Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Some cheese to go with that whine? Dean Reynolds covered the Obama campaign for a year and recently started covering McCain. I realized half-way through that the gist of his rambling boils down to him whining that Obama makes him work a little harder, because he does more than one campaign event a day.

A heartening and truly populist action Cook County (IL) Sheriff Tom Dart says his deputies will stop doing evictions from foreclosed properties because many people his office has helped throw out on the street are renters who have done nothing wrong. "We have to be sure that when we are doing this - and we are destroying some people's lives - we better be darned sure we're talking about the right people," he said in an interview yesterday. Dart believes he is the first sheriff of a major metropolitan area to stop evictions and Rick Sharga of Realty Trac thinks he is probably right. In the only court challenge brought against him so far, the judge ruled in his favor.

Missing journalists had been jailed in Syria and are now free and at the American Embassy in Damascus. They had checked out of their hotel in Lebanon on October 1 and seemed to simply vanish. They were picked up for allegedly attempting to cross into Syria illegally.

Remember that debate McCain lost on Tuesday night? He really offended one of the questioners when he said he had probably never even heard of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and wrote this on his Facebook page: Well Senator, I actually did. I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person. I have a bachelor degree in Political Science from Tennessee State, so I try to keep myself up to date with current affairs. I have a Master degree in Legal Studies from Southern Illinois University, a few years in law school... and he's just gettin' warmed up. Yes, it was the young black man.

McCain didn't disclose connection to right-wing Contra-backing group From 1982-84 John McCain failed to list his connection to the ultra U.S. Council for World Freedom on mandatory congressional disclosure forms, which asked specifically about positions he held outside government. This was a group that funneled money and arms to right wing death-squads so don't let them try the "it was so long ago" bullshit. Any prosecutor will tell you, there is no statute of limitations on murder.

Oh, we definitely need to get on this issue: A World War II-era air traffic network that often forces planes to take longer, zigzagging routes is costing U.S. airlines billions of dollars in wasted fuel while an upgrade to a satellite-based system has languished in the planning stages for more than a decade. The $35 billion plan would replace the current radar system with the kind of GPS technology that has become commonplace in cars and cell phones. Supporters say it would triple air traffic capacity, reduce delays by at least half, improve safety and curb greenhouse gas emissions. An Associated Press analysis of federal and industry data found that if the new system were already in place, airlines could have saved more than $5 billion in fuel this year alone. But funding delays and the complexities of the switchover have kept the project grounded. The government does not expect to have it up and running until the early 2020s, and without a major commitment, supporters warn that even that goal might be not be attainable. "The United States has been to the moon and back. I think the public deserves that same level of effort for our national airspace system," Robert Sturgell, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, said in a recent interview. So. our question is--where are the wingnuts and their tire gauge jokes now? The planned satellite-driven network, dubbed NextGen, would save fuel by ditching radar technology that is more than 50 years old and enabling GPS-equipped planes to fly the shortest route between two points: a straight line.

Experts snort at McCain's housing proposal and call it "half baked" The few details available about McCain’s American Homeownership Resurgence Plan give the impression the plan is “half-baked,” according to Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics...“If you’re launching a major new initiative, usually you blitz the cable networks and really try to penetrate the public consciousness. I didn’t see that today,” he said Wednesday...“It would really frighten me if he actually thought this was good policy,” said Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. “I assume that it’s nothing but a desperation ploy” to show they are doing something “big and bold,” he said.

And besides all that - it might not even be legal Marc Ambinder: Folks who are much more savvy on the specifics of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) wonder whether the government's $700 billion bailout/rescue program expressly prohibits what John McCain now says he wants to do -- and that is to have the government buy distressed mortgages at face value from banks and renegotiate their terms with homeowners...They point me to Section 101e of the law, which requires the Secretary of the Treasury to "take such steps as may be necessary to prevent unjust enrichment of financial institutions participating in a program established under this section"

It's not much of a stock exchange when you have to keep shutting it down: Russia, until recently the darling of foreign stock funds, is facing deeper economic problems in the ongoing crisis than many other countries are because of rampant speculation by investors who bought shares with loans they can't repay. The Russian government shut down the country's stock markets again on Wednesday in the latest effort to halt a financial collapse. Many blue chip stocks have lost 75 percent of their value in the upheaval, and the two main markets have dropped more than 65 percent overall. During the recent boom years, many investors and institutions bought stocks with borrowed money, expecting the returns to be much greater than the interest on the loans, a process often referred to as leveraging, said Anton Tabakh, a senior analyst at Troika Dialog, a leading Russian investment bank. When our DOW and NASDAQ lose 65% of their value, invest in weapons, gold bars, and water purification. Just sayin'.

Obama campaign is buying half-hour blocks of network airtime The campaign bought the half hour of prime-time from 8:00 to 8:30 on CBS and NBC for October 29, less than a week before the election, to air a half-hour ad. Contents have not been publicized, but that is the anniversary of the 1929 crash and resulting panic that sparked the Great Depression.

Hispanic voters shun McCain While Obama has greater support among Hispanic voters than any Democrat has had in over a decade, McCain is struggling to poll at 30% among that voting bloc.

Phillies win They defeated the Dodgers 3-2 in game one of the National League Championship Series.