Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 12-13-2007

the latest news on SCHIP, Farm bill, Budget, Congress, Heating costs, Veterans suicide, Climate Change, Lebanon, Iraq, Faith & politics, Iran, Minority tensions, and Editorials.

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SCHIP. President Vetoes Second Measure to Expand Children's Health Program"President Bush vetoed another children's health bill on Wednesday, effectively killing Democrats' hopes of expanding a popular government program aimed at providing insurance to youngsters in lower- and middle-income families." Bush Vetoes Kids Health Insurance Bill "President Bush vetoed legislation that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program."

Farm bill. Senate Bid to Rein in Farm Payments Dies "The Senate narrowly rejected an attempt to limit annual payments to farmers Thursday, frustrating lawmakers who had hoped that this year's multibillion-dollar farm bill would scale back the government's massive subsidy programs."

Budget. Democrats Bow to Bush's Demands in House Spending Bill "House Democratic leaders agreed to meet President Bush's bottom-line spending limit on a sprawling, half-trillion-dollar domestic spending bill, dropping their demands for as much as $22 billion in additional spending but vowing to shift funds from the president's priorities to theirs." Democrats to Spend Bush's Limit Their Way "Stymied by Republican opposition to their spending proposals, Congressional Democrats said that they would finance the federal government at roughly the amount insisted on by President Bush but shift more money to their favored causes."

Congress. Democrats Blaming Each Other For Failures "When Democrats took control of Congress in January, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to jointly push an ambitious agenda to counter 12 years of Republican control."

Heating costs. Steep heating costs hit neediest "Soaring fuel prices are creating a crisis among low-income people and senior citizens who can't afford to heat their homes, say local agencies that distribute federal heating subsidies."

Veterans suicide. Suspected Army suicides set mark "Rate is highest since first tracked in 1980 - A record number of soldiers - 109 - have killed themselves this year, according to Army statistics showing confirmed or suspected suicides." VA must act to curb combat-vet suicides, panel hears "The Department of Veterans Affairs needs to do more to find and treat returning soldiers who're at risk of killing themselves if the country is going to avert a rash of veterans' suicides, lawmakers and witnesses told a congressional hearing."

Climate change. U.S. Strategy Succeeds in Bali "U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon conceded Wednesday that the United States had succeeded in achieving one of its key objectives at the climate conference here, blocking a proposal that called on industrialized nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020." Gore: US Blocking Climate Talks Progress "Al Gore said Thursday the United States is "principally responsible" for blocking progress at the U.N. climate conference, and European nations threatened to boycott U.S.-led climate talks next month unless Washington compromises on emissions reductions." EU 'snub' threat at climate talks "EU ministers are threatening to boycott a US-led climate summit next month over the Bush administration's opposition to firm cuts in greenhouse gas emissions."

Lebanon . Bomb Kills Lebanese General Who Battled Militants "A powerful car bomb killed one of Lebanon's top generals and his bodyguard in a suburb of Beirut on Wednesday, striking an unexpected blow at the country's most widely respected institution and further undermining Lebanon's precarious stability." Lebanon seeks UN help in bomb probe "Lebanon is seeking help from the United Nations in its investigation into the murder of Brigadier General Francois al-Hajj, a senior army general, whose killing has worsened the country's political crisis."

Iraq . Iraq's Youthful Militiamen Build Power Through Fear "The fighters are filling the vacuum of leadership created by a 10-month-old U.S.-led security offensive. Hundreds of senior and mid-level militia members have been arrested, killed or forced into hiding, weakening what was once the second most powerful force in Iraq after the U.S. military. But the militia still rules through fear and intimidation, often under the radar of U.S. troops."

Faith & politics. Huckabee's Mormon question dwarfs GOP debate "Mike Huckabee apologized to Mitt Romney on Wednesday for raising questions about the Mormon faith, again pushing religion to the fore of an increasingly bitter fight for the Republican presidential nomination."

Iran . Russia, Iran 'agree nuclear deal' "Russia and Iran have agreed a schedule for finishing building the Bushehr nuclear plant, reports from Russia say. "Difficulties with the Iranian client are resolved and we have agreement on the timetable for construction," said the state contractor,"

Minority tensions. Survey Points to Tensions Among Chief Minorities "Distrust and racial tension among Hispanics, Asians and blacks in the United States are pressing concerns for all three groups, a new national poll conducted in English, Spanish and five Asian languages has found." Poll shows rifts among minority groups, but hope for future "The nation's three largest minority groups - African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians - view one another with deep suspicion, though there's evidence that the divide could be breached,"


The Tax Debate That Isn't (New York Times) "More difficult than tax reform may be the search for a presidential candidate with the courage to speak frankly to Americans about the nation's budget problems."

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