Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ominous signs for Clinton

Clinton says Obama relies on 'words'
By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Ignoring her crushing loss in Wisconsin to rival Barack Obama, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton pressed her case Tuesday that the Illinois senator offers little more than talk. "It's about picking a president who relies not just on words, but on work, hard work, to get America back to work," Clinton said at a labor rally here. "Someone who's not just in the speeches business."

After his victory speech, Clinton called Obama to congratulate him and the two spoke briefly.

The New York senator tried to battle back from her ninth straight loss to Obama since the Super Tuesday contests Feb. 5, vowing to fix trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which have disproportionally hurt working-class voters in places like Ohio.

The state holds its primary March 4, and Clinton is depending on victories here and in Texas to revive her fading candidacy.

But exit polls in Wisconsin offered ominous warnings for Clinton as she tries to reconstitute her political base in Ohio and elsewhere.

Obama defeated her among less educated voters and nearly tied her among white women — two groups that have formed the core of her candidacy. Young voters turned out in droves for Obama, more than offsetting Clinton's advantage among seniors. Wisconsin voters also said the need for change trumps experience 2-to-1.

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Obama wins again

Obama wins Wisconsin for 9th straight
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in a Democratic presidential race for the ages. It was Obama's ninth straight victory over the past three weeks — with results unknown from the night's Hawaii caucuses — and left the former first lady in desperate need of a comeback in a race she long commanded as front-runner.

"The change we seek is still months and miles away," Obama told a boisterous crowd in Houston in a speech in which he also pledged to end the war in Iraq in his first year in office.

"I opposed this war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home," he declared.

Sen. John McCain, the Republican front-runner, won a pair of primaries, in Wisconsin and Washington, to continue his march toward certain nomination.

In a race growing increasingly negative, Obama cut deeply into Clinton's political bedrock in Wisconsin, splitting the support of white women almost evenly with her. According to polling place interviews, he also ran well among working class voters in the blue collar battleground that was prelude to primaries in the larger industrial states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Clinton made no mention of her defeat, and showed no sign of surrender in an appearance in Youngstown, Ohio.

"Both Senator Obama and I would make history," the New York senator said. "But only one of us is ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, and ready to defeat the Republicans. Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a fighter and a champion for those who need a voice."

In a clear sign of their relative standing in the race, most cable television networks abruptly cut away from coverage of Clinton's rally when Obama began to speak in Texas.

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Pakistan Awaits New Government

From Verizon Central Newsroom
Knight Ridder Washington Bureau
Original article here

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan _ Pakistanis celebrated a return to civilian rule Tuesday in National Assembly elections that overwhelmingly endorsed opposition parties and dealt a devastating defeat to President Pervez Musharraf.

The Pakistan Peoples Party, led by Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, looked to be the lead party in the assembly. Close behind was the Pakistan Muslim League breakaway branch headed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Unofficial results gave Bhutto's party at least 87 seats and Sharif's party at least 66, but through a complex formula that distributes seats for women and minorities proportionally, the two parties should easily achieve a majority in the 342-seat assembly.

Musharraf, who came to power by overthrowing Sharif in a military coup in 1999 and clung to his position as army chief of staff until only two months ago, is likely to count on as few as 40 seats in the hands of his political allies in the Muslim League, according to projections by Pakistani news media.

The Bush administration, reacting to the results, underlined its hope to continue working with the discredited Musharraf, whom President Bush personally endorsed as a partner in the "war on terror." "We're looking forward to working with President Musharraf, as well as what the next _ whatever next Pakistani government emerges from this election," said Sean McCormick, the State Department spokesman.

Musharraf accepted the defeat in good grace, according to a bipartisan delegation of U.S. senators, who saw him early Tuesday.

The results were "clear. We lost," Musharraf told the senators, recounted Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del. "He seemed like reality had set in."

"I had the impression that he is prepared to retire to being president, which is largely a ceremonial role," but that his withdrawal "will depend on how the coalition government is formed and how he is treated . . . personally," Biden said in an interview with McClatchy.

Biden was accompanied by Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and John Kerry, D-Mass.

The leaders of the victorious opposition parties staked out opening positions Tuesday in what could be tough bargaining on forming a coalition to govern the nuclear-armed country as it reels from a growing Islamic insurgency, pervasive poverty, soaring prices, energy shortages and endemic corruption.

Musharraf apparently lost votes around the country because of intense anger over his authoritarian rule, his failure to contain insurgency-related violence and his cooperation with the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

Those sentiments could compel the new government to loosen its counterterrorism collaboration with the United States, which has pushed Musharraf to intensify military operations against al-Qaida and Islamic insurgents in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, which have claimed an unknown number of civilian casualties.

The Islamist political parties also lost ground in the elections, capturing only five seats in the National Assembly, down from 57, according to unofficial results. Religious parties lost control of the assembly in the North West Frontier Province as well, scoring only nine seats, down from 67, in the 96-seat body.

Although voters appeared to repudiate Musharraf, at least one prominent political analyst warned that the president couldn't be trusted to withdraw from politics.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Family Values & Quality time with Dad

There is a growing misconception in the larger world that Americans don't have family values. Much of this is attributed to the image created by Hollywood and the music industry.
This runs contrary to the fact that over half the population have strong religious beliefs and believe strongly in family values according to a recent finding by Christine Kim from the Heritage Foundation and Imran Siddiqui from Beyond the Headlines try to look at the differences between myth and reality.
Imran Siddiqui's Facebook profile