Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

The GOP has dispatched a repo man to Wasilla for Sarah's wardrobe A GOP lawyer will be dispatched to Alaska with an inventory sheet to retrieve the clothes she still has in her possession.

Rubin bows out of consideration for Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who held the position under President Clinton, has removed himself from consideration. Obama is ``terrific,'' Rubin said today in an interview in New York. ``But I've spoken with him and told him I'm not interested in going back into government.''

Spitzer won't face charges The U.S. attorney in Manhattan announced this afternoon that former Governor Elliot Spitzer will not face criminal charges in the prostitution scandal that brought him down, ended his political career and pissed off Democrats all over the country. Prosecutors were looking into whether Spitzer had used campaign funds to pay for hookers, and whether or not he committed a crime known as "structuring," or making payments in such a manner as to conceal their purpose and source, by wiring money into a bank account controlled by the prostitution ring. The federal investigation found no evidence of misuse of public or campaign funds and found "insufficient evidence" to charge him in relation to the payments.

Drawing a bead on Chambliss President Elect Obama is pulling out all the stops in an effort to help Jim Martin unseat GOP incumbent and all-around odious toad Saxby Chambliss in the Georgia Senate run-off. Can the infrastructure Obama built during the campaign be deployed to help other Democrats? Here's hoping...

Axelrod will join the Obama administration A plan to name David Axelrod, the chief strategist for the Obama campaign to be a Senior Adviser to the incoming President Obama is "in the works."

Economic News we didn't need: The Labor Department reported Thursday that productivity - the amount an employee produces for every hour on the job - grew at an annual pace of 1.1 percent in the July-to-September quarter, down from a 3.6 percent growth rate in the second quarter. With productivity growth slowing, labor costs picked up. Unit labor costs - a measure of how much companies pay workers for every unit of output they produce_ increased at a 3.6 percent pace in the third quarter, compared with a 0.1 percent rate of decline in the prior period.

Joe must go! Sign the FDL petition to let the Democratic Steering Committee know just exactly how you feel about Traitor Joe Lieberman, the backstabbing rat-bastard who has fucked over the Democratic party at every turn. Don't just take his gavel, kick him out of the caucus.

Bad news for the high rollers:
The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Atlantic City's newest and most successful casino, has laid off 400 workers due to the worsening economy. The cuts, which were carried out on Wednesday, eliminated 5 percent of the Borgata's work force. Rob Stillwell, a spokesman for Boyd Gaming, the co-owner of the Borgata, says the layoffs were the first in the casino's five-year history. Okay--first, there are popsicle stands that have been around more than five years. Second, if 400 workers is 5% of their workforce, they must have been carrying a *bit* of fat in their workforce at a Casino and Spa, regardless of how big it is. Third, this economy has little or no room for a sucker's bet.

Welcome back, Habeas--how are ya? A Justice Department lawyer yesterday urged a federal judge to continue the detention of six Algerians at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, contending they would "take up arms" and attack Americans if released. The accusations came during the first habeas corpus hearing ever held for a Guantanamo prisoner, a landmark in the detainees' legal saga of more than six years. The Supreme Court ruled in June that the prison's approximately 250 detainees have the right to challenge their confinements in U.S. federal courts. The six Algerians appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon yesterday. The government alleges that the six Algerians were planning to go to Afghanistan to fight U.S. forces. But the detainees' lawyers said the men are innocent, never should have been confined and, after nearly seven years of captivity, should be freed. The lawyers described the detainees as hardworking family men.

Best-named storm of the season: Tropical Storm Paloma grew into a Category 1 hurricane on Thursday and was expected to strengthen further as it churned through the Caribbean on a path that threatens the Cayman Islands and storm-weary Cuba, U.S. forecasters said. The 16th storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season posed no threat to vital U.S. oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico. Funny how THAT is now a prominent feature of press releases from the National Hurricane Center, huh?

Is El Dorado in Venezuela? Venezuela plans to build mines at its largest gold deposits with Russian help, the mining minister said on Thursday, apparently killing a years-long bid by two Canadian companies to develop the projects. The decision reflects leftist President Hugo Chavez efforts to boost ties with Russia, increase state control over a key sector and speed up stalled mining development as tumbling crude prices threaten to crimp the OPEC nation's finances.

Cluster bombs from wars past still kill: Imagine growing up in a country where the equivalent of a B52 planeload of cluster bombs was dropped every eight minutes for nine years. Then imagine seeing your children and grandchildren being killed and maimed by the same bombs, three decades after the war is over. Welcome to Laos, a country with the unwanted claim to fame of being the most bombed nation per capita in the world. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. military dropped more than 2 million tons of explosive ordnance, including an estimated 260 million cluster munitions - also known as bombie in Laos.

Syria trying to shift blame? Syria said on Thursday that an Islamist militant group active in neighbouring Lebanon was behind a suicide car bomb attack that killed 17 people in Damascus in September. State television showed what it said were 12 members of Fatah al-Islam, an al Qaeda-inspired group that first emerged in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, confessing that they had helped plan the Sept. 27 attack on an intelligence complex in the Syrian capital. Abdel Baqi Hussein, a Syrian who identified himself as the security coordinator of Fatah al-Islam, said the explosives had been smuggled from Lebanon and the suicide bomber was a Saudi national called Abu Aisha.

Greece is a virtual prison for people trying to enter Europe: The West's war against the Taliban drove Khalid Mohamed from his home. But his search for asylum in Europe has left him trapped in a shanty town in Greece, ignored by the government and abused by police. Greece's western port of Patras has become a frontier for Europe's unwanted migrants. Hundreds of Afghans live crammed into dirty shacks in a slum overlooked by plush apartment blocks, hoping to stow away aboard a ferry bound for Italy, where asylum conditions are easier. For Mohamed, who fled central Afghanistan last year after losing friends and family in the war, it is a prison camp. He is caught in a limbo without papers or rights: forbidden to stay in Greece but prevented from leaving. It is a situation human rights campaigners say illustrates a deepening chaos at the heart of EU migration policy.

Price of crude dips below $60 per barrel today on the New York market as the shrinking global economy reduces demands for fuels. It was the lowest price for crude oil since March 2007.

Asian stocks continue to tumble Stocks tumbled on the Asian market for a second day after prices for copper and crude oil tumbled and Toyota Motor Corp. slashed its profit target.