McCain decides to participate in debate

Senator John McCain’s campaign said Friday morning that he will attend tonight’s debate with Senator Barack Obama at the University of Mississippi, reversing his earlier call to postpone the debate so he could participate in the Congressional negotiations over the $700 billion bailout plan for financial firms. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — As John McCain effortlessly polishes his image as a maverick, he seems to have overlooked what should be obvious: the value a maverick serves is in bucking authority and challenging conventions, yet these are not qualities that most people are looking for when they choose a president.

What McCain has accomplished is to invert the equation that would have cast him as the seasoned and more reliable leader by instead cultivating the impression that it is he — not Obama — who is the unknown quantity. Indeed, the more McCain displays his appetite for unpredictability, the more reason there is to believe that this tendency would be accentuated — not tempered — by high office.

Have a passion for rolling dice? Vote McCain!

What the world wants to know

How would you work with America’s allies in the Muslim world to turn around the widely held misperception there, as evidenced in opinion polls, that the global war against terrorism is actually a war against Islam?

— ASIF ALI ZARDARI, the president of Pakistan


Many developing countries — mine included — have made sacrifices to carry out tough economic reforms and have sought “trade and not aid.” To succeed, we need to compete on a level playing field with more developed economies. Is the United States ready to shoulder some of the burden by advocating the elimination or tempering of protectionism and subsidies? The United Nations by itself, with its faults and many achievements, does not lead. Nation-states do. American commitment and leadership is a must for effective multilateral cooperation. Will you demonstrate a renewed commitment to multilateralism and the rule of international law? Will you negotiate actively to agree on a post-Kyoto treaty on global warming and seek to join the United Nations Human Rights Council? Lastly, what would you do to regain the trust of your allies who would like to see the United States engaging in respectful dialogue and leading the way in the fight not merely against terrorism — which must be done — but also against world hunger, poverty, inequality and disease?

— MICHELLE BACHELET, the president of Chile [continued…]

McCain resurrects an old stunt

No wonder John McCain “suspended” his presidential campaign Wednesday to focus in a bipartisan manner on a grave national crisis — he’s been pulling the same stunt for nearly a decade now, boosting his poll ratings by pretending not to care about them.

You probably remember his suspension of the Republican National Convention’s first day of business in order to raise funds and awareness for the victims of Hurricane Gustav (a move that, besides allowing umpteen convention speakers to praise McCain’s selfless patriotism, neatly airbrushed the unpopular sitting president and vice president from the proceedings).

But McCain first used the tactic to spectacular effect way back in March 1999, when — even though his White House run had been chugging along for five months — he postponed the “official announcement” of his candidacy so that the nation could focus as one on the week-old war in Kosovo. “It’s not appropriate at this time,” the somber senator said then, “to launch a political campaign.” [continued…]

Where are the grown-ups?

Many people on both the right and the left are outraged at the idea of using taxpayer money to bail out America’s financial system. They’re right to be outraged, but doing nothing isn’t a serious option. Right now, players throughout the system are refusing to lend and hoarding cash — and this collapse of credit reminds many economists of the run on the banks that brought on the Great Depression.

It’s true that we don’t know for sure that the parallel is a fair one. Maybe we can let Wall Street implode and Main Street would escape largely unscathed. But that’s not a chance we want to take.

So the grown-up thing is to do something to rescue the financial system. The big question is, are there any grown-ups around — and will they be able to take charge? [continued…]

Government seizes WaMu and sells some assets

Washington Mutual, the giant lender that came to symbolize the excesses of the mortgage boom, was seized by federal regulators on Thursday night, in what is by far the largest bank failure in American history.

Regulators simultaneously brokered an emergency sale of virtually all of Washington Mutual, the nation’s largest savings and loan, to JPMorgan Chase for $1.9 billion, averting another potentially huge taxpayer bill for the rescue of a failing institution. [continued…]

Palin talks to Couric — and if she’s lucky, few are listening

A global financial crisis and a not-quite-suspended presidential campaign dominated newspaper front pages and television reports over the last couple of days.

Bad news for America. But good news for Sarah Palin.

The economic crisis and John McCain’s surprising response have drawn attention away from the Republican vice presidential nominee just as she has started to answer more pointed questions from the media.

Her third nationally televised interview, with CBS anchor Katie Couric, found Palin rambling, marginally responsive and even more adrift than during her network debut with ABC’s Charles Gibson. [continued…]

An Open Letter to the American People

This year’s presidential election is among the most significant in our nation’s history. The country urgently needs a visionary leader who can ensure the future of our traditional strengths in science and technology and who can harness those strengths to address many of our greatest problems: energy, disease, climate change, security, and economic competitiveness.

We are convinced that Senator Barack Obama is such a leader, and we urge you to join us in supporting him.

During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.

We have watched Senator Obama’s approach to these issues with admiration. We especially applaud his emphasis during the campaign on the power of science and technology to enhance our nation’s competitiveness. In particular, we support the measures he plans to take – through new initiatives in education and training, expanded research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining scientific advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research – to meet the nation’s and the world’s most urgent needs.

Senator Obama understands that Presidential leadership and federal investments in science and technology are crucial elements in successful governance of the world’s leading country. We hope you will join us as we work together to ensure his election in November.


Click here [PDF] to read the original with signers]

Pakistan warns U.S. troops after exchange of fire

Pakistan warned U.S. troops not to intrude on its territory Friday, after the two anti-terror allies traded fire along the volatile border with Afghanistan.

Thursday’s five-minute clash adds to already heightened tensions at a time the United States is stepping up cross-border operations in a region known as a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

The clash — the first serious exchange with Pakistani forces acknowledged by the U.S. — follows a string of other alleged border incidents and incursions that have angered many here. [continued…]

Pakistan says 1,000 militants killed near Afghan border

Pakistan said Friday that troops have killed 1,000 Islamist militants in a huge offensive, a day after President Asif Ali Zardari lashed out at US forces over a clash on the Afghan border.

Five top Al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders were among those killed in a month-long operation in Bajaur, currently the most troubled of Pakistan’s unstable tribal areas along the porous frontier, a top official said.

But in a further sign of the instability gripping Pakistan since the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad last weekend, three suicide bombers blew themselves up in a shootout with police in Karachi. [continued…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email