Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - September 24, 2008

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

-Buffett Deal at Goldman Is Seen as a Sign of Confidence
Warren E. Buffett's announcement that his Berkshire Hathaway would buy $5 billion in preferred shares of Goldman Sachs heartened investors.

-Issue Is Payback, Not Bailout
There are two questions that matter most: What steps are most likely to solve the immediate crisis? And how can the long-term cost to taxpayers be minimized?

-Setback for Bush's Disarmament Agreement
North Korea said that it intends to restart activity at a nuclear reprocessing plant in a week. Above, U.S. physicists visited the Yongbyon complex in February.

-McCain Aide's Firm Was Paid by Freddie Mac
The disclosure undercuts a remark by Senator John McCain that his campaign manager, Rick Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last several years.

-Wooing Clinton Backers for Obama's Benefit
Hassan Nemazee was working the phone up until just a few hours before Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton swept into his elegant apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Monday evening.

-Dear Iraqi Friends
As Americans lose their homes and sink into debt, they no longer understand why we are spending $1 billion a day to make Iraqis feel more secure in their homes.

-Park Avenue Diplomacy
Gov. Sarah Palin and Henry Kissinger made an odd couple on Tuesday: the last impure Rockefeller Republican and the first pure Rovian Republican.

-Failing the World's Poor
Wealthy nations have fallen far behind on their aid commitments to the world's poor.
At the turn of the millennium, world leaders committed to cutting extreme global poverty in half and to achieving deep reductions in malnutrition and child mortality rates. They followed that up in 2005 with a pledge to increase development assistance to $130 billion a year by 2010 (about $151 billion in today's money). That was then. Today, even as soaring energy and food prices exacerbate the suffering of the world's poor, the richest nations are falling far behind on their aid commitments - and behind their past giving.

-The Power of Negative Thinking
The delusional optimism of mainstream, all-American, positive thinking should get its share of the blame for the financial crisis.

-Pinpoint Attacks Focus on Obama
A series of ads in Michigan highlight this year's roughest political attacks: narrowly aimed shots from small groups. [...] The advertisements, from a political action committee that is not connected to Senator John McCain's presidential campaign, are running only here, in Macomb County, heavily populated by white, unionized auto workers, once considered "Reagan Democrats," whose votes could largely determine which candidate wins Michigan, a state vital to both sides.

-F.B.I. Looks Into 4 Firms at Center of the Economic Turmoil
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, under pressure to look at possible criminal activity in the financial markets, is expanding its corporate fraud inquiries in the wake of the tumult in the last 10 days, officials said Tuesday.

-Upheaval on Wall St. Stirs Anger in the U.N.
UNITED NATIONS - Wall Street and the Bush administration's record of financial oversight came under attack at the United Nations on Tuesday, with one world leader after another saying that market turmoil in the United States threatened the global economy.

-Collider Operations on Hold Until Next Year
The world's newest and largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, will not begin operations again until April, officials at the European Center for Nuclear Research said Tuesday.

Washington Post
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Wall Street's Man in Washington
This past winter, when American banks were already scrambling for capital, foreign investors came to their rescue. Last November, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority put $7.5 billion into Citigroup. One month later, Merrill Lynch sold $4.4 billion worth of new stock to Temasek Holdings of Singapore, and Morgan Stanley sold a $5 billion stake to China Investment Corp. In January, Merrill Lynch issued $6.6 billion of preferred stock to Korea Investment Corp. and the Kuwait Investment Authority, among others.

-Our Federal Economy
Members of Congress are being exhorted to stampede, like lemmings in reverse, away from a postulated cliff. But some of the economic geographers who say they know that the cliff is there, and that the economy will plunge over it if Congress stops to think before empowering the secretary of the Treasury to control the flow of capital through the veins of American capitalism, are some of those experts who said in March that prophylactic federal intervention in the matter of Bear Stearns was necessary to contain the crisis.

-Palin on Thin Ice
Ruth Marcus
With today's kerfuffle over the media being kept away from Sarah Palin's meetings with foreign leaders -- like there was a risk she'd answer their shouted questions? -- I've been mulling over Colby's post about the Hannity-Palin "100 percent pure infomercial" interview. I watched both nights, then read the transcripts, and I think the interview hasn't gotten nearly the attention it deserved. While I agree with Colby's assessment that the audience was "treated to a political advertisement aimed at serving the interests of the Republican presidential ticket," I think the Hannity love-fest offered a valuable look at Palin, perhaps more revealing because she was on such friendly territory. For all the softballs Hannity tossed her way, Palin did not come off very well, in my view. If this was a political commercial, I wasn't buying the product.

- (continued from Marcus)
Hannity-Palin "100 percent pure infomercial" interview.
Consider this exchange.
Hannity: What is our role as a country as it relates to national security?
Palin: Yes. That's a great question, and being an optimist I see our role in the world as one of being a force for good, and one of being the leader of the world when it comes to the values that -- it seems that just human kind embraces the values that -- encompass life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that's just -- not just in America, that is in our world. And America is in a position because we care for so many people to be able to lead and to be able to have a strong diplomacy and a strong military also at the same time to defend not only our freedoms, but to help these rising smaller democratic countries that are just -- you know, they're putting themselves on the map right now, and they're going to be looking to America as that leader. We being used as a force for good is how I see our country. Whew. Made it to the other side of that one. Can't wait for the debate. I bet it will be impacting.

-The Unbelievable McCain Campaign
E.J. Dionne
No wonder the McCain campaign went ballistic after the New York Times reported on some $2 million paid to McCain campaign manager Rick Davis for serving as "president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations." Now it turns out that Davis's lobbying firm received even more money from Freddie, and more recently, than Davis said.Here are the first three paragraphs of today's New York Times story: One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain's campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

-Poll: Obama Takes Clear Lead
More voters trust the Democrat to deal with the economy, according to Post-ABC News survey. [...] More voters trust Obama to deal with the economy, and he currently has a big edge as the candidate who is more in tune with the economic problems Americans now face. He also has a double-digit advantage on handling the current problems on Wall Street, and as a result, there has been a rise in his overall support. [...] The poll found that, among likely voters, Obama now leads McCain by 52 percent to 43 percent.

-Lower Drinking Age Opposed by Experts
Some College Leaders Seek Change
With some of the nation's most prominent college leaders suggesting that the nation's drinking age be lowered, a group of researchers and safety experts told Maryland lawmakers yesterday that younger drinkers would bring more accidents and deaths.

Wall Street Journal
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-Politics From Pulpit Will Deliver Challenge to IRS
Conservative Group Seeks Court Fight on Nonprofit Law
About 30 ministers across the U.S. plan to protest federal tax laws Sunday by endorsing a presidential candidate from their pulpits, in a move orchestrated by a conservative legal-advocacy group.

-Obama Leads McCain in Four Battleground States
Race Remains Close as Voters Put Focus on Economic Issues
The best news for Sen. Obama in the new surveys may come in Colorado, where he has moved to a lead of four percentage points, 49%-45%, after being down by a percentage point in August. That means he has a chance there to turn a traditionally Republican state in his direction. Meanwhile, Sen. McCain seems to have a good shot at turning a blue state red in Minnesota, where Sen. Obama leads 47%-45%, which falls within the poll's margin of error. In Michigan, Sen. Obama holds a four-point edge, 48%-44%. His largest lead is in Wisconsin, where the race stands at 49%-42%.

-Our Generals Almost Cost Us Iraq
The dominant media storyline about the Iraq war holds that the decisions about how to conduct it pitted ignorant civilians -- especially the president and secretary of defense -- against the uniformed military, whose wise and sober advice was cavalierly ignored. The Bush administration's cardinal sin was interference in predominantly military affairs, starting with overruling the military on the size of the force that invaded Iraq in March 2003.

-Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Triumph
Imagine yourself as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, now in your fourth year as president of Iran and about to make yet another appearance at the U.N.'s General Assembly in New York. Superficially -- but only superficially -- things do not appear to be going well.

Go to the links for the following articles:

-Best and worst cities for men in 2008
Mens Health examined 100 U.S. cities, rating them in health, habitat and fitness.,0,3773585.photogallery

-Palm Beach County commissioners postpone plan to appoint supervisor of elections
Palm Beach County commissioners agreed Tuesday to postpone a proposal to make the supervisor of elections an appointed - rather than elected - position.,0,3937107.story

Miami Herald
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-FEDERAL COURT: First-of-its-kind torture trial to start in Miami
The trial of Charles 'Chuckie' Taylor Jr. marks the first U.S. prosecution of torture committed in a foreign country. Boston native. Orlando juvenile delinquent. Liberian security-force boss. Accused torturer.

-OBAMA: The meaning of black
Leonard Pitts
black \'blak\ adjective
1: of the color black;
2: of or relating to the African-American people;
3: dirty, soiled;
4: thoroughly sinister or evil;
5: connected with the supernatural and especially the devil
-- adapted from Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary
Last year, Sen. Joe Biden made a comment some people considered racially insensitive toward Sen. Barack Obama. Obama's response was a mild one -- he called Biden's remark ''historically inaccurate.'' This earned him a harsh rebuke from one of my readers.

-Debate will test candidates' strengths
Friday evening in Oxford, Miss., Barack Obama and John McCain will meet in the first presidential debate of 2008, and this dramatic campaign will in all likelihood reach another turning point.

Fort Report
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-Democrats to Let Offshore Drilling Ban Expire
Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in an month-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

-On taxes, Obama, Mccain have many key differences
If you're voting your pocketbook, whether you choose John McCain or Barack Obama may depend on your income. McCain's tax policies favor high-income households; Barack Obama's largely benefit low-income to middle-income families.,0,393693.story

-In U.N. Speech, Bush Focuses on Terrorism
Other World Leaders Speak on Economy
On a day when other world leaders largely focused on the global economic crisis, President Bush sought to turn the attention of the United Nations to his core foreign policy goals of fighting terrorists and promoting freedom around the world.

-Main Street's blind faith
It's the public that feeds the Wall Street beast. In fact, now is the time to end this cyclical con game. Main Street must be insulated from Wall Street, U.S. financial rescuers assert. Everyone, from the Demo-cratic leadership in Congress to the (formerly) free-market gladiators of the Bush administration, has pledged to protect the lambs back home.

From Barack Obama
The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has created a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression. Congress and the President are debating a bailout of our financial institutions with a price tag of $700 billion or more in taxpayer dollars. We cannot underestimate our responsibility in taking such an enormous step. Whatever shape our recovery plan takes, it must be guided by core principles of fairness, balance, and responsibility to one another. Please sign on to show your support for an economic recovery plan based on the following:
.. No Golden Parachutes -- Taxpayer dollars should not be used to reward the
irresponsible Wall Street executives who helmed this disaster. .. Main Street, Not Just Wall Street -- Any bailout plan must include a payback strategy for taxpayers who are footing the bill and aid to innocent homeowners who are facing foreclosure. .. Bipartisan Oversight -- The staggering amount of taxpayer money involved demands a bipartisan board to
ensure accountability and oversight. Show your support and encourage your
friends and family to join you:

Sarah Palin as VP? Vote Now on PBS - HURRY
Believe it or not, PBS is currently running a poll on whether people believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be VP - and so far, 58% people think she is ! Though you might want to vote (don't have to put in your email address or any other personal info): Here's the link:

Pew Research center
Go to this link for the following articles:

-Money and Politics
Most Approve of Wall Street Bailout and See Obama as Better Able to Address Crisis
With public interest in the economy at a 20-year high, by a margin of almost two-to-one Americans think the government is doing the right thing in investing billions of dollars to try to keep financial institutions and markets secure. Read more

-Financial Fallout Pops Palin Media Bubble
Wall Street's meltdown raised the possibility that the economy may become the decisive factor in the November election. Read more

-Survey Research
Cell Phones and the 2008 Vote: An Update
As in two preceding tests, a new survey shows that including cell phone interviews results in slightly more support for Obama and slightly less for McCain. Read more

-Foreign Affairs
A New Leader for a Chronically Gloomy Japan
Even if international financial markets were thriving, it is likely that the selection of Taro Aso as the new leader of Japans' ruling party would still have played out against a backdrop of national apprehensiveness and pessimism. Read more

-Church and State
Slight but Steady Majority Favors Keeping Abortion Legal
A recent Pew survey finds U.S. opinion on this perennial campaign issue remains in line with the historical pattern. Read more

-The Media's Handling of Palin's Faith
Coverage of her religious background and beliefs has often been a peripheral element in the story. Read more

-Daily Number
6% - Leadership and Gender
While the public rates women as superior to men on a host of issues associated with leadership, like honesty and intelligence, a mere 6% say women make better leaders than men. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Rising European Ethnocentricity
Unfavorable Views of Jews and Muslims Increase in Europe
Findings from the latest Pew Research Center Global Attitudes survey show that Europeans who view Jews unfavorably also tend to see Muslims in a negative light. However, the trend in negative views toward Muslims in Europe has occurred over a longer period of time than recently growing anti-Semitic sentiment. Read more

-Immigration Issues
Latinos See Their Situation in U.S. Deteriorating
A new Pew Hispanic Center survey finds increasingly widespread pessimism among the U.S. Hispanic community, which has been hit hard by rising unemployment and stepped-up immigration enforcement. Latinos' strong opposition to federal enforcement policies may have consequences in the political arena this fall. Read more

-Hustings Hassles
McCain Gains on Issues, But Stalls as Candidate of Change
The latest People & the Press survey finds the presidential race remains close as enthusiasm for McCain increases among the GOP base. Somewhat more swing voters (46%) now say their greater concern is that McCain will govern too much like President Bush, rather than that Obama lacks experience (37%).
Read more

-Views Of Palin Fluid As Spotlight Remains On GOP Ticket
Sarah Palin continued to be a dominant factor in presidential campaign coverage last week, but her impact on the race remains unclear and her public image is very much in flux. However, in the contest for public attention, Hurricane Ike beat the campaign. Read more

-Daily Number
60% - Hispanic Contribution to Public School Growth
The increase in Latino students in the nation's public schools accounts for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollment from 1990 to 2006. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more


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