Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

The latest on this week's biggest stories

Issue: "Don't run, Newt," April 14, 2007

Iran

Calling it an "Easter gift" to the British people, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on April 4 released 15 British sailors and marines captured almost two weeks earlier in the Persian Gulf. Iran had sought, but did not receive, a public apology from the British government for sending the naval crew into Iranian waters. Britain maintains that the capture occurred in Iraqi waters. With the immediate crisis over, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called for continued pressure on Iran over its support for terrorism. "On the one hand we are glad that our service personnel return safe and unharmed from their captivity," Blair said. "But on the other we return to the sober and ugly reality of what is happening through terrorism in Iraq, terrorism designed specifically to thwart the will of the international community."

Politics

A Republican named Thompson officially entered the 2008 presidential campaign last week, but it wasn't actor and former senator Fred Thompson. It was Tommy Thompson, the former Cabinet secretary and governor of Wisconsin. Thompson said as president he would introduce a version of the flat tax and ask the Iraqi government to vote on whether to keep U.S. troops in their country. Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo also threw his hat into the ring, saying he would make restrictions on immigration the focus of his campaign.

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Not yet a candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparked controversy by calling Spanish "the language of living in a ghetto." He made the remark in a speech before the National Federation of Republican Women last week, and it was part of a call to scrap bilingual education. The comment once again showed Gingrich's ability to generate debate on important issues, but questions remain about his governing skills.

Fundraising

Hillary Clinton won an important early victory in the 2008 presidential race, but just barely. The former first lady raised $26 million during the first quarter of the year, smashing the old record of $8.9 million raised by Al Gore eight years ago. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois came in a close second, reporting $25 million from fundraising efforts. On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led the pack by raising over $20 million, far ahead of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at $15 million and Sen. John McCain at $12.5 million. Conservative favorites Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee raised $1.5 million and $500,000, respectively.

Cities

Atlanta added more people than any other U.S. metropolitan area during the last six years, according to Census figures released last week. Between 2000 and 2006, the population of the Atlanta area grew by 890,000 people, reaching 5.1 million. Other top gainers were Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Phoenix, and Riverside, Calif. The report said that many large metro areas have been relying on immigrants to maintain population levels. Absent foreign immigration, the New York metro area population would have dropped by an estimated 600,000 people. Los Angeles, meanwhile, would have lost about 200,000 people and Boston about 101,000. "Immigrants are filling the void as domestic migrants are seeking opportunities in other places," Mark Mather, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau, told the Associated Press.

Sports

He won 408 games at Grambling State, sent over 200 players to the NFL (including seven first-round draft picks and four Hall of Famers), and won nine National Black College championships. But those who knew Eddie Robinson, who died last week at age 88, say he was most proud of what he accomplished off the field. "The real record I have set for over 50 years," Robinson once said, "is the fact that I have had one job and one wife." Robinson coached at the historically black college from 1941 until 1997 and claimed an 85 percent graduation rate for the estimated 4,500 students he coached. "He would tell us that we're Americans," former Grambling State player Stephen Dennis told the News-Star in Monroe, La. "We didn't look at ourselves as black Americans but as Americans."

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