Saturday, October 25, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - October 25, 2008

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New York Times
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-Editorial: Barack Obama for President
Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation's future truly hangs in the balance. The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President Bush's failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens - whether they are fleeing a hurricane's floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable.

-For Obama, a Melancholy Biography Tour
HONOLULU - For the last 21 months, she has followed the odyssey of his presidential campaign like a spectator in a faraway balcony. She underwent a corneal transplant to see him on television. She reluctantly agreed to film a political ad when he needed to urgently reassure the voters about his distinctive American roots. She told him during one of their frequent telephone conversations that it might not hurt if he smiled a bit more. And on Friday, Senator Barack Obama spent the day saying goodbye.

-The California Prison Disaster
California should move away from mandatory sentencing laws that have packed prisons and sent corrections costs through the roof.

Washington Post
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-Olympic Hangover
The Games are over, but Hu Jia is still in prison. LAST WEEK, China made permanent the single most conspicuous gesture toward political liberalization it offered before the Beijing Olympics: a modest easing of controls on reporting by foreign journalists. The relaxation hasn't always been observed in practice, and it doesn't apply in sensitive regions such as Tibet, where foreign reporters are still banned. It has had little impact on Chinese media or the information available to the Chinese population. Still, the communist regime trumpeted the step. "Opening up is very important. I believe in the past year and a half, China has improved a lot in this regard, and I believe it will do an even better job in the future," said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

-Comedian Becomes Serious Contender
Democrat Franken Leads Senate Race in Minn.
Al Franken settled into the Wagon Wheel Cafe and for 45 uninterrupted minutes talked with a handful of Minnesota farmers about the promise of cellulosic ethanol, the impact of the sinking dollar on crop prices and his pledge to secure a seat on the Agriculture Committee if he is elected to the U.S. Senate.

-US Muslim voters are election year outcasts
-- Lepers. Untouchables. Politically radioactive. These are ways American Muslims describe their status in an election year when Barack Obama's opponents are spreading rumors that he is Muslim, when he is Christian, and linking him to terrorists. So when Colin Powell, a Republican, condemned using Muslim as a smear _ a tactic he said members of his own party allowed _ there was an outpouring of gratitude and relief from American Muslims.

-The ACORN Storm: From John McCain, hyperbole about potential voter fraud
THE VERY "fabric of democracy," or so Sen. John McCain warned at the final presidential debate, is at stake. "We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama's relationship with ACORN, [which] is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country," Mr. McCain said, referring to the liberal group the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Mr. McCain's hyperbole about ACORN, which has endorsed Mr. Obama, is unwarranted.

-Perceptions of Palin Grow Increasingly Negative, Poll Says
While top-of-the-ticket rivals John McCain and Barack Obama both remain broadly popular heading into Election Day, public perceptions of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin have fallen dramatically since she emerged on the national political scene at the GOP convention.

-Kennedy focuses from home on health care overhaul
An ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy is trying to lay the groundwork for a breakthrough on health care reform next year, though many believe the enormous undertaking has been made even more difficult by the troubled economy. Kennedy, aides say, has held several video conferences with lawmakers and staff in recent months as he fights from home to overcome brain cancer. His staff has held more than a dozen meetings in recent weeks with various advocacy and interest groups that will help influence the debate.

The Wall Street Journal
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-Where Were the Boards?
Accountability shouldn't end with the CEO. These days it's impossible to avoid news stories about the financial crisis -- and the news about the economy especially seems to be getting worse. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around among the politicians, chief executives, corporations, homeowners and consumers who've borrowed well beyond their ability to repay. Yet one very important question has gotten little attention: Where were the boards of directors of the companies that helped create this mess?

Miami Herald
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-Government must respect press freedom
Below are excerpts from the recommendations of The Price of Silence: The Growing Threat of Soft Censorship in Latin America, a recent report by the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin, what if things were switched around?....think about it.
Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could racism be the culprit?
Ponder the following:
What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?
What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?
What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?
What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to painkillers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)
What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?
What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing planes?
What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?
What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?
You could easily add to this list.
If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?
This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.
Educational Background:
Barack Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
Joseph Biden: University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
John McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester North Idaho College -
2 semesters - general study University of Idaho - 2 semesters -journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester University of Idaho - 3 semesters -
B.A. in Journalism
Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call.
Roger Leisner - Radio Free Maine

Pew Research center
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-America Changing
Latinos Account for Half of U.S. Population Growth Since 2000
A new Pew Hispanic Center report analyzes changes in Latino growth and settlement patterns over the past three decades. The report includes a series of interactive maps and data bases that provide demographic information about the Latino population in each of the nation's 50 states and 3,141 counties. Read more

-Positive Politicos
Republicans: Still Happy Campers
Despite the imploding stock market, the looming recession, the unpopular president and discouraging political polls, a new Social Trends survey finds GOP adherents still beat Democrats on the happiness scale. Read more

-Campaign Countdown
Liberal Democrats Top Conservative Republicans in Donations, Activism
With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, voters remain riveted to the presidential campaign. But liberal Democrats are engaging in far more activism than other partisan and ideological groups. Read more

-Canvassing Campaign Media: An Analysis of Time, Tone and Topics
Coverage of the presidential race has not so much cast Obama in a favorable light as it has portrayed McCain in a substantially negative one, according to a new study of the media. Read more

-Most Voters Say News Media Wants Obama to Win
By a margin of 70%-9%, voters say most journalists want to see Obama, not McCain, win on Nov. 4. Since 1992, voters have consistently believed the media favor the Democratic candidate, but this year's margin is especially wide. Read more

-Daily Number
11% - National Satisfaction
Only 11% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today; the lowest level of satisfaction ever measured by a Pew Research Center survey. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-Watchdog group files complaint over clothing purchases for Palin family
A watchdog group filed a complaint yesterday with the Federal Election Commission against Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the Republican National Committee, and several political operatives associated with the RNC, alleging that they improperly spent $150,000 on clothing for Palin and her family. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics cited news reports that clothing and accessories purchases for Palin and her family included $49,425 spent at Saks Fifth Avenue and $75,062 at Neiman Marcus.

Will Ferrell Back As Bush With Tina Fey's Palin On Thursday's "Saturday Night Live" (VIDEO)


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