February 26, 2002

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Bush Wants More “Welfare Reform”
President Bush is asking Congress to renew the 1996 law overhauling welfare but to strengthen its work requirements. He also wants to include measures that encourage marriage and sexual abstinence. Bush’s plan would require states to have at least 70 percent of their welfare recipients working 40 hours a week within five years. Right now, the requirement is 50 percent. Federal welfare reform measures have already made public health care less accessible to undocumented immigrants, telling them to take “Personal Responsibility” for their medical costs. Now community health advocates, doctors, and hospital administrators worry that many immigrants are putting off getting health care until their ailments degrade into emergencies. With a look at public health care and immigration in New Mexico, here’s Joe Gardner Wessely.

Former Enron CEO: “I Never Lied to Congress”
Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, Vice President Sherron Watkins and chief operating officer Jeffrey McMahon were back in front the Senate Commerce Committtee this morning. Skilling and Watkins previously offered contradictory accounts of financial meetings among top executives at Enron. Kata Mester files this report from Washington.

Noam Chomsky vs. Israeli Diplomat
Israeli President Moshe Katsav invited Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to come to Jerusalem to present his plan for peace in the Middle East. The plan would have all Arab states in the region recognize Israel. In exchange, Israel would withdraw from the Palestinian territories back to the borders that existed before the Six Day War in 1967. Last week, US diplomacy became the focus of the Middle East dispute. Europeans pressed for effective action after the worst sustained bout of Israel- Palestinian violence since the start of the intifada. For weeks, the US tried to concentrate efforts on pressuring Arafat to stop Palestinian violence and allowed Sharon to trap him in his compound. But faint signs of change emerged on Monday when Israeli government officials said they “tentatively agreed” to a Palestinian request not to initiate attacks for seven days, unless provoked. Against this background some of the major US and Israeli figures – including an Israeli diplomat and Noam Chomsky — were in New York to debate the effectiveness of US policy toward Israel. Miranda Kennedy attended, and she files this report.

The Future of “Progressive Politics” in Europe
Last weekend in Stockholm, Sweden, twelve heads of state met as part of the Network for Progressive Governance. The talks in Stockholm were intended to link participants from a common progressive political perspective. Free Speech Radio News correspondent Patrick Beckett spoke with representatives of European Green and Socialist parties to find out what they believe constitutes progressive politics.

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