Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Democrats make inroads with the military For years we were a lone voice in the wilderness, insisting that the republican party did not, contrary to conventional wisdom, have exclusive providence to the military vote, usually to be scoffed at and dismissed - most frequently by people who didn't have a DD-214 to call their own. Now, for the second election in a row, the percentage of the military vote that went to the Democrats has increased and is on track to be evenly split come the midterms. Not only that, but most veterans who run for office are running - and being elected - as Democrats.

Of course he will dismiss it as a hatchetjob by the "librul meed-ya" but it was still nice to see the LA Times factcheck Rush Limbaugh and call him out for being a lying jackass.

Can we turn Texas Blue? Democratic strategists have set their sights on Texas, plotting to capitalize on the multiethnic voting bloc comprised of Latinos, blacks, young people and suburban whites that propelled Obama to the White House and expanded Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress. Texas is a microcosm of that "multiethnic voting bloc" that delivered for Democrats on Tuesday in the national election, and besides that, wouldn't it be sweet to finish repudiating bu$h by flipping his state in two years?

China plans massive economic stimulus Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, reported today that the Chinese government has announced plans for a 4 Trillion Yuan ($585 Billion) economic stimulus package to shore up its weakening economy and counter the effects of the global financial crisis. The stimulus plan will include tax cuts, a loosening of credit and government spending on a wide range of projects, including construction of low-income housing, transportation systems and the development of rural infrastructure.

OPEC likely to cut production further If oil prices stay below $70 bbl, the cartel is likely to cut production further in an effort to bolster prices to a stable price of between $70 and $90 bbl.

Japan has a novel approach to achieving NorK denuclearization Rather than taking part in the supply of heavy fuel oil that South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia have agreed to share with the impoverished hermit state, the Japanese government might opt to simply pony over cash in exchange for North Korea's nuclear dismantlement. Japan has so far refused to join in the heavy oil supply program, citing the unresolved issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s, but does not want to be removed from the Six-Party consortium that has yielded some positive results toward denuclearizing North Korea.

New Zealand goes conservative: New Zealand elected its first conservative government in nearly a decade on Saturday, ending the rule of one of the world's longest-serving elected women. John Key, a 47-year-old multimillionaire former foreign currency trader and leader of the conservative National Party, swept easily to power in this South Pacific country of 4.1 million people. He did so by ousting Prime Minister Helen Clark's Labor Party. "Today, New Zealand has spoken, in their hundreds of thousands, they have voted for change," Key said in his victory speech, borrowing a slogan from U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. The worldwide financial crisis loomed large during the campaign, and Key named it as the biggest challenge facing the country. Yes, note that, around the world, conservatives don't even bother copying the failed rhetoric of US conservatives...

Cuba has been pounded by Hurricane Paloma: Cubans already reeling from two devastating hurricanes this year woke up to scenes of yet more destruction. The first pictures coming out of Santa Cruz del Sur, where late-season Hurricane Paloma made landfall Saturday evening as a Category 3 storm, reveal a cat's cradle of wooden beams and bricks - all that is left of this city of some 10,000 people. A massive evacuation operation protected lives here where nearly 76 years ago to the day a hurricane left 3,000 dead. There are no estimates yet of the latest economic damage, but observers say infrastructure took less of a hit than was feared. Still, for the local residents of this south central fishing community, the personal property losses are huge.

US admits killing 37 Afghan civilians: The U.S. military Saturday admitted it while responding to an insurgent ambush has killed 37 civilians and wounded 35 others in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar, a Taliban heartland. Militants, who came in large numbers to Wech Baghtu village of Shah Wali Kot district, fired at a joint patrol of Afghan national security forces and the U.S.-led forces there Monday and then close air support was called in by the military to suppress the rebels, the U.S. forces said in report of a joint probe with Afghan government.

Can Obama win help fight racism in places like France? Inspired by Barack Obama, the French first lady and other leading figures say it's high time for France to stamp out racism and shake up a white political and social elite that smacks of colonial times. A manifesto published Sunday — subtitled "Oui, nous pouvons!", the French translation of Obama's campaign slogan "Yes, we can!" — urges affirmative action-like policies and other steps to turn French ideals of equality into reality for millions of blacks, Arabs and other alienated minorities. "Our prejudices are insidious," Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a singer and wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy, said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, which published the manifesto. She said she hoped the "Obama effect" would reshape French society. Nations across Europe rejoiced over Obama's victory, seeing it as a triumph for American democracy and a world weary of President George W. Bush. But Obama's election also illustrated an uncomfortable truth: how far European countries with big minority populations have to go getting nonwhites into positions of power. Grass-roots groups in France and Britain are trying to turn Obama's election into electoral gains for minorities at home. Sunday's manifesto suggests France's elites are taking notice, too.

Cambodia's top policeman killed in helicopter crash Also killed in the crash of the private helicopter were both pilots and an Army General. The helicopter fell out of the sky in severe weather about 80 km southeast of PhnomPenh. The cause of the crash has not officially been determined, but it was likely weather related.

The Healing Fields [this is an interactive link; video should start playing after you click over]Hundreds of uninsured and underinsured Americans flock to Wise County, Va., every year to seek treatment at a makeshift field hospital operated by the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps. For three days in this isolated corner of Appalachia, a small army of health-care professionals offers medical attention to patients who are not likely to see another doctor or dentist all year. The annual clinic saves lives and alleviates suffering, but in the face of a growing national health-care crisis, it may not be enough.

No, he can't--and Reid is asking for a revolt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday he's still trying to keep Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman within the Democratic caucus despite anger over Lieberman's support of Republican presidential nominee John McCain. While he has opposed Democratic efforts to end the war in Iraq, "Joe Lieberman votes with me a lot more than a lot of my senators," Reid told CNN's "Late Edition." "Joe Lieberman is not some right-wing nutcase," he said. "Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut." Sorry, Harry. Lieberman is aligned with one of the most right-wing nutcases ever, Senator Lindsey Graham. Time for you to step down, Harry. Time for you to go.

Mexico's drug war curtails holiday travel Families who have traditionally traveled to Mexico to visit relatives for the holidays are foregoing that annual tradition this year, fearing they will not be safe because drug gangs are engaging in open warfare.

Schwarzenegger offers encouragement to opponents of Prop 8 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed hope today that the California Supreme Court would overturn Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage. He also predicted that the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who have already married would not be affected by the initiative. "It's unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end," Schwarzenegger said in an interview on CNN this morning. "I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."