Monday, October 30, 2006

Morning News Roundup (30 October)

Climate Crisis
  • Speaking at the launch of Sir Nicholas Stern's review on tackling global warming, Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was "overwhelming scientific evidence" that climate change was taking place and that the consequences of failing to act would be "disastrous".

    "This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime. Unless we act now ... these consequences, disastrous as they are, will be irreversible," he said. "There is nothing more serious, more urgent, more demanding of leadership - here, of course, but most importantly in the global community."

    Mr Blair said the UK would "have to be bolder" in its approach to green issues in order to have international credibility. The cost of doing nothing would be at least five times that of acting now, Mr Blair said. "Put it another way, for every £1 spent now, we save £5 in the future."
    Unveiling his report, former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas said the action needed to avert the worst effects of climate change was "manageable", adding: "We can grow and be green."

    The global community should aim to stabilise CO2 levels in the atmosphere - currently at 430 parts per million (ppm) - at around 450-550ppm, he said. He warned that continuing with business as usual could mean levels rising to as much as 850 ppm, resulting in global temperatures rising by more than 5C and causing "transformational" changes to human lifestyles. [The Guardian]

  • Britain is to send Sir Nicholas Stern, the author of today's landmark review on global warming, to try to win American hearts and minds to the urgent cause of cutting carbon emissions - as it emerged yesterday that the government has already signed up former US vice-president Al Gore to advise on the environment.
    Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a US group, suggested the only prospect for a policy shift before the next presidential election in 2008 would be if a delegation from the vast majority of US business - including the coal, utilities and car manufacturing industries - lobbied the White House for action. [The Guardian]

  • The a United Nations agency reported on Monday that greenhouse gas emissions among industrialized countries began rising again in recent years after falling during the 1990s. Though emissions overall are more than three percent below where they were in 1990, the data released yesterday indicated that progress stalled over the last four years as the Russian economy began growing, and some transitional nations like Turkey experience a rapid growth greenhouse gas output. [WaPo]

BushCo's Wars
  • At least 80 people were killed or found dead in Iraq on Monday, including 33 victims of a bomb attack on laborers lined up to find a days work in Baghdad's Sadr city Shiite slum. The U.S. military announced the death of the 100th service member killed in combat this month. [US News & World Report]

Domestic Potpourri
  • Last week, you'll remember, the RNC, headed by Ken Mehlman, was running that race-baiting 'bimbo' ad against Rep. Harold Ford (D) down in Tennessee. One of the barbs in that ad was the claim that Ford had taken political contributions from "porn movie producers."
    It turns out that the Republican National Committee is a regular recipient of political contributions from Nicholas T. Boyias, the owner and CEO of Marina Pacific Distributors, one of the largest producers and distributors of gay porn in the United States. [Talking Points Memo]

  • Wyoming's single House seat, held by Republicans since 1979, has come within reach of a Democrats' grasp. The latest poll finds seven-term incumbent Rep. Barbara Cubin leading by only four points - in part, it seems, because after a recent debate she told a wheelchair-bound third-party candidate, "If you weren't sitting in that chair, I'd slap you across the face". Now that's compassionate conservatism. [MoJo Blog]

When Cheneys Attack.
  • On Friday, Lynne Cheney repeatedly attacked CNN for having a liberal bias during a combative appearance on the Situation Room. At one point, she criticized CNN for “running terrorist tapes, terrorists shooting Americans” and asked Wolf Blitzer, “Do you want us to win? [...] Today on CNN’s Late Edition, Blitzer said he was “surprised” at Cheney’s “sniping at my patriotism,” and pointed out that CNN had specifically labeled the tape of a U.S. soldier under fire as terrorist “propaganda.” [ThinkProgress]

    One of the most revealing incidents in some time is Wolf Blitzer's reaction this weekend to Lynne Cheney's questioning of his patriotism. "Questioning someone's patriotism" is an overused and even trite phrase, but no other characterization exists to describe her attack.
    No sentient person could be "surprised" when Bush followers attack someone's patriotism and accuse them of wanting The Terrorists to win. That is what they do. It is who they are. They have been doing exactly that for five years now and one could quite reasonably suggest that this has been their principal political tactic. [Glenn Greenwald]

  • The main reason for Lynne Cheney to be on Blitzer's Situation Room was so she could attack the Democratic nominee in Virginia's senatorial race, Jim Webb, for racy bits in his books. But Blitzer turned the tables on Cheney on that as well:
    CNN'S WOLF BLITZER: But you had written a book entitled "Sisters."

    LYNNE CHENEY: I did write a book entitled "Sisters."

    BLITZER: And it did have lesbian characters.

    CHENEY: No, not necessarily. This description is a lie, I'll stand on that.

    John Aravosis over at Americablog provides a snippet from said book:

Big Blue Marble
  • At least 80 militants have been killed in an air strike by Pakistani forces on a madrassa (religious school) used as a militant training camp, the army says. One eyewitness told the BBC that 70-80 students were inside. A leading local politician says the dead were innocent. [BBC]

  • Bruce Watters used to simply hand out candy on Halloween, just like his neighbors in St. Petersburg, Fla., until he decided the holiday's ghoulishness really didn't jibe with his Christian beliefs.

    But rather than skip the neighborhood ritual, he's put a Christian stamp on it. For the third year in a row, kids will leave his porch with a piece of candy, plus a religious tract - a concise, colorful handout telling how to attain salvation through Jesus Christ. "If they want supernatural, let's give them Godly supernatural," Mr. Watters says. [CSM]

And one more thing... the Seattle P-I's David Horsey from this Sunday on Barack Obama:

[ posted with ecto ]


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