Monday, September 15, 2008

BREVITAS

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Wisconsin State Journal - The state elections agency is investigating complaints about a massive campaign mailing Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign has directed toward Wisconsin Democrats and other voters. Each mailing includes at least one copy of the state application for an absentee ballot that has the address of a local clerk and a box for postage printed on the other side. But in some cases, the incorrect clerk's address is printed on the application, leading some Democrats to wonder if the Arizona senator's campaign is deliberately trying to get them to apply for absentee ballots in places where they aren't eligible to vote. "They're trying to knock me off the rolls," said Democrat Beverly Jambois, of Middleton. "I can't tell you how upsetting it is to me. This is how you win elections? By disenfranchising other voters?" Her household received the flier this week addressed to her husband, Robert, a lawyer for the state Department of Transportation. The couple are registered to vote in Middleton, but the absentee ballot application was addressed to the city clerk's office in Madison. A McCain campaign spokeswoman said in a statement the mailing mistakes are "certainly not intentional" but she wouldn't answer questions. The statement also said the mailing went to "potential supporters across the spectrum.". . .

Wall Street Journal - The biggest project that Sarah Palin undertook as mayor was an indoor sports complex, where locals played hockey, soccer, and basketball, especially during the long, dark Alaskan winters. The only catch was that the city began building roads and installing utilities for the project before it had unchallenged title to the land. The misstep led to years of litigation and at least $1.3 million in extra costs for a small municipality with a small budget. What was to be Ms. Palin's legacy has turned into a financial mess that continues to plague Wasilla. . . Litigation resulting from the dispute over Ms. Palin's sports-complex project is still in the courts, with the land's former owner seeking hundreds of thousands of additional dollars from the city.

Fact Check - September 12, 2008: Palin says Alaska supplies 20 percent of U.S. energy. Not true. Not even close. Alaska did produce 14 percent of all the oil from U.S. wells last year, but that's a far cry from all the "energy" produced in the U.S. Alaska's share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent, according to the official figures kept by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And if by "supply" Palin meant all the energy consumed in the U.S., and not just produced here, then Alaska's production accounted for only 2.4 percent..

Sarah Palin's church is boosting a conference aimed at turning gays into heterosexuals. According to the Wasilla Bible Church bulletin, ""You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality.

Daily Kos notes that Rudolph Giuiliani attacked Obama's ability to lead, saying at the GOP convention, "He's never run a city, never run a state, never run a business." If it sounded familiar, it was. Here is what Giuliani said about McCain during the primaries: " [He] has never run a city, never run a state, never run a government. He has never been responsible as a mayor for the safety and security of millions of people."

THE BEST FLIP FLOPS OF JOHN MCCAIN

ECO CLIPS

Independent, UK - The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided. The jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage. Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage ­ such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire. The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action.

Business Week - If ever there was a car made for the times, this would seem to be it: a sporty subcompact that seats five, offers a navigation system, and gets a whopping 65 miles to the gallon. . . Ford's 2009 Fiesta Econetic goes on sale in November. But here's the catch: Despite the car's potential to transform Ford's image and help it compete with Toyota Motor and Honda Motor in its home market, the company will sell the little fuel sipper only in Europe. "We know it's an awesome vehicle," says Ford America President Mark Fields. "But there are business reasons why we can't sell it in the U.S." The main one: The Fiesta Econetic runs on diesel. Automakers such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have predicted for years that a technology called "clean diesel" would overcome many Americans' antipathy to a fuel still often thought of as the smelly stuff that powers tractor trailers. Diesel vehicles now hitting the market with pollution-fighting technology are as clean or cleaner than gasoline and at least 30% more fuel-efficient. Yet while half of all cars sold in Europe last year ran on diesel, the U.S. market remains relatively unfriendly to the fuel. Taxes aimed at commercial trucks mean diesel costs anywhere from 40 cents to $1 more per gallon than gasoline. Add to this the success of the Toyota Prius, and you can see why only 3% of cars in the U.S. use diesel. "Americans see hybrids as the darling," says Global Insight auto analyst Philip Gott, "and diesel as old-tech."

WAR DEPARTMENT

Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch - At the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans had an estimated 37 major military bases scattered around their dominions. At the height of the British Empire, the British had 36 of them planetwide. Depending on just who you listen to and how you count, we have hundreds of bases. According to Pentagon records, in fact, there are 761 active military sites abroad. The fact is: We garrison the planet north to south, east to west, and even on the seven seas, thanks to our various fleets and our massive aircraft carriers which, with 5,000-6,000 personnel aboard -- that is, the population of an American town -- are functionally floating bases.

MEDIA

BBC - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has bought a 6.4% stake in publisher of the New York Times, according to a US regulatory filing. The telecoms tycoon, dubbed the world's second-richest man by Forbes Magazine, is the second major investor this year to buy into the struggling media group. Shares in the New York Times Company have fallen 33% over the last year. Mr Slim's acquisition of 9.1 million shares means he and his family are the firm's third-largest investors. Other key shareholders are the Sulzberger family - who own a controlling stake - and two hedge funds which bought stakes earlier this year. Mr. Slim and the hedge funds, Harbinger Capital and Firebrand Partners, collectively hold more than 30% of firm's Class A shares. The Sulzberger family own 19%.

MONEY & WORK

Independent, UK - Up to 30 more airlines will go bankrupt before Christmas, the chief executive of British Airways warned, as the biggest rescue of stranded passengers in travel industry history began. Willie Walsh said the scenes of chaos in which 85,000 passengers have been stranded at locations around the world after the collapse of XL, Britain's third largest holiday company, would become a familiar sight as the travel industry struggled with soaring fuel costs and the effects of a global economic downturn. . . Travel industry experts said smaller airlines and tour operators were most at risk and warned passengers to book in a way that ensured they got their money back if an airline went bankrupt. . . Britain's biggest tour operators, TUI Travel and Thomas Cook, have already announced they are cutting by about 8 per cent the number of holidays on offer next summer to avoid being caught out by falling demand.

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