Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fact check: McCain ad says Obama opposes clean coal

A McCain-Palin ad claims the Obama-Biden ticket opposes clean coal. Not true.


The McCain-Palin campaign is airing radio ads in four states claiming that the Obama-Biden ticket "oppose[s] clean coal." That's false:

* Obama's energy plan, which he began promoting well over a year ago, calls for investing in "low emissions coal plants" and creating "5 'first-of-a-kind' commercial scale coal-fired plants with carbon capture and sequestration." His position in support of clean coal has been clear.

* The ad's claim rests solely on a remark Biden made when questioned while shaking hands on a rope line in Ohio. Biden said, "We’re not supporting clean coal." The campaign says he meant something else entirely. Regardless, it's Obama's energy plan that the ticket is running on.

Schwarzenegger vetoes port bill that Palin opposed

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have imposed a pollution fee on cargo ships at California's ports, siding with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The fee would have paid for clean-air programs but was opposed by the Republican vice presidential nominee, who wrote to Schwarzenegger saying it would lead to higher costs on goods shipped to her state. She asked Schwarzenegger to reject the bill in a letter dated the day before she was named Sen. John McCain's running mate.

Schwarzenegger has endorsed McCain's presidential bid....

Oregon school says 4 confessed to Obama effigy - Nice Christian Republican Kids

NEWBERG, Ore. (AP) - A Christian university in Oregon said Tuesday it has punished four students who confessed to hanging a likeness of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama from a tree on campus.

George Fox University broke the news to students and staff Tuesday afternoon at an all-campus meeting. About 1,000 people attended, said Rob Felton, a university spokesman.

A statement from the school said the penalties against the four students were "immediate long-term suspension and public service." The school cited federal privacy rules in not disclosing more about the students or their punishment.

The FBI is investigating whether any civil rights were violated.

"A criminal investigation is much more rigorous than an academic one, obviously," said Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman. She couldn't say when the investigation would be complete.

Felton said the university's own investigation led to the four students. "To the best of our knowledge these are the only people involved," he said. "We're not pursuing it any further."

The commercially produced cardboard cutout of Obama was hung from a tree last week with fishing line around the neck.

A message taped to the cutout read, "Act Six reject." That refers to a scholarship and leadership program for minority and low-income student leaders at Christian colleges primarily located in the Northwest.

Felton wouldn't comment on the students' motive. Instead he cited a statement from Brad Lau, the university's vice president of student life.

"Regardless of the students' intent, the image of a black man hung from a tree is one of the most hurtful symbols of racism in American history," Lau said in the statement. "Displays such as this have no place on a campus that is dedicated to living out the teachings of Jesus."

MAUREEN DOWD: Cool Hand Paul


Paul Newman taught me how to peel a cucumber.

My eating habits were so bad for many years that I didn’t actually know the intricacies of making a salad. So when the man who has made $250 million for charity with Newman’s Own dressings and sauces asked me to help him make a salad in 1986, while I was writing a profile of him for The Times Magazine, I mangled my cucumber so thoroughly that he snatched it away and showed me how to do it.

At a moment when America feels angry and betrayed, when our leaders have forfeited our trust and jeopardized our future, we lost an American icon who stood for traits that have been in short supply in the Bush administration: shrewdness, humility, decency, generosity, class.

When I asked W. in 1999 if he identified with any literary heroes, he said no, but he was drawn to Paul Newman’s defiance in “Cool Hand Luke.”

The Texan cast himself as an anti-hero and rebel. But as president, he knew how to strut only in photo-ops, not when actual calamities loomed or hit.

Newman was a rare liberal who loved the label; he made it onto Nixon’s enemies list for supporting Eugene McCarthy’s anti-Vietnam run. In 1997, I called him when he began writing a bit for The Nation (where he was an investor). He ranted about right-wingers “popping out of rat holes” but also faulted the Clintons.

“Everything is about what’s winnable, not about the morality of the issues,” he told me. In politics, as in racing cars, he said: “You can do anything if you are prepared to deal with the consequences.”

I was nervous the first time I met the star, because he’d been a teenage crush — along with William F. Buckley Jr. (I loved Buckley’s sesquipedalian dexterity — a lost art in the anti-intellectual conservative set of W. and Sarah Palin.)

We met at a restaurant on the Upper East Side, where he proceeded to interview me.

Newman: “What do you know about nuclear disarmament?”

Dowd: “Ummm.”

Newman: “How can you justify The Times’s editorial position on the moratorium?”

Dowd: “Ummm.”

He was deeply uncomfortable at getting adulation for playacting, acknowledging that “there’s something very corrupting about being an actor. It places a terrible premium on appearance.”

With a Butch Cassidy grin, he told me that he pictured his epitaph being: “Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.”

He did not want to talk about his movies; he wanted to talk throw-weights. He liked Bach and Budweiser and playing goofy practical jokes. (Once, when we were driving, he began high-speed bumping the car in front of us, driven by his friend.) He was bored by fashion and embarrassed by women who brazenly flirted with him or asked him to take off his sunglasses to show his blue eyes.

Once, when he was handing out punch at a Westport charity event, a dowager asked him to stir her drink with his finger.

“I’d be glad to,” Newman replied, “but I just took it out of a cyanide bottle.”

He recalled how utterly flummoxed he was the time a stunning call girl approached him on Fifth Avenue and offered to dispense with her fee.

“You want to send her off with something classy and stylish, the way Cary Grant would, or Clint Eastwood,” he said. “You think, how would Hombre handle this? And when this woman came up to me — the guy who played Hud — what comes through? Laurel and Hardy. Both of them.”

He said he was not like his sultry, flamboyant characters: “You don’t always have Tennessee Williams around to write glorious lines for you.”

He and his wife were reputed to have one of the happiest marriages in Hollywood, but the outspoken Joanne Woodward admitted that it took a lot of therapy to cope with the fact that, even though she got an Oscar first, he was able to stay a leading man for four decades. She told a magazine that she was always “uncomfortable and even angry” that “Paul was so much bigger than I was ... Because he was living my fantasy” to be a star.

She would not talk to me for The Times’s profile that her husband did to promote “The Color of Money” — even just on the topic of his role as the director of five movies that she had starred in. She said she did interviews only solo or jointly with him — not about him. That byzantine deal reflected the rivalry that threaded through their romance.

He said that he appreciated her, as he looked around his elegant Fifth Avenue apartment, observing dryly: “If anyone had ever told me 20 years ago I’d be sitting in a room with peach walls, I would have told them to take a nap in a urinal.”

John McCain's Angry Interview with the Des Moines Editorial Board

Run time: 01:59

Media Matters Daily Summary 09-30-08

CBS' Orr repeated GOP claims blaming Pelosi's speech for bailout failure without noting contrary evidence, offered even by Republicans
On the CBS Evening News, Bob Orr repeated Republican claims that "[c]onservative support" for the financial bailout bill "evaporated" because of a speech given by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- without noting contrary statements by members of Congress, including Republicans. Read More

Media falsely suggest that only Dems dismissed GOP accusation that Pelosi's speech cost GOP votes as "nonsense"
Several media outlets falsely suggested that only Democrats denied Republican claims that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's speech on the floor of the House of Representatives before a September 29 vote on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 "cost some GOP votes." In fact, several House Republicans also have denied the allegation. Read More

Media conservatives baselessly blame Community Reinvestment Act for foreclosure spike
Several conservatives in the media have recently blamed the Community Reinvestment Act for the current financial crisis -- when, in fact, the CRA does not apply to institutions making the vast majority of troubled loans underlying the crisis. It applies only to depository institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations. Experts have estimated that 80 percent of high-priced subprime loans were offered by financial institutions that are not subject to the CRA. Read More

ABC's "Note" reported McCain camp attacks on Obama for written remarks assuming bailout passage, without noting that McCain himself touted his role in failed bill
ABCNews.com's Terry Davis and Rigel Anderson reported that "[Sen. John] McCain's top policy adviser hammered [Sen. Barack] Obama for a set of prepared remarks which incorrectly assumed that the bailout would pass," but they did not note that both McCain and another key McCain campaign adviser prematurely touted McCain's role in achieving passage of the bill. Read More

Savage linked San Francisco event to the "artistes" and "leather fetishists" of Weimar-era Germany, whom he blamed for Hitler's rise
Discussing the Folsom Street Fair, a leather-themed adult-entertainment event in San Francisco, Michael Savage declared: "This country today is far beyond the excesses of the Weimar Republic that led to Adolf Hitler. God forbid that should ever happen here. But the German people, who were not all Nazis prior to Hitler's arrival on the scene, were shocked by the degenerates of Berlin. They were sickened by the perverts, sickened by the artistes, they were sickened by the leather fetishists, they were sickened by the degeneracy, and they couldn't handle it." Read More

McClatchy uncritically reported McCain statement blaming Obama over bailout without noting contradiction
A McClatchy article stated that Sen. John McCain "appeared before the press in Iowa ... and said: 'Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship in the process.' " But the article did not note that in the next sentence of the same speech, McCain contradicted himself on whether it was appropriate to affix blame, saying: "Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem." Read More

Discussing economic crisis and bailout plan, Savage said Rep. Frank "should be in the gallows for this"
Michael Savage said of Rep. Barney Frank's role in proposed federal financial bailout legislation: "Barney Frank should be in the gallows for this. Barney Frank should be in jail for doing this." Read More

Contradicting Fox's reporting, Cavuto suggested the bailout bill would not have failed "if Nancy Pelosi had just shut up earlier"
Fox News' Neil Cavuto contradicted reporting by Fox News by suggesting that the financial bailout bill would not have failed if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "had just shut up earlier and not characterized it one way or the other" in a speech she gave before the vote. However, Fox News producer Chad Pergram reported before Pelosi spoke that Republicans "may only have 40 to 60 of their members" supporting the bill, a number that Pergram said "leaves us very short there." Additionally, several GOP House members have said that Pelosi's speech did not cause Republicans to switch their votes. Read More

O'Reilly claimed "women's privacy" is "the new mantra" which allows for "infanticide"
After airing a clip on his radio show of actress Ashley Judd stating that "Senator [Barack] Obama has a 100 percent voting record for women's privacy and reproductive health," Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asserted that the phrase "women's privacy" is the "new mantra" which allows for "infanticide." Read More

LA Times repeated GOP claims blaming Pelosi's speech for bailout failure without noting contrary evidence
The Los Angeles Times reported that "Republican leaders said they lost 12 votes at the last minute" for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 because of a "partisan speech" given by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and quoted House Minority Leader John Boehner asserting that "we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave." However, the Times did not note statements by members of Congress, including Republicans, that Republicans did not have the votes to pass the legislation. Read More

John Fund introduces new falsehoods in 2008 version of Stealing Elections
In the revised version of his book Stealing Elections, John Fund claims that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now "runs something called 'Camp Obama,' which trains campaign volunteers in the same tactics that Obama honed as a community organizer." In the "Notes" section of the book, Fund attributes this assertion to a Chicago Sun-Times article, but the article does not link "Camp Obama" to ACORN -- indeed, it does not mention ACORN at all. Moreover, "Camp Obama" reportedly was established and run by the Obama campaign. Read More

NY Post baselessly claimed that Obama "broke his promise" to military family "when he mentioned" soldier's name during debate
The New York Post reported that "Barack Obama apparently broke his promise to the family of a fallen Wisconsin soldier when he mentioned the slain sergeant's name in his Friday debate with Sen. John McCain." The article added that "Brian Jopek, the father of the late Ryan David Jopek, told National Public Radio in March that the family asked Obama to stop wearing his son's bracelet, but the Illinois senator continued to do so." However, the Post provided no evidence that Obama ever "promise[d]" the Jopek family that he would "stop wearing" Ryan Jopek's bracelet. In fact, during the March 20 interview, Brian Jopek made no such claim. Read More

The Anchorage Daily News Fights Back

Andrew Sullivan

A great video from ADN - revealing her lies, corruption and stone-walling. These guys are not "elite" media. They are Alaska's media. And they know Palin. If you really want to know about Palin - and you want to cut through the Putin-style access that the McCain clowns have put around her - read the Anchorage Daily News. They have her number - and the deception and corruption she represents.

The Mother of All Insults

Madistan.com - Joan Fischer

So Sarah Palin's participation in the vice presidential debate is going to be the sparring equivalent of bumper bowling. The McCain camp insisted upon a tightly formatted structure for Palin's debate with Joe Biden, one that is designed to protect her from spontaneous questions and discussion.

Geraldine Ferraro was granted no special protection when she debated George H.W. Bush in 1984, and it is inexplicable why the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates gave in to McCain's demands now. It's hard to call this progress. An experienced, knowledgeable female candidate should not require special treatment.

But Sarah Palin is a female candidate who exists as a token. Nobody except Palin herself believes she is qualified to be vice president, not even McCain and his campaign managers. Palin was put in place to bring in the evangelical right and toss a bone to women voters who might somehow fail to notice that Palin does not support women's issues.

Those who shudder at the thought of Palin being VP should worry even more about her becoming president. This is a very real danger with a 72-year-old president who has a history of cancer.

Here's what we know about Sarah Palin before the debate begins:

1. We know she lies. She said thanks to that "bridge to nowhere" until it became a national embarrassment, and then she kept the designated $223 million from U.S. taxpayers for other uses in her state. She has been corrected many times but continues to lie, in keeping with the Rovian finding that a lie repeated becomes a fact in voters' minds.

2. We know she is under investigation for abuse of power. "Troopergate," in which Palin allegedly fired the Alaska public safety commissioner for refusing to fire a state trooper who is Palin's former brother-in-law, points to a larger chronicled morass of friendship hires, personal vendettas, questionable per diem charges, and the involvement of her husband in policy decisions.

3. We know she is a poor fiscal manager. As mayor she left Wasilla, a town roughly the size of McFarland, around $15 million in debt after building a sports complex.

4. We know her life has been marked by a scant education and apparent incuriosity about the world. She attended five colleges in six years to get a bachelor's degree. (Who does that?) She has barely left the U.S. in her lifetime. Within the United States, Alaska is sparsely populated, has a relatively small range of racial diversity, and is in many ways isolated from the Lower 48, thus limiting even her experience of this country. In the 1980s, greed was good. What's good now, ignorance? Haven't we had enough of that?

5. We know she is no friend to women. She supports abstinence-only sex education (and we see how well that worked for Bristol). She opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Along with McCain, she opposes equal pay for equal work.

6. We know her handlers are terrified of what Palin would say to the news media if reporters were allowed unfettered access, to the point where they are denying access that is essential to our democracy. The plan is to get the public to vote for someone we have not been allowed to question. We've talked so much about pigs during this campaign. Ever heard of buying a pig in a poke?

And so we have a female VP candidate who was raised to the White House by powerful conservative men who appreciate her backward views and her beauty queen looks (and her gun-toting, moose-hunting ways; this lends a note of feisty pizzazz). During these long weeks of campaigning, she has been seen much more than heard, a woman whose voice has been either scripted or muzzled. Consider her the Stepford Veep.

But here's the most important thing about Sarah Palin: what selecting her says about John McCain. Choosing Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency was irresponsible beyond redemption. McCain's formerly admiring biographer, Elizabeth Drew, now says that "John McCain is not a principled man."

That's obvious.

Joan Fischer is a writer and editor based in Madison.

Palin fought safeguards for polar bears with studies by climate change sceptics

The Guardian

The Republican Sarah Palin and her officials in the Alaskan state government drew on the work of at least six scientists known to be sceptical about the dangers and causes of global warming, to back efforts to stop polar bears being protected as an endangered species, the Guardian can disclose. Some of the scientists were funded by the oil industry.

In official submissions to the US government's consultation on the status of the polar bear, Palin and her team referred to at least six scientists who have questioned either the existence of warming as a largely man-made phenomenon or its severity. One paper was partly funded by the US oil company ExxonMobil.

The status of the polar bear has become a battleground in the debate on global warming. In May the US department of the interior rejected Palin's objections and listed the bear as a threatened species, saying that two-thirds of the world's polar bears were likely to be extinct by 2050 due to the rapid melting of the sea ice. Palin, governor of Alaska and the Republican nominee for US vice-president, responded last month by suing the federal government, to try to overturn the ruling. The case will be heard in January......

Palin's Petty Abuse Of Power

Andrew Sullivan

The latest from the investigation that the McCain campaign is trying to stop:

An Alaska woman who owns a company that processes workers’ compensation claims in the state has told an independent investigator that she was urged by the office of Gov. Sarah Palin to deny a benefits claim for Palin’s ex brother-in-law, a state trooper who was involved in an ugly divorce and child custody dispute with Palin’s sister, despite evidence that the claim appeared to be legitimate, according to state officials who were briefed about the conversation.

Murlene Wilkes, the proprietor of Harbor Adjusting Services in Anchorage, had originally denied that she was pressured by Gov. Palin’s office to deny state trooper Mike Wooten’s claim for workers compensation benefits.

But Wilkes changed her story two weeks ago when she was subpoenaed by Steven Branchflower, the former federal prosecutor who was appointed in July to probe allegations Gov. Palin, Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate, abused her office by abruptly ousting Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, state officials knowledgeable about her conversation with Branchflower said. Monegan has said he felt pressured by Gov. Palin, her husband, Todd, and several of her aides to fire Wooten. Branchflower’s investigation centers on whether Palin fired Monegan because he refused to fire Wooten.

The Problem is Obvious

Click on Pict to Enlarge

Palin on the New Yorker Cover, October 6, 2008

McCain-Palin Launches Pre-emptive Attack on Media

The Nation

John McCain and Sarah Palin are both drowning in messes of their own making. He looks foolish for his grandstanding on the economy, the campaign "suspension" that never was and finally his failure to convince Republicans in the House to get behind the bailout compromise bill he inaccurately claimed credit for singlehandedly making possible. She is still trying to live down her profoundly embarrasing interviews with Katie Couric. Even as the smoke clears from their most recent segment, word has leaked that a yet to be aired portion shows Palin unable to name a single Supreme Court case besides Roe v. Wade.

So what does the McCain-Palin ticket do in response to this adversity? Why suggest that the media must be up to something! Check out this odd moment from the most recent Couric sit-down. This time Palin is joined by McCain who shows that Barack Obama is not the only politician he is shockingly condescending towards:

How on earth is a question asked by a completely sensible voter a "gotcha question?" Apparently now American voters are in the same boat as Maureen Dowd and numerous other "media elites" who shouldn't dare ask Palin about basic foreign policy. If you ask Palin a question you're apparently out to get her and her family too! This interview wasn't the only oddity of the day.

Sarah Palin's much anticipated vice presidential debate with Joe Biden is this Thursday and her interviews with Couric has raised serious questions about what kind of performance she will deliver. McCain aides have reportedly said Palin was a disaster in practice debates. And in an odd change of pace, instead of playing the usual expectations game--McCain surrogates seem to be preemptively criticizing the questions that Gwen Ifill may choose to ask.

Again with the "gotcha questions" claim! Even by Fox's standards, this is ridiculous. No one knows what Ifill will ask, we only know that she is a consummate pro who deserves more respect than this. Basically the GOP seems to be saying that if Palin bombs on Thursday it will be because the media wanted her to, not because she simply, obviously is wildly uninformed on national affairs. Hey, casting herself as a martyr for her during her debut speech at the RNC but I think it will backfire this time.

Here's why...I just saw Bill Maher on Conan O'Brien's show and he was asked about Palin and he made a point that I thought was very profound. What if Sarah Palin was president right now. As the Dow fell 800, what would a President Palin do? Would we feel remotely comfortable? It's a terrifying thought and I think the American people will have that in mind when they watch her this week--and if the polls are accurate they've endured one McCain maverick maneuver too many.

McCain at dead end as House rejects bailout plan

WASHINGTON - Republican John McCain has maneuvered himself into a political dead end and has five weeks to find his way out.

Last Wednesday, McCain suspended his presidential campaign to insert himself into a $700 billion effort to rescue America's crumbling financial structure. In so doing, he tied himself far more tightly to the bill than did his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

Then, as the bailout plan appeared ready for passage Monday in the House, McCain bragged that he was an action-oriented Teddy Roosevelt Republican who did not sit on the sidelines at a moment of crisis.

The implication: that he played a critical role in building bipartisan support for the unprecedented bailout.

"I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and in Washington," McCain said at a campaign rally in the swing state of Ohio.

Both he and Obama had insisted the plan originally proposed by the Bush administration be strengthened with greater oversight and regulation.

Within hours, however, the measure died in the House mainly at the hands of McCain's own Republicans.

Initially, McCain went silent, choosing instead to send his chief economic adviser out with a statement that blamed Obama, claiming that the first-term Illinois senator had put his political ambitions ahead of the good of the country.

"This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country," McCain senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin said.

It wasn't long, however, before McCain told reporters in Iowa: "Now is not the time to fix the blame, it's time to fix the problem."

All in all, McCain might have been better served by staying out of the mess and above the fray.

If the congressional impasse leads to a credit crisis, "it's not going to be good for McCain," veteran Republican consultant John Feehery said.

Obama had predicted trouble last week when he said the four-term Arizona senator was wrongly inserting red-hot presidential politics into a critical bailout plan even as the package was finding little support among voters.............

McCain takes credit for bill before it loses

What a dumbass .....


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his top aides took credit for building a winning bailout coalition – hours before the vote failed and stocks tanked.
Shortly before the vote, McCain had bragged about his involvement and mocked Sen. Barack Obama for staying on the sidelines.

“I've never been afraid of stepping in to solve problems for the American people, and I'm not going to stop now,” McCain told a rally in Columbus, Ohio. “Sen. Obama took a very different approach to the crisis our country faced. At first he didn't want to get involved. Then he was monitoring the situation.”

McCain, grinning, flashed a sarcastic thumbs up. “That's not leadership. That's watching from the sidelines,” he added to cheers and applause.

Doug Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior policy adviser, told reporters on a conference call that McCain "dedicated the past week" to addressing the problem but made "a conscious decision not to attract attention to John McCain.".............

The Sarah Palin pity party

Everyone seems to be oozing sympathy for the fumbling vice-presidential nominee. Please. Cry me a freaking river.

By Rebecca Traister - Salon.com

Is this the week that Democrats and Republicans join hands -- to heap pity on poor Sarah Palin?

At the moment, all signs point to yes, as some strange bedfellows reveal that they have been feeling sorry for the vice-presidential candidate ever since she stopped speaking without the help of a teleprompter. Conservative women like Kathleen Parker and Kathryn Jean Lopez are shuddering with sympathy as they realize that the candidate who thrilled them, just weeks ago, is not in shape for the big game. They're not alone. The New Republic's Christopher Orr feels that Palin has been misused by the team that tapped her. In the New York Times, Judith Warner feels for Sarah, too! And over at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates empathizes with intelligence and nuance, making clear that he's not expressing pity. Salon's own Glenn Greenwald watched the Katie Couric interview and "actually felt sorry for Sarah Palin." Even Amy Poehler, impersonating Katie Couric on last week's "Saturday Night Live," makes the joke that Palin's cornered-animal ineptitude makes her "increasingly adorable."

I guess I'm one cold dame, because while Palin provokes many unpleasant emotions in me, I just can't seem to summon pity, affection or remorse.

Don't get me wrong, I'm just like all of the rest of you, part of the bipartisan jumble of viewers that keeps one hand poised above the mute button and the other over my eyes during Palin's disastrous interviews. Like everyone else, I can barely take the waves of embarrassment that come with watching someone do something so badly. Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem, Sophia Coppola acting in "The Godfather: Part III," Sarah Palin talking about Russia -- they all create the same level of eyeball-squinching discomfort.


In her "Poor Sarah" column, Warner writes of the wave of "self-recognition and sympathy (that) washed over" her when she saw a photo of Palin talking to Henry Kissinger. Palin -- as "a woman fully aware that she was out of her league, scared out of her wits, hanging on for dear life" -- apparently reminded Warner of herself. Wow. Putting aside the massively depressing implication that Warner recognizes this attitude because she believes it to be somehow written into the female condition, let's consider that there are any number of women who could have been John McCain's running mate -- from Olympia Snowe to Christine Todd Whitman to Kay Bailey Hutchison to Elizabeth Dole to Condoleezza Rice -- who would not have provoked this reaction. Democrats might well have been repulsed and infuriated by these women's policy positions. But we would not have been sitting around worrying about how scared they looked.

In her piece, Warner diagnoses Palin with a case of "Impostor Syndrome," positing that world leaders sitting across from Palin at the U.N. last week were recognizing that "she can't possibly do it all -- the kids, the special-needs baby, the big job, the big conversations with foreign leaders. And neither could they." Seriously? Do we have to drag out a list of women who miraculously have found a way to manage to balance many of these factors -- Hillary Clinton? Nancy Pelosi? Michelle Bachelet? -- and could still explain the Bush Doctrine without breaking into hives? This is not breaking my heart. It is breaking my spirit.


So here it is, finally. And as unpleasant as it may be to watch the humiliation of a woman who waltzed into a spotlight too strong to withstand, I flat out refuse to be manipulated into another stage of gendered regress -- back to the pre-Pelosi, pre-Hillary days when girls couldn't stand the heat and so were shooed back to the kitchen........

Palin Implicated By Witness in ‘Troopergate’ Probe

The Public Record

An Alaska woman who owns a company that processes workers’ compensation claims in the state has told an independent investigator that she was urged by the office of Gov. Sarah Palin to deny a benefits claim for Palin’s ex brother-in-law, a state trooper who was involved in an ugly divorce and child custody dispute with Palin’s sister, despite evidence that the claim appeared to be legitimate, according to state officials who were briefed about the conversation.

Murlene Wilkes, the proprietor of Harbor Adjusting Services in Anchorage, had originally denied there was any pressure by Gov. Palin’s office to deny state trooper Mike Wooten’s claim for workers compensation benefits.

But she changed her story when she was subpoenaed by Steven Branchflower, the former federal prosecutor who was appointed in July to probe allegations Gov. Palin, Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate, abused her office by abruptly ousting Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, state officials knowledgeable about her conversation with Branchflower said.

Monegan has said Gov. Palin pressured him, several of her aides, and her husband, Todd Palin, to fire Wooten. Branchflower’s investigation centers on whether Palin fired Monegan because he refused to fire Wooten.

Misleading Claims by McCain on Obama’s Tax Plans


One of the sharpest exchanges Friday night in the presidential debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama came on the issue of taxes. When Mr. McCain charged that his opponent had “voted in the United States Senate to increase taxes on people who make as low as $42,000 a year,” Mr. Obama replied: “That’s not true, John. That’s not true.”

“That’s just a fact,” Mr. McCain responded. “Again, you can look it up.”

So what does the record say when you look it up? Is one candidate right and the other wrong, or are both exaggerating?

In the past, Mr. McCain has characterized Mr. Obama’s position on taxes in ways that proved to be demonstrably inaccurate. His remarks on Friday night, which he amplified on the campaign trail on Monday, seemed to be an effort to shift him away from that shaky ground. However, they too contain assertions that are misleading or overstated.

Mr. McCain’s campaign has made it clear that he intends to portray Mr. Obama as an advocate of tax increases in the home stretch of the presidential race. Appearing Sunday on “Meet the Press” on NBC, Mr. McCain’s senior strategist, Steve Schmidt, said Mr. Obama’s voting record on taxes was “different from what he says out on the campaign trail” and was “a recipe for disaster for the economy.”

The basis of Mr. McCain’s accusation is that Mr. Obama has voted twice this year for Democratic-supported resolutions on the budget for the 2009 fiscal year, which begins Wednesday. In those nonbinding resolutions, Mr. Obama and others, including two Republicans, voted to allow the tax cuts that President Bush pushed through Congress in 2001 and 2003 to expire at the end of 2010, as envisioned in the original legislation.

The budget resolutions are merely a blueprint and do not have the force of law. But even if they indicate a propensity by Mr. Obama to vote to raise taxes — something he and his campaign would fiercely dispute — there is a question of whether the vote would raise taxes at all.

“It strikes me as a bizarre proposition and a false premise to argue that you are voting for a tax increase by not voting to cut taxes,” said Bob Williams, senior research associate at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington. “Not voting in favor of extending something into the future does not seem to me to be voting for a tax increase.”

Mr. Williams, formerly the assistant director of tax analysis at the Congressional Budget Office, attributed Mr. McCain’s claim to what he called “the silly season” of the presidential campaign. “They are both so anxious to find something to make the other guy look wrong,” he said.

Mr. Williams pointed out that Mr. Obama had “pushed the same kind of demagoguery as regards Social Security” by falsely accusing Mr. McCain of wanting to cut benefits in half.

The bottom line is that if passed into law without accompanying tax relief measures, the budget resolutions that Mr. Obama endorsed would raise taxes for some individuals making $42,000 a year. But it would not raise taxes for all of them. For a single taxpayer with no dependents, the amount of that increase would be $15. A single taxpayer with one child earning $58,000 or less, however, would not pay additional taxes.

In his presidential platform, Mr. Obama has also proposed several measures to mitigate the impact of letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Under his plan, only individuals making $200,000 or more and families earning more than $250,000 a year, accounting for less than 2 percent of the population, would pay additional taxes, and more than 90 percent of the population would receive a tax break of some sort.

“It is our position that if in 2011 the Bush tax cuts expire, we would define that as a tax increase,” said Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, Jason Furman. “The Obama plan is designed to prevent a tax increase that George Bush signed into law.”

In remarks on the campaign trail on Monday in Columbus, Ohio, Mr. McCain broadened his accusations, saying that Mr. Obama had “never voted to cut your taxes” and was “always cheering for higher taxes or against tax relief.”

Mr. McCain himself originally opposed the Bush tax cuts, saying they were a fiscally irresponsible gift to the wealthy “at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.” But he now favors extending them permanently.

Mr. McCain’s accusations on Friday and Monday are the latest iteration of a line of attack that his campaign has been employing for several months, after an earlier claim that Mr. Obama was proposing “the largest single tax increase since World War II” was debunked by economists and tax experts.

The McCain campaign originally maintained that Mr. Obama’s support of the nonbinding budget resolution meant he would raise taxes on those making as little as $32,500 a year. That failed to distinguish between total income and taxable income.

But even after adopting the $42,000 figure as his benchmark, Mr. McCain went on to misrepresent his opponent’s position. In a Spanish-language advertisement, for example, the McCain campaign has said that Mr. Obama favors raising taxes on “families” making $42,000 a year.

That figure is incorrect as well. In reality, a family of four with annual income of up to $90,000, to take one example, would not have been affected even in the unlikely event that the Democratic budget resolution were to be enacted with no accompanying tax relief for the middle class.

In an English-language Web advertisement issued in August, Mr. McCain also claimed that Mr. Obama favored “a tax increase for everyone earning more than $42,000 a year.” That statement is patently false. Under Mr. Obama’s tax proposal, those in the middle of the middle class — people earning $37,000 to $66,000 a year — would receive a tax cut of more than $1,000 a year, more than three times what Mr. McCain is proposing in his tax platform.

What’s Worse Than a Flawed Bailout?

NYT Editorial

After nearly eight years of voting in virtual lock step with President Bush on everything from tax cuts to torture, House Republicans decided on Monday to break ranks on the survival of the nation’s financial system.

The rejected bailout bill that was on the floor after a weekend of hard negotiating was objectionable in many ways, but it was a Republican-generated bill and was improved from the administration’s original version. Sixty percent of House Democrats voted for the bill, enough to easily pass the measure if the Republicans had not decided to put on their display of pique and disarray.

The question now is whether the stock-market plunge that followed the House’s failure to lead — and a renewed credit freeze — will be enough to get the 133 Republicans who voted against the measure to change their minds. And, more important, whether the damage that the no vote has inflicted is readily reversible.

Republican no votes were rooted less in analysis or principle than in political posturing and ideological rigidity. The House minority leader, John Boehner, conceded as much: “While we were able to move the bill drastically to the right, it wasn’t good enough for our members.”

It’s not clear what would be good enough for the Republicans since there was very little talk of substance on Monday after the bill died on the floor of the House. Instead, the Republicans tried to blame their revolt on a speech given before the vote by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who connected the current crisis to the fiscal and economic mismanagement of the Bush years. It may not have been the perfect moment to say that, but it was true.

Republicans were also upset that serial bailouts represent a rejection of free-market principles. They do. That’s because the free market in finance, unregulated and unsupervised, has failed. And, in its failure, it is inflicting greater damage on an already weak economy.

No amount of amendments to the bailout package will change the administration’s disastrous economic record or erase the manifest failure of the Republicans’ free-markets-above-all ideology.

Since last week, this page has urged Congress to take the time to get the bailout right. Over all, lawmakers have given too little consideration, in public at least, to alternatives to the Treasury’s plan to buy up the bad assets from various financial firms.

In the bill rejected on Monday, the unlimited powers that the Treasury Department had initially sought were curbed, and Congressional oversight was added. But judicial review of Treasury’s purchases was not adequately ensured. The courthouse door was not closed entirely; lawyers could still seek effective remedies for actions that violate the Constitution. But that’s a much higher hurdle than the already formidable barriers in place to discourage lawsuits against the government.

Homeowners were also given short shrift with provisions that mainly urged lenders and the Treasury to do more to help them. That’s unconscionable. The financial crisis is as much a problem for homeowners as for Wall Street investment bankers. Appeals to lenders’ better natures have not worked to bring lasting relief to homeowners. If they are still not working in the coming months, Congress will have to revisit the issue.

Taxpayer protections are also iffy, such as a requirement that in five years, the president must give Congress a plan for recouping any losses from financial firms. What will happen then is anyone’s guess. Lawmakers could decide at that point that taxpayers are the only pit bottomless enough to absorb those losses.

Still, the imperfections in this bill are the result of a democratic process that can be rethought, revisited and reworked. It is better than nothing, which is what some backward-looking House Republicans gave Americans on Monday.

DAVID BROOKS: Revolt of the Nihilists


In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt inherited an economic crisis. He understood that his first job was to restore confidence, to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done.

This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. Instead, by rejecting the rescue package on Monday, they have made the psychological climate much worse.

George W. Bush is completely out of juice, having squandered his influence with Republicans as well as Democrats. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is a smart moneyman, but an inept legislator. He was told time and time again that House Republicans would not support his bill, and his response was to get down on bended knee before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

House leaders of both parties got wrapped up in their own negotiations, but did it occur to any of them that it might be hard to pass a bill fairly described as a bailout to Wall Street? Was the media darling Barney Frank too busy to notice the 95 Democrats who opposed his bill? Pelosi’s fiery speech at the crucial moment didn’t actually kill this bill, but did she have to act like a Democratic fund-raiser at the most important moment of her career?

And let us recognize above all the 228 who voted no — the authors of this revolt of the nihilists. They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them.

House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.

Now they have once again confused talk radio with reality. If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century. With this vote, they’ve taken responsibility for this economy, and they will be held accountable. The short-term blows will fall on John McCain, the long-term stress on the existence of the G.O.P. as we know it.

I’ve spoken with several House Republicans over the past few days and most admirably believe in free-market principles. What’s sad is that they still think it’s 1984. They still think the biggest threat comes from socialism and Walter Mondale liberalism. They seem not to have noticed how global capital flows have transformed our political economy.

We’re living in an age when a vast excess of capital sloshes around the world fueling cycles of bubble and bust. When the capital floods into a sector or economy, it washes away sober business practices, and habits of discipline and self-denial. Then the money managers panic and it sloshes out, punishing the just and unjust alike.

What we need in this situation is authority. Not heavy-handed government regulation, but the steady and powerful hand of some public institutions that can guard against the corrupting influences of sloppy money and then prevent destructive contagions when the credit dries up.

The Congressional plan was nobody’s darling, but it was an effort to assert some authority. It was an effort to alter the psychology of the markets. People don’t trust the banks; the bankers don’t trust each other. It was an effort to address the crisis of authority in Washington. At least it might have stabilized the situation so fundamental reforms of the world’s financial architecture could be undertaken later.

But the 228 House members who voted no have exacerbated the global psychological free fall, and now we have a crisis of political authority on top of the crisis of financial authority.

The only thing now is to try again — to rescue the rescue. There’s no time to find a brand-new package, so the Congressional plan should go up for another vote on Thursday, this time with additions that would change its political prospects. Leaders need to add provisions that would shore up housing prices and directly help mortgage holders. Martin Feldstein and Lawrence Lindsey both have good proposals of the sort that could lead to a plausible majority coalition. Loosening deposit insurance rules would also be nice.

If that doesn’t happen, the world could be in for some tough economic times (the Europeans, apparently, have not even begun to acknowledge their toxic debt) — but also tough political times.

The American century was created by American leadership, which is scarcer than credit just about now.

BOB HERBERT: When Madmen Reign



I’m not holding my breath, but I would like to see the self-proclaimed conservative, small government, anti-regulation, free-market zealots step up and take responsibility for wrecking the American economy and bringing about the worst financial crisis since the Depression.

Even now, with the house on fire, the most extreme among them won’t pick up the fire hoses and try to put it out.

With the fate of the Bush administration’s desperate $700 billion bailout of the financial industry hanging in the balance, Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, stuck to his political playbook like a man covered in Krazy Glue. He pronounced himself “resolute” in his opposition to the bailout because to be otherwise would amount to a betrayal of party principles.

To deviate from those principles, in Mr. Issa’s view, would be like placing “a coffin on top of Ronald Reagan’s coffin.”

We are in very strange territory here.

George H.W. Bush warned us about “voodoo economics” in 1980, but the ideologues clamped a gag on him and put him on the Gipper’s ticket. For much of the time since then, the madmen of the right have carried the day. They were freed of their remaining few restraints with the ascendance of George W. Bush in 2000.

These were the reckless clowns who led us into the foolish multitrillion-dollar debacle in Iraq and who crafted tax policies that enormously benefited millionaires and billionaires while at the same time ran up staggering amounts of government debt. This is the crowd that contributed mightily to the greatest disparities in wealth in the U.S. since the gilded age.

This was the crowd that cut the cords of corporate and financial regulations and in myriad other ways gleefully hacked away at the best interests of the United States.

Now we’re looking into the abyss.

When President Bush went on television last week to drum up support for the bailout package, he looked almost dazed, like someone who’d just climbed out of an auto wreck.

“Our entire economy is in danger,” he said.

He should have said that he, along with his irresponsible Republican colleagues and their running buddies in the corporate and financial sectors, put the entire economy in danger. John McCain and his economic main man, Phil (“this is a mental recession”) Gramm, were right there running with them.

Credit markets have frozen almost solid, banks are toppling like dominoes and brokerage houses are vanishing like props in a magic act. And who was one of the paramount leaders of the manic anti-regulatory charge that led to this sorry state of affairs? None other than Mr. Gramm himself, a former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Where is Mr. Gramm now? Would you believe that he’s the vice chairman of UBS Securities, the investment banking arm of the Swiss bank UBS? Of course you would. A New York Times article last spring noted that the “elite private bankers” of UBS “built a lucrative business in recent years by discreetly tending the fortunes of American millionaires and billionaires.”

Toadying to the rich while sabotaging the interests of working people was always Mr. Gramm’s specialty. He was considered a likely choice to be treasury secretary in a McCain administration until he made his impolitic “mental recession” comment. He also said the U.S. was a “nation of whiners.”

The tone-deaf remarks in the midst of severe economic hard times undermined Senator McCain’s convoluted efforts to reinvent himself as some kind of populist. But they were wholly in keeping with the economic worldview of conservative Republicans.

The inescapable disconnect between rhetoric and reality is often stark. Senator McCain has been ranting recently about the excessive pay and “bloated golden parachutes” of failed corporate executives. And yet one of his closest advisers on economic matters is Carly Fiorina, who was forced out as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. Her golden parachute was an estimated $42 million.

Voters have to shoulder a great deal of the blame for the economic mess the country is in. Too many were willing, for whatever reasons, to support politicians who spat in the eye of economic common sense. Now the voodoo that permeated conservative economic policies for so many years has come back to haunt us big-time.

The question voters should be asking John McCain is whether he has stopped serving his party’s economic Kool-Aid, which has taken such a toll on working families, and is ready to change his ways. Is his sudden populist transformation the real thing or just a mirage?

In the gale force winds of a full-fledged economic hurricane, it’s fair to ask Senator McCain whether he still considers himself a conservative, small government, anti-regulation, free-market zealot. Or whether he’s seen the light.

Prosecutor Is Named in Dismissal of Attorneys

WASHINGTONAttorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Monday appointed a federal prosecutor to continue an investigation into the dismissals of nine federal prosecutors in 2006 as an internal Justice Department inquiry concluded that political pressure drove the action against at least three of them.

The internal investigators said that the White House’s refusal to cooperate in the high-profile investigation produced significant “gaps” in the understanding of who was to blame and that they did not have enough evidence to justify recommending criminal charges in the affair. Now the task of determining if anyone should be prosecuted will fall to Nora Dannehy, the federal prosecutor in Connecticut.

The 356-page report, prepared by the department’s inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility, provides the fullest account to date of a scandal that dogged the Bush administration for months last year over accusations that it had politicized the federal justice system by ousting prosecutors seen as disloyal.

It provided particular detail in the dismissal of David C. Iglesias, a former New Mexico prosecutor who was let go at the prodding of Republican leaders in Washington and New Mexico who were dissatisfied with his work in investigating accusations against Democrats. Despite the denials of the Bush administration, the political pressure was “the real reason” for Mr. Iglesias’s dismissal, the report said.

The investigators acknowledged, however, that they could not answer some critical questions because the White House refused to turn over internal documents and to allow interviews with some crucial figures.

Investigators interviewed about 90 people in the last year and a half, but three senior administration officials who played a part in crucial phases of the dismissals — Karl Rove, the former political adviser to President Bush; Harriet E. Miers, a former White House counsel; and Monica M. Goodling, a former Justice Department liaison to the White House — refused to be interviewed.

But at the same time, the inquiry rejected accusations that the dismissals of two other prosecutors, in Phoenix and San Diego, were designed to thwart political investigations involving Republicans.

The controversy over the dismissals of nine federal prosecutors led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales last September, and the report saves some of its harshest criticism for him. It concludes that Mr. Gonzales was “remarkably unengaged” in an unprecedented process to fire a large number of prosecutors at once, and it says that he, along with his deputy at the time, Paul J. McNulty, “abdicated their responsibility” to ensure the integrity of the process and left it mainly to Mr. Gonzales’s chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson.

The report also faulted Mr. Gonzales’s misstatements to Congress and the news media about the true reasons for the dismissals and his “extraordinary lack of recollection about the entire removal process.”..............

Plant slams door on Led Zep tour


Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has scotched rumours that he is to tour with the band, describing speculation as "frustrating and ridiculous".

Last week, The Sun newspaper reported that he had agreed to a reunion tour.

But he has not and will not go on the road with anyone for at least two years after finishing US dates with Alison Krauss on 5 October, a statement said.

"Contrary to a spate of recent reports, Robert Plant will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin," it said.

"Anyone buying tickets online to any such event will be buying bogus tickets."

The rock legends got back together for a one-off concert, their first for 19 years, in London last December.

At the time, promoters said 20 million people tried to register for tickets as soon as they became available.

Speculation has since been rife that the surviving members of the band, with Jason Bonham, son of their late drummer John, would hit the road for a highly lucrative tour.

"It's both frustrating and ridiculous for this story to continue to rear its head when all the musicians that surround the story are keen to get on with their individual projects and move forward," Plant said.

"I wish Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham nothing but success with any future projects."

Plant has been reluctant to consider other projects during his fruitful collaboration with bluegrass singer Krauss.

Their album Raising Sand has earned them a Grammy Award and a Mercury Music Prize nomination, among other honours.

The other band members, meanwhile, are believed to be keen to work together again.

In August, Jason Bonham told a US radio station that he had been working on new material with Page and Jones.

The Sun has also reported that the trio have auditioned new singers to replace Plant on tour.

Meanwhile, guitarist Page was last seen performing Led Zeppelin's classic Whole Lotta Love with pop star Leona Lewis during the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Al-Maliki: US Cannot Afford to Stay;Physicians to Carry Weapons

Juan Cole

In an interview with the Associated Press, PM Nuri al-Maliki warned that the future is dark if Iraq and the US do not agree on a security pact. And without a pact, he said, all the security progress made in the last year would be at risk. He points out that the alternative is to go back to the UN security council for an extension of Chapter 7 authorization of foreign troops in Iraq, and that UNSC approval is no longer assured because Russia may be in a bad mood after the Georgia tiff. He says Iraq still insists that US troops who are off base and not on a military mission, who commit crimes in Iraq, must be tried in Iraqi courts.

Al-Maliki, who wants a timetable for US withdrawal by the end of 2010, ended the interview with a clever appeal over Bush's head to the American public:

' "If I had enough funds to assist the American economy, I would do all that I can. But unfortunately Iraq cannot solve America's economic problems.

"But what Iraq can do is take up more responsibility security-wise here inside Iraq. And I have told the Americans repeatedly that we are ready to take up responsibility here in Iraq so there are less losses, a decreased number of American lives lost, and I am prepared to present this case before the American people. ...'

Maybe al-Maliki has been reading John Gray, who writes, "The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down. The era of American dominance is over . . ."

Al-Maliki is reminding an economically prostrate America that it cannot afford to buck him on the troop withdrawal timetable. Literally cannot afford! As in, best you go home now and let us take care of security, and save what little money you have left. And, oh, thanks for forking over the $1 trillion while you still had it . . . I guess he is not afraid of McCain's forlorn hope of keeping a US military base on Iraqi soil (expensive!).

To paraphrase T.S. Elliot, "This is the way the [war] ends/ This is the way the [war] ends/This is the way the [war] ends/Not with a bang but a whimper."

The Iraqi government will permit physicians to carry firearms. The decree is a bid to tempt back to Iraq 8,000 medical doctors who have fled the country because they were targeted by guerrillas hoping to destabilize the country by crippling its services. The problem I see with this decree is that many of the physicians have been personally threatened by armed militias. So you'd have to believe you were a quick draw, a good shot, and able to mow down several guys with AK-47s before they could get you, before you would go back.

This sort of stunt, and the situation it is meant to address, both prove how terrible is the situation in Iraq still. If it were 'calm,' the physicians would come back without firearms. If the police and government amounted to anything, the doctors would not have to pack heat themselves. Another thing that works against the physicians' return is that they can survive in Jordan and Syria. Even though they cannot get formal work permits,they can hire on to clinics as 'consultants'. If they have capital, they can also invest locally (in Jordan at least, an investment of $100,000 gets you a residency visa).

Sunday's bombings in Baghdad, and the killing of nearly 100 civilians in Baghdad during Ramadan, raise questions for Iraqis. Is this increase in violence a secular trend, a sign of deterioration, or is it just that guerrillas have more spare time during the month of fasting (when typically people do not work full work days, and lots of people circulate for dinner (i.e. breaking-the-fast) parties. Although this Ramadan was 40% less deadly than last year, it was also more deadly than July and August.

Iraq is buying 12 reconnaissance planes from the US. This purchase is a step toward the Iraqi government regaining control of Iraq's skies. Now that it has more of an armored corps in the army, it needs fighter jets and bombers to provide air cover for them. The US is not ready to relinquish Iraqi air space, but PM Nuri al-Maliki probably sees this purchase as a step in that direction.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Monday:
' Baghdad

- Mortars hit Hurriyah neighborhood (northwest Baghdad). Five people were injured with one house was damaged.

- Mortars hit Ghazaliyah neighborhood (northwest Baghdad) near Um Al-Qura mosque. Three people were injured with some houses nearby were damaged.

- Mortars hit Abu Ghraib (west of Baghdad). One person was injured with two houses were damaged.

- Police found one dead body in Saidiyah in Karkh bank (south Baghdad) today.


- Sunday night, a bomb was put under a taxi car detonated in Abu Tamam intersection in Mosul city. Only the taxi driver was injured in that incident.

- Around 5:30 pm a car bomb detonated in Nabi Yunis neighborhood in Mosul before the Iraqi army experts defuse it. Nine people were injured including 5 Peshmerga members of the PDK.'

Monday, September 29, 2008


Final Score: Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 20 (OT)

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Jeff Reed's 46-yard field goal in overtime gave Pittsburgh a 23-20 victory over Baltimore in a black-and-blue AFC North battle at Heinz Field.

Ben Roethlisberger battled a sore throwing hand to complete 14-of-24 passes for 191 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Thirty-seven of those yards were to Mewelde Moore, who came down with a clutch seven-yard reception to give Reed some breathing room on his game-winning kick.

Moore was also Pittsburgh's (3-1) only healthy running back by the time the fourth quarter began. Willie Parker didn't play with an ankle sprain, rookie Rashard Mendenhall left in the second half with a left shoulder injury and even fullback Carey Davis left with an undisclosed ailment and didn't return.

"We were fortunate to come out on top," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "We aren't perfect, but we are together."

Tomlin's post-game press conference then took a different tone, as he announced that Mendenhall (fracture in the left shoulder) and starting offensive guard Kendall Simmons (torn Achilles) would both be placed on the injured reserve list, ending their seasons.

"The standard will not change," vowed Tomlin. "It is part of football."

The hard hits didn't end there.

Baltimore (2-1) also battled injuries at the running back position, as Willis McGahee played sporadically with a chest injury that required in-game tests and LaRon McClain even was shaken up late in the fourth quarter.

The hard-hitting affair was typical for the two hated divisional rivals. A few new stars were added to the mix. Joe Flacco, the Ravens rookie quarterback from Delaware, played admirably in his first NFL road start, completing 16- of-31 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown.

He met another new fixture on a game-turning head-on collision late in the third. James Harrison, who finished with 2 1/2 sacks, and LaMar Woodley, who added 1 1/2 sacks, converged on Flacco with Harrison stripping the ball out. Woodley rolled on top, got up and rumbled seven yards for a touchdown that gave Pittsburgh the 17-13 lead.

"I understand I have to protect the ball," said Flacco. "It's a large part of the game."

Flacco did find a security blanket in veteran Derrick Mason, who caught eight passes for 137 yards. Mason's Pittsburgh counterpart, Santonio Holmes, hauled in three passes for 61 yards and a 38-yard touchdown reception in the victory.

Baltimore went three-and-out on its first possession, and Pittsburgh converted a pair of third-down conversions. The first resulted in a 19-yard connection with Holmes, while the second started with Roethlisberger moving away from an upfield rush and finding a crossing Nate Washington for 12 yards. The march eventually stalled, resulting in Reed's 49-yard field goal.

After another Ravens punt, Roethlisberger bootlegged to his left, but the football slipped out of his hand and into the waiting arms of big defensive nose tackle Haloti Ngata.

Baltimore took advantage of the turnover with some major-league arm strength shown by the rookie signal-caller. He whistled a throw out to the right to Demetrius Williams for eight yards and a first down just in front of a lunging Troy Polamalu. He then threw a 14-yard deep-in pattern to Mason, again just in front of a hard-charging Polamalu. Matt Stover's 33-yard boot knotted the contest at 3-3.

The Ravens controlled the clock and the football for the remainder of the half. An 11-play drive that started at midfield ended with a chip shot off Stover's right foot and a 6-3 edge. McGahee found some running room with a 12- yard burst on the drive's second play, and Flacco tossed a pass to the tailback for five yards on 3rd-and-3. The march stalled, but Stover's 20-yard kick slipped inside the left upright.

Baltimore reached paydirt just before the half. Flacco found Mason for 13 yards along the left sideline and his swing pass to McClain went for 25 yards. In a running formation with a pair of tight ends, Flacco faked a handoff and found one of those tight ends, Daniel Wilcox, behind Polamalu for a four-yard scoring strike.

Fifteen seconds in the third stanza turned the momentum upside-down.

Using a no-huddle offense to offset the Ravens' pass rush and a personal foul penalty as added fuel, the Steelers struck for their first touchdown since a Roethlisberger-to-Hines Ward score in the second quarter during a Week 2 victory in Cleveland.

On 3rd-and-4 from the Ravens 38-yard line, Roethlisberger avoided the rush and flicked a strike across the middle to Holmes, who bounced off one tackle and shook off another for a 38-yard touchdown and a 13-10 game.

On Baltimore's first play of the next series, Flacco was hit and stripped by Harrison, allowing fellow linebacker Woodley to pick up the ball and run into the end zone for the lead.

About five minutes into the fourth period, Roethlisberger again evaded a would-be defender while keeping his eyes down field, where he found a wide open Ward for a 49-yard connection. The drive didn't end in the end zone, but Reed's 19-yard kick gave Pittsburgh a 20-13 advantage.

The Ravens responded with a nine-play, 76-yard march to square the game. Flacco found Mason for 15 and 35 yards on two separate plays, leading to McClain's two-yard touchdown run over left end with 4:02 left.

Game Notes

In a tale of two halves, Pittsburgh managed just 46 first-half yards. Prior to the game-tying touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, Baltimore had totaled five total net yards in the second half...The Steelers have won 14 straight Monday Night Football games at home.

McCain Baby-sits Sarah Palin in Interview With Katie Couric

Run time: 03:55

House vote against bailout wounds McCain

WASHINGTON - The house always wins, gamblers are warned, and the U.S. House made John McCain pay Monday for his politically risky, high-profile involvement in a financial rescue plan that came crashing down, mainly at the hands of his fellow Republicans.

The bill’s defeat can hardly be blamed on the GOP presidential nominee, and it’s possible that a revised measure might succeed. But by his own actions last week, McCain tied himself far more tightly to the failed bill than did his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

McCain argues that action is better than inaction in times of crises. His efforts, however, were aimed squarely at House Republicans, the group mainly responsible for the bill’s demise, which triggered a record drop of nearly 800 points in the stock market, the most ever for a single day.

If Congress’ impasse leads to a credit crisis, “it’s not going to be good for McCain,” said veteran Republican consultant John Feehery.

Another prominent Republican strategist, who would talk only on background to avoid antagonizing associates, said the vote was trouble for McCain.

As recently as Monday morning, only minutes before the House’s stunning vote, McCain suggested that his call for a White House summit meeting Thursday, and his visit with unhappy House Republicans that preceded it, had helped clear the way for the bill’s passage.

“I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and in Washington,” he told a crowd in Columbus, Ohio. “Some people have criticized my decision, but I will never, ever be a president who sits on the sidelines when this country faces a crisis.”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, top adviser Steve Schmidt said McCain managed “to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this.”

The comment suggested that McCain took responsibility for rounding up the needed GOP votes, “and that was probably a stupid thing for him to promise to do,” said Democratic adviser Jennifer Palmieri.

On Monday, only 65 of the House’s 199 Republicans went along. The defeat dealt a major blow to President Bush and threw another twist into a presidential campaign already drawing record numbers of Americans for rallies and televised events.

In a sign of the difficulty he faces, McCain made no direct comment on the House vote for about four hours. His campaign initially issued a sharply worded statement by economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, who blamed Obama and other Democrats.

Just before House members voted, he said, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., “gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome.” House Democrats already had denounced that argument, saying it suggested GOP lawmakers based a crucial vote on pique rather than conviction.

A few hours later, a grim-faced McCain read a statement to reporters in Iowa. “I was hopeful that the improved rescue plan would have had the votes needed to pass,” he said. “I call on Congress to get back, obviously, immediately to address this crisis.”

Obama “and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process,” McCain said, adding: “Now is not the time to fix the blame; it’s time to fix the problem.”

Obama, of course, does face risks in the financial and political meltdown, and his party is hardly blameless for the legislation’s collapse Monday. From the start, however, Obama kept more distance from the infighting, and questioned the wisdom of injecting presidential politics directly into the negotiating mix, as McCain did with the White House meeting that Obama had little choice but to attend.

Obama gave the legislative package tepid support Sunday. If several Democratic-backed additions stayed in it, he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “my inclination would be to vote for it, understanding I’m not happy about it.”

On Monday, many of the House Democrats who opposed the bill were blacks, who rank among Obama’s strongest supporters. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., was one. “I do not believe that we have explored or exhausted all possible options to directly ease the pressure on financial markets without causing an undue burden to taxpayers,” he said.

During last week’s negotiations, Obama and many other congressional Democrats called for several changes to the bailout plan, which the Bush administration had unveiled days earlier. They included efforts to prevent further home foreclosures, greater oversight of the plan and limits on severance packages for executives leaving companies helped by the plan.