Monday, September 22, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - September 22, 2008

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New York Times
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Goldman and Morgan Shift Marks End of Era in Finance
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Wall Street's last independent investment banks, will transform themselves into bank holding companies subject to greater regulation. [...] It also is a turning point for the high-rolling culture of Wall Street, with its seven-figure bonuses and lavish perks for even midlevel executives.

-Democrats Set Terms as Bailout Debate Begins
A week of intense negotiation is expected as Congressional Democrats said they wanted greater oversight of the Treasury, among other measures. [...] Both presidential nominees, who face the prospect of inheriting an enormous new program, said there had to be more oversight of the Treasury Department than the Bush administration had proposed.

-A Fine Mess
A friend serving in the Bush administration tried to talk me out of my doubts about the $700 billion financial bailout. I'm not convinced.

-Cash for Trash
Henry Paulson is demanding extraordinary power for himself to deploy taxpayers' money on behalf of a plan that, as far as I can see, doesn't make sense.

-2 Candidates Back Bailout, With Caveats
John McCain and Barack Obama called for more oversight in the bailout but said the expenditure would not force them to scale back their ambitious agendas.

-'Running Out of Time'
President Bush needs a policy that bolsters Pakistan's fragile civilian government before the country completely unravels.

-Barack Obama, John McCain and the Language of Race
The discomfort with certain forms of black assertiveness is too deeply rooted in the national psyche to just disappear. In what is probably a harbinger of things to come, the McCain campaign has already run a commercial that carries a similar intimation, accusing Mr. Obama of being "disrespectful" to Sarah Palin. The argument is muted, but its racial antecedents are very clear. [...] The throwback references that have surfaced in the campaign suggest that Republicans are fighting on racial grounds, even when express references to race are not evident. In a replay of elections past, the G.O.P. will try to leverage racial ghosts and fears without getting its hands visibly dirty.

-Young and Arab in Land of Mosques and Bars
In Dubai, religion has become more of a personal choice and Islam less of a common bond than national identity.

-China's Quality Watchdog Chief Steps Down
The resignation comes amid a scandal over tainted milk, which has sickened more than 50,000 infants.

-European Tourists Abducted in Egypt
CAIRO - A group of European tourists and their Egyptian guides were kidnapped while traveling in four vehicles in southern Egypt on Sunday night, security officials said on Monday.

-Conservatives Try New Tack on Campuses
Acknowledging that 20 years and millions of dollars spent loudly and bitterly attacking the liberal leanings of American campuses have failed to make much of a dent in the way undergraduates are educated, some conservatives have decided to try a new strategy.

-Stevens arrives for start of corruption trial
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has arrived in federal court to begin what could be the most important battle of his long career, defending himself against corruption charges in Washington while running for re-election back in Alaska.

-13,000 Babies in Hospital for China Formula
BEIJING - China's milk scandal worsened again Sunday as the government announced that the number of infants hospitalized after consuming contaminated baby formula had risen to nearly 13,000, more than double the previous tally.

-Palin Will Meet With Kissinger and Foreign Leaders
Gov. Sarah Palin will meet with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia as the United Nations General Assembly opens on Tuesday, an aide to Senator John McCain's presidential campaign said.

-Nomura Grabs Lehman's Asia Group
TOKYO/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Japan's Nomura Holdings has reached a deal to buy the Asian operations of Lehman Brothers, a source said on Monday, outbidding other banks seeking to scoop up Lehman's Asia group on the cheap.

-Japanese Bank to Buy Up to 20% of Morgan Stanley
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan's largest bank, said on Monday that it planned to buy 10 percent to 20 percent of the common stock of the investment bank Morgan Stanley. UFJ Financial said it would decide on the amount it would pay after carrying out due diligence.

-In Alaska Senator's Trial, Story of Oil and Politics
Ted Stevens and Bill Allen, who will soon confront each other in a federal courtroom here, were once friends of sorts, thrown together at Alaska's busy intersection of politics and oil money. For decades, each man played a different but essential role in the story of the state's transformation from a remote frontier into an economic bonanza.

-South Copes With Severe Gas Shortages
As the fuel level neared empty in his white Ford F-150 truck, Mark Stevens of Decatur, Ga., ricocheted nervously from gas station to gas station on Sunday, worried about breaking down.

-For Military, Slow Progress in Foreign Language Push
Three years ago, the Defense Department set out to increase sharply the number of military personnel who speak strategically important languages. Progress has been slow, and the military has not determined how to reach its goal - or what exactly that goal is.

-New Particle Collider to Be Shut Down for Repairs
The giant Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most expensive scientific experiment, will be shut down for at least two months, scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, in Geneva said Saturday.

Washington Post
Go to the links for the following articles:

-David Brooks, Rankling Folks Right and Left
Conservative Pundit Hears It From Both Sides
David Brooks is used to hanging around with liberals -- his wife and three children, among others, support Barack Obama -- but has grown angry at the condescending talk about Sarah Palin.

-Expansive Role for 'First Dude'
Husband of Alaska's governor is involved in policy to a degree that surprises some observers. Todd Palin grew up as the archetypal Alaskan -- salmon fisherman, champion snowmobiler, North Slope oil worker. But since his wife became governor 20 months ago, his portfolio has broadened: househusband, babysitter, senior adviser, legislative liaison, and -- when the occasion warrants -- enforcer and protector.

-21 Foreigners Among Dead in Islamabad Suicide Bomb Blast
Two Americans With Embassy Killed in Attack

-Olmert Steps Down As Premier Of Israel
JERUSALEM, Sept. 21 -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned Sunday, brought low by a string of corruption probes, while Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni struggled to assemble a coalition that would allow her to succeed him without facing new elections.

-Study Ties Wage Disparities To Outlook on Gender Roles
Men with egalitarian attitudes about the role of women in society earn significantly less on average than men who hold more traditional views about women's place in the world, according to a study being reported today.

-Palin's first Fla. campaign stop a safe one
Sarah Palin played it safe Sunday on her first trip as John McCain's running mate to the battleground state of Florida.

-On the Palin-McCain Ticket, Palin Is Still Under Wraps
No, that was not a typo. These big crowds really seem to be going to Sarah Palin's head. As Jonathan noted, she actually referred to "a Palin and McCain administration" in a speech last week.

-The GOP's Self-Defeating Response to Troopergate
Republican campaign strategy is being surreptiously influenced by an undercover Democratic Party operative in the high reaches of the McCain camp. How else to explain the GOP's appallingly stupid behavior in the face of the Troopergate affair up in Alaska?

-Closing the Whopper Gap
The symmetry of sin is suddenly looking more equal. Last week, I flayed John McCain for dishonesty -- flagrant and repeated dishonesty -- about Barack Obama's proposals. Obama was by no means blameless, I argued, but his lapses were nowhere near as egregious as his opponent's. I stand by everything I wrote.

-Pandering on Guns
Mark Warner, who should know better, puts politics ahead of D.C. home rule.

Wall Street Journal
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Crisis Draws Attention to Social Security
Financial turmoil could undermine a push by McCain to inject more market forces into government-run programs.

-Aso to Head Japan's Ruling Party, Set to Become Next Prime Minister
TOKYO -- Taro Aso, set to become Japan's next prime minister after winning a party leadership vote on Monday, now faces his real challenge: winning a general election against an empowered opposition this fall so his party can keep its five-decade-old grip on power.

-Big Pay for Big Bosses Under Fire
The U.S. government's massive intervention in the financial industry may also bring new limits on executive pay. As the U.S. Treasury asks Congress for about $700 billion to bail out troubled financial firms, key Democratic lawmakers including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd say they want the bill to include curbs on what executives can earn.

-Microsoft, Banks Provide Early Boost
Stocks slipped but the losses were tempered by news of a share buyback from Microsoft. Morgan Stanley shares jumped 14, while Goldman Sachs rose 3%. Stocks edged lower Monday as Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley bid farewell to the independent brokerage model. But a planned large stock buyback by Microsoft eased some of the early pressure on stocks. Just after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 85 points, or 0.8%, at 11303.30. The S&P 500 was down 0.5% at 1248.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.6% to trade at 2260.29.

-The GOP Leads A 'Socialist' Bailout
"I'm always for less regulation," John McCain, March 3, 2008
"Casual oversight by regulatory agencies in Washington" is responsible for the crisis, John McCain, Sept. 17, 2008
Which is it, Sen. McCain: regulation or deregulation?


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