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Undernews For April 29, 2008

Undernews For April 29, 2008

Washington's Most Unofficial Source
611 Pennsylvania Ave SE #381
Washington DC 20003
Editor: Sam Smith

28 APRIL 2008


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies -- in the final sense -- a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. . . . It is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954



Sam Smith

Watching the missteps, misspeaks and misdeeds of politicians, one thing is soon clear: how important these incidents become is largely determined by grace of the media. There is often no particular connection to the seriousness of the mishap, no clear connection to any political agenda, and seldom a moral purpose. In these situations, the press is often like a drunk behind the wheel. Perhaps it will take us home safely; perhaps there will be a disaster. You tighten your seatbelt and hope for the best.

Barack Obama has recently experienced the media at its dysfunctional worst. The handling of the Irreverent Jeremiah Wright story has no basis in journalistic principle other than laid out by the late Senator Gene McCarthy: reporters are like blackbirds on a telephone wire. When one flies off, they all fly off.

To put some numbers to this, here are the Google hits from news publications over the past month on the leading presidential candidates and their bizarre religious connections:

Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright - 13,095
McCain and Rev John Hagee - 295
Clinton and The Fellowship - 37

In case you think that Hagee and the Fellowship can't hold a candle to Wright, consider this Wikipedia note about Hagee, who is close to McCain:

"Hagee denounces abortion, and stopped giving money to Israel's Hadassah hospital when it began performing the procedure. He has spoken out against homosexuality. In his book, Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, Hagee interprets the Bible to predict that Russia and the Islamic states will invade Israel and will be destroyed by God. This will cause the anti-Christ, the head of the European Union, to create a confrontation over Israel between China and the West. A final battle between East and West at Armageddon will then precipitate the Second Coming of Christ"

And this about the Fellowship, by Andrea Mitchell and Jim Popkin of NBC, two of the rare major media journalists to even mention it:

"In his preaching, [Fellowship leader Douglas] Coe repeatedly urges a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It's a commitment Coe compares to the blind devotion that Adolph Hitler demanded from his followers -- a rhetorical technique that now is drawing sharp criticism.

"'Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had, these nobodies from nowhere," Coe said.

"Later in the sermon, Coe said: "Jesus said, ‘You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.' Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people."

Coe also quoted Jesus and said: "One of the things [Jesus] said is 'If any man comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, brother, sister, his own life, he can't be a disciple.' So I don't care what other qualifications you have, if you don't do that you can't be a disciple of Christ."

The sermons are little surprise to writer Jeff Sharlet. He lived among Coe's followers six years ago, and came out troubled by their secrecy and rhetoric.

"'We were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao. And I would say, 'Isn't there a problem with that?' And they seemed perplexed by the question. Hitler's genocide wasn't really an issue for them. It was the strength that he emulated," said Sharlet. . . 'They're notoriously secretive,' Sharlet said. 'In fact, they jokingly call themselves the Christian Mafia. Which becomes less of a joke when you realize that they really are dedicated to being what they call an invisible organization.'"

So here we have three presidential candidates with substantial ties to dubious religious figures, but only one of them gets pilloried in the media for it.


One answer is because Obama is going through a special fraternity hazing to see whether he really the sort of fellow the establishment wants to have as its first black leader. Watching Obama struggle awkwardly with the Wright problem, I was reminded of Sammie Davis Jr playing golf with Ronald Reagan. "Do you want a handicap?" Reagan asked.

"Look," replied Davis, "I'm a one-eyed black Jew. What more of a handicap do I need?"

But Obama isn't just playing golf.

There is a long tradition of testing black leaders in this way. Under Clinton, for example, Lani Guinier flunked. And as with Obama, it is not unusual to use the Louis Farrakhan litmus paper. For the media watchdogs of the establishment, Wright was a welcomed addition to the standardized test.

Unspoken in all this is the understanding that there are good blacks and bad blacks. There is Colin Powell and then there is Al Sharpton.

From the start, the Washington establishment welcomed Obama with a sigh of relief. A well suited, well spoken, well educated non-controversial black who would let us change colors without changing policies. The enthusiasm was so great that the big guys forgot to conduct the test.

And then Jeremiah Wright appeared and, through him, the scariest black ghost of all: Louis Farrakhan. You could almost feel the sense of betrayal. And so the test began in earnest. Two months of the most intensive press coverage of a grossly irrelevant topic that we've seen in a long time.

One of Obama's real problems is that he takes himself far too seriously and, in the process, helped his critics elevate the Wright controversy. My thinking at the start was that the last thing you should hold anyone accountable for is remembering what their preacher said in a sermon. Obama might have even buried the whole issue by simply quoting another minister who said of such lectures: "The mind can only absorb what the butt can endure." Or turned it around on the press, demanding of George Stephanopoulos and his ilk: "Tell me what your minister said last Sunday and I'll tell you what I remember of mine." But when you presume to carry as much import as Obama does, such simple exits don't come to mind.

Obama desperately wants to lead the establishment, which is why he so frequently looks like he's auditioning for a lectureship at the Council on Foreign Relations or a fellowship at the Brookings Institution. But, in the process, he fell into the trap the establishment had set for him.

Black politicians aren't the only one to face the hazing. Consider the dismissive, patronizing press coverage of John Edwards, a white southerner with the best economic and social policies of the campaign who was treated as nothing more than an over-expensive haircut. In 2007, Clinton and Obama got included in over 90% of all two-candidate mentions in headlines, while Edwards only got into 15%. And those to the left of Edwards can forget about getting any mainstream coverage at all. For more than a quarter century, the mainstream media has consigned the left to oblivion, all the while calling itself objective.

Now let's look at the other side of the coin: politicians who do things they shouldn't and get protected by the media. The most dramatic example in recent years was Bill Clinton, about whom most Americans never heard serious accusations of drug use, rape and criminal connections. While Marion Barry went to prison on a minor drug charge; the prosecutor who got too close to the Clinton drug story ended up living in fear of her life at a secret location. A similar contrast can be found between the heavily covered story of Obama's one allegedly crooked friend, Tony Rezko, and the near total censorship of information about Hillary Clinton's three business partners who actually went to prison: Webster Hubbell and the McDougals. Of course, the latter had no known partiality towards Louis Farrakhan. But then which is worse: sitting in a pew and listening to James Wright or sitting in an office and plotting with Webster Hubbell?

The foregoing only scratches the surface of the one of the deepest sins of the media: cruel and constant coverage of relatively insignificant misdoings by some politicians combined with consistent concealment of much more serious offences by those who - through personality, ethnicity, ideology or class, or just plain power - are protected members of an establishment to which Washington journalists are desperate to belong - at enormous cost to the rest of us.


ERROL LOUIS, NY DAILY NEWS The Rev. Jeremiah Wright couldn't have done more damage to Barack Obama's campaign if he had tried. And you have to wonder if that's just what one friend of Wright wanted.
Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds.

A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity. (She is an ordained minister).

It also turns out that Reynolds - introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club "who organized" the event - is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.

On a blog linked to her Web site- Reynolds said in a February post: "My vote for Hillary in the Maryland primary was my way of saying thank you" to Clinton and her husband for the successes of Bill Clinton's presidency.

The same post criticized Obama's "Audacity of Hope" theme: "Hope by definition is not based on facts," wrote Reynolds. It is an emotional expectation. Things hoped for may or may not come. But help based on experience trumps hope every time."

In another blog entry, Reynolds gives an ever-sharper critique of Obama: "It is a sad testimony that to protect his credentials as a unifier above the fray, the senator is fueling the media characterization that Rev. Dr. Wright is some retiring old uncle in the church basement."

I don't know if Reynolds' eagerness to help Wright stage a disastrous news conference with the national media was a way of trying to help Clinton - my queries to Reynolds by phone and e-mail weren't returned yesterday - but it's safe to say she didn't see any conflict between promoting Wright and supporting Clinton.


ZACHARY COILE, COMMON DREAMS House Democratic leaders are putting together the largest Iraq war spending bill yet, a measure that is expected to fund the war through the end of the Bush presidency and for nearly six months into the next president's term. The bill. . . signals that Democrats are resigned to the fact they can't change course in Iraq in the final months of President Bush's term. Instead, the party is pinning its hopes of ending the war on winning the White House in November. Bay Area lawmakers, who represent perhaps the most anti-war part of the country, acknowledge the bill will anger many voters back home


TPM CAFE In the landmark civil fraud case against Bill Clinton in Los Angeles, where the former President is charged with defrauding a Hollywood dot com millionaire to help Hillary Clinton obtain more than $1.2 million from him for her 2000 Senate campaign, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz ruled that Hillary Clinton would not be required to testify in a sworn deposition as a material witness in the case until after the November election.

While Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Al Gore, Ed Rendell, Barabara Streisand, Cher, Stan Lee, Brad Pitt, Mike Wallace, Larry King et al may be called to testify and be deposed starting in May, Hillary alone has been protected from explaining her role in her husband's fraud charges.

In an astonishing ruling by the Judge, Hillary Clinton may not be deposed about her role in the illegal solicitation and cover up of the largest contribution made to her Senate campaign until after the presidential election. . .

Equally surprising as the ruling was the judge's request to Hillary defense lawyer David Kendall to say hello to his (Judge Munoz) friend Bill, also a partner in Kendall's law firm The decision to shield Hillary Clinton from civil discovery for an additional seven months, thereby delaying a long postponed trial, was made by the judge on his own, without any request by Hillary or her lawyer to make the ruling. No discussion was permitted by Paul's lawyer before the decision was made. Judge Munoz' unilateral decision effectively saved the floundering campaign and hopes of Hillary Clinton to win her party's Presidential nomination.


SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST When it comes to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, Sen. John McCain was for the idea before he was against it. Three years before the Arizona Republican argued on the campaign trail that U.S. forces could be in Iraq for 100 years in the absence of violence, he decried the very concept of a long-term troop presence.

In fact, when asked specifically if he thought the U.S. military should set up shop in Iraq along the lines of what has been established in post-WWII Germany or Japan -- something McCain has repeatedly advocated during the campaign -- the senator offered nothing short of a categorical "no."

"I would hope that we could bring them all home," he said on MSNBC. "I would hope that we would probably leave some military advisers, as we have in other countries, to help them with their training and equipment and that kind of stuff."

Host Chris Matthews pressed McCain on the issue. "You've heard the ideological argument to keep U.S. forces in the Middle East. I've heard it from the hawks. They say, keep United States military presence in the Middle East, like we have with the 7th Fleet in Asia. We have the German...the South Korean component. Do you think we could get along without it?"

McCain held fast, rejecting the very policy he urges today. "I not only think we could get along without it, but I think one of our big problems has been the fact that many Iraqis resent American military presence," he responded. "And I don't pretend to know exactly Iraqi public opinion. But as soon as we can reduce our visibility as much as possible, the better I think it is going to be."

The January 2005 comments, which have not surfaced previously during the presidential campaign, represent a stunning contrast to McCain's current rhetoric.

They also run squarely against his image as having a steadfast, unwavering idea for U.S. policy in Iraq -- and provide further evidence to those, including some prominent GOP foreign policy figures in the "realist" camp, who believe McCain is increasingly adopting policies shared by neoconservatives.

Finally, the comments undercut much of the criticism the senator has launched at his Democratic and even Republican opponents.


THINK PROGRESS Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia granted his first broad-based television interview, to Lesley Stahl on CBS's 60 Minutes. There he explained that the torture of detainees does not violate the 8th Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" because, according to Scalia, torture is not used as punishment:

STAHL: If someone's in custody, as in Abu Ghraib, and they are brutalized, by a law enforcement person - if you listen to the expression "cruel and unusual punishment," doesn't that apply?

SCALIA: No. To the contrary. You think - Has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don't think so.

STAHL: Well I think if you're in custody, and you have a policeman who's taken you into custody. . .

SCALIA: And you say he's punishing you? What's he punishing you for? . . When he's hurting you in order to get information from you, you wouldn't say he's punishing you. What is he punishing you for?


CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - President Hugo ChAvez said he will try to facilitate the release of three Americans held captive by Colombia's largest rebel group - even though he has lost contact with the guerrillas. Mr. ChAvez confirmed his willingness to help on Sunday, a day after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said the socialist leader had agreed to mediate a possible exchange of the US defense contractors for imprisoned guerrillas. "I told him that we're at their service, to try to help even though the issue is very complicated," said Chavez during his weekly television and radio program. Chavez helped pave the way for the release of six captives earlier this year.


DEAN BAKER, PROSPECT Almost all economists would agree that the tax cut proposed by Senators Clinton and McCain would save consumers nothing. With the supply of gas largely fixed by the capacity of the oil industry (they claim to be running their refineries at full capacity), the price will not change in response to the elimination of the tax. The only difference will be that money that used to go to the government in tax revenues will instead go to the oil industry as higher profits.

If Senator Clinton is able to use this proposal to draw a contrast with Senator Obama in expressing concern for middle-class families it could only be attributable to the extraordinary incompetence of the reporters who are covering the campaign. While typical middle-class families may not have the time and background to realize that Senator Clinton's proposal would not save them any money, reporters do.

The fact that Senator Clinton, like Senator McCain, sought to deceive them with a bogus tax cut should have been the main theme of today's election reporting.



GUARDIAN, UK The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job. The exception claimed by Cheney's counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president's chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay. Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney's conduct is "not within the committee's power of inquiry". "Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by law what a vice-president communicates in the performance of the vice president's official duties, or what a vice president recommends that a president communicate," Wheelbarger wrote to senior aides on Capitol Hill.


NY TIMES EDITORIAL The court has long recognized that the right to vote is so fundamental that a state cannot restrict it unless it can show that the harm it is seeking to prevent outweighs the harm it imposes on voters. The Indiana law does not meet this test. The harm it imposes on voters, some of whom will no doubt be discouraged from casting ballots, is considerable. The state's interest in the law, on the other hand, is minimal. It was supposedly passed to prevent people from impersonating others at the polls, but there is no evidence that this has ever happened in Indiana. It seems far more likely that the goal of the law's Republican sponsors was to disenfranchise groups that lean Democratic.

Unfortunately, only three justices voted to hold the law unconstitutional. The other six fell into two groups. Three - Justices John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts - signed a lead opinion that set a disturbingly low bar for what sort of interference with voting the Constitution permits. A second opinion, signed by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, was worse. It argued for upholding all but the most severe and unjustified burdens on voting. Richard Hasen, a Loyola Law School professor, notes that if the court had taken this opinion's approach in 1966, it is not clear it would have overturned the poll tax.

COMMON CAUSE - In Indiana, if a voter does not already have a current driver's license or passport with the same name on it as the voter filled out on his or her voter registration form (even if the voter has since married and changed his or her name), that voter will encounter a serious challenge to the right to vote. In order to get the so-called free ID the state is offering, well in advance of the election, a voter would have had to go to a Department of Motor Vehicles during working hours and present a primary document, a secondary document, and a proof of residency, or two primary documents and one proof of residency document. The only items that count as primary documents essentially are an original, stamped birth certificate or a passport. Many people do not have their original birth certificate at home. And only about a quarter of Americans have passports. So the voter without their birth certificate handy must go out and buy one - in Indiana that costs between $12 and $20 and much more if the voter was not born in Indiana. And in the ultimate Catch-22, the process for getting a birth certificate may require the voter to present identification. Moreover, the process for getting the birth certificate, particularly for a citizen who was not born in Indiana, can take months.

What's more, Indiana's law allows for no recourse. If the voter comes to the polls without the right kind of ID, at least right as far as that particular poll worker is concerned, he cannot vote by regular ballot that day. He must instead return to election offices with the necessary ID within 10 days - something many voters, even if they have the requisite ID, may not be able to do. The only other possibility for poor voters without ID who come to vote is to return within 10 days to fill out an affidavit swearing under law as to their indigence which is totally undefined by the law.

Indiana's voter identification law has been championed politically and in the courts as necessary to prevent fraud. Voluminous research has found that the type of election fraud that would be prevented by a voter identification requirement - in person, impersonation of another person at the polls - is extremely rare. In fact, in Indiana's court papers defending the law, the State could not provide one example in Indiana's entire history in which this type of fraud had taken place. Indeed, not one case of election fraud brought by the Justice Department over the last several years was of the type that would have been addressed by voter identification.




Nostalgic moments from the Clinton years

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, 1999 Percent of eligible voters casting ballots for Clinton in 1992: 23.8%. In 1996: 23.9%. Last election with a lower turnout: 1824.



Tree Hugger interviewed Taylor Schmidt a 17-year-old member of the local Green Club in Greensburg Kansas, a town leveled by a tornado.

Taylor Schmitt: Well after at least 96% of the town was destroyed there has obviously been a massive need for rebuilding, and the town has come together as a big family, really, and it's been one joint effort to rebuild the town better than it was and more sustainable and green than it was. . .

TH: And what have people in Greensburg learned that's struck you particularly?

TS: Well we live in a very red, conservative state. It's the buckle of the Bible Belt. But we have become informed about green and see it as a universal concept. It's really a bipartisan issue, so I believe that parties shouldn't influence it. And green just makes sense to us, it's really simple switches. Simple ways you can build where it will last longer, save more energy, and use fewer resources. And there's been an incredible amount of folks helping us implement these ideas.

TH: How well do the other kids in Greensburg understand all of this?

TS: Kids have been the driving force for rebuilding. It's practically unprecedented. They've actually encouraged us to come into the process of rebuilding and haven't been shunning us like most people would. They've really embraced us; almost all of the youth have become involved in the rebuilding of Greensburg. We've been on committees with FEMA and there are around 20 students out of 100 involved on various committees and things like that.

And because of that involvement a green club has formed at Greensburg High School. Basically it's a group of kids that want to learn more about green, what it is, how simple it is, how we can implement it in our lives. And what affect it has on our lives, finances, and the city.

It's just so exciting; I don't think you can find a person in the whole high school who doesn't know about going green.

TH: How have the youth of Greensburg helped others in town understand the concept of going green?

TS: We've been reading about it so we can help those who don't understand it as much in older generations; and as we learn more about things we can do ranging from emailing assignments or encouraging some people that are rebuilding to use CFLs instead of incandescent light bulbs we're really making a difference. The school community has really been supportive as well. The school is even going to be rebuilt to LEED platinum standards. . We've even gone with several of our teachers up to Chicago to the national green building convention and learned about how we can rebuild school and town with green roofs for water, and other practices ranging from all sorts of simple things like using efficient lighting and efficient water usage to installing wind turbines and solar and geothermal heating. Our school is actually going to be powered by its own large wind turbine. . .

I think of myself as a 17-year old watching our town learn about how we can thrive again and even grow back better than we were before. Some people think how terrible it must be, but I think it's a blessing to live in such exciting times.

TH: What have you come to believe makes the town of Greensburg so unique?

TS: We've realized that the spirit of working together is what makes Greensburg so unique. Before this happened we all (the youth) wanted to leave, but now we want to stay. It's given us a reason to understand we have a long term affect on our community and the world. . .


A US campaign watchdog has accused presumptive Republican president nominee John McCain of violating election laws by accepting campaign contributions from two prominent Londoners. At issue is a fundraising luncheon held in March at London's Spencer House, during McCain's swing through the United Kingdom. An invitation to the event lists Lord Rothschild and Nathaniel Rothschild as hosts, and indicates the event was made possible with their "kind permission". Judicial Watch, a Washington organization instrumental in the March release of Hillary Clinton's White House schedules, has asked US election monitors to investigate whether the Rothschilds improperly sponsored the fundraiser. US political campaigns are forbidden from accepting contributions from foreign nationals. "The question is whether or not the Rothschilds paid for the event, the venue, the catering, or any other related costs," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. - Guardian

The Mail leads on Gordon Brown's determination to toughen the law on cannabis and override recommendations from the Home Office's advisory council on the misuse of drugs. The prime minister is expected to announce next week that cannabis will return to Class B status from Class C. Meanwhile, the final two polls for Thursday's local elections and London's mayoral race are full of foreboding for Brown and Labour. The Guardian says the polls indicate that Brown is heading for crushing reverses and will see Ken Livingstone beaten by Boris Johnson for London mayor. - Guardian Wrap

The Guardian reports on accusations that officers of MI5 are outsourcing the torture of British citizens to Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence. Tayab Ali, a London-based lawyer for two of the men who were tortured, told the Guardian: "I am left with no doubt that, at the very worst, the British security service instigates the illegal detention and torture of British citizens, and at the very best turns a blind eye to torture."
Salahuddin Amin, a college graduate from Luton, claims he was deprived of sleep, whipped and beaten during 10 months in prison in Rawalpindi. He describes a pattern of first being tortured by his Pakistani captors and then asked the same questions by two men, one of whom introduced himself as Matt from MI5. The two British men would leave and the torture would resume. Amin said the MI5 officers would insist that his main torturer remained in the room because they wanted the man to know which questions had not been answered. Another man, from Manchester, who cannot be named, said he had his fingernails removed.

Amy Bennett Williams, News-Press, FL - As the Coalition of Immokalee Workers prepares to deliver more than 60,000 petitions to Burger King headquarters in Miami, the daughter of Burger King's vice-president Stephen Grover confirmed her father is responsible for online postings vilifying the coalition. The Immokalee-based group is asking Burger King to improve tomato harvesters' working conditions and pay a penny more a pound for tomatoes, which could add about $20 to a daily wage of $50, workers say. McDonald's and Yum! Brands, the world's biggest fast- food chain and restaurant company, respectively, have agreed to the raise. Yum! signed on in 2005; McDonald's in 2007. So far, Burger King has refused, while publicly saying it wants to work with the coalition to improve labor conditions. Yet often during the past year, when articles or videos about the coalition were posted on YouTube and various Internet news sites, someone using the online names activist2008 or surfxaholic36 would attach comments coalition member Greg Asbed has called 'libelous.' This one, from surfxaholic36, is representative: 'The CIW is an attack organization lining the leaders pockets . They make up issues and collect money from dupes that believe their story. To (sic) bad the people protesting don't have a clue regarding the facts. A bunch of fools!' Although Shannon Grover also uses the name surfxaholic36 - mostly on social networking sites - she said the anti-coalition posts are her father's alone.

Douglas Feith may not have devised an exit strategy for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but according to the former Bush administration official, a group of Georgetown professors apparently had no trouble coming up with an exit strategy for him. The distinguished practitioner in national security policy in the School of Foreign Service will not be returning to teach at Georgetown next semester after the university chose not to renew his two-year contract. "Technically I was appointed for two years and there was no extension of the appointment," Feith said in an interview. "My understanding is that there were some members of the faculty that didn't want me on the faculty.". . . Feith said he got the sense that the reason his contract was not extended was because of political views and past work that generated controversy among many faculty members. . . At a lecture he gave earlier this month, a group of students from Georgetown Peace Action protested Feith's alleged support of certain interrogation techniques. Georgetown Peace Action has sharply criticized the university's decision to hire Feith. - Georgetown Hoya

Bionx has created a conversion system that allows you to add electric power to any bike, adding now more than 15 pounds. Only problem: price is in the four digits. Reports Tree Hugger: A seven pound, 350 watt gearless and brushless motor replaces the rear hub and the battery pack is fastened to the frame. The lithium-manganese battery charges in three hours and go for seventy miles, helped along by regenerative braking. Use up a lot of juice going up a hill?

Ralph Nader secured a spot on the November ballot in New Mexico, making it his first for the 2008 campaign. New Mexico is expected to be a key swing state. Nader and VP running mate Matt Gonzalez will appear on the NM ballot under the Independent Party name . . . The Constitution Party overwhelmingly rejected former Ambassador and frequent GOP candidate Alan Keyes' bid for their Presidential nomination on Saturday. Baptist pastor and local radio talk show host Chuck Baldwin of Florida -- the party's 2004 VP nominee -- easily defeated Keyes

Overheard at the National Mall reflecting pool as a daughter points to a Canadian goose: : "Look Mom! Wildlife!" - Eavesdrop DC

The nation's population could more than triple to 1 billion as early as 2100. That's the eye-popping projection that urban and rural planners, gathered for their annual meeting in Las Vegas, are hearing from a land-use expert. "What do we do now to start preparing for that?" asks Arthur Nelson, co-director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, whose analysis projects that the USA will hit the 1 billion mark sometime between 2100 and 2120. "It's a realistic long-term challenge." The nation currently has almost 304 million people and is the world's third most populous, behind China (1.3 billion) and India (1.1 billion). China passed the 1 billion mark in the early 1980s. Nelson's projection assumes that current fertility rates remain constant but that longevity and immigration will continue to rise. - USA Today


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611 Pennsylvania Ave SE #381
Washington DC 20003
Editor: Sam Smith

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