Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - October 28, 2008

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New York Times
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-Editorial: The Candidates' Health Plans
The nation's health care system is desperately in need of reform - as far too many Americans know from grim, personal experience. In this election, Barack Obama and John McCain are offering starkly different ideas for how to fix that system.

-New to Campaigning, but No Longer a Novice
On a visit to her husband's campaign office here the other day, Michelle Obama was handed a phone and a script of talking points and made calls to a few undecided voters. Mrs. Obama mixed policy on taxes and health care with chitchat about Ohio, laughter about her life in politics and tidbits about her family.

-Alaska Senator Is Found Guilty on 7 Ethics Counts
Calling the verdict "unjust," Ted Stevens, the Senate's longest-serving Republican, asked voters to re-elect him.

-Court Rules Niger Failed by Allowing Girl's Slavery
A West African regional court ruled Monday that the government of Niger had failed to protect a young woman sold into slavery at the age of 12. The landmark ruling, the first of its kind by a regional tribunal now sitting in Niamey, Niger's capital, ordered the government to pay about $19,000 in damages to the woman, Hadijatou Mani, who is now 24.

Washington Post
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-Palin's Love Boats
Until two cruise ships steamed up to Alaska two summers ago, the record for the silliest statement by a journalist had been held by Lincoln Steffens, in his time a famous American radical. Sent in 1919 to see how Russia was doing under the communists, Steffens supposedly reported, "I have seen the future, and it works." In 2007, several conservative journalists got off their cruise ships and met Sarah Palin. They saw the present, and she was a babe.

-Why McCain Lost Me
Yesterday, while reading the latest polling data on John McCain, Sarah Palin and their appeal -- or growing lack of it -- to " independent women voters" it suddenly dawned on me: I am one of these elusive independent female voters, and I have the credentials to prove it. For the past couple of decades, I've sometimes voted Democratic, sometimes Republican. I'm even a registered independent, though I did think of switching to vote for John McCain in 2000. But because the last political party I truly felt comfortable with was Thatcher's Conservative Party (I lived in England in the 1980s and 1990s), I didn't actually do it.

-The Stevens Verdict
A proud senator falls victim to his sense of entitlement. WE'VE HAD our differences over the years with Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, but it was difficult not to feel some sadness yesterday when the 84-year-old Republican was convicted of all seven counts of accepting more than $250,000 in gifts from the head of an Alaska oil services company and others and failing to report them on his Senate financial disclosure forms. After a career in public service that began before Alaska was a state, and just a week before Alaska voters are to decide whether he should be elected to a seventh full term, Mr. Stevens now faces likely defeat and the prospect of jail time. And for what? The amount of freebies that Mr. Stevens accepted to renovate his Alaska "chalet" is significant, but the individual components -- a Viking
grill, a vibrating Shiatsu massage lounger, a five-foot steel sculpture of migrating salmon -- underscore the petty needlessness of Mr. Stevens's crime.

-ATF Says Racists Plotted to Kill Obama
Investigators disrupted an improbable plan to assassinate Sen. Barack Obama and kill 102 other African Americans in a spree fueled by white supremacist ideology, officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said yesterday.

-U.S. Soldiers' Killer Convicted
Iraqi judge convicts an Iraqi man of abducting, torturing and killing two American soldiers.

-Rwandans Say Hello to English
In a blow to the language of love, government decides to change instruction in schools.

-Jennifer Hudson's 7-Year-Old Nephew Is Found Dead

-Cardinal Objects to Award for Breyer
Fordham University's plan to give an award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer has drawn criticism from alumni and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in New York over Breyer's support for abortion rights. Cardinal Edward M. Egan has spoken to leaders of the Catholic university in New York City to ensure that "a mistake of this sort will not happen again," said New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

Wall Street Journal

-Hitting Syria, Five Years Late
Soliciting Assad was one of Bush's biggest war mistakes. After five years and six months during which Syria has been an active accomplice to the insurgency in Iraq, the U.S. has finally struck back. Historians will be left to ponder how the course of the Iraq war might have changed if President Bush had acted sooner.

Go to the links for the following articles:

-Make it President Barack Obama
A historic presidential campaign comes to a close nine days from now.
Despite the ugliness, and borderline childishness, of the past weeks, voters across Florida are expected to cast ballots in record numbers. And well they should, because America is at a critical juncture. The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board recommends voters choose Democratic Party nominee Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th president. GOP Sen. John McCain lists two decades of experience, and has landed more often than not on the correct side of issues. Obama lacks a lengthy record, and some of his positions (see opposite page) concern us. But he has shown acumen, and his call for unity has found an audience.

-Orlando: WFTV anchor Barbara West stirs frenzy with Joe Biden interview
[Check this video]

Fort Report
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-The Futility of "Redistribution" Attacks on Obama
It's been obvious for a while that attacks on Barack Obama for favoring "redistribution of wealth" and other "socialist" beliefs is the final gambit of the McCain-Palin campaign. They're reached this essentially ridiculous position for a variety of reasons: (1) It's highly congenial to conservative "base" voters, who think virtually all Democrats are "socialists," and who also view much of the New Deal/Great Society legacy as "socialist."

-Commentary: ACORN issue not vote fraud, but vote suppression
Our nation's economic foundation is crumbling like sand beneath our feet. Middle-class families are losing their jobs, homes, savings accounts and college funds.

-Electoral map, math look bleak for McCain
Look at where John McCain and Sarah Palin are spending time lately and you see the brutal electoral map before them: Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, Florida - all states President Bush won in 2004. The only traditionally Democratic state where McCain is seriously campaigning is Pennsylvania, and polls show him trailing there by double digits.

-Former Detroit mayor headed to jail in sex scandal
Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick faces a grim few months: 23 hours a day in a small cinderblock cell, with an hour out for recreation. Kilpatrick was due in court Tuesday afternoon to receive a 120-day sentence for lying about an affair with his chief of staff.

-Bad economy, Obama trigger gun sales rise
Americans have cut back on buying cars, furniture and clothes in a tough economy, but there's one consumer item that's still enjoying healthy sales: guns. Purchases of firearms and ammunition have risen 8 percent to 10 percent this year, according to state and federal data.

-More executives sold on Obama
Dan Cooper, a proud member of the National Rifle Association, has backed Republicans for most of his life. He's the chief executive of Cooper Arms, a small Montana company that makes hunting rifles. Cooper said he voted for George W. Bush in 2000, having voted in past elections for every Republican presidential nominee back to Richard Nixon. In October 1992, he presented a specially made rifle to the first President Bush during a Billings campaign event.


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