Friday, November 7, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

What a class act After making an offhanded, throwaway joke about seances and Nancy Reagan during today's press conference, President Elect Obama called the former First Lady and apologized for making the joke at her expense.

End of an era Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, 91 and in failing health, has stepped down as chairman of the all-powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Byrd, first elected to the Senate in 1958, is the longest-serving senator in American history, has sat on the committee for decades and chaired it for ten years total.

Let the final insults commence In the last few days, the Bureau of Land Management has completed six long-range management plans for Utah that will open as many a nine million acres of pristine wilderness to some form of commercial exploitation.

Thank you, Lilibet Hagel! Nebraska is one of only two states that distributes their electoral votes proportionally rather than winner-take-all, and the electoral vote for the NE 02 congressional district, which encompasses the greater Omaha area, was called for President Elect Obama today. Senator and Mrs. Hagel are extremely popular in Omaha, and her endorsement a few weeks ago certainly didn't hurt with the moderate republicans that comprise just under half of the electorate in that slightly-Democratic-leaning area.

Apparently words no longer have meaning In 2004, when bu$h achieved reelections with the smallest popular vote count since 1916, the media was quick to insist that he had a "mandate" even though he didn't. Now Obama actually has one, and they are tying themselves in knots trying to explain how Tuesday's electoral thumping - the second in a row, I might add - doesn't equal a mandate since the new President is a Democrat. Say it with me now...liberal media my ass!

We have a long ways to go still Mark my words...we are far more likely to have another Oklahoma City than we are to have another September 11. Obama Supporters in New Jersey had a cross burned on their lawn.

School collapses in Haiti: A ramshackle church school collapsed in a shanty town on the outskirts of Haiti's capital on Friday, burying dozens in rubble and killing at least 50, many of them children, rescue workers said. The three-story La Promesse school caved in while class was in session, and some of the walls and debris crushed neighboring residences in the Nerettes community near Port-au-Prince, injuring still more, civil protection service official Nadia Blachard told Haitian radio. "There are 50 killed and 124 wounded, including 20 in serious condition," Blachard said.

This item is a little old, but it still carries a great deal of relevance: Overhaul the global relief system now or watch millions more people slide over the edge into destitution, an aid agency says in a report full of warnings to donors, governments and humanitarians alike. As rocketing food and fuel prices force more people to resort to begging and more children to give up school to work, CARE International says it would be better - and much cheaper - to act now than to try to wade in later with inefficient life-saving aid. "We've got a choice what to do. Wait until people need emergency response - and that's extremely expensive - or look at new ways of supporting people to feed themselves," says Vanessa Rubin, who co-wrote CARE's report. The global food crisis has tipped 100 million people into destitution in the last two years, CARE says. And the forecast for the near future is dire.

There's a niche out there--some wonky person probably blogs about nothing but pipeline disruptions somewhere: Oil flow has started flowing through one of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipelines after an explosion on the line in Turkey cut the flow of oil, a senior source at Turkey's pipeline company Botas told Reuters on Friday. Repairs on the part of the line that was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday were seen completed within three days, he said.

Automakers continue to see rough times: The nation's top two car companies posted larger-than-expected losses in the most recent quarter and burned through substantial amounts of their available cash, as the U.S. auto industry struggled to weather a collapse in world auto sales on top of stiff competition from overseas companies.

Cyber terror will get you the death penalty in Pakistan: American officials can have some pretty over-the-top reactions to hackers and so-called cyber terrorists. Once, I saw a briefing comparing our own Kevin Poulsen to Osama bin Laden and Pablo Escobar -- seriously. But the U.S. has nothing on Pakistan, when it comes to cyber terror paranoia. Yesterday, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari signed a law making cyber terror a crime "punishable with death."

People are just not that into what you offer: Sprint Nextel Corp. watched another 1.3 million wireless subscribers head for its competitors during the third quarter, leading the company to post a loss that sent its stock skidding Friday. Dan Hesse, the Overland Park, Kan.-based company's chief executive, told analysts that Sprint Nextel plans to work harder to attract new customers during the upcoming holiday season but acknowledged "we have yet to turn the corner." "We made good progress on our operational priorities in the third quarter and resolved some key issues," he said. "Still, subscriber losses are too high." The nation's third-largest wireless provider said it lost $326 million, or 11 cents per share, for the three months ending Sept. 30. It had earned $64 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Saxby Chambliss is a grade A douchebag: Facing the possibility of a runoff election, Sen. Saxby Chambliss has put out a television advertisement that exploits imagery of 9/11. The spot, titled "Trust," touts the Georgia Republican's ability to get results on issues from homeland security and war to economic turmoil. Yes--a man who has never served in the military and smeared a triple amputee--Max Cleland--who did "gets results" on homeland security and war. In a pig's fucking eye, he does. The Democratic Party needs to pour ten million dollars into Georgia and ruin Chambliss forver and drive his stinking hide from office.