Thursday, September 25, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - September 25, 2008

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New York Times
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-Bush and Candidates to Meet on Bailout
Sense of Urgency From White House
President Bush invited the presidential candidates to the White House for talks on the economic crisis and called on Americans to support the recovery plan.

-For the Nominees, New Roles and New Risks
Congress looked to John McCain and Barack Obama for political cover on the financial rescue. Above, a media center at the site of Friday's scheduled debate.

-Absence of Leadership
It took President Bush until Wednesday night to address the American people about the nation's financial crisis, and pretty much all he had to offer was fear itself.

-Ten States With a Plan
Until Washington takes more responsibility for addressing global warming, the states should take the lead.

-Palin's American Exception
Sarah Palin loves the word "exceptional." She may be onto something in her batty way: the election is very much about American exceptionalism.

-Bush Aides Linked to Talks on Interrogations
Senior White House officials were central in discussions on using harsh interrogation techniques, documents show. [...] In meetings during that period, the officials debated specific interrogation methods that the C.I.A. had proposed to use on Qaeda operatives held at secret C.I.A. prisons overseas, the documents show. The meetings were led by Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, and attended by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top administration officials.

-North Koreans Bar Inspectors at Nuclear Site
The move left the country on the verge of restarting a nuclear weapons program whose shutdown was portrayed as a significant diplomatic achievement. [...] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that the United States still hoped to preserve a hard-won agreement that called for the North to dismantle its nuclear reactor. But North Korea has refused to resume talks, and no new ones are planned.

-Former trade unionist elected as SAfrica president
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) -- A former trade unionist and freedom fighter was elected South Africa's president on Thursday, assuming what many believe will be a brief caretaker role after Thabo Mbeki was ousted in a power struggle within the governing party.

-As Homes Are Lost, Fears That Votes Will Be, Too
More than a million people have lost their homes through foreclosure in the last two years, and many of them are still registered to vote at the address of the home they lost. Now election officials and voting rights groups are struggling to prevent thousands of them from losing their vote when they go to the polls in November.

-Washington Mutual May Be on Block
Federal regulators are moving quickly to broker a deal for Washington Mutual as the savings-and-loan comes under mounting financial pressure, according to people briefed on the talks.

-Iraq Passes Provincial Elections Law
BAGHDAD - After months of negotiation, Iraq's Parliament passed a crucial election law on Wednesday, but only by setting aside for future debate the most divisive political issues.

-A Heroine From the Brothels
Sex trafficking is widely acknowledged to be the 21st-century version of slavery, but governments accept it partly because it seems to defy solution., [...] The perfect counterpoint to that fatalism is Somaly Mam, one of the bravest and boldest of those foreign visitors pouring into New York City this month. Somaly is a Cambodian who as a young teenager was sold to the brothels herself and now runs an organization that extricates girls from forced prostitution. Now Somaly has published her inspiring memoir, "The Road of Lost Innocence," in the United States, and it offers some lessons for tackling the broader problem.

Washington Post
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-Candidates' Performances a Matter of Debate
Joe Lockhart was watching the instant feedback from focus groups during the final presidential debate four years ago, and the reaction showed that his candidate, John Kerry, was beating President Bush.

-Benefits for Same-Sex Partners Focus of Senate Hearing
For Brendan Doyle, it's a matter of equal pay for equal work. Doyle, 57, has been in a committed same-sex relationship for 21 years. As a high-level information management civil servant at the Environmental Protection Agency, he pays $120 a month for health insurance. His self-employed partner dishes out $700 for insurance with no prescription coverage.

-North Korea's Reverse
The framework for dismantling the world's most dangerous nuclear program is

-Credibility Test for Congress
In the greatest crisis to confront the American economic system in three-quarters of a century, it is notable that the leaders of the two elected branches of the federal government have not been calling the signals.

-First Debate's Fate Unclear As Obama Resists McCain's Call to Postpone
Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama will abandon the campaign trail today for a bipartisan meeting at the White House, as the financial crisis gripping the nation roils the presidential race and leaves the first debate between the nominees in limbo.

-Don't Lend Despots the Veneer of Peace
Five religious organizations have invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be guest of honor at a dinner this week in New York. While these groups may have the best of intentions, the result will be to burnish the Iranian leader's legitimacy and help cleanse his reputation as a purveyor of hate.

Wall Street Journal
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-Joint Statement of Sens. Obama and McCain on the Financial Crisis
Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain issued the following joint statement on the financial crisis, about six hours after agreeing to do so:
Joint Statement of Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain
"The American people are facing a moment of economic crisis. No matter how this began, we all have a responsibility to work through it and restore confidence in our economy. The jobs, savings, and prosperity of the American people are at stake. "Now is a time to come together - Democrats and Republicans - in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people. The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail. This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country."
* * *
In addition, Sen. Obama appended the following statement of principles he wants in the legislation, and asked Sen. McCain to support them as well. Obama campaign officials say Sen. McCain's campaign rhetoric suggests he agrees with the principles. I believe that several core principles should guide this legislation. First, there must be oversight. We should not hand over a blank check to the discretion of one man. We support an independent, bipartisan board to ensure accountability and complete transparency. Second, we need to protect taxpayers. There should be a path for taxpayers to recover their money, and to turn a profit if Wall Street prospers. Third, no Wall Street executive should profit from taxpayer dollars. This plan cannot be a welfare program for CEOs whose greed and irresponsibility has contributed to this crisis. Fourth, we must help families who are struggling to stay in their homes. We cannot bail out Wall Street without helping millions of families facing foreclosure on Main Street. Fifth, we both agree that this financial rescue package should move on its own without any earmarks or other measures. We have different views about the need for other action, but this must be a clean bill. This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. This is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem - this is an American problem. Now, we must find an American solution.

-McCain, Obama Still Close in Poll
The race remains a dead heat amid the financial turmoil, with 48% favoring Obama and 46% favoring McCain, according to a new WSJ/NBC poll.

-Poll Shows Doubts About Palin
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows nearly half of voters harbor doubts that Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin is qualified to be president.

-Offshore-Drilling Ban to Expire
Congress will let a decades-old ban on drilling off the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts expire at the end of the month, in an effort to kick the partisan fight over oil drilling beyond the Nov. 4 election. House Democratic leaders passed a stopgap budget bill Wednesday that doesn't extend the offshore-drilling ban, bowing to Republicans who have scored election-year points with voters by calling for more drilling to counter rising oil prices. The Senate is expected to approve the bill, without extending the drilling ban.

-The First Debate Could Be Decisive
Presidential debates are important -- and the first debate is the most important of all, establishing an arc of opinion that persists unless jarred loose by big mistakes or dramatic events. So whether this year's first presidential debate between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain is Friday night or postponed a few days, it may be the fall's most critical event. In the nine first debates since 1960, the perceived winner of the debate averaged a 4.2 point net swing in the Gallup poll.

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-Delta, Northwest shareholders to vote on combination today
With little doubt about the outcome, Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. prepared to make their case to shareholders on why they should approve a combination that would create the world's biggest carrier and swallow whole an 82-year-old company in the process.,0,2997582.story

Fort Report
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-A look at the Electoral College map
An analysis of the state-by-state race to 270 electoral votes between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

-Friday's debate: A bizarre game of chicken
McCain is now unlikely to show up for the first scheduled showdown with Obama. Master stroke or campaign in meltdown? John McCain is once again proving himself to be the fastest gun in the West -- the presidential candidate most likely to shoot up the saloon on a Friday night. Or, in this case, the first presidential debate slated for Friday night, in Oxford, Miss. With a flair for the dramatic, McCain suddenly announced Wednesday afternoon that he was suspending his campaign (attack ads included) because of the financial crisis -- and called for postponing the Mississippi Mixer "until this crisis is resolved."


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