Wednesday, May 04, 2005

This morning's NYT: Mexico, Abortion, a vote for D.C.?, Tom DeLay

We'll start with this morning's New York Times by noting Ginger Thompson's "With His Star Rising, Mexican Populist Faces New Tests." From this article that Francisco and Molly have both e-mailed to highlight:

"What we saw last Sunday was proof that this is a new society," the mayor said during an interview last week, referring to the protest march, "that the traditional structures of power are not in control, not even with all their money and media."
Indeed, while Mr. Lopez Obrador, a 51-year-old widower and father of three sons, has proven that he can motivate this country's vast underclass, what remains unclear is whether he will be able to keep pro-American businesspeople and the fragile middle class on his side.
[. . .]
At his core, the mayor said, he remains an underdog activist from the tropics, where politics can be a rough-and-tumble affair. But, he said, he has been a player in national politics for nearly a decade, having served as head of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party before becoming mayor in 2000.
He pointed to his record as mayor of this monster of a city, pulling out financial statements that showed the lowest debt increases in the last 20 years as proof that he is qualified to run the national economy. He pointed to the nearly one million people who marched on this city last month as a sign that a growing number of Mexicans think so too. "The mentality of the people has changed," he said. "They are willing to stand up for democracy. That's what we were betting on. And we bet right."

Francisco: Why does this report feel like a ruler coming down a wrist?

Molly too felt that the article "was less reporting and more editorializing with a primary underlying theme of 'Don't you be too liberal! Don't you piss of the U.S. business class!'"

Rob e-mails to note Alan Cowell's "Iraq Backlash in Britain May Affect Future Military Moves:"

"Politicians have to understand the degree of responsibility they hold in an era when they are committing troops to war more frequently," Col. Christopher Langton, a military analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies here, said in an interview. "In the future there'll be more reticence about committing troops unless there's a direct threat to the national interest."
Even on Tuesday, with just two days left in the campaign, the Iraq war continued to cast a long shadow after the death on Monday night of Sgt. Anthony Wakefield, a 24-year-old soldier who became the 87th Briton to die in the war.
"What was the point of sending them all over there?" Sergeant Wakefield's estranged wife, Ann Toward, said through tears on Tuesday. "It's Tony Blair's fault. He sent all those troops out. If he hadn't sent them out, Anthony would still be here today."
Underscoring the emotional cost and pressures of the war, the families of 10 other British soldiers who died in Iraq lodged a petition at 10 Downing Street demanding an inquiry into the legality of the war and threatening legal action against Mr. Blair.
"Some of the families are seriously concerned that their children died in circumstances where the war was illegal," they said in a joint statement.

Brent, Wally and Liang all three e-mailed to highlight Abby Goodnough's "Florida Halts Fight to Bar Girl's Abortion:"

After first resisting a judge's order to allow a 13-year-old in state custody to get an abortion, Gov. Jeb Bush's administration changed course on Tuesday and said it would abandon the legal fight.
The reversal came a week after state lawyers went to Palm Beach County Circuit Court to stop the girl, identified as L.G., from having an abortion. Judge Ronald Alvarez agreed to delay the procedure while he weighed the facts, but ruled on Monday that the girl was competent to make decisions about her pregnancy and free to do so under the State Constitution.

Cedric e-mails to note James Dao's "Bill to Give Washington a House Vote Is Proposed:"

In what many experts consider the best opportunity in years for Washington to gain voting rights in Congress, Representative Thomas M. Davis III, Republican of Virginia, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would give District of Columbia residents a seat in the House of Representatives.
The bill tries to break the political inertia and partisan squabbling that has stalled Washington voting rights for two centuries by giving Utah, a Republican bastion, an additional House seat to balance the seat for Washington, which is overwhelmingly Democratic.
[. . .]
Ms. Pelosi's office said she opposed Mr. Davis's bill because it would require Utah to redraw its Congressional lines before the 2010 Census. Since Republicans dominate the Utah Legislature, those lines would probably endanger the state's lone Democratic representative, Jim Matheson of Salt Lake City.
Ms. Pelosi's concerns were echoed by Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington's nonvoting delegate to the House, who tepidly praised Mr. Davis as helping "raise awareness" but who stayed away from his news conference.

Billie e-mails to highlight Kate Zernike and Philip Shenon's "Papers Show Lobbyist Paid for Congressional Travel:"

Newly disclosed documents from an American territory in the Pacific show that the powerful Washington lobbyist at the center of federal corruption investigations here paid directly for travel to the islands by several members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, as well as two senior aides to Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, despite House rules that bar such payments.
The lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, submitted bills to his law firm for more than $350,000 in expenses for several trips to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1996 and 1997 on behalf of the congressmen, as well as several others including Edwin Buckham, Mr. DeLay's former chief of staff, and Tony Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff.
In letters and e-mail messages to the Marianas, Mr. Abramoff acknowledged that he had paid for the trips and asked the island government, which had hired him to lobby against proposed labor measures that would have affected the islands, to send him checks.
House travel rules bar lobbyists from paying for Congressional travel, even if the lobbyist is reimbursed by a group or government agency that is allowed to pay for travel.

Finally, Zach e-mails to note David C. Kirkpatrick's "House and Senate Reach Accord on $82 Billion for Costs of Wars."

Zach: The headline says it all.

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