For the first time since he took office, opinion polls now show more Americans want President Bush to be out of office rather than be re-elected.
A new Newsweek poll found 49 percent of Americans are opposed to his re-election. Only 44 percent backed Bush’s run in 2004.
In addition, some 69 percent of those polled expressed concern the U.S. would be bogged down in Iraq.
Overall Bush’s approval rating has plummeted from 71 percent in April to 53 percent today.
In Gaza City, Israeli forces yesterday assassinated four Palestinian members of Hamas including a man identified by The New York Times as Hamas’ chief operations officer. The Washington Post reports a U.S.-made helicopter was used to gun down the Palestinian men as they were driving.
The killings came just hours after Israel acknowledged that the Palestinian leadership was cracking down on militants. The Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, had told Israeli reporters: “For the first time the Palestinian Authority is acting and doing something. If this is a first step in a series of steps, then maybe the situation will stabilize.”
On Friday after tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to mourn the assassination of Hamas leader Ismail Abu Shanab.
Also on Friday, President Bush took steps to block funding to Hamas by freezing the assets of six members and five charities that the U.S. claims finances Hamas.
This news just in from India: At least 46 people have been killed and more than 125 injured in a series of explosions in Bombay today. At least four bombs went off. One of the blasts occurred near the famous Gateway to India. The historic Taj Mahal hotel was also damaged in the blast.
No group has taken responsibility but police say they suspect militant Islamic group carried out the attacks.
On Friday the Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General released a report that found the White House forced the EPA to mislead residents of New York about the safety of the air quality following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
The headline in Saturday’s Newsday read: “White House Mislead New York.”
The study found that the White House pressured the EPA to delete information from press releases that might have delayed the reopening of downtown New York including Wall Street. Among other things the White House censored reports that high levels of asbestos had been found.
The report was quietly released on Friday afternoon during a period in August when many reporters are on vacation.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat, called for a Justice Department investigation. He said it is an abomination that ” the White House instructed EPA officials to downplay the health impact of the World Trade Center contaminants due to 'competing considerations' at the expense of the health and lives of New York City residents.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg however defended the White House.
Bloomberg told Newsday that President Bush shouldn’t be blamed.
Bloomberg said, “I know the president and I think he’s a very honest guy. It would never occur to me not to trust him.”
The New York Times is reporting that the Bush administration will soon announce plans to double the amount of aid to Afghanistan and to greatly increase the level of staffing in the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
Officials at aid groups say Bush is focusing again on Afghanistan in an attempt to make the reconstruction effort there look like a success story while he runs for president in 2004.
A recent study by the Rand Corporation found the U.S. has significantly. shortchanged the Afghanistan reconstruction compared to other nation building efforts. In Bosnia there were an average of 19 peacekeepers per 1,000 Bosnians. In Afghanistan there is less than one peacekeeping for every thousand Afghans. In Bosnia, the international community spent about $1400 per person during the first two years of reconstruction. In Afghanistan the total has been just over $50.
This news from Liberia, the team of 150 U.S. Marines have withdrawn from the country just 11 days after arriving despite protests from Liberians .
One Liberian said, “We wish they’d stay until peace would come. Their presence here puts fear in our fighters — it makes them think if they carry on hostilities, they’ll be handled by the Americans.”
The Marines will now be stationed off the coast on a U.S. warship.
The former Catholic priest and convicted child molester John Geoghan was killed Saturday in his prison cell by another inmate. Geoghan is alleged to have molested about 150 children mostly boys in the Boston area.
This news on the California recall: A new Los Angeles Times Poll has found California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante to have taken a wide lead over Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
35 percent of voters backed the Democrat Bustamante. Schwarzenegger stood at 22 percent.
The poll however was taken before Republican Bill Simon dropped out of the race. Simon, who was the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee last year, was polling at about six percent.
Tens of thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial Saturday to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington where the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Dave a Dream” speech.
On Saturday King’s son, Martin Luther King III called on the country to follow in his father’s footsteps and abolish racial profiling, end the death penalty and establish a universal health care system.
On Friday, Coretta Scott King and others placed a plaque to mark the spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where her late husband made his historic speech.
On Friday New York state parole officers OK’d the release of Kathy Boudin, the former member of the Weather Underground. She has been imprisoned for 22 years for her involvement in an armed robbery that left three dead including two police officers. Gov. George Pataki criticized the parole decision saying, “It is not a decision that should have been made.”
Boudin was considered by many to be a model inmate. She earned a master’s degree and set up a counseling program for inmates with AIDS.
And A federal judge in New York has thrown out the lawsuit by Fox News Channel that attempted to stop the printing of humorist Al Franken’s new booked titled “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”
The book’s cover features photos of four of the so-called lying liars that Franken writes about: Fox host Bill O’Reilly, commentator Ann Coulter and President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Among other things, Fox claimed the term “Fair and Balanced” can not be used in the title because it was trademarked by the news organization in 1995.
Since Fox filed the suit two weeks ago, Franken’s book has jumped to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.