Friday, July 28, 2006

Today's Details

-With congressional midterm elections less than four months away, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that candidates will be facing a public that has grown increasingly pessimistic, as nearly two-thirds don't believe life for their children's generation will be better than it has been for them, and nearly 60 percent are doubtful the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion. And there's more pessimism: Among those who believe the nation is headed on the wrong track, more than 80 percent say it's part of a longer-term decline. DETAILS

-At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements. The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington. DETAILS

-Senate Democrats unleashed a sharp volley of criticism of President Bush's foreign policy yesterday, arguing that John R. Bolton has done more harm than good as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and does not deserve an extended term. If Bolton's style were less divisive, they said, he might have achieved more reforms at the United Nations and tougher sanctions against Hezbollah and North Korea. DETAILS

-He didn’t support invading Iraq. He says national security decisions are too often made for political gain. And he maintains that Tom DeLay used “legal plunder” for the “immoral purpose of holding onto power.” A Democrat? No – His name is Richard Viguerie, a conservative icon and key architect of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory. Known to many as the godfather of direct-mail campaign fundraising, his four-decade career has succored scores of conservative candidates and grassroots causes. DETAILS

-Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it's coupled with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, lawmakers said Friday. (Now isn't this just the picture of decency? The Republicans will give the little people some crumbs - if you cut taxes on the rich people. HAD ENOUGH?) DETAILS

-The Homeland Security Department spent $34 billion in its first two years on private contracts that were poorly managed or included significant waste or abuse, a congressional report concluded Thursday. DETAILS

-U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Harris demanded an apology from Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, who during a speech this week likened the senatorial candidate to former Soviet ruler Josef Stalin. DETAILS

-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will return to the Middle East this weekend to work with others on trying to bring an end to the Israeli-Hezbollah fighting. DETAILS

-White House spokesman Tony Snow said the administration would "push back" against criticism of the United States. (Oh brother!) DETAILS

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