged "judicial activism" -- a term Henry made no effort to define.


USA Today: Americans 2/1 say religious right too much influence on Bushies

USA Today

Many wary of GOP's moral agenda
Poll: Public disliked Schiavo intervention
By Susan Page

WASHINGTON — The controversy over Terri Schiavo has raised concerns among many Americans about the moral agenda of the Republican Party and the political power of conservative Christians, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds.

In the survey, most Americans disapprove of the efforts by President Bush and Congress to draw federal courts into the dispute over treatment of the brain-damaged Florida woman. She died last week.

Some old stereotypes about the two parties have been reversed:

•By 55%-40%, respondents say Republicans, traditionally the party of limited government, are “trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans” on moral values.

•By 53%-40%, they say Democrats, who sharply expanded government since the Depression, aren't trying to interfere on moral issues.

The debate over Schiavo has spotlighted the central role “values” issues — abortion, stem cell research, same-sex marriage and the right to live or die — now play in politics.

Mark Rozell, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia who studies religion and politics, says the case has created a “clear backlash.”

“It's one thing to look at religious conservatives as part of a broad coalition that makes up the Republican Party,” he says. “It's entirely another if people think that religious conservatives are calling the shots in the Bush administration for what was a deeply personal situation.”

But Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition says a poll his group commissioned shows wide support for those who sought to preserve Schiavo's life when the issue is placed “in the broader context of protecting the rights of the disabled.”

He met with members of Congress Tuesday to push for legislation to set “clear guidelines” in such cases.

In the poll taken Friday and Saturday, Bush's job-approval rating is 48%, 3 percentage points higher than in mid-March. His standing on personal characteristics such as trustworthiness remains above 50%.

Still, Americans by 53%-34% say they disapprove of Bush's handling of the Schiavo case. Congress' rating on Schiavo is worse: 76% disapprove, 20% approve.

By more than 2-to-1, 39%-18%, Americans say the “religious right” has too much influence in the Bush administration. That's a change from when the question was asked in CBS News/New York Times polls taken from 2001 to 2003. Then, approximately equal numbers said conservative Christians had too much and too little influence.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


AP says Blair calls national election on May 5, triggering 4-week campaign

AP/Canadian Press

Canadian Press April 5, 2005

LONDON (AP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday called a national election on May 5, triggering a four-week campaign that will test a volatile electorate's judgment of the Iraq war.

Despite lingering anger over the U.S.-led invasion, Blair's governing Labour Party is widely expected to win a third term in office, bolstered by a strong economy. Full story.


Iraq Attacks, Papal Procession and Succession


Slate's today's papers - A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.

By Eric Umansky
Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2005, at 12:25 AM PT

The Washington Post makes the move and breaks away from the Papal pack. Instead, it leads with followup on Sunday's expertly planned attack on Abu Ghraib prison in which 44 American troops were wounded. (The other papers say about two dozen.) Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group asserted responsibility for the assault, which had two fronts and included well-timed mortar rounds, rocket fire, and car bombs. A military spokesman said it was the largest coordinated attack he's aware of. An insurgent commander said it's a sign of things to come. "We are going to use the same method that they used when they attacked Iraq," he said. "The soldier feels safe when he goes back to his base. If he is attacked in the place that feels safe, that place is really hell." Meanwhile, the New York Times mentions inside that the military said there were an average of about 30 recorded attacks daily last week, the lowest number in a year. The military announced that one GI was killed and another wounded in an attack near the Syrian border.

Everybody else—the NYT, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times—lead with the Pope, whose body was led to lie in state at St. Peter's Basilica. The church announced he will buried Friday at 10am, in the Vatican and not in Poland as many speculated. "He did not state any wishes, and so we will follow tradition," said a papal spokesman.

About 65 cardinals gathered for a pre-draft meeting. They sat around a U-shaped table and took an oath of secrecy, so no word on, well, anything.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Yahoo/AFP reports Republicans join disdain for DeLays threats against judges

Republican Senators Chris Shays & John McCain and former Republican Senator John Danforth have joined Democratic Senators Ted Kennedy and Tom Lautenberg is expressing displeasure over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's threats against the federal judges who refused to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case.

Former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, who is also a former senator and still a pastor, said "the problem is not with people or churches that are politically active.

"It is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement."



BBC: Nigeria's ex-police chief hit with money laundering charges


Nigeria's former chief of police been charged in the High Court with 70 counts of laundering and stealing money in the region of $98m.

Handcuffed and subdued Tafa Balogun, who was forced to resign in January, pleaded not guilty.

Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo warned officials last month that their greed was undermining his attempts to win international debt relief.


CNN: Prince Charles delays wedding to attend pope's funeral


Royal wedding moved to Saturday
Monday, April 4, 2005 Posted: 9:41 AM EDT (1341 GMT)

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Prince Charles' wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles has been moved to Saturday to allow Charles to attend Pope John Paul II's funeral at the Vatican on Friday, his office said.

Charles cut short his skiing holiday in Switzerland to attend a memorial service for the pope at London's Westminster Cathedral on Monday.

Clarence House, the prince's London residence, said Parker Bowles would attend Monday's service but not Friday's funeral.


Reuters says Bush will attend pope's funeral


Bush will attend pope's funeral

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will lead the U.S. delegation that will attend the funeral on Friday of Pope John Paul II, a U.S. official said.

Administration officials were scrambling to retool the president's schedule for late this week. Bush was scheduled to be in South Carolina on Thursday and give a speech to U.S. troops at Fort Hood, Texas, on Friday.


Slate's newspaper summary leads with papal mourning & Iraq assembly speaker selection

Slate's morning summary

Slate's today's papers A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.

The Mourning After
By Emily Biuso
Posted Monday, April 4, 2005, at 1:12 AM PT

Everybody leads with the first viewing of Pope John Paul II's body and the massive outpouring of admirers who gathered for the open-air Requiem in St. Peter's Square Sunday. John Paul's body lay in state inside the papal palace for viewing by cardinals and other officials. The ceremony was broadcast to the outside world for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church.

Another top story was the selection of Iraq's assembly speaker. Full story.


Washington Post says Cheney disagrees with DeLay's threat against judges

Washington Post

Cheney Opposes Retribution Against Schiavo Judges

By Mike Allen and Brian Faler
Monday, April 4, 2005; Page A04

Vice President Cheney says he opposes revenge against judges for their refusal to prolong the life of the late Terri Schiavo, although he did not criticize House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) for declaring that they will "answer for their behavior."

Cheney was asked about the issue on Friday by the editorial board of the New York Post. He said twice that he had not seen DeLay's remarks, but the vice president said he would "have problems" with the idea of retribution against the courts. "I don't think that's appropriate," he said. "I may disagree with decisions made by judges in any one particular case. But I don't think there would be much support for the proposition that because a judge hands down a decision we don't like, that somehow we ought to go out -- there's a reason why judges get lifetime appointments."

DH: I wonder whether DeLay has read the constitution lately.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Bryan Curtis has wicked satire on Al Edwards' bill defunding sexy cheerleaders

Bryan Curtis

Cheerleaders - what to do about them


Slate reviews today's US newspapers


today's papers -- a summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.

Requiescat In Pace - Stories on the pope
By Daniel Politi

Most of today's newspaper lead stories were about the pope.


CNN/Reuters says Royal wedding 'will go ahead'


LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The wedding of Britain's Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles will go ahead on Friday even if it clashes with the funeral of Pope John Paul, Clarence House said on Sunday.

I am concerned about that, because attending both events will strain my schedule. :) I may have to tell the College of Cardinals to speed up the funeral, depending on schedules of flights to London.


ABC says forgiveness was a mark of Pope's tenure

ABC News

Pope Sought and Offered Forgiveness

April 3, 2005 — At the heart of all Christian doctrine is the concept of forgiveness, and Pope John Paul II made that concept one of the most impressive aspects of his legacy, both in the way he sought forgiveness and in the way he practiced it himself.

"The call as a Christian, it's like Jesus from the cross saying 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,'" said the Rev. Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican." "If we're supposed to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we have to do that and forgive our enemies, [to] forgive people who hate us and try and harm us. That's pretty tough to do, but when you're Pope, you've got to do tough things."

Vatican scholars say one of the hallmarks of Pope John Paul II's pontificate was his work toward both giving and seeking forgiveness.


Five years ago, on the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Christ, John Paul did something no Pope had ever done before, admitting the church's mistakes throughout history.

"One of the most important things he did in his pontificate was to hold this service of forgiveness," said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a Notre Dame theology professor and author of "Lives of the Popes." "In this case, it was the church asking forgiveness, acknowledging its sins against various peoples, and groups, and then asking their forgiveness."

The Pope was apologizing for Catholic sins that ranged back through the decades and the centuries.

"He apologized to the Jewish community, to the Muslim community, to the scientific community for Galileo," Reese said. "He felt this was an important part of what we should be about. And he called on people and even nations to be forgiving in their relations with one another."

He knew his history, and he believed that the Crusades were an abomination in which many Catholics in Europe used the excuse of religion to invade the Middle East and to brutally slaughter Muslims and Jews.

But it was not just wrongdoing from centuries back in church history that he acknowledged. John Paul also felt the need to seek forgiveness for things he'd seen firsthand. Full Story.


Salon quote of the day - culture war


Quote of the day

"The courts of this land have become the tool, in the hands of the devil, by which the culture of death has found access."

-- Operation Rescue director Flip Benham.

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