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Sept. 18, 2009

By United Press International   |   Sept. 18, 2009 at 8:15 AM   |   Comments

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Pelosi's warning:

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning that strong rhetoric on healthcare reform could lead to violence.

Pelosi, D-Calif., was emotional during her weekly news conference Thursday as she said people who express political stances "have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause."

She added some people hearing those views "are not as balanced" as might be assumed. Pelosi compared the debate over healthcare reform to what she said she saw in the late 1970s in San Francisco, which included protests that ended in the killings of Harvey Milk, an openly gay city Board of Supervisors member, and Mayor George Moscone.

She seemed to be building on allegations, such as those made by former President Jimmy Carter, that opposition to the policies of U.S. President Barack Obama are based on racism.

Pelosi's own rhetoric was seen by Republicans as over the top.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said, "No longer content with criticizing concerned citizens for being 'un-American,' the speaker is now likening genuine opposition to assassination."


Iran's internal politics:

Competing marches -- with thousands of government supporters offsetting opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- marked Iran's al-Qads protests.

Al-Qads was established, in Iran, as a protest of Israeli presence in the Palestinian Territories. Ahmadinejad used the holiday as a platform to again claim the Holocaust was a "myth" posited as an excuse to establish a Jewish state in the Middle East.

His political opponents used the opportunity to protest last summer's election, in which Ahmadinejad won re-election. Protesters claim the vote was rigged. Post-election protests resulted in violence -- generally blamed on security personnel -- and such gatherings have been banned.

But Friday, supporters of vote runner-up Mir Hossein Mousavi defied the ban and the BBC said their march resulted in confrontations with police.


ACORN funding:

The U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in withholding funds meant for the activist group ACORN.

ACORN -- Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- has been accused of questionable activities related to voter registration and recent videos of ACORN personnel advising two people in regard to a potential prostitution ring and how to avoid paying taxes have escalated opposition to the group. ACORN disputes the apparent content of the tapes, which were made in at least three of the group's offices.

Release of those videos led to lop-sided votes to cut federal government funding of ACORN. The Senate vote was 83-7 while the House vote Thursday was 345-75.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said ACORN has been given $53 million in federal dollars since 1994. ACORN's detractors claim ACORN stands to receive billions of dollars through the stimulus bill passed early in the Obama presidency.

Funding may still get to ACORN, however, as the congressional action has to survive the reconciliation process -- part of a larger student aid bill -- when members of the Senate and House get together to work out differences in their legislation.


Pakistan terror attack:

A bomber drove a vehicle into a crowded market and set off his device, killing at least two dozen people in northwestern Pakistan.

Responsibility for the attack was taken by a Sunni militant group, the BBC said. Most of the victims were Shiite, suggesting Friday's blast was sectarian.

The market where the explosion took place was said to be crowded with shoppers when a truck crashed into a hotel, destroyed many buildings and left at least 25 dead. It followed an attack Thursday in which are least six people were killed.

Sectarian violence in the region is often fueled by members of the Taliban and al-Qaida, who are adherents of the Sunni denomination of Islam.

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