Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - October 21, 2008

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New York Times
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-Obama Leaving Trail to Visit Ailing Grandmother
Senator Barack Obama will cancel events to fly to Hawaii to visit his grandmother, whose health is deteriorating.

-Ruling on Guns Elicits Rebuke From the Right
Four months after the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess guns, its decision is under assault - from the right. Two prominent federal appeals court judges say that Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned and fueled by politics rather than principle. The 5-to-4 decision in Heller struck down parts of a District of Columbia gun control law.

-Bush Decides to Keep Guant√°namo Open
Despite his stated desire to close the American prison at Guant√°namo Bay, Cuba, President Bush has decided not to do so, and never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere, according to senior administration officials.

-3 Oil-Rich Countries Face a Reckoning
CARACAS, Venezuela - As the price of oil roared to ever higher levels in recent years, the leaders of Venezuela, Iran and Russia muscled their way onto the world stage, using checkbook diplomacy and, on occasion, intimidation.

-Afghan Journalism Student Sentenced to 20 Years
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- An Afghan appeals court overturned a death sentence for a journalism student accused of blasphemy and instead sentenced him Tuesday to 20 years in prison. The death sentence against 24-year old Parwez Kambakhsh came to symbolize Afghanistan's slide toward an ultraconservative view on religious and individual freedoms.

Washington Post
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-Palin breaks with McCain on gay marriage amendment
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is. In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions.

-Ready, Aim, Fire
There's a civil war erupting on the right, and Colin Powell is caught in the crossfire. The split has been deepening for months as some of the nation's top conservative commentators have soured on John McCain's campaign and ridiculed the notion of Sarah Palin as qualified for the heartbeat-away job. The high-profile dissidents now include, to varying degrees, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, George Will, David Frum, Kathleen Parker and Christopher Buckley.

-Palin to Appear on '700 Club'
Gov. Sarah Palin held a wide-ranging 20-minute interview this weekend with the Christian Broadcast Network, laying out her prayer requests, discussing her baptism in Little Beaver Lake in Alaska and saying she would be comfortable using the controversial line about Sen. Barack Obama "palling around with terrorists" again.

-Party Like It's 1964
A column, like a good movie, should have an arc -- start here, end there and somehow connect the two points. So this column will begin with the speech Condi Rice made to the Republican National Convention in 2000 in praise of George W. Bush and end with Colin Powell's appearance Sunday on "Meet the Press" in praise of Barack Obama. Between the first and the second lie the ruins of the GOP, a party gone very, very wrong.

-The Power of Powell's Rebuke
Colin Powell demonstrated his eponymous "Powell Doctrine" of overwhelming force on Sunday when he endorsed Barack Obama on "Meet the Press." The one-time chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff systematically marshaled his assets to neutralize the Republican endgame strategy, which is to suffuse the air around Obama with a vague mist of terrorism, socialism and "otherness."

-What Colin Powell Also Said
His comments on Muslims in America bear repeating -- and repeating.
NATURALLY, WHAT garnered the most attention on the day after former secretary of state Colin Powell's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama was its political significance. But we hope that another message that Mr. Powell tucked into his endorsement isn't forgotten.

-Zimbabwe's Bitter End
As the economy collapses and mass starvation looms, Robert Mugabe still refuses to yield power. WHEN ZIMBABWEAN strongman Robert Mugabe signed a deal to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai last month, we were skeptical that it would end the country's crisis. At best, we hoped, it would stop Mr. Mugabe's murderous campaign against opposition activists and permit international relief agencies to deliver food to the starving.

-Two Justices Clash Over Race and Death Penalty
Ga. Court's Handling of 1999 Case at Issue
The sensitive issue of race and the death penalty triggered an unusual public debate yesterday between two Supreme Court justices. In respectful but pointed language, Justices John Paul Stevens and Clarence Thomas clashed over whether race could have influenced the imposition of the death sentence for Artemus Rick Walker, a black Georgia man convicted of killing a white bank vice president. The court rejects hundreds of cases each year, mostly without comment, and yesterday it declined to hear Walker's appeal.

Fort Report
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-The Case for Barack Obama
Obama is pushing to change the parameters of the country's comfort zone. That's leadership. It has become fashionable to lament the state of presidential politics and decry the tenor of campaigns. But in fact, this election has been a pleasant surprise. In the last debate, as the candidates discussed their respective health-care plans in some detail, the danger was that the American people would be turned off not by negativity but by boredom.

-Obama to hold jobs summit in Fla. with governors
Democrat Barack Obama is bringing several GOP-leaning states he's aiming to win together in one place. He's holding a jobs summit Tuesday in economically precarious Florida, with participation by the governors of several states that went Republican four years ago and for which the Democratic presidential nominee is making a serious play this time around.

-Why is Barack Obama now electable?
From the youth vote to Sarah Palin's outdated embrace of the rural mystique, Salon's panel of demographers and consumer trend experts talks about how America is changing. Cable TV and newspaper Op-Ed pages are full of pundits and campaign strategists using the latest election polls to opine glibly on the mood of America. Bored with this kind of bloviating, Salon decided to do the exact opposite - and use the mood of America as a way to generalize about the election. We assembled three leading demographers and trend analysts to talk about which major nonpolitical factors are shaping the electoral environment - from population shifts to major changes in public attitudes. We asked them about the state of America on the eve of one of the most epochal elections in modern history.

-Men vote Barack Obama "most influential man"
Barack Obama was voted the most influential man of 2008 in an online poll released on Tuesday that asked men to decide who most impacted the way they behave, buy and think. The U.S. Democratic presidential candidate was ranked No.1 by readers on the AskMen.com lifestyle Web site, beating Apple chief executive Steve Jobs and Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, who landed in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

-The High School Dropout's Economic Ripple Effect
Mayors Go Door to Door, Personally Encouraging Students to Stay in the Game for Their Own Good -- and for the Sake of the City
As the financial meltdown and economic slump hold the national spotlight, another potential crisis is on the horizon: a persistently high dropout rate that educators and mayors across the country say increases the threat to the country's strength and prosperity.

-Alternative Energy Suddenly Faces Headwinds
For all the support that the presidential candidates are expressing for renewable energy, alternative energies like wind and solar are facing big new challenges because of the credit freeze and the plunge in oil and natural gas prices. Shares of alternative energy companies have fallen even more sharply than the rest of the stock market in recent months. The struggles of financial institutions are raising fears that investment capital for big renewable energy projects is likely to get tighter.

Los Angeles Times
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-Gop Operative arrested and charged with voter registration fraud,
The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario late last night on suspicion of voter registration fraud. State and local investigators allege that Mark Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California. Jacoby's arrest by state investigators and the Ontario Police Department comes after dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by his firm, Young Political Majors, or YPM. The voters said YPM tricked them by saying they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters. The firm was paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registered as a member of the GOP. YPM is also tied to Voter Fraud In Florida.


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