Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - October 22, 2008

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New York Times
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-Some Cut Back on Prescription Drugs in Sour Economy
As people respond to hard times by juggling the cost of necessities like groceries and housing, drugs sometimes have to wait.

-Stocks Drop Sharply in Europe and Asia
Stocks dove in Europe and Asia, the euro and British pound fell to their lowest points against the dollar in years and oil prices dropped below $70 a barrel.

-Hecklers Have Mortgage Bankers Longing
Although no arrests were made at a mortgage bankers' convention, stage-storming did occur. A protester approached Karl Rove, above, during a panel discussion.

-Bailout (and Buildup)
We can't afford a financial bailout that also isn't a green buildup - a buildup of a new clean energy industry that strengthens America.

-Moved by a Crescent
In a gratifying "have you no sense of decency, Sir and Madam?" moment, Colin Powell went on "Meet the Press" and pushed back on ugly innuendo. [...] But what sent him over the edge and made him realize he had to speak out was when he opened his New Yorker three weeks ago and saw a picture of a mother pressing her head against the gravestone of her son, a 20-year-old soldier who had been killed in Iraq. On the headstone were engraved his name, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, his awards - the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star - and a crescent and a star to denote his Islamic faith.

-Acorn Report Raises Issues of Legality
An internal report by a lawyer for the community organizing group Acorn raises questions about whether the web of relationships among its 174 affiliates may have led to violations of federal laws.

-Reporter's Notebook
After a Year on the Road, Obama Is Changing His Tempo
Where's Miles Davis? Who kidnapped Elvis? Up there on the riser in the Virginia arena, there is this careful guy reading from a teleprompter and keeping his tone not exactly monotone but not exactly soaring, and he is repeating more or less the same lines that he read the night before and the same lines he will read the day after.

-Report Cites Chronic Absenteeism in City Schools
More than 90,000 of New York City's elementary school students - roughly 20 percent - missed at least a month of classes during the last school year, with attendance problems most acute in central Brooklyn, Harlem and the South Bronx, according to a report scheduled for release on Tuesday.

Washington Post
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-The Irony of Obama
Less than two weeks away from his likely election as president, the debate continues about the nature of Barack Obama's deepest political beliefs. Is he -- as some liberals quietly hope and many conservatives loudly accuse -- a closet radical? Or is he a more subtle and moderate political figure who embraced, then discarded, the leftism of south Chicago in pursuit of a restless ambition? There is evidence for both views.

-More Poison
Another prominent adversary of Vladimir Putin is mysteriously exposed to toxins. ON OCT. 7, 2006 -- Vladimir Putin's birthday -- the crusading Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down outside her Moscow apartment. Last week, pretrial hearings were scheduled for three alleged accomplices in the murder; the suspected gunman remains at large, and the sponsors of the hit have never been identified. Ms. Politkovskaya's family was due to be represented at the trial, which is being held in a closed military court, by Karina Moskalenko, a lawyer who has taken up the cause of some of Russia's best-known dissidents and prisoners. But Ms. Moskalenko could not attend. Instead she underwent testing in the French city of Strasbourg after complaining of headaches, nausea and swelling -- and after pellets of the poisonous heavy metal mercury were discovered in her family's car.

-For Nonbelievers, Reassurance on Wheels
British Atheists Announce Plan for Bus Ads, and Contributions Start Rolling In
LONDON, Oct. 21 -- British atheists announced Tuesday a high-profile advertising campaign to put posters on London buses that say: "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

-O'Reilly: You'll Still Have Me to Kick Around
Bill O'Reilly has signed up for another tour of duty at Fox News, saying that he decided "to put myself through all the attacks and smears" for several more years.

Wall Street Journal

-Poll: Obama Opens Double-Digit Lead
A greater number of voters say they would be comfortable with Obama as president. A new WSJ/NBC poll gives him a 10-point edge over McCain, 52% to 42%.

-Oil Drops Below $70 as Dollar Strengthens
Crude-oil futures fell below $70 a barrel Wednesday in Asia, weighed down by a strengthening U.S. dollar and an expected buildup of U.S. oil stocks. Investors shrugged off a looming production cut by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after company forecasts suggested the U.S. may be headed for a severe economic slowdown that crimps crude demand.

-Pakistan Needs Up to $15 Billion in Aid
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Pakistan will need as much as $15 billion over the next two or three years to extricate itself from a severe financial crisis and will require up to $4 billion of that in the next month, officials said. The estimate of how much money Islamabad needs to refill its emptying hard-currency reserves and jump-start its stalled economy came as officials from Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund opened an annual meeting in Dubai to review Pakistan's economic health -- and possibly hammer out an emergency aid package.

Miami Herald
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-Sorry, but 'fake Americans' aren't the real threat
Excuse me while I say a few words on behalf of us Fake Americans. Not that I really think of myself as such. I mean, here in Fake America, life proceeds much as it does in Real America. We are raising our kids and paying our taxes, trying to keep up with the dishes in the sink, going to the movies now and then. In fact, if you didn't know better, you'd never realize our America was Fake.

-The perils of ACORN's voter-registration efforts
ACORN or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the national community organization of 500,000 low and moderate income family members in communities throughout the United States, is having what I refer to as its ``Britney Spears moment.''

-Study: Gap growing between rich, poor
A report from a Paris-based organization said the United States has the highest inequality and poverty rates among member countries.

Inside Higher Education
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-Surprising Impact of Student Loan Crunch
46% of private colleges report that some students have "stopped out" of school or shifted to part-time study because they could not get private loans to pay tuition.

Pew Research center
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-Doubts Grow About McCain's Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct
Obama, who holds a 52%-to-38% lead in Pew's latest survey, is inspiring more confidence on several key issues, including Iraq and terrorism, than he did before the debates, and his margin over McCain as the candidate best able to improve economic conditions has grown. Read more

-Polls and Plumbers Drive Narrative
Campaign coverage increasingly focused on tactics -- including McCain's invocation of an Ohio plumber to represent the working man -- as well as fights in battleground states and the parade of polls. Read more

-More See Campaign as Negative
Perceptions of the tone of the campaign have grown increasingly negative over the past month and are now nearly identical to views of the 2004 election. Independents have a much more favorable view of Obama's ads than they do of McCain's. Read more

-Technology's Impact
Networked Families
Parents and spouses are using the internet and cell phones to create a "new connectedness" that builds on remote connections and shared internet experiences. Read more

-Public Opinion - Poll Power
Though by no means a perfect instrument, polls make it possible for more opinions, held by a broader and more representative range of citizens, to be known to the government and thus, potentially, heeded. Read more

-Faith and Foreign Policy
Ten Years of U.S. Efforts to Promote Religious Freedom
A scholar describes the controversy surrounding the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998 and discusses its impact worldwide. Read more

-Daily Number
59% - Americans Tighten Their Belts
Many Americans are delaying or cancelling spending, including nearly six-in-ten who have cut back on vacation spending. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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Americans are voting early in large numbers this year -- and African-Americans in several states are turning out in disproportionate numbers. Some fear that polling places in predominantly black neighborhoods will be overwhelmed by a record turnout on Election Day. Others are voting early to be certain the chance to elect the first black U.S. president doesn't slip away. In Georgia, where early voting began on Sept. 22, African-Americans account for 29% of active voters but have so far made up nearly 36% of about 758,000 early voters. By comparison, African-Americans represented 25% of the overall turnout in 2004. In Florida, African-Americans accounted for 21% of ballots cast Monday even though they make up 13% of voters. In North Carolina, African-Americans accounted for 33% of ballots cast as of Monday even though they make up 21% of voters. New registrations, due partly to excitement over the candidacy of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and a voter-registration drive by his campaign, are driving much of the higher participation. In Georgia, nearly 165,000 blacks joined the rolls this year, up from 129,878 in 2004. While black women voters outnumber black men, this year more black men registered than black women.

-More Democrats Casting Early Ballots, Data Show
With as many as one-third of voters expected to cast their ballots before Election Day, preliminary data from several key battleground states show more Democrats than Republicans have voted early.

-Powell gives voice to voters' thoughts
If one could subtract all political party identifications from the remarks Sunday of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, it could be said that he put a voice to what a lot of people, many of them political leaders, have been thinking as the race for president between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama has progressed. Powell offered substantive reasons why he thinks Obama is the better of two candidates who, he said, would both make good presidents. At the same time, he made clear his exasperation with the diversions of the campaign that have little or nothing to do with the important issues of the day but seem intended to stir up antagonism and suspicion in the electorate.

-AP INVESTIGATION: Alaska funded Palin kids' travel
Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

-Senate GOP leader McConnell in tight re-election race
In tight race, Senate GOP boss McConnell touts pork prowess
At a time when politicians of all stripes declare loudly that Washington is broken, spending is out of control and change should be the new gold standard, Sen. Mitch McConnell, a wily Republican veteran running for his political life in the mountains and hollows of Kentucky, is going the other way-paying unapologetic homage to the most important food group of electoral politics, pork.,0,5416968.story


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