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GetUplicans deadlock with GetDownocrats.

How low will Republicans go to try and hang onto control of Ohio, the swing state where their machinations secured the presidency for George W. Bush in 2004?

Lower than reasonable Americans, no matter what their partisanship, no matter what their ideology, could imagine.

Gary Lankford, the Ohio Republican Party's recently hired "social conservative coordinator" this week dispatched a mass e-mail to so-called "pro-family friends" that featured his 10-point introduction to U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee for governor.

Major League Baseball's new "Faith Days" campaign is about more than family-friendly Christian entertainment with a twist of commerce.

In Lunacy, order and liberty wriggle with equal parts Poe and Sade. In Scoop, recycled sleuthing gags masquerade as timely satire.

What does it mean to be from a place? In Monica Ali's new novel, Alentejo Blue, the collision of locals, expatriates and tourists shatters any simple answers to the question.

A new biography of Timothy Leary reveals the mixed-up sociopath behind the "turn on, tune in, drop out" mantra.

One hundred years ago, Upton Sinclair exposed the meatpacking industry. Three new books expose Sinclair as an activist dreamer with a messianic streak.

The Lamont/Lieberman Democratic primary race is a referendum not only on the Iraq War but on a new vision for the Democratic Party.

Thirty years after Watergate, we again face a constitutional crisis at home and a misconceived war abroad. The United States will remain a helpless giant until we finally learn that power in the nuclear, postimperial age is diplomatic, not military.

The only thing more absurd than the wedding gift the British government just gave Katha Pollitt is the fact that our government denies gays such benefits.

The American government has lost its grasp on reality in Iraq and Lebanon. They seek out the bright, clear problems of war, leaving rubble and corpses in their wake.

Two Republican primaries in the Deep South expose potentially serious cracks in the party's religious-right foundation.

The grisly commuter train bombings in Mumbai on July 11 both endangered the India/Pakistan peace process and underscored its fragility.

The crisis in the Middle East reveals the dangers of religious fundamentalism and leaving political decisions to the military.

At best, war in Gaza and Lebanon will weaken pro-American regimes without destroying Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran or Syria. At worst, it will plunge the region into catastrophe.

Bush's Mideast strategy of inaction is a dangerous failure. He must act diplomatically to achieve a cease-fire, prisoner exchange and Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands.

I think it's time to start a new political party: Democrats for Demagoguery.

I'll give you three examples of why.

First there was the Dubai ports scandal. Sure, the uproar was bipartisan, but did any Democrat really believe that an Arab company couldn't run a US port as badly as an American one?

By saying that the Israel-Lebanon crisis simply represents the "birth pangs of a new Middle East," Condoleezza Rice underscored the Bush Administration's blindness to the disastrous effects its foreign policy has wrought.

MOMMY SMEARiST

Red Hook, NY

For everyone who has been waiting for the response to Bernard Goldberg's awful 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, Nationbooks has the answer--101 People Who Are Really Screwing America by Jack Huberman of The Bush-Haters Handbook fame. In this witty book, Huberman lays out in well-researched detail the interlocking relationships within the vast rightwing agenda to undermine our democratic institutions for profit and prophesy.

For example, there is Regnery Publishing, whose authors include Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, Phyllis Schlafly, Wayne LaPierre, G. Gordon Liddy, and whose founder William Regnery (#71) has started a match-making service for "heterosexual whites of Christian cultural heritage." And don't forget the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (#54), who published The Washington Times and started lobbying Republican politicians heavily after his organization ran afoul of the IRS. Since then he hasn't had as many legal problems. Of course, you would expect Halliburton and its CEO, David Lesar, (#72) to make the list, but did you know that Dick Cheney's old company was helping the Iranians develop their natural gas fields in 2005--two years after the Axis of Evil speech?

It is these and so many other details in Huberman's book that remind us who we are fighting and why.

The sectarian violence that's taking place in the Baghdad area...is probably the gravest threat to stability that there is in the country right now.
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