Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

No incumbent advantage here, it seems A new poll out today shows Chris Shays of Connecticut in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Jim Himes. Himes name recognition and familiarity has increased too. It is up to 60% among likely voters, from just 49% last month.

Young and Stevens both trail Democratic challengers in Alaska Ted Stevens trails Democratic challenger Mark Begich by 6 (50-44) and Don Young is wheezing and gasping, barely able to keep sight of Ethan Berkowitz who leads the hapless, embattled Young by 13 (52-39).

It's the procurement process, stupid The Army may have been a bit hasty in trashing the RAH-66 Comanche attack chopper in 2004. The much touted replacement, the Bell AHR-70 Scout is two years late and over 75% over budget. Originally slated to cost $3.6 billion for 500 units, the pricetag is now $6.4 billion, and still no delivery date has been set. In a competent administration, the damned thing would be canceled, but lacking that, "it lumbers along because no viable alternative exists."

The Russian Navy found two seaworthy vessels they weren't totally convinced would sink upon leaving port, and sailed 'em to Venezuela. We'll say the same thing we said when those two bombers flew over a couple of weeks ago: given the price of fuel, it was nice of them to bring their best hardware, such as it is, over here for our intel folks to get a look at. We ought to send them a nice gift basket with a bottle of Stoli.

Holy revolving debt, Batman! The average household in the United States is carrying over $9800 in credit card debt! With the economy tightening and people struggling to keep up, the industry is set to make over $19 billion from late fees, over-limit charges, and other penalties. In light of that, the House today passed HR 5244, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights. Now it goes to the Senate where Mitch McConnell and his gaggle of obstructionist thugs will derail it, denying bu$h the opportunity to veto something that the country needs and that would help ordinary people who work hard and play by the rules and don't have 13 cars to go in the garages of their seven houses.

Foreign Policy magazine's Terrorism Index 2008 is in the current issue The good news is, National Security no longer dominates the national conversation. The bad news is, it has only been pushed to the back burner by an imploding economy and vital, pressing domestic issues.

This is a sign of panic in the McCain ranks The McPalin campaign is putting ads on the air in Indiana - a state no Democrat has carried since Johnson. This year, Indiana (and a few other reliably red states) are up for grabs, and with more than five weeks to go, McCain is being forced to spend his limited money in states the republicans can't afford to take for granted this year. Gosh...it seems like just yesterday (okay, it was three days ago) that the Indiana GOP was crowing about being ahead and how resources would be better spent elsewhere. Amazing what a republican-orchestrated economic meltdown can bring about in so short a time, innit?

China readies first space walk China is set to launch it's most ambitious space mission yet. Three "Taikonauts" will blast off as early as Thursday and once in orbit, one of the three will take a spacewalk to test the Chinese space program's space suit.

Alaskans don't seem to happy about the McPalin campaign meddling in state affairs. Palin is going to go home November 5 to a state that is no linger in her thrall. I don't know about anyone else, but the thought of 670,000 heavily armed pissed off people doesn't sound like my idea of a desirable outcome.

In case you didn't already now, Stanley Kurtz is a flaming fuckwit and proves the maxim that if you can't find anything incriminating in the materials you have unfettered access to, just make shit up, and the Wall Street Journal will print it on the editorial page, misleading headline and all. Here's the gist: Years ago, Obama was on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, headed up by William Ayers, a former 60's radical. The wingnut freakazoids are convinced that this association makes Obama a member of al Qaeda. Unable to find anything damning, he went with the headline "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism on Schools." But take it a step further - the CAC was funded by the Annenberg Foundation, founded by Republican power broker the late Walter Annenberg, and one of the things that came out of the CAC was a challenge to the NEA, that most ominous of bogey-men where the freakazoids are concerned. TNR has the entire bitch-slapping.

Investers flinched for most of the day, the Dow fluctuated between modest gains and losses, then with a half hour to go before the closing bell, investors lost their nerve, stocks tumbled, and at close the Dow was down 161.

Chavez goes to China Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Beijing today to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Talks are expected to cover "bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern," the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported. Venezuela is reportedly working on a deal to purchase Chinese K-8 military training planes. It is also expected that the two countries will sign cooperation agreements in the areas of "justice, sports, and quality supervision and inspection."

She wants her husband back. What's not to understand? Christine Levinson flew to New York to attempt to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to ask for help in finding her husband, a former FBI agent who went missing on a business trip to the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007. Ahmadinejad declined to meet with her, but she did get a meeting with U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who pledged to help her in any way he could. She refuses to give up hope, and believes he is still alive, because she hasn't "heard anything bad," and vows that she will never stop looking for him.

Ten cabinet ministers resign with Mbeki The resignations, which include Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, will take effect Thursday when Mbeki steps down, a government statement said. "All the ministers have expressed their availability to assist the incoming administration in the hand-over process and any other assistance that might be sought from them," the statement said. The finance minister's assistant told CNN that Manuel is willing to serve in the new government, if needed.

You just know that the worlds diplomats heaved a sigh of relief when he exited the podium Bu$h made his final address to the UN today, and took the opportunity to remind the world he will never be anything more than a 12-year-old smartass in need of an ass-paddling that he never got, more's the pity.

But their relief was short lived, because they met Sarah-mageddon Palin today, too.