Morning News Roundup
Republicans Debate in Florida The Republican candidates for President subjected themselves to a withering barrage of questions from YouTube dweebs. Of special note, the early fights on immigration between the Mittster (or Willard Mitt, if you’re not into the whole … Read More
Republicans Debate in Florida The Republican candidates for President subjected themselves to a withering barrage of questions from YouTube dweebs. Of special note, the early fights on immigration between the Mittster (or Willard Mitt, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) and Rudy. Romney nagged Rudy for running a “sanctuary city” for illegals and Rudy countered by attempting to Zoe Baird /Linda Chavez Romney for having illegals mow the lawn of his “sanctuary mansion.” Later, McCain’s back-and-forth with Ron Paul left no doubt that when John McCain spits the word “sir” at you, he’s really calling you a “worthless fucker.” Huckabee cycled through more awwww-shucks jokes, hollowly avoided a theologically amusing dilemma about Christ and the death penalty (namely, doesn’t Christ HAVE to SUPPORT the State’s ability to execute citizens… after all, how do you get that kind-of-a-big-deal-crucifixion-thing into the Gospels without it?) and Mike even had a couple VeePasms (rescuing Rudy on Biblical interpretation being the most notable).
Giuliani Scandal? A Ben Smith article, heralded by an extended Drudge-cock-tease yesterday afternoon, raises the possibility that some costs of the then-Mayor’s security detail were hidden when he traveled to Long Island during 1999 and 2000. These security expenses were attributed to “little-known” NYC agencies like the Loft Board. It juxtaposes these expenditures with the timing of the Mayor’s relationship with Judith Nathan (who maintained an apartment in Southampton on Long Island). The Politico piece, however, does not allege that this was illegal and the City Comptroller never actually found that these expenses were illegitimate or unnecessary. More Reactions to Annapolis After the Economist’s provocative declaration of President Bush as “Mr. Palestine," the BBC counters with a similarly epic (and empty) statement that Annapolis is the “end of the beginning." A second meeting may be scheduled as early as January or March of 2008 in Moscow and focus on negotiations between Israel and Syria. And a special bonus for those masochists who enjoy parsing diplomatic jargon: you’re in for a treat, dig in. Paris is Burning: Part Deux President Sarkozy, following through on his campaign rhetoric of confronting “thugs” (AKA young Muslims who burned cars in 2005), reiterated that he would continue using zero-tolerance policing tactics to respond to the riots in the north Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel. The Economist provides some context: an overview of the neighborhood and conjecture regarding how Sarkozy’s reaction will impact his presidency. The Recession Question Over the last two days the S&P has experienced a total gain of 4.3%. This bullishness is attributed to suspicions/hopes on Wall Street that the Fed is leaning towards implementation of further interest-rate cuts. The question is whether this optimism will allay and correct concerns about an imminent recession. Peter Goodman, however, explains that businesses face more bad news with the Fed reporting that sources of credit have constricted in November by about 9%, which is the worst drop recorded since the early/mid ‘70s. Kitty-Whipped Not to obsess over more diplomatic-ese, but given the fact that the United States is extraordinarily engaged in various foreign entanglements, the Chinese Military’s refusal to allow the USS Kitty Hawk to layover in Hong Kong harbor (to avoid a storm) is fascinating. Was this a case where China punished the US for spying on them? Is China simply testing the American response to a minor ruckus? Did a commander in the Chinese military just make a bad decision? Saudi Arabia Brags of Arrests The Saudi Interior Ministry announced that over the past few months it has arrested over 200 persons (including insurgent fighters and financiers) with ties to Al Qaeda. Lebanon’s Parliamentary Impasse While any mention this week of the Middle East immediately brought the Israeli-Palestinian talks in Annapolis to mind, Lebanon’s parliament continued negotiations on who would assume the presidency of that embattled country. General Michel Suleiman is being discussed as a compromise candidate, but for an officer in the military to be elected president the Constitution of Lebanon must be amended. Putin’s Pseudo-Re-“Election” You’ll grin (and/or wince in despair) at the sheer arrogance of the first image in this piece: an all-girl pop-group singing, “I want a man like Putin, full of strength!" during his keynote election speech. Putin’s United Russia party is the undisputed juggernaut of Russian politics and is poised to make massive gains in the next election. Candidates and representatives from parties stringently opposed to Putin explain that the government has systematically stifled and suppressed their campaigns in this election cycle.