* The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, February 1, 2007 - 3A
Levin, Warner join
forces to oppose
Two senators - a Republican
and a Democrat - leading separate
efforts to put Congress on record
against President Bush's troop
buildup in Iraq joined forces yes-
terday, agreeing on a nonbinding
resolution that would oppose the
plan and potentially embarrass the
Sens. John Warner, (R-Va.) and
Carl Levin (D-Mich.) had been
sponsoring competing measures
opposing Bush's strategy of sending
21,500 more U.S. troops to the war
zone, with Warner's less harshly
worded version attracting more
Republican interest. The new reso-
lution would vow to protect funding
for troops while keeping Warner's
original language expressing the
Senate's opposition to the buildup.
Levin replaced Warner as chair-
man of the Armed Services Com-
mit tee when the Democrats took
control of the Senate in January.
Their resolution could well gain
more support from members of both
parties than their separate versions
had been attracting. It lacks Levin's
language saying the troop increase
is against the national interest,
and it drops an earlier provision by
Warner suggesting Senate support
for some additional troops.
Chavez gets power
President Hugo Chavez was
granted free rein yesterday to
accelerate changes in broad areas of
society by presidential decree - a
move critics said propels Venezuela
Convening in a downtown plaza
in a session that resembled a politi-
cal rally, lawmakers unanimously
gave Chavez sweeping powers to
legislate by decree and impose his
radical vision of a more egalitarian
Iraq Study Group
members say police
Training the police is as impor-
tant to stabilizing Iraq as building
an effective army there, but the
United States has botched the job
by assigning the wrong agencies to
the task, two members of the Iraq
Study Group said yesterday.
"The police training system has
not gone well," said former Rep.
Lee Hamilton, who co-chaired the
For a second day, a key Repub-
lican directly challenged Presi-
dent Bush to do more than pay "lip
service" to this and other recom-
mendations on how to resolve the
troubled conflict in Iraq.
"I'd think the executive branch
would be well advised to do more
than have a meeting and a news con-
ference to give in-depth consider-
ation to whatis beingproposed here,"
said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)
Several illuminated electronic
devicesplanted atbridges and other
spots in Boston threw a scare into
the city yesterday in what turned
out to be a publicity campaign for
a late-night cable cartoon. Most if
not all of the devices depict a char-
acter giving the finger.
PeterBerdovsky, 29, ofArlington,
was arrested on one felony charge
of placing a hoax device and one
charge of disorderly conduct, state
Attorney General Martha Coakley
said later yesterday. He had been
hired to place the devices, she said.
Highways, bridges and a sec-
tion of the Charles River were shut
down and bomb squads were sent
in before authorities declared the
devices were harmless.
Authorities are investigating
whether Turner and any other
companies should be criminally
charged, Coakley said. It wasn't
immediately clear yesterday who
might have hired Berdovsky.
Daily wire reports
Pounds of gunpowder ignited
for Disney's firework displays at
its theme park in California 239
nights each year, The New York
Times reported. Area residents
have complained for years about
the harmful effects of the firework
debris. Now Disney claims to be
cleaning up its act.
Biden misstep overwhelms
2008 campaign kickoff
could doom White
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
The New York Times
WASHINGTON - Could this be
remembered as the first presiden-
tial campaign to start and all but
end ina single day?
Sen. Joseph R. Biden of Delaware,
who announced his candidacy yes-
terday with the hope that he could
ride his foreign policy expertise
into contention for the Democratic
nomination, instead spent the day
struggling to explain his description
of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill), who
is running for president, as "the first
mainstream African-American who
is articulate and bright and clean
and a nice-looking guy."
The remark, published yester-
day in The New York Observer, left
Biden's campaign struggling to sur-
vive its first hours and injected race
more directly into the presidential
contest. The day ended, appropri-
ately enough for the way politics is
practiced now, with Biden explain-
ing himselfto Jon Stewart on Com-
edy Central's "The Daily Show."
In a decidedly nonpresidential
afternoon conference call with
reporters that had been intended
to announce his candidacy, Biden,
speaking over loud echoes and a
blaring television set, said that
he had been "quoted accurately."
He volunteered that he had called
Obama to express regret that his
remarks hadbeen taken "out of con-
text," and that Obama had assured
him he had nothing to explain.
"Call Sen. Obama. He knew what
I meant by it. The idea was very
straightforward and simple. This
guy is something brand new that
nobody has seen before," he said.
Asked about Biden's comments,
Obamasaid in aninterviewyesterday,
"I didn't take itpersonally and I don't
think he intended to offend." Obama,
who serveswith BidenontheForeign
Relations Committee, added, "But the
wayhe constructed the statementwas
probably alittle unfortunate."
But later in the day, with Biden
coming under fire from some black
leaders, Obama issued a statement
that approached a condemnation. "I
didn't take Sen. Biden's comments
personally, but obviously they were
historically inaccurate," he said in a
statement. "African-American presi-
dential candidates like Jesse Jack-
Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice
to many important issues through
their campaigns, and no one would
call them inarticulate."
For Biden, chairman of the Sen-
ate Foreign Relations Committee,
it was an inauspicious beginning
to his first presidential campaign
since 1988, when he dropped out
after acknowledging using with-
out attribution portions of a speech
from a British politician. By the end
of the day, Democrats were asking
only half-jokingly whether Biden
might be remembered for having
the shortest-lived presidential cam-
paign in the history of the Republic.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Biden issued a
written statement."I deeply regret any
offense my remark in the New York
Observer might have caused anyone,"
he said. "That was not my intent, and I
expressed that to Sen. Obama."
Under questioning from reporters
at his announcement conference call,
Biden was pressed on what he meant
in his description of Obama, particu-
larly in his use of the word clean.
Curtis Sullivan, a co-owner of comic book shop Vault of Midnight, in his Main
Street store yesterday with a figurine from the video-game Final Fantasy VII.
State Proposal 2 suit voluntarily dismissed
Suit deemed the case. The University of Michi-
gan, Wayne State University and
unnecessary Michigan State University say
they are obeying or attempting to
obey the new law, and a recent U.S.
LANSING (AP) - The legal fight Supreme Court decision ended the
over Michigan's new law banning possibility that the schools might
some types of affirmative action get more time to comply.
programs will continue in federal Proposal 2, approvedby voters in
courts, but a lawsuit in state court November, bans affirmative in uni-
related to the measure was volun- versity admissions and government
tarily dismissed Tuesday. hiring. The law took effect Dec. 23.
The state suit, seeking an order The state court suit was filed
to make three universities imme- by Eric Russell, a white male from
diately comply with Proposal Auburn Hills seeking admission
2, may no longer be necessary, to the University of Michigan and
according to the group that filed Wayne State law schools.
The University of Michigan,
whereProposal 2willhavethe most
effect, says it changed admissions
and financial aid policies to comply
with the new law on Jan. 10.
"on the face of it, the University
of Michigan has come around,"
said Terence Pell, president of
the Center for Individual Rights,
which represents Russell.
That makes the state lawsuit
moot at this point, Pell said. He
added that CIR would continue to
monitor the universities' actions
related to Proposal 2.
CIR filed a stipulated order for dis-
missal of the state case with a Washt-
enaw County Court on Tuesday
by ajudge, dismissingthe case.
"We're glad that the plaintiffshave
recognized that they have no basis
for suit against the university since
comply with the law," University of
Michigan spokeswoman Kelly Cun-
ninghamsaid in a statement.
Cases challenging all or parts of
Proposal2continue in federal courts.
Challenges to the law have been
filed by organizations including the
pro-affirmative action group By Any
Means Necessary, the NAACP and
the American Civil Liberties Union.
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House passes $260
Pell Grant increase
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The
House passed a $463.5 billion
spending bill yesterday that covers
about one-sixth of the federal bud-
get as Democrats cleared away the
financial mess they inherited from
Before the 286-140 vote, Repub-
licans made modest objections to
Democrats' spending decisions
but protested greatly over how the
new majority muscled the mea-
sure through the House, which
includes a $260 boost, to $4,310, in
the maximum Pell Grant for low-
income college students.
Democrats said the legislation
would increase spending on edu-
cation, veterans, health research
and grants to state and local law
enforcement agencies. Among the
trade-offs were cuts to President
Bush's budget requests for NASA,
foreign aid and aid for communi-
ties affected by the latest round of
military base closings.
The measure heads to the Sen-
ate, which is expected to pass it
before a Feb. 15 deadline to avoid
a partial government shutdown.
President Bush has signaled he
will sign the budget bill.
The powerful veterans' lobby
won a $3.6 billion increase from
the House for medical care.
State and local law enforcement
agencies would gain more money
for grants for new equipment and
Community development block
grants, however, were frozen at cur-
rent levels, aswas aid for the Amtrak.
almost as good as
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contains the digits 1 to 9.
YOU CHOOSE Arts and Culture
TWO COURSES IN: Business and Management
Graphic Design and Mass Communication
Politics and Public Policy
Psychology and Social Policy
APPLY BY APRIL 23.
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