Zip Code By Zip Code: Synergy Needed Between Local Groups And The National Email Treasury

Right now we are not doing a good job of connecting the local groups, the neighborhood groups, and the local people who sign up with the campaign at and this is no good.

Both those efforts are doing great independent of each other, but if we could create a super synergy between the two, we would grow by leaps and bounds. This is especially true since Barack will now on have to focus on the early states. He no longer can afford to crisscross the country. But the organization has got to grow nationwide whether or not Barack can show in person. How do you do that? You do it the grassroots way.

More and more people are going to start paying attention nationally as the primaries get closer. And more and more people are going to visit and sign up. And more and more neighborhood groups are going to sprout up like mushrooms all across the country.

But the two can not run like two separate campaigns. We got to tap the power of the grassroots to the fullest.

How do you do that? You allow each neighborhood group to attach itself to a particular zip code, or a few zip codes in each case. Leaders of such groups should be given the option to share their contact information. Say I am the Grand Wizard of Alaska For Obama. (By the way I was very tempted to ask Barack this question last I saw him: "Senator, I have never been to Hawaii or Alaska. Have you ever been to Alaska?") If there are people in Alaska who are going to go to and sign up there, I want them to receive an email once a month saying the usual stuff, the national stuff, but there should be a part at the bottom that says there is a group called Alaska For Obama, and here is the website of the group, and I am the Grand Wizard, and if anyone wants to get in touch with me, here is my email address. Some wizards might feel comfortable giving out their phone numbers. I wouldn't. I am an email wizard. But each to his her own.

It is not okay, it is not enough to send just one national email to everyone who signed up once every few weeks. Each such email should have two parts, the national part, and the local part. The local part has to be zip code specific.

Because, let's face it, most people, the new people, are going to visit and not the local group's website, although they exist, in this day and age of cheap creating and hosting of websites. You can do it for free if you really wanted, at Google Pages. Buy a domain name for $1 a month, create your site at Google Pages, and just forward the domain name to the site, and hola, you got a website.

In big cities, you will have neighborhood groups, and then you will have larger umbrellas, and finally you will have a city committee or something. In small towns you might only have one group for the entire town.

People are not expecting Obama to show up everywhere. They understand he can't make it all places, especially now on. But they do want to be able to reach out to the nearest volunteer leaders from where they live, and the campaign should make that possible.

Granted is designed for people to create their own profile and then find events locally and show up for them, for the average person that is a few steps too many. It starts feeling techie stuff.

But if they can find contact info for local volunteer leaders straight in their inbox once a month or so, I believe that will really change things. We got to get people talking to each other. We got to localize our volunteers and donors and supporters. Localize, localize, localize.

This will also see a major boost, major growth for the local groups nationwide. That will boost morale for the local leaders all over. That will also encourage creation of many more groups. And that is what we want, that is what we need. It is not enough for Barack to get elected president. That keeps happening once every four years. That is no big deal. What we need is a movement so he can keep his promise of enacting universal health insurance during his first term. A movement is a ton of local groups all over the country.

These are different times. We will not march. But we will have barbecues, and voter registration drives, and house parties. We are going to blanket this country with them.

And the thing is this synergy thing is almost free. It just needs a little bit of tweaking of the mailing list software the campaign has been using. So instead of sending out one mass mail to everyone who signed up, you now send out mail zip code by zip code. The top half is the national message that goes out to everybody, and the bottom half is local message. And if the recipient has no local groups in the zip code, the message urges them to launch one.

If we can do this much, we will be making best possible use of all those people who will visit and sign up at all over the country as the primary season heats up. After every major positive stride by Barack on the campaign trail, we should see a surge in sign ups, both for the national mailing list and for the local groups. Now this is what I call the good surge.

Selling Books And DVDs

The store at should also sell the two Obama books and a few DVDs. There is an urgent need for an one hour biographical DVD of Barack for the hard core volunteers to consume and pass around, to show at house parties.

Al Qaeda Strikes India, Wants Hindu-Muslim Riots (May 18, 2007)

In The News

2 blasts kill more than 30 in India Los Angeles Times The blasts struck an outdoor laser show and a popular eatery about 7:30 p.m., leaving bodies and pools of blood amid smoking rubble and shattered glass. ..... the second time in about three months that the bustling city, which has become internationally known for its software industry, has been hit by a deadly bombing. In May, about a dozen people were killed in an attack on a mosque where thousands of worshipers had gathered for Friday prayers. Several more people died in subsequent clashes between police and protesters. ..... About 40% of Hyderabad's population is Muslim, compared with 13% of India's population as a whole. The city has a history of religious violence. ...... explosions Saturday went off minutes apart. ..... seats blown to pieces ..... Lumbini Park, a popular leisure spot. ..... three other explosive devices were found across the city, two of them in cinemas, and all were defused...... India, which has seen 300 people killed in major bombings in the last 13 months. ...... In July 2006, a series of coordinated blasts along Mumbai's commuter rail network killed about 200 people ....... Two months later, at least 30 people died in a bombing near a mosque in the western city of Malegaon. ...... in February, more than 60 passengers were killed in a firebombing of a train linking India and Pakistan. Officials suspect that the attackers were trying to spoil slowly improving relations between the rival nations.
42 killed, 50 injured in Hyderabad blasts Times of India, India three months after the Mecca Masjid blasts. ..... The week-end outing at the popular Gokul Chat shop at Kothi locality ..... Five minutes earlier .... another blast in an open air auditorium in Lumbini Park near the state secretariat in the heart of the city when a laser show was underway ..... The bomb was planted underneath a foot-over-bridge with a timer set for 9.30 pm .... The near-simultaneous blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar were triggered by cell-phone timers
Terror Bombings Kill Dozens in South India
New York Times, United States A pair of synchronized explosions ...... Hyderabad, with a population of about four million, is one of India’s prosperous and fast-growing cities, home to many software and biotechnology companies. .... In July 2006, serial bombings on commuter trains in the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai, killed more than 180 people, while in the fall of 2005, synchronized explosions in markets in the capital, New Delhi, killed nearly 60 people during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
Dozens killed by bomb blasts in Indian city Guardian Unlimited, UK
Two blasts in Indian southeastern city kill 34
China Daily, China
Hyderabad Blasts Kill Dozens
Arab News, Saudi Arabia
Twin Bombings Kill at Least 34 in India
Washington Post, United States
Police: Blasts kill dozens in southern India
Two Explosions Kill 34 in Southern India
Voice of America
Terrorist bombs rip India
Bangkok Post, Thailand
Official: Blasts kill dozens in southern India
CNN International
Bombs rip through crowded areas
News24, South Africa
'Several people' killed in blasts in southern India, Philippines
Two blasts in Indian southeastern city kills 28
Xinhua, China
Deadly explosions hit Indian city
BBC News, UK

Obama Names Republicans He'll Work With Guardian Unlimited ``The opportunities are there to create a more effective relationship between parties.'' ..... Among the Republicans he would seek help from are Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana, John Warner of Virginia and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma ...... To rousing applause at the same Little Havana auditorium where Republican Ronald Reagan once campaigned, Obama said: ``Just 90 miles from here there is a country where justice and freedom are out of reach. That's why my policy toward Cuba will be guided by one word: Liberty.''
Obama's right on Cuba
Los Angeles Times Clinton, who portrays herself as the experienced foreign policy realist next to Obama's cowboy diplomat, wasted no time in rejecting Obama's proposal ....... It is the height of irony that Americans can freely travel to countries such as Venezuela and Iran, which represent genuine threats to our security and economic interests, but not to Cuba, whose government is a threat only to its own people.The ban has done nothing to weaken Castro
Review: Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Guardian Unlimited At the moment of writing, Obama's chances are probably no worse than John F Kennedy's in 1959. ..... becoming reconciled to his troubled inheritance. Travelling to Kansas, Hawaii and finally Kenya, Obama undertook a journey of heart and mind into a family maelstrom of identity, class and race. ...... the exceptional grace of Obama's prose, its honesty and freshness. ..... political prose that goes back to another master of the American language: Abraham Lincoln
Obamas get personal to upset Clinton bandwagon Scotland on Sunday NO MORE Mr Nice Guy. With less than five months to go before Democrats choose their candidate for next year's Presidential elections, Senator Barack Obama is learning that it's time for the gloves to come off if he is to have a realistic chance of toppling and defeating his party's frontrunner for the nomination, Hillary Clinton. ....... Accordingly, the Obama campaign is now sharpening its criticisms of Clinton, hoping that a more aggressive approach will work better ...... Last week, on prime-time TV, Obama took a swipe at his fellow senator's age and judgment, hinting that at 59 - he is 46 - she belonged to a different era with different values to younger Americans. ...... Obama is also starting to suggest that Clinton is a creature of the Washington establishment. Unlike himself, she offers continuity, not change. ...... Fully 48% of Democrats support her candidacy, compared with just 25% who favour Obama. Other polls show Clinton leading in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina ...... The Obama campaign believed that Clinton's lead would be reduced once the freshman Illinois senator became better known. But that has not happened. Even though Obama has raised more money than Clinton, he has not been able to eat into her support. ........ "Everybody knows a lot of 50, 60 and 70-year-olds that don't have good judgment, because they keep on making the same mistakes over and over again," Obama added. ...... Mrs Obama, who is slowly emerging as a campaign star in her own right, complained she had been taken out of context and that the full text of her speech showed she was talking about the Obamas' own family.

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes New York Times just as the speed and scale of China’s rise as an economic power have no clear parallel in history, so its pollution problem has shattered all precedents ...... it is not clear that China can rein in its own economic juggernaut ..... Pollution has made cancer China’s leading cause of death ..... Ambient air pollution alone is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Nearly 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water. ...... Chinese cities often seem wrapped in a toxic gray shroud. Only 1 percent of the country’s 560 million city dwellers breathe air considered safe ..... industrial cities where people rarely see the sun; children killed or sickened by lead poisoning or other types of local pollution; a coastline so swamped by algal red tides that large sections of the ocean no longer sustain marine life. ...... Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides spewed by China’s coal-fired power plants fall as acid rain on Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo. Much of the particulate pollution over Los Angeles originates in China ...... China has entered the most robust stage of its industrial revolution ..... the country’s authoritarian system is addicted to fast growth ..... Officials blame fetid air and water for thousands of episodes of social unrest. Health care costs have climbed sharply. Severe water shortages could turn more farmland into desert. ....... Major initiatives are under way to develop clean energy sources like solar and wind power. ..... Land, water, electricity, oil and bank loans remain relatively inexpensive, even for heavy polluters. ...... Over all, enforcement is often tinged with corruption. This spring, officials in Yunnan Province in southern China beautified Laoshou Mountain, which had been used as a quarry, by spraying green paint over acres of rock. ...... Chinese manufacturers that dump waste into rivers or pump smoke into the sky make the cheap products that fill stores in the United States and Europe. Often, these manufacturers subcontract for foreign companies — or are owned by them. ....... Britain, the United States and Japan polluted their way to prosperity ...... Deng Xiaoping once forced China’s sluggish bureaucracy to fixate on growth. ...... A command-and-control political culture accustomed to issuing thundering directives is now under pressure, even from people in the ruling party, to submit to oversight from the public, for which pollution has become a daily — and increasingly deadly — reality. ........ the world’s largest producer of consumer goods ...... coal, on which China relies for about two-thirds of its energy needs. ...... has abundant supplies of coal and already burns more of it than the United States, Europe and Japan combined ...... Only Cairo, among world capitals, had worse air quality ...... the north, home to about half of China’s population, is an immense, parched region that now threatens to become the world’s biggest desert. ...... Industry and agriculture use nearly all of the flow of the Yellow River, before it reaches the Bohai Sea. ........ one-third of all river water, and vast sections of China’s great lakes, the Tai, Chao and Dianchi, have water rated Grade V, the most degraded level, rendering it unfit for industrial or agricultural use. ....... the environment has become one of the biggest causes of death. ..... how much energy China would need over the ensuing 20 years to achieve the leadership’s goal of quadrupling the size of the economy. ...... “No one really knew what was driving the economy ...... In 1996, China and the United States each accounted for 13 percent of global steel production. By 2005, the United States share had dropped to 8 percent, while China’s share had risen to 35 percent ...... China now makes half of the world’s cement and flat glass, and about a third of its aluminum ...... Each year for the past few years, China has built about 7.5 billion square feet of commercial and residential space, more than the combined floor space of all the malls and strip malls in the United States ...... In 2005 alone, China added 66 gigawatts of electricity to its power grid, about as much power as Britain generates in a year. Last year, it added an additional 102 gigawatts, as much as France. ...... the fast-growth political culture they preside over is too entrenched ...... China cannot go green, in other words, without political change. ...... “comprehensive environmental and economic accounting” — otherwise known as “Green G.D.P.” ...... the temperature in the Great Hall of the People was set at a balmy 79 degrees Fahrenheit to save energy

Senator's call for pullout divides GOP Contra Costa Times
German chancellor Merkel heads to China, Japan
Times of India
Rumor has it Castro is dead — once again
Seattle Times
'Castro dead' rumours send Miami wild Guardian Unlimited
Chavez denies rumors of Fidel Castro's death Times of India
The Google Rumor Machine
Hindustan Times
Inside the Countrywide Lending Spree New York Times potential borrowers were often led to high-cost and sometimes unfavorable loans that resulted in richer commissions for Countrywide’s smooth-talking sales force, outsize fees to company affiliates providing services on the loans, and a roaring stock price that made Countrywide executives among the highest paid in America. ...... Many of these loans had interest rates that recently reset from low teaser levels to double digits ...... a housing crisis of historic proportions. ..... the company has become a $500 billion home loan machine with 62,000 employees, 900 offices and assets of $200 billion. ........ Mr. Mozilo ... reaped $406 million selling Countrywide stock. .... As the subprime mortgage debacle began to unfold this year, Mr. Mozilo’s selling accelerated. ..... In the last 12 months, Countrywide financed almost $500 billion in loans ..... Countrywide has a huge presence in California: 46 percent of the loans it holds on its books were made there ..... Countrywide packages most of its loans into securities pools that it sells to investors. ...... Countrywide serviced 8.2 million loans as of the end of the year; in June the portfolio totaled $1.4 trillion. ..... loans that were worth more than 95 percent of a home’s appraised value and required no documentation of a borrower’s income. ...... The company harvested a steady stream of fees or payments on such loans and busily repackaged them as securities to sell to investors. As long as housing prices kept rising, everyone — borrowers, lenders and investors — appeared to be winners. ....... on subprime loans that imposed heavy burdens on borrowers, like high prepayment penalties that persisted for three years, Countrywide’s margins could reach 15 percent of the loan ....... loans that reset after a short period with a low teaser rate ...... When borrowers tried to reduce their mortgage debt, Countrywide cashed in: prepayment penalties generated significant revenue for the company — $268 million last year, up from $212 million in 2005. When borrowers had difficulty making payments, Countrywide cashed in again: late charges produced even more in 2006 — some $285 million. ....... The monthly payment on the F.H.A. loan would have been $1,829, while Countrywide’s subprime loan generated a $2,387 monthly payment. ...... WORKDAYS at Countrywide’s mortgage lending units centered on an intense telemarketing effort ... chasing down sales leads and hewing to carefully prepared scripts ...... “The Oasis of Rapport is the time spent with the client building rapport and gathering information. At this point in the sales cycle, rates, points, and fees are not discussed. The immediate objective is for the Account Executive to get to know the client and look for points of common interest. Use first names with clients as it facilitates a friendly, helpful tone.” ....... Countrywide was willing to underwrite loans that left little disposable income for borrowers’ food, clothing and other living expenses. .... Countrywide boasts that it is the No. 1 lender to minorities, providing those borrowers with their piece of the American homeownership dream. But it has run into problems with state regulators in New York, who contended that the company overcharged such borrowers for loans. ...... When borrowers close on their loans, they pay fees for flood and tax certifications, appraisals, document preparation, even charges associated with e-mailing documents or using FedEx to send or receive paperwork ...... fees of $100 to e-mail documents
Beckham won't travel with Galaxy to Colorado Los Angeles Times
Dell Gets Back to Basics Wall Street Journal The snafus resulted in a restatement of as much as $150 million for the past four fiscal years. ..... declining prices for the PC component called memory

Warner May Back Dems' Bill on Withdrawal Forbes
India points to outside groups after deadly bombings
Washington Post could have been the work of Islamist militants based in Pakistan or Bangladesh ...... both Islamabad and Dhaka rejected the idea, saying Reddy was jumping to conclusions without evidence. ..... bombs packed with metal pellets exploded within minutes of each other -- one at a food centre and one at an amusement park. ..... many more unexploded bombs had been discovered ... 19 bombs had been found across the city -- at or near cinemas, bus stops and near pedestrian bridges. ..... Two national television news channels said there were seven unexploded bombs but Reddy and some other officials mentioned just one such device, which police had defused. ....... those responsible for Saturday's blasts could have been behind the mosque bombing as well. ...... India has suffered several large-scale bomb attacks in its big cities over the past two years, including in Mumbai and New Delhi. Hundreds have been killed. ..... Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan are involved in a cautious peace process, and Islamabad reacted coldly to Reddy's comments. .... "Only Indians have this kind of power that as soon as a blast takes place, they can determine who has done it ....... the toll at 43.
Giuliani Aims Attacks at Democrats Washington Post
Richardson calls for an end to Democratic primary one-upsmanship Boston Globe
NASA Believes It Has Found Reason Foam Fell on Shuttle New York Times
Bush pleads for more patience for Iraq war Reuters
Obama develops plan for Gulf Coast restoration Boston Globe
Obama promises more open policy towards Cuba Times of India
As a community organizer, Obama was a pragmatic leader U.S. News & World Report Far from the centers of power and privilege that have spawned so many commanders in chief, it's an unlikely place to incubate a future president. But the seemingly endless clumps of drab brick apartment buildings and patchy lawns on Chicago's South Side are where Sen. Barack Obama learned some of his most enduring lessons about politics, leadership, and the paths to social change. His experiences here, in fact, amount to a Rosetta stone that reveals the essence of the man who has catapulted out of nowhere into contention for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008. ........ As a community organizer in the Altgeld Gardens public housing project in the mid-1980s, Obama, then 23, quickly emerged as a tireless and pragmatic advocate for the community—traits that characterize the kind of president he says he wants to be. "His work as a community organizer was really a defining moment in his life, not just his career," his wife, Michelle, told U.S. News. It helped him decide "how he would impact the world"—assisting people in defining their mutual interests and working together to improve their lives. ...... "taught me a lot about listening to people as opposed to coming in with a predetermined agenda." ...... Obama's commitment to seeking common ground. ..... After graduating from Columbia University in 1983 with a major in political science, Obama worked as a financial consultant in New York City. But he was bored—and drawn to public service. ...... Altgeld Gardens, a public housing project where 5,300 African-Americans tried to survive amid shuttered steel mills, a nearby landfill, a putrid sewage treatment plant, and a pervasive feeling that the white establishment of Chicago would never give them a fair shake. ...... Jerry Kellman, a social activist who recruited Obama, recalls, "He was very bright, very articulate, very personable, and very idealistic," inspired by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence. Kellman offered Obama a job at the annual salary of $10,000, and he threw in $2,000 so Obama could buy a ramshackle car to get around. ....... Obama was a stranger to the area but caught on quickly by showing humility and a strong work ethic. .... Obama insisted on "staying in the background while he empowered us." .... the gentle admonition: "It's your community." ...... the lanky newcomer with the funny name understood that a community organizer is a combination of educator, confessor-priest, social activist, motivational expert, mediator, and campaign leader. To accomplish his mission, Obama spent hours with Altgeld residents one on one, learning their problems and their dreams, and he resisted taking credit for success, preferring to give it to individuals in the community. ....... Obama lived a few miles away in a modest Hyde Park apartment, but he quickly became part of "the Gardens" community. He played pickup basketball. He walked from house to house to discuss what needed fixing. Wearing his trademark outfit of neatly pressed slacks and button-down shirts with no tie, he spent many hours meeting in kitchens, parlors, and churches. ........ Many of the older women took a liking to him. They fed him cookies, invited him for dinner, and introduced him to their friends—and their marriage-minded daughters. "I called him my little skinny boy," says Lloyd. "He was so thin, we wanted to fatten him up, but we couldn't do it." ....... "Barack is not one of those people who fight for the sake of fighting," says Michelle Obama. He's "willing to do it when it's necessary," but he knows "you have to keep the door open" to deal with the other side. ....... Perhaps his most confrontational effort was to pressure city authorities to remove asbestos from the apartments in 1986. When the on-site manager didn't take action, Obama nudged the residents into confronting city housing officials in two angry public meetings downtown. ....... Faced with such frustrations, after three years in Chicago, Obama decided to apply his skills in the wider world. He entered Harvard Law School in 1988, became the first African-American president of Harvard Law Review in 1990, and earned his law degree in 1991. He returned to Chicago to work as a civil rights lawyer and teach at the University of Chicago Law School. He eventually won a seat in the Illinois State Senate and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. ....... "He has a great understanding of people," says Randle, "and he knows how to bring about change through compromise. That's what we need in Washington."
Angry Iraqi Leader Lashes Out at Clinton Forbes
Iraq's Maliki lashes out at Hillary Clinton Reuters Canada
Top Democratic Opponents Challenge Clinton Assertion on Terror FOX News
Obama and Edwards Step Up Attacks on Front-Runner Clinton Washington Post Edwards declared, "The Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent." ..... the Democratic race has in many ways been static for several months. Obama has outraised Clinton, and the three leading candidates remain close in polls in Iowa, but as they prepare to gear up for an intense period of campaigning after Labor Day, Clinton is in the strongest position. ....... he and his advisers are also developing new language for speeches and policy proposals on health care and other issues he will unveil after Labor Day. ....... Obama and Edwards are portraying Clinton as yesterday's news .... "I believe I can bring the country together in a way she cannot do ...... Clinton and her campaign are remaining aggressive, criticizing Obama for a series of foreign policy statements he has made over the past month, in an effort to portray him as inexperienced. ..... Clinton argues that voters already know everything about her, and with another candidate any negatives "will be fresh information ..... "the people who have been criticizing me over the past two weeks are the people who engineered what is the biggest foreign policy fiasco in a generation." ........ 88 percent of Democrats have "favorable" views of her, and 38 percent "very favorable," both higher numbers than Obama and Edwards scored
19 bombs found after fatal blasts in India International Herald Tribune
'India, China, Japan must hold trilateral strategic dialogue' Economic Times "There is already bilateral strategic dialogue mechanism between China and India and China and Japan. We should try and promote a trilateral strategic dialogue between the three major powers for the benefit of Asia as a whole," Sun said here while commenting on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's just-concluded visit to India. Japan and India have intensified bilateral relations recently causing concerns among scholars who fear the alliance would 'contain' China, Sun said. .... On the emerging quadripartite relations between India, the United States, Japan and Australia, Sun described it as a bad move that would break unity among Asian countries. ..... "It would divide Asia. The so-called alliance is not good for the region," Sun said, adding it would also go against India's growing interests in the East Asia region as countries in the region would not want to take sides.
Merkel to press China on human rights
Misinterpreting the Mideast Los Angeles Times before any lasting on-the-ground movement toward peace can be achieved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, foreign emissaries, as well as some Israelis, will have to shake off some long-disproved tenets of the conventional wisdom about the dispute. ........ There are four main misconceptions that diplomats bring with them to Israel. Primary among them is the idea that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a prerequisite for stability in the Mideast. The truth is that the region is riven by clashes that have nothing to do with Israel. For instance, the Jewish state plays no role in the conflict between Shiites and Sunnis, between Persians and Arabs or between Arab nationalists and Arab Islamists. ....... the Mideast's central conflict is not territorial but ideological. And ideology cannot be defeated by concessions. ...... many Palestinians -- Fatah and Hamas, in particular -- and even some Israeli Arabs use "Occupation" to refer to all Israel. ..... Arafat, established a thugocracy that never improved the basic living conditions of his people. Indeed, Palestinian unemployment and poverty are worse today than they were before Arafat and his cronies assumed power in 1994. ...... misconception is the belief that economic development can neutralize extreme nationalism and religious fanaticism, thus clearing the way toward peace and security ...... the Palestinians explain what they did with the $7 billion in international aid they received over the years. ..... they should try to persuade the Palestinian leaders to commit to a long-term strategy premised on educational, political and economic reforms that would lead to the establishment of a civil society that cherishes life, not death; values human rights and freedom; and develops a middle class, not a corrupt, rich elite. ....... To defeat jihadist Islam, the West must overcome the regimes, organizations and ideologies that support and feed it -- and Hamas is foremost among them.
Intelligence calls Iraq's government precarious Boston Globe
New intel analysis gives gloomy forecast for Iraq Houston Chronicle A new assessment of Iraq by U.S. intelligence agencies provides little evidence that the American troop surge has accomplished its goals and predicts that the U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will become "more precarious" in the months ahead. ..... violence remains high, warns U.S. alliances with former Sunni Muslim insurgents could undercut the central government and says political compromises are "unlikely to emerge" in the next 12 months. ...... factions and political players in and outside Iraq already are maneuvering in expectation of a drawdown of U.S. troops — moves that could later heighten sectarian bloodshed. ....... The U.S. has become deeply embroiled in Iraq's civil war ..... "the level of overall violence, including attacks on and casualties among civilians, remains high." ..... the "broadly accepted political compromises required for sustained security, long-term political progress and economic development are unlikely to emerge unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments."
What the NIE Really Says Yahoo! News The consensus report of 16 intelligence agencies is full of on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand paragraphs that allow partisans of either side to make their points, if they are willing to quote selectively from the 4-page document. ....... broad and sweeping generalizations backed by little or nothing in the way of facts ....... how long do we have before failure to achieve national reconciliation begins to undermine local, grassroots movements? ....... The grassroots movement has developed rapidly and spontaneously, and it continues to spread rapidly and spontaneously. It has now grown into important movements in almost all of Central Iraq. ...... security will continue to improve in Iraq, and the current trend of the grassroots movement toward reconciliation is both positive and important
Google Patches Blogger, Adds Video Support PC World
German soccer clubs bitter despite Germany's record sportswear deal International Herald Tribune
Germany rejects Nike's €500 million offer to outfit national ... International Herald Tribune
Bird flu strikes German poultry farm
Food Consumer
Total lunar eclipse tomorrow
Bangkok Post

First Lady Cancels Trip to Australia
New York Times
India Blames Islamic Militants for Blasts New York Times
Cut and run or stay the course? The debate among American generals
Vineyard welcomes another Clinton Boston Globe more than 2,100 paid $50 for an event .... "If you ask my grandkids, 'Who's Nana's boyfriend?' " Shaheen said, "they say, 'Bill.' " ..... "I don't think people are as electrified as when Bill was here," said Ken Gilbert, 56, who was wearing a red "Bill Clinton for President" T-shirt, vintage 1992. ..... Everybody wants a bit of the new, and Hillary is not necessarily new." ...... Bookstores sandwiched her autobiography, "Living History," between volumes on local history and Buddhism. Four hours before she was to take the stage, the only bumper sticker on the cars lining the perimeter of the Tabernacle was for Barack Obama. ....... in years past, while Bill Clinton played a prominent role on their vacations, Hillary Clinton largely stayed out of the public eye ..... "Hillary doesn't energize," said Ernest Hardaway II, a retired surgeon from Chicago who is supporting Obama. "She just doesn't do it well. Now Bubba, he does it naturally." ..... you always knew when [Bill Clinton] was jogging and where he was eating. The whole place just shut down. It was a lot more exciting."
Obama to set New Orleans recovery plan Chicago Tribune, United States improving the way the U.S. government deals with future natural disasters by cutting the red tape he believes has slowed the rebuilding of Louisiana ....... Obama will propose appointment of a chief coordinating officer to cut through red tape and a chief financial officer charged with cutting waste.
Pinning Hopes On Rural Voters Washington Post, United States
The Obama Doctrine, Take 2 [hilzoy] Atlantic Online he believes that the risks of "increased bloodshed" would be higher, not lower, if our forces stay in Iraq. .... "He's a sponge," Power says. "He pushes so hard on policy ideas that fifteen minutes after you've started talking, he's sent you back to the drawing board. He doesn't get weighted down by the limits of American power, but he sees you have to grasp those limits in order to transcend them." ........ the most important issues America will confront in the future (terrorism, avian flu, global warming, bioweapons, the disease and nihilism that grow from concentrated poverty) will emanate from neglected and failed states (Afghanistan, the Congo, Sierra Leone) ........ "profound conviction that we are interconnected, that poverty and conflict and health problems and autocracy and environmental degradation in faraway places have the potential to come back and bite us in the behind, and that we ignore such places and such people at our peril." ....... He has secured money to fight avian flu, improve security in the Congo and safeguard Russian nuclear weapons. ....... Al Qaeda's new recruits come from Africa and Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Many come from disaffected communities and disconnected corners of our interconnected world. And it makes you stop and wonder: when those faces look up at an American helicopter, do they feel hope, or do they feel hate? ......... From Africa to central Asia to the Pacific Rim -- nearly 60 countries stand on the brink of conflict or collapse. ....... 1.3 billion Muslims .... too often since 9/11, the extremists have defined us, not the other way around. ..... I will focus our support on helping nations build independent judicial systems, honest police forces, and financial systems that are transparent and accountable. ..... I will make poverty reduction a key part of helping other nations reduce anarchy. ...... I will double our annual investments to meet these challenges to $50 billion by 2012. And I will support a $2 billion Global Education Fund to counter the radical madrasas -- often funded by money from within Saudi Arabia -- that have filled young minds with messages of hate. ....... help rebuild the country, develop lasting political structures, hold accountable destabilizing foreign governments, crack down on corrupt politicians, and professionalize the military. ........ It's hard to describe what it's like to sit and talk to a woman who has witnessed her children being slaughtered, and has been raped, and has seen her husband killed and her village burned. Those stories are all throughout the region as people have fled from these militias that were financed and supported and instigated by the Sudanese government. .......... We are way late in the toughest economic sanctions that we could apply. We have not applied the kind of pressure on China, which is one of Sudan's main patrons, that we should have applied. And there are some unilateral steps that we could take just on the economic front that need to be pursued more vigorously. ..... what we need is a no-fly zone which basically says that if you've got helicopter gunships that are supporting militias in their slaughter, then we are going to shoot those gunships down. And maybe we just shoot one down, or two down, we take out their airfields ....... when we say 'Never Again', we should mean it. And we haven't meant it. ..... farmers in Venezuela and Indonesia welcomed American doctors to their villages and hung pictures of JFK on their living room walls ..... an America that battles immediate evils, promotes an ultimate good, and leads the world once more."
Obama struggles to be a new page in the old politics Los Angeles Times, CA
Countdown begins for real in America's first billion-dollar ...
Times Online, UK
Poll: Are Clinton and Giuliani Leading Because of High Name ... Associated Content By this past February, 98% of the Democrats had a definite opinion, pro or con about her ...... she gets the votes of 43% of the voters who say they are familiar with all of the top three. Obama gets 30% of their votes. ...... Giuliani appears to be at a greater risk than Clinton is of losing support as the voters become more and more knowledgeable about the rest of the field.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D), Pres. Candidate (Pt. 1 of 5)
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D), Pres. Candidate (Pt. 2 of 5)
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D), Pres. Candidate (Pt. 3 of 5)
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D), Pres. Candidate (Pt. 4 of 5)
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D), Pres. Candidate (Pt. 5 of 5)