Thursday, December 04, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 02, 2008

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

-Pursuing U.S. Aid, G.M. Accepts Need for Drastic Cuts
General Motors said it needed an $18 billion package in loans and lines of credit and that it will cut jobs, factories, brands and executive pay.

-British Balance Gain Against the Cost of the Latest Drugs
Skyrocketing health care prices have led other countries to follow Britain's example by asking how much life is worth.

-After Sharp Words on C.I.A., Obama Faces a Delicate Task
The president-elect must take charge of the agency in what is proving to be one of the more treacherous patches of the transition.

-College May Become Unaffordable for Most in U.S.
Tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, while median family income rose 147 percent.

-Republican Wins Runoff for Senator in Georgia
Saxby Chambliss, a first-term Republican senator, was re-elected by Georgia voters on Tuesday in a substantial victory, ending Democratic hopes for a 60-vote majority in the Senate that would make it difficult for Republicans to filibuster the Obama administration's legislative agenda.

-Calling All Pakistanis
Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai, India? [...] I am still hoping - just once - for that mass demonstration of "ordinary people" against the Mumbai bombers, not for my sake, not for India's sake, but for Pakistan's sake. Why? Because it takes a village. The best defense against this kind of murderous violence is to limit the pool of recruits, and the only way to do that is for the home society to isolate, condemn and denounce publicly and repeatedly the murderers - and not amplify, ignore, glorify, justify or "explain" their activities.

-At Least Some Accountability
The next administration must quickly reduce its reliance on the private security contractors so favored - and so protected - by the Bush administration.

-Back to Reality
The Bush administration's war on science is coming to an end, but can the Obama administration undo all the damage?

Washington Post
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-Homeland Security Priorities
A chilling report highlights the agency's primary purpose . . .
BY ALL ACCOUNTS, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) is an inspired choice for homeland security secretary. If Ms. Napolitano is confirmed, President-elect Barack Obama will get a skilled and highly regarded border-state governor and former state attorney general and U.S. attorney on the front lines of the immigration debate. That will be key to fulfilling the border security mandate of the department. But let's not forget what led to the formation of the agency: the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Terrorism prevention is and must remain priority No. 1.

-Bush's Final Fiasco
As he prepares to move back to Texas, our 43rd president is the beneficiary of Bush fatigue. The nation has long since repudiated him. Americans are looking ahead to the promise of Barack Obama. And it's lucky for George W. Bush that they are, because his handling of our plunging economy is Hooverian in both its substance and inadequacy.

-Obama to Name Richardson for Commerce Post
President-elect Barack Obama will name New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to head the Commerce Department at a news conference today in Chicago, according to transition sources.

-250K Jobs Lost in Nov.
Private employers slash unexpectedly high number of positions; service sector contracts.

-U.S. Lags In Providing College Access, Study Finds
Other countries are outpacing the United States in providing access to college, eroding an educational advantage the nation has enjoyed for decades, according to a study released today by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

-Public Restroom 101
Ahhh! I've become hypermom without wanting or trying. For a few minutes, a recent shopping trip at Costco turned me helicopterish. The boys had a simple -- quite normal -- request. To go to the bathroom. And so, they went in without me. To be fair, they often go into the men's room while I stand outside. While it often makes me nervous, I usually get over it. After all, I can't bring them into the women's room anymore, can I?

-Atheists Want God out of Ky. homeland security
A group of atheists filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to remove part of a state anti-terrorism law that requires Kentucky's Office of Homeland Security to acknowledge it can't keep the state safe without God's help. American Atheists Inc. sued in state court over a 2002 law that stresses God's role in Kentucky's homeland security alongside the military, police agencies and health departments.

Wall Street Journal

-Democrats Plot Series of Quick Victories
Democrats want to enact quickly a series of popular bills in such areas as health care and stem-cell research. The top priority remains an economic stimulus package. But Democrats also want to tackle rapidly an array of bills they consider "low-hanging fruit." Those measures won considerable bipartisan support in the last Congress, but were vetoed, filibustered or otherwise blocked by the Republican White House and its allies in the Senate and House.

-We Need a Global Carbon Tax
The cap-and-trade approach won't stop global warming. If President Barack Obama wants to stop the descent toward dangerous global climate change, and avoid the trade anarchy that current approaches to this problem will invite, he should take Al Gore's proposal for a carbon tax and make it global. A tax on CO2 emissions -- not a cap-and-trade system -- offers the best prospect of meaningfully engaging China and the U.S., while avoiding the prospect of unhinged environmental protectionism.

Saving the Big 3 for You and Me ...
a message from Michael Moore
I drive an American car. It's a Chrysler. That's not an endorsement. It's more like a cry for pity. And now for a decades-old story, retold ad infinitum by tens of millions of Americans, a third of whom have had to desert their country to simply find a damn way to get to work in something that won't break down: My Chrysler is four years old. I bought it because of its smooth and comfortable ride. Daimler-Benz owned the company then and had the good grace to place the Chrysler chassis on a Mercedes axle and, man, was that a sweet ride! When it would start. More than a dozen times in these years, the car has simply died. Batteries have been replaced, but that wasn't the problem. My dad drives the same model. His car has died many times, too. Just won't start, for no reason at all. A few weeks ago, I took my Chrysler in to the Chrysler dealer here in northern Michigan -- and the latest fixes cost me $1,400. The next day, the vehicle wouldn't start. When I got it going, the brake warning light came on. And on and on. You might assume from this that I couldn't give a rat's ass about these miserably inept crapmobile makers down the road in Detroit city. But I do care. I care about the millions whose lives and livelihoods depend on these car companies. I care about the security and defense of this country because the world is running out of oil -- and when it runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical. [...] These idiots don't deserve a dime. Fire all of them, and take over the industry for the good of the workers, the country and the planet. What's good for General Motors IS good for the country. Once the country is calling the shots.
Michael Moore

Go to the links for the following articles:

-Switching from bleeding-heart liberal to blood-red conservative
As a longtime liberal, I've decided to become a conservative. John R. Smith has convinced me it is in my best interests. Even in the most difficult of times, neither I nor thousands of my liberal friends ever asked for or received welfare payments and declined to use food stamps. And we had the compassionate conservatives to thank for keeping business costs down by always voting against any increases in the minimum wage. I showed gratitude to my boss by not joining a union that was never welcome to begin with and trusted Daddy to take care of me. Well, since I did not have to pay any union dues, becoming a conservative looks like a very attractive benefit for me. I want to slurp at the private-interests trough and learn to be unproductive, also. When I fully retire, I look forward to having a paid chauffeur to drive me through heavy traffic to the airport where I keep my private jet.,0,1759601.story

Miami Herald
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-Detroit lost our hearts and minds
The American ''love affair'' with cars is close to dead, then-Ford Motor chief Bill Ford lamented six years ago. ''In California, people used to write songs about T-Birds and Corvettes,'' said Henry Ford's great-grandson. ''Today, they write regulations.'' Ford had earlier shocked Detroit by admitting that sport utility vehicles caused environmental problems.

Our destructive love of stuff
I like stuff as much as the next guy. My closet is stuffed with stuff, my shelves groan with stuff, boxes full of stuff jam my garage. I like stuff just fine. Last week, a 34-year-old man was trampled to death by a mob rushing into a Wal-Mart to buy stuff. Jdimytai Damour was a seasonal worker manning the door of a store in Valley Stream, N.Y., as shoppers eager for so-called ''Black Friday'' bargains massed outside. The store was scheduled to open at 5 a.m., but that was not early enough for the 2,000 would-be shoppers. At five minutes before the hour, they were banging their fists and pressing their weight against the glass doors, which bowed and then broke in a shower of glass. The mob stormed in. Four people, including a pregnant woman, were injured. And Damour was killed as people stomped over him, looking for good prices on DVDs, winter coats and PlayStations. Nor was the mob sobered by his death. As authorities sought to clear the store, some defiantly kept shopping; others complained that they had been on line since the night before.

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

-The Big Sort
Americans Claim to Like Diverse Communities but Do They Really?
People express pro-diversity attitudes to pollsters but U.S. neighborhoods have grown more politically and economically homogenous in recent decades, according to analyses of election returns and U.S. Census data. Read more

-Monitoring Mumbai
India: Global Optimism, Local Fears
Recent Pew Global Attitudes surveys show India clearly embracing the economic aspects of globalization. But, even before the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Indian public was greatly worried about terrorism. Read more

-Daily Number
55% - Boomers See Trouble Ahead
-Baby boomers as a group enjoy higher median household incomes than do younger or older adults, yet some 55% say it is likely that their incomes will not keep up with the cost of living over the next year, a higher proportion than among either younger Americans or older ones. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Southern Poverty Law Center
We invite you to join a live audio webcast this Friday with SPLC Founder Morris Dees and SPLC President Richard Cohen.
Morris and the SPLC legal team just won a crushing $2.5 million verdict against Ron Edwards, leader of the Imperial Klans of America, and one of his chief lieutenants for the brutal beating of a Kentucky teenager. Our client is an American of Panamanian descent. But to the Klansmen who attacked him, he was nothing more than an "illegal spic." Morris and Richard will discuss the challenges of holding hate groups and their leaders accountable for the actions of their members and the effect our trial strategy has had on the hate movement. They'll also discuss how the election of Barack Obama and the current economy are creating a perfect storm for white supremacist groups. You will have the opportunity to submit questions for Morris and Richard before and during the webcast.
Live Webcast - Imperial Klans of America Lawsuit
Date: Friday, Dec. 5, 2008
Time: 2 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern - Participation is free.
How to participate: Register here and you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the webcast Friday.

Fort Report
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Will Obama Stay the Course?
I do so want to believe that Barack Obama is on the right track. His brain is big, his style fresh, his pronouncements both logical and compelling, and it does feel good to have a president-elect elicit universal respect rather than make the world cringe. Indeed, he's downright inspiring when he defends constitutional restraint on the presidency, and shuns torture. Bush is so yesterday, but imagine how panicked we would now be if John McCain and Sarah Palin were about to take a turn at the wheel. Yet, it all does hang on him. Yes, him. Obama. The man. The superstar, and not that supporting cast of retreads from a failed past that have popped up in his administration in the making. Now that we have the list of his top economic and foreign policy picks - mostly a collection of folks who wouldn't know change if it slapped them upside the head - we've got to hope that it's Obama who is using them, and not the other way around.

-TRANSITION: The Real Security Challenge
What Obama's team needs to understand. "Ninety-five percent of American foreign and security policy is bipartisan. That's why Congress argues so hard about the last 5 percent. We have to persuade voters they're getting value for their votes." That characteristically dry observation came from the late Les Aspin, who was, for 20 years, one of the brightest defense brains on Capitol Hill. President-elect Barack Obama's picks for his top defense and foreign-policy jobs, announced Monday morning, suggest he shares Aspin's view. Critics of Obama's choices misunderstand them. They don't spell "continuity." Quite the contrary: they signal a shift away from the going-in approach of the Bush administration-a core belief in the unilateral power of America to shape events-back to the traditional post-World War II center in U.S. foreign policy. Back, in other words, to Aspin's "95 percent."


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