Friday, November 10, 2006

Morning News Roundup (10 November)

More Election Aftermath
  • Republican Rep. Dave Reichert widened his lead over Democrat Darcy Burner to 3,120 votes in newly counted absentee ballots from the 8th District Thursday night, boosting his chances of surviving the Democratic tidal wave in Tuesday's elections. The latest count gave the first-term congressman 87,062 votes to 83,942 for his political-novice opponent, a margin of 3,120 votes or 1.8 percent. It enlarged the spread between the two by 384 votes. [Seattle P-I]

  • Having dumped Donald Rumsfeld as his disastrous defence secretary, George Bush may be forced to jettison America's man at the UN, John Bolton. The president still wants the lame-duck Senate to confirm Mr Bolton, who was installed as ambassador to the UN during a recess, a procedural move that got round Democratic opposition.

    But the Senate foreign relations committee has already turned down the White House's resubmission of Mr Bolton as US ambassador. Should his nomination ever reach the floor of the Senate for debate, the Democrats have threatened to stretch out the debate to kill it. If Mr Bush is calling for a new spirit of bipartisanship, why is he pushing for the nomination of a self-avowed UN-basher, wonders Steven Clemons at the Washington Note. [Guardian News Blog]

  • In an outcome deemed a blow to the property-rights movement, three of four "regulatory takings" propositions were defeated. The initiatives copied a successful measure in Oregon that allows landowners to be compensated for money "lost" due to zoning decisions and environmental rules. But voters in California, Idaho, and Washington said, "No thanks, regulations aren't so bad, and crushing smart growth is just dumb." Voters in Arizona passed their version of the rule, but if you've ever been to Phoenix, you know that place is pretty much doomed anyway. [Daily Grist]

  • It wasn't only Democrats who made gains in Republican strongholds on election day: the diabolical drug known as marijuana also scored some unexpected victories. Regular readers are undoubtedly wondering about those five city-level initiatives to make pot the lowest priority for local police. Well, they all passed, even the ones in Montana and Arkansas. Sadder news for stoners in Nevada and Colorado, though, where statewide measures to decriminalize weed fell as short as a Haight Street dime bag. [MoJo Blog]

  • Observers have been shocked and outraged by two Maryland Republicans' use of homeless and poor Philadelphians to pass out misleading campaign material at the polls on Election Day. Now it turns out the duo had tried this sort of thing before.

    This past Tuesday, for $100 and the promise of three meals, the GOP candidates for governor and senator recruited dozens of the least fortunate from Philadelphia's shelters -- all or most of whom were black -- to come to Maryland for the day and pass out fliers portraying the two hopefuls as "our choice" for African-American voters. (Steele is black; Ehrlich most definitely is not.) [from TPM Muckraker, which also has a post of a first-hand account from one of the Philly recruits]

  • Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's Daily Show that, despite what his audience may be wishing for, Democrats had no plans to impeach President Bush. "I know half the audience wants us to impeach the president, and all that kind of stuff," Dean said, "but we're not going to do that." [Raw Story

BushCo's Wars
  • A stunning new death count emerged Thursday, as Iraq's health minister estimated 150,000 civilians have been killed in the war - about three times previously accepted estimates. Previous estimates of Iraq deaths held that 45,000-50,000 have been killed in the nearly 44-month-old conflict, according to partial figures from Iraqi institutions and media reports. No official count has ever been available.

    Health Minister Ali al-Shemari gave his new estimate of 150,000 to reporters during a visit to Vienna, Austria. He later told The Associated Press that he based the figure on an estimate of 100 bodies per day brought to morgues and hospitals - though such a calculation would come out closer to 130,000 in total.

    "It is an estimate," al-Shemari said. He blamed Sunni insurgents, Wahhabis - Sunni religious extremists - and criminal gangs for the deaths. [AP via Seattle P-I]

  • American and Iraqi officials have set a date for giving Iraq’s forces responsibility for security across the country. Under a plan to be presented to the UN Security Council next month, the Iraqi Government would assume authority from coalition troops by the end of next year.

    The plan being drawn up in Baghdad, with Washington’s approval, seeks a one-year extension of the UN mandate for foreign forces in Iraq. But it also states that by December 2007, security in the country’s 18 provinces, apart from the most violent, be handed over to the Iraqi Army and police. US and British troops would play a support role. The process has already begun in the South, where British forces have handed over two provinces this summer and hope to complete the transfer of a third by the year end. [London Times]

  • Sunni Arab guerrillas detonated massive car bombs in two largely Shiite markets on Thursday, killing 16 persons and wounding dozens. Wire services put the death total at 45 yesterday, but of course this is a fraction of the true number.

    A wave of other bombings shook the capital and left scores dead and wounded. Guerrilla violence as returned to Tal Afar in a big way, with several police killed by a bombing. People got killed in Baquba, as well. [Juan Cole's Informed Comment]

Enviro News
  • While people in wealthy suburbs of Africa use water to maintain lush lawns and fill swimming pools, many slum dwellers struggle to obtain the crucial resource and pay much more per gallon for what little of it they can get, according to a United Nations Development Program report calling for an end to "water apartheid."

    At the same time, dirty water is the second-leading cause of death among children globally, after respiratory infections. It kills 1.8 million children younger than 5 each year, more than do HIV/AIDS, malaria, war or traffic accidents, says the U.N. report released Thursday in Cape Town. [LATimes]

  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai launched a campaign at the United Nations' Climate Change conference in Nairobi to plant a billion trees next year. That’s 32 every second—to highlight the need to fight global warming. Professor Maathai won the Nobel prize in 2004 for her involvement with the Greenbelt Movement, which she founded to promote human rights and reforestation in Kenya. The campaign is backed by Prince Albert II of Monaco, a recent convert to the green movement and the World Agroforestry Centre. [Treehugger]

Domestic Potpourri
  • Massachusetts' lawmakers on Thursday took a giant step toward killing a proposal to ban gay marriage in the only U.S. state where it is legal. With protesters on both sides of the debate rallying outside the gold-domed statehouse, lawmakers voted 109 to 87 to delay a decision on whether to back a constitutional amendment that would have given voters a chance to ban gay marriage.

    Gay rights advocates cheered the move, seen as a crushing blow to opponents of gay marriage who had gathered 170,000 signatures in a petition that asked lawmakers to put the culturally divisive issue before voters in 2008. [Reuters via Yahoo!]

Big Blue Marble
  • Mexico City's assembly has backed a law recognising same-sex civil unions, the first such move in the country's history. The ruling stops short of enabling gay couples to get married and will only apply to the estimated nine million inhabitants of Mexico City. [BBC]

[ posted with ecto ]



At 8:40 AM, Blogger kat said...

Thanks for posting the Howard Dean/Jon Stewart interview--I missed that. Love Howard! Boo-yah!


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