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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday January 8 2008 - (813)

Tuesday January 8 2008 edition
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As New Hampshire Votes Tuesday, Campaign Focus On The Next Primaries
2008-01-08 03:58:55
A buoyant Sen. Barack Obama, anticipating a victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, told voters Monday that he is "riding a wave, and you're the wave," as presidential candidates in both parties started to look beyond the campaign here to extended nomination fights through at least the beginning of February.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York) braced for a second jarring defeat to Obama (Illinois), her voice breaking as she told a questioner in Portsmouthof her experience here, "It's not easy." Her campaign, its air of inevitability gone, is now setting its sights on the large block of Feb. 5 primary contests to salvage her hopes of winning the Democratic nomination.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has seen his front-runner status in the Republican race left in tatters after a second-place finish in Iowa, is making similar calculations in the face of Sen. John McCain's revival here.

In the closing hours of the campaign, McCain (Arizona) sought to win over independents, who under the New Hampshire rules can vote in either the Republican or the Democratic primary. That cross-party campaigning only added to the sense of urgency across the state, where political ads dominated the airwaves, campaign signs cluttered snow banks, and buses ferrying the candidates rolled down the highways.

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As Iran's Regime Cracks Down, Life Goes On Behind The Curtains
2008-01-08 03:57:56
Intellpuke: Last week, Iran expelled Guardian correspondent Robert Tait, who wrote the following article. It is his last dispatch from Tehran, in which he talks about the country he grew to love and which he found to be at odds with its image as an austere Islamic nation. Mr. Tait's article follows:

The scenes of boisterous revelry would not have been out of place in a crowded nightclub. In time to a throbbing beat, men and women of varying ages danced with a sensuality and abandon at odds with their surroundings.

For this frivolity was taking place not on a dance floor, but in the passageway of an Iranian bus on a seemingly humdrum cultural excursion from Tehran to the western city of Hamedan.

Denied a more appropriate venue by rigid Islamic regulations which forbid dancing in public, the passengers turned the coach into a traveling disco.

Drawing the curtains to keep their illicit activities hidden from onlookers, women discarded their obligatory overcoats and hijabs before letting their hair down for an uninhibited knees-up.

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Did Insects Kill Off The Dinosaurs?
2008-01-08 03:56:39

They were the most imposing and terrifying creatures that have ever walked on the surface of the Earth, but according to a new theory the dinosaurs may have been pushed towards extinction 65 million years ago by humble insects.

During the later part of the dinosaurs' dominion over the land, insects underwent an explosion in diversity and in the process dealt a double whammy to the lumbering giants - they spread disease and contributed to a transformation of vegetation which the plant-eating reptiles failed to adapt to.

The hypothesis is laid out in a new book by entomologists George and Roberta Poinar. George Poinar is a professor of zoology at Oregon State University.

"We can't say for certain that insects are the smoking gun, but we believe they were an extremely significant force in the decline of the dinosaurs," said Poinar. "Our research with amber shows that there were evolving, disease-carrying vectors in the Cretaceous [period], and that at least some of the pathogens they carried infected reptiles. This clearly fills in some gaps regarding dinosaur extinctions."

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Republicans Doubt, Fear 'Post-Partisan' Obama
2008-01-07 16:19:29
Exploiting a deep well of voter revulsion over partisan gridlock in Washington, Sen. Barack Obama is promising to do something that has not been done in modern U.S. politics: unite a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents behind an agenda of sweeping change.

In pitching himself as a "post-partisan" politician, Obama (D-Illinois) is only the latest in a string of presidential candidates promising to remake Washington into a city that sings in unison. George W. Bush was to be a uniter, not a divider. Bill Clinton was going to put people first. Even Richard M. Nixon, on the day after the 1968 election, invoked a sign he had seen during the campaign that said, "Bring Us Together," and said that was the goal of his administration.

Washington, however, has a way of consigning such rhetorical hopes to the partisan waste bin.

"Words are not actions," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday night during a Democratic debate in New Hampshire, as she called for a "reality brake" on her rivals' rhetoric. "As beautifully presented and passionately felt as they are, they are not action."

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Economic Concerns Cause Decline In Price Of Oil Futures
2008-01-07 16:19:02
Oil futures fell sharply Monday, extending their retreat from $100 as investors sold on concerns that a cooling economy will curb demand for oil and gasoline.

Comments by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Monday suggesting there is no simple fix for the nation's housing crisis added to worries about the economy raised by last Friday's Labor Department jobs report; the government's data showed that employers added far fewer jobs last month than expected.

Traders seemed to shrug off news of a confrontation Sunday between U.S. and Iranian warships in the Strait of Hormuz.

''The market overall is still a bit spooked by the larger economy question,'' said Kevin Saville, managing editor for the Americas energy desk at Platts, the energy research arm of the McGraw-Hill Cos.

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Iraq Bombings Kill 14
2008-01-07 16:17:53
Two suicide bombers struck in a Sunni Arab district of Baghdad on Monday killing at least 14 people, including the leader of a U.S.-backed neighborhood security patrol, said police.

The strikes were the latest in an apparent stepped-up campaign of suicide bombings that has seen major attacks nearly every day for the past two weeks, even as overall levels of violence in Iraq have fallen.

The U.S. military blamed al-Qaeda and said the attacks provided "perhaps the clearest proof of the nature of this enemy that will destroy the very people and neighborhoods of whom it claims to protect."

After nightfall, gunmen in five cars kidnapped between eight and 10 neighborhood patrol volunteers in the northern Shaab district of Baghdad, said police. The volunteers had been manning a vehicle checkpoint.

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2 Killed, Several Injured As Rare Winter Tornadoes Hit U.S. Midwest
2008-01-08 03:58:20
A rare January outbreak of tornadoes raked the Midwest on Monday, flattening houses in several states and killing at least two people in Missouri.

An elderly woman was killed near Strafford in Greene County, said officials, and a 53-year-old woman's body was found by rescuers in a wooded area north of Marshfield near her trailer, which was destroyed.

At least six people were taken to hospitals by ambulance, said Michael Taylor, fire chief in Marshfield in the southwestern part of the state.

Two other people were in critical condition, said Ed Gray, a spokesman for Missouri's emergency management agency.

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Gates Logs Out, Predicting New Digital Era
2008-01-08 03:57:06
Microsoft's retiring boss announces futuristic deals.

He may be preparing to relinquish his role as virtual ruler of the hi-tech world, but Bill Gates' vision on the future of the industry still carries weight. So when the soon-to-be-former chairman of Microsoft predicted voice-activated (Microsoft) programs in cars, smart phones that buy your movie tickets, and computerized furniture as he opened the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Sunday night it was worth taking notes.

Delivering the keynote address for the technology world's top trade show for the 11th and final time, Gates said the "first digital decade", centered on the keyboard and the mouse, was over.

"The second digital decade will be more focused on connecting people," he said, predicting it would also feature progress in training machines to react as people do, with "natural user interfaces" responsive to speech and touch.

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Chinese Officials Violating 'One-Child' Rule Are Being Forced Out
2008-01-08 03:56:23
Officials in Hubei province have expelled 500 people from the Communist Party for violating China's "one-child" family planning policy, state media reports said Monday.

Of the 93,084 people who had more children than allowed last year, 1,678 were officials or party members, the New China News Agencyreported. Among the violators were seven national or local legislators and political advisers, all of whom were stripped of their political status. Another 395 offenders lost their jobs.

China's family planning officials, worried about a baby boom that could further strain the country's resources, have been trying to crack down on parents who have more children than they are permitted under the law.

Under the current rules, city residents are limited to one child, while rural residents may have two children. In addition, parents who themselves are only children and members of ethnic minorities are granted exceptions.

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Commentary: Impeach Them Both
2008-01-07 16:19:16
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by former presidential candidate and U.S. senator George McGovern and appeared in the Washington Post edition for Sunday, January 6, 2008. In his commentary Mr. McGovern calls for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. His commentary follows:

As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.

After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.

Today I have made a different choice.

Of course, there seems to be little bipartisan support for impeachment. The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.

But what are the facts?

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.

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Iran Downplays Persian Gulf Incident With U.S.
2008-01-07 16:18:06
Iran's Foreign Ministry said Monday that a confrontation between Iranian boats and U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf over the weekend was "something normal" and was resolved. It suggested the Iranian boats had not recognized the U.S. vessels.

The Pentagon said that in the incident early Sunday, five small Iranian boats repeatedly "charged" U.S. warships in the Gulf's Hormuz Strait and dropped boxes in the water. The boats warned the U.S. ships that they would set up "explosions," said a U.S. Defense Department official.

The U.S. craft were on the verge of opening fire when the Iranian boats fled, said the official, calling the incidident "the most serious provocation of its sort" in the Gulf. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini played down the incident, suggesting it was an issue of mistaken identity. He did not comment on the U.S. claims of the Iranian boats' actions.

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Rising Oil, Energy Costs Top Concerns In One New Hampshire Town
2008-01-07 16:17:08
People in Hillsborough treasure their rugged surroundings and relative isolation in the hills of southwestern New Hampshire. They welcome winter, and consider their distance from urban sprawl a clear advantage.

Yet, for many, the benefits of living in rural New Hampshire have also become burdens. Gasoline and home heating oil are no longer comfortably affordable, especially for the roughly 60 percent of residents who commute more than 25 miles to work. Of about two dozen people interviewed here in recent weeks, nearly all said energy policy was a top concern as they looked to the presidential primary on Tuesday. Some said they had bought wood-pellet stoves to supplement oil heat; others said they had looked into installing solar panels or even living off the grid, with no reliance on public utilities.

“Oil affects everything,” said Paris Wells, who owns the Central Square Ice Cream Shoppe on Main Street. “We need someone in office who’s going to look seriously at alternative power of some form.”

Wells said he was spending more than $1,000 a month on heating oil in winter, which, judging from the estimates others gave, is within the norm. New Hampshire is more dependent on oil heat than any state except Maine and Vermont, according to the Energy Information Administration, with 58 percent of homes using it. The average national cost of home heating oil was $3.34 a gallon last month, up from $2.44 a year earlier.

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