Docudharma Times Tuesday February 10

John Cornyn Stimulus Hater

Avoids  The Cloture Vote To:

Spend Time In New York Looking

For Money To Further His Political Fortunes      

Tuesday’s Headlines:

A Curious-Looking Hero Still Mesmerizes the Nation

Netanyahu’s lead shrinks as Israelis vote amid wide disillusionment

Heirs of the revolution battle to keep the faith

Italian coma woman’s death ends Berlusconi’s bid to keep her alive

Holocaust-denying Bishop sacked from seminary

Robert Mugabe binges on champagne and caviar as Zimbabwe starves

A Kenyan lawyer takes on a coldly familiar case

North Korea raises tensions ahead of Clinton visit

Pakistan Wants More Evidence to Prosecute in Mumbai Attacks

Obama Says Failing to Act Could Lead to a ‘Catastrophe’


Published: February 9, 2009

WASHINGTON – President Obama took his case for his $800 billion economic recovery package to the American people on Monday, as the Senate cleared the way for passage of the bill and the White House prepared for its next major hurdle: selling Congress and the public on a fresh plan to bail out the nation’s banks.

Warning that a failure to act “could turn a crisis into a catastrophe,” Mr. Obama used his presidential platform – a prime-time news conference, the first of his presidency, in the grand setting of the White House East Room – to address head on the concerns about his approach, which has by and large failed to win the Republican support he sought.

Australian bushfires: arsonists could face murder charges

Police close in on culprits of deadliest blazes in country’s history

Ellen Connolly in Sydney,

Australian towns devastated in the country’s worst bushfires were declared crime scenes tonight as forensic investigators began combing the charred landscape for evidence of how the infernos started, and who may have ignited them.

Police indicated that they were closing in on arsonists believed to be responsible for lighting some of the 400 blazes that have killed at least 170 people, left 5,000 homeless and destroyed a 350,000 hectare area north of Melbourne in the past three days.

As firefighters continued to battle raging fires that threaten a further six towns north of Melbourne, the attorney general, Robert McClelland, told parliament that those responsible for lighting them could be charged with murder. Senior police confirmed they are preparing photofits of suspected firebugs.



Where’d all that money go? Bank execs testify Wednesday

By Lisa Zagaroli | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest banks, battling an image of jet-setting executives with multimillion-dollar salaries, will face tough scrutiny Wednesday from lawmakers who are struggling to understand the financial health of the institutions and the impact of a $700 billion taxpayer bailout.

Eight chief executive officers, including Bank of America’s Ken Lewis and Wells Fargo & Co.’s John Stumpf, are scheduled to testify at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

Lawmakers are hoping for a comprehensive accounting of what the banking giants did with the money they got from the Troubled Asset Relief Program and whether it appears to be stabilizing the rocky financial services industry.

A Curious-Looking Hero Still Mesmerizes the Nation

Even Tiniest Lincoln Relics Command Reverence

By Michael E. Ruane

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 10, 2009; Page A01

His bloodstained clothes, stovepipe hats and goatskin boots have been saved. The bed and mattress on which he died have been kept, along with the things in his pockets the night he was slain, and the dime-size bullet that killed him.

After he expired, his body was transported across the country so people could see him one last time. Then, decades later, he was exhumed, and his coffin was cut open to make sure he was really there.

As Washington prepares to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth Thursday, Abraham Lincoln is venerated as a national saint — part man, part myth.

Middle East

Netanyahu’s lead shrinks as Israelis vote amid wide disillusionment

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem

The Guardian, Tuesday 10 February 2009

Israelis go to the polls today in one of the tightest elections in years, with the rightwing opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu only narrowly ahead of his rival, Tzipi Livni, the centrist foreign minister.

Up to a fifth of voters were thought to be undecided hours before voting began, an unusually high number that reflects disillusionment with all candidates.

Netanyahu, leader of Likud, has led the opinion polls for months. Most analysts believe he has the best chance of leading a new coalition government, even though his lead has shrunk in recent days. The bloc of rightwing parties that will support him looks set to be enough for a majority in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

Heirs of the revolution battle to keep the faith

Anniversary of rise of Khomeini leaves many Iranians cold

By Katherine Butler in Tehran

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The flags are flying, the balloons are up and the coloured lights twinkle across Tehran’s boulevards. Last night, fireworks lit up the night sky near the Imam Khomeini Mosque and today Iranians will gather around the capital’s Azadi (Freedom) Monument as they did this day 30 years ago. In 1979 millions poured on to the streets to bring an exultant end to 2,000 years of rule by corrupt Persian kings and witness the birth of theworld’s first Islamic revolution.

Today, with no doubt triumphant speeches, the revolution’s heirs will mark the climax of festivities commemorating the 30th anniversary of the “day of victory”, when Ayatollah Khomeini, recently returned from exile in France, ordered the people on to the streets in defiance of forces loyal to the detested Shah and his brutal regime. Iranians sent shockwaves around the world as they rallied euphorically to the Ayatollah’s call.


Italian coma woman’s death ends Berlusconi’s bid to keep her alive

 Senators thwarted in bid to fast-track law to replace force-feeding tubes

By Peter Popham in Rome  

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Eluana Englaro, the 38-year-old Italian woman who spent 17 years in a permanent vegetative state, died shortly after 8pm last night in a clinic in the city of Udine, frustrating the efforts of Silvio Berlusconi to pass a law that would have kept her alive.

Eluana suffered disastrous brain damage in a car crash in 1992. Her father, Beppino, fought a bitterbattle to have what he said were his daughter’s wishes, not to endure a living death, respected. His voice wracked with emotion, he said last night: “I’ve done everything alone, I’ve brought it to this level alone, and I want to finish alone. I don’t want to talk to anyone. The only thing I ask ofmy true friends is not to come looking for me.” The news exploded in the Senate in Rome, which was in the process of debating a hurriedly cobbled-together law that would have made the termination of Eluana’s force-feeding illegal.

Senators stood for a minute’s silence in her memory, but the pious mood was shattered when a member of the ruling People of Liberty party, Gaetano Quagliariello, shouted: “Eluana is not dead, she’s been murdered!”

Holocaust-denying Bishop sacked from seminary

Ultra-conservative Society of St Pius X gives Richard Williamson until the end of the month to change his mind about the gas chambers

From Times Online

February 9, 2009

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The English Roman Catholic bishop who denies that the Holocaust took place has been sacked as director of a traditionalist seminary.

Bishop Richard Williamson was removed from his position at the Society of St Pius X La Reja Seminary, outside Buenos Aires, the Argentinean capital, at the weekend.

The move is unlikely to placate critics of Pope Benedict XVI, who recently lifted a decree of excommunication imposed on the bishop and three others from the ultra-conservative society,


Robert Mugabe binges on champagne and caviar as Zimbabwe starves

From The Times

February 10, 2009

Martin Fletcher in Harare

It is the 85th birthday of President Mugabe this month and the zealots of his Zanu (PF) party are determined that it should be an occasion that their great leader will never forget.

In recent days they have been out soliciting “donations” from corporate Zimbabwe and have drawn up a wish list that is scarcely credible in a land where seven million citizens survive on international food aid, 94 per cent are jobless and cholera rampages through a population debilitated by hunger.

The list includes 2,000 bottles of champagne (Mo√ęt & Chandon or ’61 Bollinger preferred); 8,000 lobsters; 100kg of prawns; 4,000 portions of caviar; 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; 3,000 ducks; and much else besides.

A Kenyan lawyer takes on a coldly familiar case

Mbuthi Gathenji focuses on the pieces that don’t fit in the case of Father John Kaiser’s violent death.

By Christopher Goffard, Last Of Three Parts

February 10, 2009

Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya — The deeper the lawyer probed, the more the case resembled a hall of mirrors, a maze of ambiguous characters and unknowable motives. There were hints of conspiracies, trap doors, scaffoldings of fact that vaporized into fiction. The trail was nearly three years old by the spring of 2003, when the lawyer’s investigator headed deep into the countryside, working at night for protection, searching for witnesses.

The goal: to upend what had become the official narrative of Father John Kaiser’s death. Embraced by the FBI and the Kenyan government, the story held that the 67-year-old American missionary had turned his long-barreled shotgun on himself along a dark road 50 miles from Nairobi.


North Korea raises tensions ahead of Clinton visit

Recent moves to possibly test a long-range missile may be aimed at grabbing US attention.

By Donald Kirk | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the February 10, 2009 edition

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – The United States appears willing to accept the reality of North Korea as a nuclear power – a measure of credit that Washington has refused to give since Pyongyang exploded a nuclear device in 2006.

The potential shift in US outlook comes as Pyongyang ratchets up tensions and the new US administration formulates its policy on North Korea. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to visit the region next week.

“I’m not going into terminology,” Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of US forces in Korea, said Monday, but acknowledged North Korea had “successfully” conducted a nuclear test while proclaiming its desire to be a nuclear power.

General Sharp’s comment fueled concerns here that the US is conceding the nuclear-power status that North Korea craves. Leon Panetta, designated to direct the Central Intelligence Agency, signaled the shift in official thinking last week when he observed at a Senate confirmation hearing that it was not clear if North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was “prepared to give up that nuclear capability.”

Pakistan Wants More Evidence to Prosecute in Mumbai Attacks

By Rama Lakshmi and Shaiq Hussain

Washington Post Foreign Service

Tuesday, February 10, 2009; Page A12

NEW DELHI, Feb. 9 — The Pakistani government on Monday took a step toward prosecuting suspects in last November’s deadly attack on Mumbai, but said it would seek more evidence from India before going further.

At a meeting in Islamabad, the Pakistani cabinet’s defense committee was briefed on the progress of Pakistan’s probe into the Mumbai attacks by a team of investigators. The committee decided to register the attacks as a crime with police, but said in a statement that “without substantial evidence from India it will be exceedingly difficult to complete the investigation and proceed with the case.”

India had said in a detailed dossier of information last month that its government investigation had conclusively proven that the conspiracy to attack Mumbai was hatched in Pakistan.