Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Washing his hands of the wingnuts Christopher Buckley, son of National Review founder William F. Buckley, has severed his last tie to the magazine, and apparently, the current incarnation of the GOP. He closed his latest posting with a paraphrase of Ronald Reagan - "I didn't leave the republican party. It left me."

Obama solidifies his lead A new CBS News/New York Times poll puts Obama up by 14, and Ipsos/McClatchy gives him a nine point lead.

Amish look to the sun for power It isn't that they eschew technology, they eschew contact with the outside world, which includes connecting to the power grid. Solar, however, is acceptable because that is tapping into God's own grid.

Fox goes nuts over ACORN They have mentioned ACORN over 350 times in the last two days. Care to guess how many times they have mentioned GOP voter suppression efforts? That's right! They haven't!

Hail to the Queen TPM has christened Sarah-geddon Palin the "Queen of the Liars" - all hail the Queen!

Leader of McCain's transition team lobbied for Saddam Hussein William Timmons, yet another one of those Washington lobbyists that McCain will bring to heel has some former clients that raise a lot of questions. Timmons, for instance, lobbied to get the sanctions against Saddam Hussien's Iraq lifted.

Limbaugh loses his last mooring to reality and goes into full-on racist panic. Today he told his listeners that African Americans have been secretly training black children to be anti-American militants. Guess the "lazy and shiftless" meme wasn't working so he kicked it up a notch.

Webb cuts a strong ad for Obama In a strong radio ad airing in Virginia, he says "trust" three times and explicitly refers to Obama as his friend.

Will Harper be sticking around for a while? Canada's Conservative prime minister appeared poised to retain his job as polls opened in Tuesday's national election but he faced a greater challenge in winning a parliamentary majority to bolster his power. Both polls and pundits predicted another minority government for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper, who has had a tenuous hold on power since the 2006 election and is forced to rely on the opposition to pass legislation, called the vote in hopes of winning the 155 seats needed for a majority in the 308-seat Parliament.

Better get to Venice while you can: It's part of the Venice scenery during winter months. "Acqua alta," or high water. Water splashes over the quays and bubbles up through the sewers in St. Mark's Square during high tide. It's a progressing problem, as waters levels rise and the seabed recedes. But, Venice and the Venetians are prepared. Pictures from early October show temporary elevated walkways. It's estimated that 20 million people visit Venice annually. Those who come in the winter months have to be able to get around. There's much to see, starting with St. Mark's Square, where you can see the cafes and pigeons, the Basilica and the bell tower.

Running from the fire in California: It was a wild, chaotic scene across a rugged swath of the San Fernando Valley as the fall wind-driven fire season arrived with a vengeance. Thousands of terrified residents waited until the last possible moment Monday to run for their lives, as dry Santa Ana winds ferociously whipped flames along the mountains and into hillside neighborhoods. Even police and firefighters had to quickly abandon a command post when the unpredictable winds changed direction.

We're preaching to the choir here, but Americans need to stop and think about the worlds poor and how recent events are going to affect them: The world's poorest people will be hungrier, sicker and have fewer jobs as a result of the global financial crisis, and cash-strapped aid agencies will be less able to help, aid groups are warning. The charities that provide food, medicine and other relief on the ground say cutbacks have already started, but it will take months or more before the full impact is felt in the poorest countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia. Aid agencies face more than just the prospect of plummeting donations. The economic conditions themselves — higher food prices and more joblessness — are greatly increasing the number of people who need assistance. Philippe Guiton of World Vision told The Associated Press that his agency plans to cut back hiring, which will have implications for delivering aid to the needy overseas. "What we are going to do now is to issue an order to reduce spending, to delay recruitment, delay purchases of capital assets, etc., until we can see clearer how much our income has dropped," he said.

It's too bad we're not leading this effort: The European Union aims to launch a planned air and naval force in December to combat piracy threatening sea lanes off Somalia, the bloc's foreign policy chief said Tuesday. Piracy has soared off the coast of Somalia, with at least 30 ships hijacked this year, earning an estimated $18-30 million in ransom payments and turning the area into the world's most dangerous waterway. EU envoys decided Tuesday that British navy vice-admiral Philip Jones would head the bloc's planned operation and kick-off planning with the aim to launch the operation in December, Javier Solana said in a statement. The operation's headquarters would be in London, the statement said. "Javier Solana is confident that these undergoing preparations will allow the EU, in due time, to make an important contribution to the World Food Program, to the protection of vulnerable vessels off the coast of Somalia and to the fight against piracy," the statement said.

Go get you some Mudflats: The "other" Troopergate probe into Sarah Palin's abuse of power in trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired, is taking an interesting turn. The investigation, sanctioned by Palin herself, stems from the Personnel Board. This board is composed of three people, all governor-appointed, two by the previous Republican governor Frank Murkowski, and one re-upped by Palin. The Legislature, of course, had its own investigation and concluded that Palin was, in fact, guilty of abuse of her power as Governor. But Palin has been decrying the Legislative investigation as a "partisan circus" and a kangaroo court. The REAL investigation, she says, comes from the Personnel Board. So convinced of this was Palin, that she herself is the one who filed the ethics complaint against….herself, just to make sure this Board had the final say. Timothy Petumenos was appointed as the independent investigator for the Personnel Board. The buzz around town is that he's a good guy, a competent and aggressive trial lawyer, a straight-shooter, and will do his job well. Then came the awful revelation…Timothy Petumenos is…..a Democrat.