Saturday, November 01, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - November 01, 2008

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Daylight saving
Clocks go back at 2 a.m. Sunday

New York Times
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Editorial: Shepard the Anchor
We do not often cheer on Fox News's coverage of politics. But we did the other day when the anchor Shepard Smith reported on an especially absurd turn in the "Joe the Plumber" saga. John McCain's reference at the last presidential debate to Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the Ohio plumber who worriedly asked Barack Obama about taxes, was a predictable campaign stunt. It ought to have lasted for half a news cycle, especially after it became clear that Mr. Wurzelbacher's taxes would go down under Mr. Obama's plan. But the Republican nominee simply will not let the plumber go.

-Grading Obama
The federal No Child Left Behind Act has been the target of much criticism, some ill-founded and some legitimate. Of the latter, the issue of accountability confusion is the most important. Rather than reducing this confusion, Barack Obama's campaign has added to it.

-With Tense Calm in Congo, Time to Assess Damage
KIBUMBA, Congo - Bodies of dead government soldiers were sprawled in the mud. Famished villagers were huddled in ramshackle houses, surviving off raw carrots and hard, unripe papayas.

-Unrepentant Stevens Finds a Welcome at Home
If Senator Ted Stevens is feeling down about his felony convictions, his uphill battle for re-election or the sudden supremacy of another Republican, Gov. Sarah Palin, on the Alaskan political stage, it would be tough to tell from the crunch of determination that has long shaped his face.

-On the White House: A Presidential Vanishing Act, by Design
It's the week before Election Day. Do you know where your president is? Probably not, and that is by design. With Senator John McCain lagging behind in the polls and many other Republicans fighting for their political lives, the nation's top Republican - President Bush - is intentionally lying low this week, and is likely to do so until after Americans cast their ballots to pick his successor.

-Science Advice for the Next President
Nearly 180 organizations representing the interdependent arenas of science, academia and business are urging the next president to appoint a White House science adviser by Inauguration Day and give the position cabinet-level rank. In letters sent Thursday to Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama, the organizations said scientific and technical advice was needed now more than ever given the importance of the entwined issues of energy security and climate change, mounting issues and opportunities in medicine, and problems in science education and American innovation and competitiveness. The letters reflect broadening concern that the White House has not been sufficiently stressing science.

Washington Post
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-Courting Disaster With Obama? Hardly.
The prospect of a Barack Obama presidency seems to be driving the conservative legal establishment around the bend. "Nothing less than the very idea of liberty and the rule of law are at stake in this election," Northwestern University law professor and Federalist Society co-founder Steven Calabresi wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week.

-How Common Is the Hatred?
I recently wrote a column about the rage that seems to be directed toward Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The source of the rage, I concluded, was a dwindling band of racial and religious diehards who have seen their best days. Two events within the past week suggest that I may have been wrong.

-A Middle East Vote
Shortly after the next American president takes office, Israeli elections will set the prospects for U.S. diplomacy. AS TALKS over a two-state settlement have stalled, Israelis and Palestinians lately have resumed old debates about whether a peaceful division of historical Palestine is still possible. Now Israelis will have a chance to vote on the question. The collapse of coalition negotiations in parliament means a general election will be held early next year to determine whether outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is succeeded by a leader committed to his unfinished negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas or by one who is inclined to set them aside. At best, the outcome could allow the new U.S. president to make a Middle East settlement one of his early foreign policy priorities. But a bad result is at least as likely.

-E.U., U.S. Envoys Visit E. Congo
Over 200,000 people displaced by a rebel advance languish in Congo's provincial capital of Goma.

-Mean Enough for Politics?
Elizabeth Dole wins this campaigns' "ugliest ad" contest. Her commercial against Kay Hagan, her Democratic opponent in North Carolina, seems to have Hagan saying, "There is no God." Oh, the marvels of modern technology, and the gutter of present-day politics. Incidentally, Hagan is a Sunday school teacher and an elder at her Presbyterian Church, but why let the truth or any sense of decency get in the way of a good attack strategy? Dole's approach is only the most egregious. Is John McCain really just an Arizona-version of George Bush, as the Obama campaign suggests? Is Obama really a socialist, as the McCain people like to say (along with suggesting, through their not-really-a-plumber Joe that he's not a real American)?

-Libya Makes Last Payment to U.S. Victims' Fund

Wall Street Journal

-Election Battle Shifts to Republican Turf
The campaign's final days are playing out largely on territory won by Bush in 2004, as Democrats gain traction in what have been reliably Republican states.

-In Crucial South, Democrats Edge Closer to Republican Incumbents
Across the south, Democratic challengers for the U.S. Senate are making inroads against Republican incumbents, raising the chances that the party can take a filibuster-proof, 60-seat supermajority. Not long ago, most of these incumbents appeared almost certain to hold their seats.

-Obama's '$4 Billion for Exxon' Myth
Why haven't the 'fact-checkers' done a better job?

Miami Herald
Go to the links for the following articles:

-PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Look for above-average leaders
I've heard a lot about the ''average'' person during my professional lifetime. I've also heard from and about the ''average'' reader enough that I now contribute to more than one literacy fund. This year has been above average in the deployment of the ''average'' descriptor.

-Be not afraid of hope
Have you noticed that the spookiest colors of the season are not orange and black but red and blue? As Halloween slips into Election Day, the race for the White House has scared more grown-ups than any trip to the haunted house. I'm not talking about John McCain's farewell fright tour, although it is sad to see the senator trade in his superhero costume for that of fearmonger. After trying on assorted masks, he's settled on profiling his opponent as ''Barack the Redistributor'' who will take money away from hardworking Americans, ''coddle criminals'' and, no doubt, ask Bill Ayers to be secretary of state.

Fort Report
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-Not so fast: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin might not be permitted to cash in on fame
If her bid for vice president fails, Gov. Sarah Palin could almost surely use her sudden fame to obtain a lucrative book deal or high fees on the lecture circuit, or even get her own TV talk show. But Alaska law might not allow it. A provision of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act restricts outside employment. It says: "The head of a principal executive department of the state may not accept employment for compensation outside the agency that the executive head serves.",0,4930585.story

-An improbable journey: Obama's journey from rookie to rock
Barack Obama entered the presidential race as the youngster in the field, 45 years old and with little national experience. He was getting ready to take on such seasoned rivals as Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and John McCain. And Obama's opponents were ready for him: Too risky, they said.,0,2084790.story

-Even in the rural heartland, Obama has sparked an explosive conversation
In this weathervane state they love God and guns. But they also see the long shadows of slavery and discrimination
In Warsaw, Missouri, there's a ghost who keeps talking to me through the mouths of strangers. He is the ghost of slavery past, and he casts a long shadow, even across the streets of this cheerful little lakeside town on a sunny autumn day. A local Obama campaign volunteer tells me about a woman she had canvassed who said she personally would vote for Barack but that her daughter wouldn't - and then the mother lowered her voice - "because he's black". Nor would her son: "he's even more racist". How horrible to feel impelled to say that of your own children. The jokey-scary commercial paraphernalia of Halloween is all around, but here are America's real ghosts and witches.

-The True Meaning of 'Historic Vote'
Shifting America's animating idea from creation to protection. The most basic explanation for why Barack Obama may win next Tuesday is that voters want economic deliverance. The standard fix for this in politics everywhere is to crowbar the old party out and patch in the other one. It is true as well that the historic nature of the nation's first African-American candidacy would play a big role.

-Muslims Strive for Tolerance -- and Votes
Mukit Hossain has been up since 5 a.m., crisscrossing Northern Virginia in his tiny 10-year-old pickup truck to help turn out the Muslim vote in a presidential campaign that has left many Muslims feeling marginalized. He has stopped five times to pray in the truck, which is covered with political bumper stickers. One says "We Need Syeed" -- Afeefa Syeed, a candidate for Loudoun County supervisor -- and he thinks that may be one reason a state trooper stopped him last week and asked all kinds of personal questions before giving him tickets for a cracked windshield and not wearing his seat belt.

Inside Higher Education

-Academic Freedom Under Many Assaults
"Academic freedom," that is, the inalienable right of every college instructor to make a fool of himself and his college by vealy, intemperate, sensational prattle about every subject under heaven, to his classes and to the public, and still keep on the payroll or be reft therefrom only by elaborate process, is cried to all the winds by the organized dons.
-The New York Times, 1916 editorial

-Backsliding for Women's Sports
Most of the major changes in the status of women's intercollegiate sports came a decade or two ago when, through a combination of tough federal enforcement, court challenges, and enlightened decisions by college leaders, many institutions began to lavish more money and attention in an attempt to give equitable treatment to their women's teams and female athletes.

Jewish-Americans for Obama

Pew Research center
Go to this link for the following articles:

-Dissecting the Electorate
Democrats Hold Party Identification Edge Across Political Battleground
As shown in a series of charts, the Democratic Party now holds an advantage in several swing states, has increased its advantage in several "blue" states and cut into the GOP's lead in some "red" states since the last presidential campaign. Read more

-Will Obama Carry the White Catholic Vote?
White Catholics have traditionally been swing voters, but their recent apparent shift from support for McCain to Obama was both sharp and swift.
What explains it? Read more

-Democrats Post Gains in Party Affiliation Across Age Cohorts
The proportion of voters identifying with the Democratic Party has grown significantly since the 2004 election, and the shift has been particularly dramatic among younger voters. Read more

-Political Theater
The Element of Surprise
As recently as a month ago, the American public itself was throwing up its hands and saying we can't figure this one out -- too many intangibles. No more. Read more

-Palin Fatigue
Sarah Palin's new wardrobe caught the public's eye but media coverage focused far more on the presidential candidates. Still, more Americans now say they've been hearing too much about Palin than say they've heard too much about Obama. Read more

-Campaign News: Internet Now Major Source, Partisan Divide on Cable
Television remains the dominant source of campaign news, but the percent of people who say they get most of that news from the internet has tripled since 2004. Cable channels now beat the networks as a source of campaign news but their audiences differ along party lines. Read more

-On the Continent
Xenophobia -- and Anti-Semitism -- Are on the Rise in Europe
A growing minority of citizens in several European countries holds unfavorable opinions of Jews. Negative views of Israel, sympathy with the Palestinian cause, rising anti-Americanism, and a backlash against globalization and immigration all play a role in this trend. Read more
Daily Number

-77% - Something Scary
More than three-in-four Americans now think the U.S. economy is either in a recession (58%) or -- horrors -- even a real depression (19%). Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more


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1 comment:

Burr Deming said...

The Colbert King piece was especially thoughtful. Thanks for the link.

The viral email I got earlier this week was especially notable for the false witness it contained and for the way it introduced, as is too usual these days, the issue of race.

So I wrote a reply posted here.