Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Let's put a stake through the heart of the "commander of the Alaska National Guard" bullshit When McCain introduced her last week, he emphasized her role as the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. Yeah, well, she has never, not once, issued an order to the Alaska contingent of the Guard. That is why Campbell Brown pissed off the McCain campaign last weekend by asking Tucker Bounds a question he couldn't answer and she didn't back off, instead making him squirm. The question? "Can you tell me one decision that she made as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard?...Just one?"

Are those horsemen coming over the horizon yet? Mexican drug gangs are launching PR efforts to rehabilitate their image. Traffickers are turning to propaganda in inventive and often menacing ways, officials said. Although Mexico's drug cartels have long operated in the shadows, some traffickers or their associates now publicly advertise jobs, sponsor folksongs to sing their own praises and post videos or music online as tributes to leaders or to threaten enemies.

Religious and economic divides fuel violence in India The violence in the Kandhamal district and several other areas of Orissa, left at least 16 dead, and was among the worst in decades against Christians in this Hindu-dominated nation and appears to have been fueled, at least in part, by the growing gap between India’s haves and have-nots. Orissa has long suffered from government neglect, and Christian missionaries provide services, including schooling, much better than most residents receive, if they receive any at all. While that has caused discontent before, the stakes are growing in a country where the well-educated have a better chance of joining the economic boom.

Will Boeing machinists go out on strike? Members of the machinists’ union at Boeing began voting Wednesday on whether to accept a new contract, or strike the aircraft maker at a crucial moment in the development of its new plane, the Dreamliner. Voting started this morning and the count is expected to be certified before midnight.

Honda overtakes Chrysler This follows the news that GM fell behind Toyota in second quarter sales this year.

Bad news at GMAC, too GMAC and its home loan unit, Residential Capital, announced that they would dismiss 5,000 employees, or 60 percent of the unit’s staff, and close all 200 of its retail mortgage branches.

Hooray for early adopters! Small turbines are making headway. People are starting to install small rooftop wind turbines to generate even small amounts of electricity. People are taking an "every little bit counts" attitude and installing them right and left even though the financial offset might not be there for decades.

Gustav evacuees cleared to return to their homes on the Gulf coast, but power is still out in many areas, food is scarce and medical services are limited if available at all.

That global warming Sarah Palin doesn't believe in? Yeah, it has caused a huge ice sheet to break loose in the Canadian arctic. The chunk of ice, nearly the size of Manhattan, broke away from Ellesmere Island in Canada's northern Arctic, another dramatic indication of how warmer temperatures are changing the polar frontier, scientists said Wednesday.

High gas prices affecting community health People who must travel far or frequently to get medical care are skipping and delaying appointments, dropping out of support groups and applying for grants to defray high gas prices. Those who make frequent visits, such as cancer and dialysis patients, are being hit the hardest.

Second Russian journalist killed in three days As the authoritarians reemerge and reassert their power, members of the press, which empowers the people, are being targeted for murder.

You know that topic the republicans never mentioned? The economy? Remember that? The fed "Beige Book" says that the economy has remained weak across most of the nation, as a weak real estate market and high commodities prices continue to strain businesses.