Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 12-21-2007

the latest news on Congress, Faith & Politics, Tancredo out, Iraq, Europe-open borders, New Orleans, Editorial, and Selected Op-Eds.

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Congress. Bush boxed in his congressional foes "Just over a year ago, a chastened President Bush acknowledged that his party had taken a "thumping" in the congressional elections, and he greeted the new Democratic majority at the weakest point of his presidency. But since then, Democrats in Congress have taken a thumping of their own" Republican Unity Trumps Democratic Momentum"Defying expectations and surprising even themselves, Republicans were able to slow and sometimes halt Democratic momentum by refusing to break with President Bush and his war strategy, no matter how unpopular, and by resisting social initiatives, no matter how appealing."

Faith & Politics. In N.H. churches, candidates find a different breed of evangelical "Evangelicals outside New England have created a large network of faith-based political organizations, such as Focus on the Family, dedicated to socially conservative causes such as outlawing abortion and same-sex marriage. In New Hampshire, only a few organizations mix faith and politics, and they tend to be very small, low-budget grass-roots groups that hold little political power at the state level." Pastors wrestle with endorsements "as the primary season heats up, preachers across the country have been taking an increasingly vocal role. Their flocks, however, have varying views of their pastors' effectiveness - and whether they should even be promoting one candidate over another." Huckabee's Faith-Based Views Find Critics, Fans in Both Parties "His decisions have opened him to criticism from the left and the right, as liberals and conservatives have complained that his religious devotion has clouded good judgment."

Tancredo out. Tancredo drops out, backs Romney "Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, citing the surge of GOP rival Mike Huckabee in Iowa, withdrew from the Republican presidential race and threw his support behind Huckabee's chief competitor, Mitt Romney" Tancredo bows out, endorses Romney "Tancredo claimed victory on the immigration issue, arguing that his stance in favor of strict enforcement forced the entire Republican field to move toward his position."

Iraq . U.S. convoys struggle to adjust to policy change "U.S.soldiers have been ordered to assume that all civilian vehicles are friendly and to yield to civilian drivers instead of stopping traffic. That puts some Kentucky National Guard soldiers pulling convoy duty on edge. They figure if the roads get worse again, they'll be among the first to know." Iraq children 'paying high price' "Two million children in Iraq are facing threats including poor nutrition, lack of education, disease and violence, the UN children's agency, Unicef, has said."

Europe-open borders. Europe's border-free zone expands "Forty-eight hours of celebrations are taking place to mark nine new states joining a European border-free zone. The Schengen agreement, which allows passport-free travel across the area, now embraces 24 nations." End of passport control as east meets west in EU without borders "Poland and seven other former eastern bloc countries and Malta to join the EU's borderless Schengen zone today." In Europe, Opening Night at the Border "On Friday, however, each of the crossings will finally go dark as borders are thrown open here and along frontiers that had separated Eastern and Western Europe since the end of World War II. The last vestiges of the Iron Curtain will disappear."

New Orleans. Battered N.O. OKs Razing Public Housing "Police used chemical spray and stun guns Thursday on protesters who tried to force their way into a City Council meeting, the latest strife over plans to demolish some 4,500 public housing units in a redevelopment project that council members ended up unanimously supporting."


New Jersey's death penalty switch-off (Christian Science Monitor) "As New Jersey goes, so goes the nation? In the case of the death penalty, which was abolished in that state on Dec. 17, that may well happen. Slowly, the United States is making progress on this immoral practice, especially as doubts about its practicality increase."


Huckabee the Rebel (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post) "The rise of Mike Huckabee has put the fear of God into the Republican establishment. Its alarm has nothing to do with the Almighty."

Christmas' miracle workers (Alex Frankel, Los Angeles Times) "Remember with kindness those behind the counter and behind the delivery truck wheel."

Daily Digest is taking some time off for the holidays, and will resume Jan 2, 2008.

A blessed Christmas to all.

Duane Shank

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