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Regarding the news

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Subject lines from the media box

Re: No wonder the troops want to come home

A Le Moyne College/Zogby poll of over 900 soldiers currently serving in Iraq found that 85 percent believe they’re fighting “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9/11 attacks.” It’s not surprising then, that 72 percent hope that by this time next year, the United States will have pulled all of its forces from the area.

Re: Yeah, yeah, thousands are dead but did you see what Anna Nicole was wearing?

Since the February 23 bombing of a Shiite holy shrine, and the resulting sectarian violence, more than 1,300 Iraqis have died. In one 42-day period, more than 17,000 Iraqis were injured and 7,312 perished. But how bad is it really? When asked about the looming civil war in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged “There is a high level of tension in the country.”

Please re-read the two sentences that preceded his response. Think of the reports every morning of bodies found executed, strangled, corpses tossed onto buses. 1,300 people dead in the fighting between Shiites and Sunnis in only 14 days. But Rumsfeld insists there’s no threat of civil war brought on by the United States occupation, or at least, “not by most experts’ calculations.”

Apparently the news media are as concerned as Rumsfeld. On February 28, on a day when at least 76 Iraqis were killed and hundreds wounded, the CBS Evening News dedicated one minute and thirty-nine seconds to its coverage of the war in Iraq. They granted one minute and fifty-six seconds of coverage to Anna Nicole Smith’s appearance at the Supreme Court.

Re: Rape, shmape, just have the kid

On March 6, South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds signed a bill outlawing abortion except when the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother. Victims of rape and incest will be legally bound to bear their children, and any doctor that performed the procedure could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.

Rounds, who describes the new law as “a direct challenge to…Roe v. Wade,” clearly has loftier goals than just restricting abortions within South Dakota. Perhaps he should remember that the Supreme Court has upheld Roe v. Wade’s ruling of a woman’s right to choose more than thirty times in the same number of years, and although the Court boasts two newly appointed conservative judges, there are still five left on the Court who have previously voted to preserve the law.

The governor’s office has already received more than $1 million in donations to support the ensuing legal battles. Planned Parenthood has vowed to challenge the law, and even anti-abortion advocates worry that the new edict is too restrictive to be upheld. While the lower courts debate the legality of the law, both sides expect the state will not be able to enforce it, as intended, starting July 1.

Re: I heart (certain) countries building nuclear bombs

President George W. Bush, on a recent trip to the Middle East and South Asia, announced that the United States and India, the world’s largest democracy, are embarking on a “strategic relationship.” India now has permission from the U.S. to purchase American-made nuclear fuel and reactor components. Although India has continually refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the United States has for decades refused to trade with any country not willing to sign the treaty, Bush declared “times have changed.”

Well, the times changed awfully quickly. One week prior to his controversial proclamation, Bush had demanded that Iran, which signed the treaty, and North Korea renounce all nuclear testing.

The “well, they were going to do it anyway,” defense doesn’t ring valid. Although India identified 14 civilian reactor sites they would open to international inspections as a trade-off for being able to access American-made technology, they specifically left eight sites off the list. At these plants, the country can continue to research and develop nuclear weapons.

For 30 years, the United States has not wavered from its stance not to trade with any country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We can now only wait and see what havoc the implications of this newly set precedent will create.

Re: You can’t tell me where UAE is on a map either!

In early February, the Bush administration quietly awarded a contract to protect many East Coast shipping ports, including New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans, to a company from the United Arab Emirates. Once the deal was made public, hysteria ensued in America. While the UAE considers itself an ally to the United States in the war on terror, the country will forever be linked to the September 11 attacks.

Congressional Democrats first called for a review of the company’s qualifications. President Bush responded by threatening to veto any bill that prevented the company from taking control, as he believed they were capable of doing the job. Republicans soon split with their President and joined their voices in the battle cry. After intense public pressure, the White House announced that the UAE company would “voluntarily” submit to a 45-day review period so Congress could be assured of its capabilities.

Without waiting the entire review period, the House Appropriations Committee, which must approve all government spending, announced on March 9 they had rejected the deal by a vote of 62-2. In addition to voting against it, the leaders attached the amendment blocking the contract to an important bill for emergency funding of the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina recovery. By the time you read this, we’ll know how Bush, who has yet to veto any bill in his five years in office, decided to handle the increasingly sticky issue.

Re: Can you $%&*?@! believe this?

Ohio Republican State Representative Ron Hood recently introduced a bill to prevent children from being placed for adoption or foster care into homes where either the adult guardian or his/her roommate is homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered.

Soon after, Ohio Democratic Senator Robert Hagan sent emails to his colleagues asking them to co-sponsor a bill he had written to “ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents.” Hagan cited “credible research” indicating that children adopted or born into those households are at a grave risk for developing “emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different from themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.”

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