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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Sunday February 10 2008 - (813)

Sunday February 10 2008 edition
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Obama Sweeps Clinton In Three States, Huckabee Wins Kansas, Louisiana, McCain Projected To Win Washington
2008-02-10 03:38:43
Sen. Barack Obama narrowed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's lead in the fight for Democratic presidential delegates Saturday, sweeping three states, while Sen. John McCain hit a detour on his march to the Republican nomination.

Obama won Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington by wide margins as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won Kansas and Louisiana and remained in a tight race with McCain in the state of Washington.

None of the results reconfigured the delegate counts that will settle the nominations, but for Democrats they set the stage for the Maine caucuses Sunday and the so-called Potomac primaries Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Clinton and Obama remain locked in a showdown that might not be settled until the August convention in Denver, Colorado, and each sought to make the case on the trail Saturday that each is better situated to defeat McCain.
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Philip Roth: 'Bush Is Too Horrendous To Be Forgotten'
2008-02-10 03:38:10
Intellpuke: German news magazine Der Spiegel recently interviewed American author Philip Roth. The interview was published on Spiegel Online's edition for Friday, February 8, 2008. Among the items discussed with Roth in the interview were his latest book, growing old, why George W. Bush is the worst American president ever and why Roth never gives out his cell pone number. The interview follows:

Philip Roth, who will be 75 in March, is one of America's most critically acclaimed living writers. His 1969 novel "Portnoy's Complaint" brought him fame, and he went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for 1997's "American Pastoral."

Many of his novels feature Roth's fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. Zuckerman appears again in Roth's latest work, "Exit Ghost," where he returns to New York after many years of seclusion in rural New England.

SPIEGEL talked to Roth about "Exit Ghost," the U.S. election and the pleasures of rural life.

SPIEGEL: Mister Roth, how often have you tried to kill Nathan Zuckerman, the hero or narrator of so many of your novels?

Philip Roth: (laughs) I don't know - do you?

SPIEGEL: Three times. Once in "Deception" ...

Roth: Oh, yes, I forgot that one.

SPIEGEL: And then again in "The Counterlife" at the age of 44. He's quite alive again, he is 71 now, but in your new book "Exit Ghost" you kill him once more.

Roth: I haven't killed him. I just sent him home.

SPIEGEL: "Gone for good" is what you write. Does that make a difference?

Roth: It certainly does.

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Huckabee Wins Republican Caucuses In Kansas
2008-02-09 18:24:23
Mike Huckabee won the Kansas Republican caucuses by a wide margin Saturday, showing he is still attracting voters even as the majority of the Republican Party is beginning to coalesce around John McCain as the nominee.

At a news conference after his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington earlier in the day, Huckabee told reporters he had no intention of dropping out until one of the Republican candidates amassed the 1,191 delegates needed to be the nominee.

McCain is far enough ahead in the delegate race coming out of Super Tuesday that his advisers have said it would be all but impossible for anyone else to win the nomination. The other chief contender, Mitt Romney, bowed to those odds when he suspended his campaign on Thursday. Huckabee, a pastor before he became governor of Arkansas, said, “I didn’t major in math. I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them, too.”

Asked if he saw any cost to staying in the race, Huckabee thought for a moment before answering: no.

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Newsblog: Delegates Vote In Four States Today
2008-02-09 15:21:23
Intellpuke: The following newsblog was written by staff writers Eric Pianin and Chris Cillizza, in Washington, D.C. It appears in the edition for Saturday, Feb. 9, 2009. 

While the race for the Republican presidential nomination appears virtually over, Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama continue to scrap for delegates in a tight battle that shifts Saturday to Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas and Washington State.

At one time it was unthinkable that relatively sparsely populated states with caucuses or primaries set to fall after Super Tuesday would attract the attention of top-tier presidential candidates but, in the wake of Tuesday's showdown in 21 states that left Clinton (New York) and Obama (Illinois) roughly even in the number of pledged delegates, the two lavished attention on this trio of far-flung states late in the week.

Obama addressed big crowds in New Orleans and Omaha Thursday before dashing cross country Friday for three events in Seattle, where he picked up the endorsement of Gov. Christine Gregoire. It was the first time in 20 years that a major presidential candidate campaigned in Nebraska during the primary season.

Clinton addressed a large rally on Seattle's waterfront Thursday night - a last-minute addition to her schedule - and her campaign began airing TV ads in the state touting her universal health care plan. She appeared to be trying to play catch-up with Obama who has been running ads in Washington for the past week.

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Commentary: We Interrupt This Broadcast
2008-02-09 15:20:48
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and appears in the New York Times edition for Saturday, February 9, 2008. Rep. Nadler represents parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City. His commentary follows:

On Feb. 17, 2009, all broadcast television stations will end their analog transmissions and shift to digital signals. This is a complex process that involves spending billions of dollars to build new towers and antennas and to subsidize converter boxes for consumers who don’t have digital TVs.

In all this planning and spending on the transition to digital transmission, however, we have yet to address the question of “white spaces.” White spaces are the intervals between television channel frequencies to ensure that TV reception is not interrupted by other signals.

The usefulness of these white spaces is about to be compromised by a proposal before the Federal Communications Commission by some of the nation’s largest technology companies. Microsoft, Google and others are asking permission to use white spaces - free of charge - for millions of unregulated and unlicensed devices for personal networking systems that they would like to sell, including P.D.A.’s, wireless broadband devices and even toys.

These devices could disrupt the new digital TV signals that government and industry have spent so much time and money to promote.

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Yahoo Board To Reject Takeover Bid From Microsoft
2008-02-09 15:20:06
Yahoo's board of directors plans to reject Microsoft's $44.6 billion hostile bid with a letter Monday saying the offer undervalues Yahoo, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The decision to reject the bid was taken following a board meeting Friday in which directors explored ways in which to respond to Microsoft’s week-old bid. The board heard presentations from Yahoo’s management and its bankers, according to people familiar with the discussions. Several people argued that the company was worth more than what Microsoft offered, said this person.

The same individual said the board was also presented with various options for maintaining Yahoo’s independence, including an advertising partnership with Google that could improve Yahoo’s bottom line.

Lawyers at the meeting discussed the antitrust implications of a tie-up with Google, as it would extend that company’s dominance of the search advertising market, said the person. They also discussed how to press Microsoft to increase its bid.

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Court Rejects EPA Approach To Mercury Emissions
2008-02-09 05:53:11

A federal appeals court Friday threw out the Environmental Protection Agency's approach to limiting mercury emitted from power-plant smokestacks, saying the agency ignored laws and twisted logic when it imposed new standards that were favorable to plant owners.

The ruling, issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was another judicial rejection of the Bush administration's pollution policies. It comes less than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the administration and the EPA for refusing to regulate greenhouse gases.

This court's critique - which undid a controversial program to "trade" emissions of mercury, a potent neurotoxin - was especially sharp. It compared the EPA to the capricious Queen of Hearts in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," saying the agency had followed its own desires and ignored the "plain text" of the law.

"What the administration did when they came in was to essentially try to torpedo environmental regulations," said James Pew, a lawyer with the activist group Earthjustice who worked on the case. "This really is a repudiation of the Bush administration's environmental legacy."

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Jordan Becomes Healing Haven For Iraq's Broken Children, Adults
2008-02-09 05:52:34
On the third floor of the Amman Palace hotel, above a city block crowded with appliance dealers and video-game vendors, six Iraqi children formed a semicircle around their therapist and practiced how to breathe.

To the right of the therapist sat Abdullah, a 7-year-old boy missing his left foot and left eye. The afternoon sun slanted across his face, which once had been so erased his father failed to recognize it and now was a mottled mask of flesh grafted from his back. Two boys wore leg casts. A third had a burnt face. Three of the children sat in wheelchairs. Zaineb, an 11-year-old girl who could barely move her crippled legs, wore a black wool cap over her broken skull.

"The pain will be there," said the therapist. "But if we focus on it, that will only make us feel worse."

Five years of war have disfigured the people of Iraq, hobbling and maiming many thousands of them. There are no definitive counts, but Health Minister Salih al-Hasnawi said the number of wounded Iraqi civilians is "of course" higher than the estimated 151,000 who died from violence in the first three years of the war, the figure given in a recent survey by the World Health Organization and the Iraqi government.

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World's Top Bankers: Credit Crisis 'Here To Stay'
2008-02-10 03:38:27

The world economy faces a "turbulent time", Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, warned this weekend after meeting finance ministers from the world's main industrialized nations in Tokyo to discuss ways of tackling the credit crunch.

Darling and his G7 counterparts were presented with a grim assessment of the damage wrought by reckless lending in the American housing market, which has snowballed into a global financial crisis over the past six months.

"It is likely that we face a prolonged adjustment, which could be difficult," finance ministers were warned in a report by the Financial Stability Forum, made up of central bankers and financial regulators from around the world.

The politicians struck an anxious note after discussions on tightening financial regulation and improving early-warning systems to prevent future crises. "The current financial turmoil is serious, and persisting," said Hank Paulson, the  U.S. Treasury Secretary. Darling admitted: "It is undoubtedly the case following the problems that arose in the U.S. housing market last summer that the world is facing a turbulent time."

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Obama Wins Nebraska And Washington
2008-02-09 22:40:24
Senator Barack Obama won the caucuses in Nebraska and Washington on Saturday, defeating his rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton as the two scrambled for delegates in their fiercely contested battle for the Democratic nomination.

Obama received the support of about two-thirds of those attending the caucuses in both states to about one-third for Clinton. In Washington, 78 delegates were at stake, the largest single prize of the night. The two were also matched up in a primary in Louisiana and caucuses in the Virgin Islands.

With the Democratic contest so close, excitement ran high, as did turnout. In Nebraska, the Web site of the Omaha World-Herald reported that organizers at two caucus sites were so overrun by crowds that they abandoned traditional caucusing and asked voters to drop makeshift scrap-paper ballots into a box instead. Traffic backed up on Highway 370 in Sarpy County, south of Omaha, when thousands of voters showed up at a precinct where organizers had planned for hundreds.

In Washington, the Democratic Party reported record-breaking numbers of people attending caucuses, with early totals suggesting turnout would be nearly double what it was in 2004 - itself a record year - when 100,000 Democrats caucused.

Even before the events began, both campaigns were giving the advantage on Saturday to Obama, who has done well in caucuses, and among black voters, who made about half of those voting in the Louisiana primary and gave Obama one of his largest margins yet among African-Americans.

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Breaking News: Firemen Battling Huge Fire At London's Camden Market
2008-02-09 17:58:30

One hundred firefighters are battling a major blaze at London's famous Camden Market Saturday night.

Crowds of revelers from the area's pubs and bars were moved away as the flames took hold and leaped 30 feet into the night sky.

London Fire Brigade said 20 fire engines were in attendance following a 999 call at 7 p.m. More than ten jets of water were being trained on the flames.

London Ambulance Service said two hours after the fire broke out that there were no reports of casualties so far.

There were unconfirmed reports that some people were trapped, but a fire brigade spokesman said he had not heard anything to support that.

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400,000 Without Power After 5.4 Earthquake In Baja
2008-02-09 15:21:01
A moderate earthquake rocked Baja California in Mexico late Friday night, shutting down factories near the U.S. border and leaving 400,000 people without power, said authorities.

However, no major damage or injuries were reported.

The quake that struck at about 11:12 p.m. Friday had a preliminary magnitude of 5.4, said Jessica Sigala, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.

It was centered 16 miles southeast of the border town of Mexicali and about 100 miles east of Tijuana.

"It has been felt pretty widely in Southern California, southwestern Arizona and probably northern Mexico," said Sigala.
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Suicide Bomber Kills At Least 25 At Pakistan Political Rally
2008-02-09 15:20:24
A suicide bomber blasted a political gathering Saturday in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 25 people, wounding dozens and stoking fears about security surrounding this month's parliamentary election.

In the south, an estimated 100,000 supporters of Benazir Bhutto turned out for her party's first major election rally since her assassination on Dec. 27. Bhutto's widowed husband told the crowd he had a responsibility to save the nation from President Pervez Musharraf's rule.

Also Saturday, riot police in the capital of Islamabad fired water cannons and tear gas against hundreds of lawyers protesting the detention of the deposed chief justice.

The violence underscored the deep tensions in Pakistan as the nation heads toward the Feb. 18 elections, which are meant to restore democracy after eight years of military rule, but campaigning has been overshadowed by Bhutto's killing, which U.S. and Pakistani officials blame on Islamic militants.

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No Funding Planned In Bush Budget For Troop-Benefit Program
2008-02-09 05:53:33
President Bush drew great applause during his State of the Union address last month when he called on Congress to allow U.S. troops to transfer their unused education benefits to family members. "Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them," he said.

A week later, however, when Bush submitted his $3.1 trillion federal budget to Congress, he included no funding for such an initiative, which government analysts calculate could cost $1 billion to $2 billion annually.

Bush's proposal was added to the speech late in the process, said administration officials, after the president decided that he wanted to announce a program that would favor military families. That left little time to vet the idea, develop formal cost estimates or gauge how many people might take advantage of such a program. Some administration officials said the proposal surprised them, and they voiced concerns about how to fund it.

Some critics in Congress cite the episode as a case study of what they consider the slapdash way Bush has put together the legislative program for his final year in office. Still, the idea is generating bipartisan interest from members of Congress who are eager to assist military families coping with long-term absences of loved ones deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have drawn up legislation that would remove restrictions that currently prevent most troops from transferring education benefits to family members.

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GAO Report Criticizes Federal Police Force
2008-02-09 05:52:50

The police force in charge of protecting most federal buildings is understaffed, demoralized and poorly equipped, exposing facilities in the D.C. area and elsewhere "to a greater risk of crime or terrorist attack," according to a report issued Friday.

The report, by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), blames many of the problems on a 20 percent decline in the workforce of the Federal Protective Service since 2004. The cutbacks have occurred because of budget problems that arose after the agency was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

The report comes in the same week that the Interior Department released a study describing deteriorating conditions at the U.S. Park Police, an agency also beset by budget woes.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) said she was disturbed by the reports and would push for congressional action.

"You see very different police forces coming up way short of what the public knows or expects," she said. Norton released the GAO report, which described preliminary results from an investigation, at a hearing Friday of a public buildings subcommittee that she leads.

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