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Archive for October 2nd, 2008

CNN Instant Debate Analysis: Biden Won

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:30 PM MST

Who Won The Debate? Reviews Tilt Heavily To Biden

Huffington Post- Sam Stein

October 2, 2008 10:55 PM

During the course of the debate, CNN was running a viewer response line for uncommitted voters in Ohio. Overall the numbers reflected a very strong performance for Biden. And while Palin scored well, at times, among this crowd, the dial lines indicated that she remains a controversial figure among females in that state.

Biden repeatedly won high accolades on a wide range of topics. His remarks about the personal trials of having a wife and daughter die in a car accident sent responses from both male and females through the roof. His dig at Dick Cheney — “the most dangerous Vice President in history” — and his pledge to end the war in Iraq were similarly popular. When he defended Obama from Palin’s attacks, he was held in equally high regard.

Much of the time, dial responses sunk when Palin began speaking. Respondents were generally unenthusiastic when she defended McCain. Her defense of the surge generated what was, at best, a flat response. She did have some high moments — her final statement, her defense of Israel and her call to explore off shore drilling were all popular positions.

Following the debate, only one member of the focus group said they had decided to support the McCain-Palin ticket based on the debate; a half-dozen or more said they would now back Obama and Biden.

On the other hand, Frank Luntz just quizzed his focus group on FOX (which was, strangely enough, sponsored by Budweiser, owned by Anheuser-Busch, of which Cindy McCain’s Hensley company is the third largest distributor). Nearly all of them thought Palin did an excellent job and, perhaps, won the debate. When she talked about responsibility — both on Wall Street and in Washington – the dial numbers went extremely high. Many respondents, meanwhile, said she came off as a “regular American.” However, only three respondents in the group said they had moved towards voting for the McCain-Palin ticket.

CBS Focus Group: Biden Wins Early numbers from a nationally representative poll of 473 uncommitted voters give Biden a significant edge: 46 percent say he won compared to 21 percent for Palin. Thirty-three percent said it was a tie.

More details:

Eighteen percent of previously uncommitted percent say they are now committed to the Obama-Biden ticket. Ten percent say they are now committed to McCain-Palin. Seventy-one percent are still uncommitted.
Both candidates improved their overall image tonight. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say they now have a better impression of Biden. Five percent say they have a worse opinion of the Delaware senator, while 42 percent say they debate did not change their opinion.

Fifty-five percent say they now have a better opinion of Palin. Fourteen percent say they have a worse opinion, while 30 percent say their opinion hasn’t changed.

After the debate, 66 percent see Palin as knowledgeable about important issues – up from 43 percent before the debate. But Biden still has the advantage on this – 98 percent saw him as knowledgeable after the debate. That figure was 79 percent before the debate.

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CBS NEWS POLL: BIDEN WON 46-21

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:20 PM MST

CBS News Poll: Biden Won 46-21

Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 08:11:16 PM PDT

CBS NEWS/KNOWLEDGE NETWORKS POLL
(Uncommitted Voters who watched the debate)

46% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Joe Biden was the winner. 21% thought Sarah Palin won, 33% thought it was a draw… 98% after the debate saw [Biden] as knowledgeable (79% before the debate).

Apparently Frank Luntz disagrees.

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Will They Put A Wire In Palin’s Ear Tonight??

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:30 PM MST

How they’d put a bug in Palin’s ear tonight (UPDATED)

Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 01:28:46 PM PDT

First things first: this is not a conspiracy diary. I think the odds rather disfavor the idea that Sarah Palin will be wearing an earpiece tonight, and getting cues fed to her from someone backstage.

But since that idea’s been getting some play here and elsewhere in the blogosphere, and since I have just enough background in engineering to be dangerous, and since I think facts are much more interesting than speculation, perhaps you’d like to follow along as I explore how such a thing could be done, if they wanted to do it, and how we might be able to tell if it’s happening.

(more…)

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By- Suzie-Q @ 1:30 PM MST

Olbermann: Attempt to ‘pre-blame’ moderator ‘pure racism’

Raw Story- By David Edwards

Keith Olbermann comments on buzz coming from right-wing media that Gwen Ifill will not be an impartial debate moderator.

“To all the geniuses lead by WorldNetDaily and Michelle Malkin and Greta Van Susteren and the other pea brains like Bill O’Reilly who breathlessly reported last night and this morning and tonight about a farcical conflict of interest with the moderator of the vice presidential debate, Gwen Ifill of PBS, where have you been?” Olbermann asked. “The story broke in July.”

Olbermann added, “I mean, this desperate attempt to pre-blame Palin’s performance tomorrow night on something — anything — is bad enough. In fact, it’s pure racism. But it has this added element of supposed surprise.”

Raw Story has more on the criticism against Ifill, along with liberal concern about Tom Brokaw at this link.

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast October 1, 2008.

Download video via RawReplay.com

Partial transcript

(more…)

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America Slides Into Lockdown Fascist Regime Mode!

GEF @ 4:18 PM ET

Spy Satellites

DHS satellite spy program going forward despite objections

Nick Juliano

‘Ridiculous’ to think program doesn’t violate Posse Comitatus, ACLU lobbyist tells Raw

The Department of Homeland Security has been given the money it needs to begin turning international spy satellites within the country’s borders, despite lingering fears about the program’s lack of focus and the potential for it to infringe upon Americans’ civil liberties.

After more than a year of delay, Congress quietly authorized DHS to begin sharing data gathered by military satellites with civilian and law enforcement agencies. A $634 billion spending bill signed into law earlier this week provides funds for DHS to establish the satellite surveillance program, known as the National Applications Office, without addressing the myriad concerns about NAO privacy and civil liberties protections that had been delaying its implementation.

Supporters of the program claim, according to the Wall Street Journal, that its scope will be limited to “emergency response and scientific needs,” but civil liberties advocates and some members of Congress fear the door has been open for the highly classified satellite surveillance program to shift into high gear.

“I’m kinda shocked it got through,” Tim Sparapani, an American Civil Liberties Union lobbyist, told Raw Story, saying the spending bill language authorizing the NAO is not “strong enough to forbid what we would want to see forbidden.”

Essentially, the bill only requires the Homeland Security Secretary to assure lawmakers that NAO programs comply with exisiting laws. Congress also has required the DHS Inspector General to provide quarterly classified reports on how much information has been collected by the domestic satellite surveillance, although the bill required those reports be made to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, not the Homeland Security Committees that are traditionally in charge of DHS oversight.

House Homeland Security Committee members recommended the program be put on hold a year ago, when they requested documents outlining its legal framework and privacy protections. Those reports still have not been handed over, and committee members are not happy at the apparent subversion they suffered by Appropriations Committee members.

“It would appear they have not been satisfied in their demands,” Sparapani said of the Homeland Security Committee members who have objected to the satellite surveillance.

Rep. Jane Harman, who has compared the Bush administration’s efforts to expand the use of spy satellites to its warrantless wiretapping program, has been one of the key members attempting to block implementation of the program until all these questions are answered.

“Having learned my lesson,” she told the Journal, “I don’t want to go there again unless and until the legal framework for the entire program is entirely spelled out.”

Lawmakers also have seen a 60-page report from the Government Accountability Office, on the condition they not release the report publicly. Sources described its contents for the Journal‘s Siobhan Gorman, who reports that GAO found that DHS “lacks assurance that NAO operations will comply with applicable laws and privacy and civil liberties standards.”

The report cites gaps in privacy safeguards. The department, it found, lacks controls to prevent improper use of domestic-intelligence data by other agencies and provided insufficient assurance that requests for classified information will be fully reviewed to ensure it can be legally provided.

A DHS official told Gorman the department worked hard to include privacy protection and a spokeswoman justified the satellite surveillance’s legality because GAO did not specifically say it violates any current laws.

That justification misses the point, Sparapani says, because GAO simply answers questions posed by Congress, and since its latest report has not been made public, no one outside of the government knows what those questions are.

Besides, he says, it’s not GAO’s job to determine whether programs are legal or not.

“That’s like asking the FDA to talk about Internet communications,” he says.

Raw Story has left a message with DHS seeking further comment.

There are further concerns about whether the surveillance program would violate Posse Comitatus, which prohibits the military from participating in domestic law enforcement activities. It’s “ridiculous” to think that’s not what would be happening under this program, Sparapani says.

The ACLU is examining all its options in trying to prevent implementation of this program, which has dramatic potential to violate citizens rights, he says, but filing a lawsuit against DHS may be untenable because of the classified nature of the activities and the difficulty in being able to demonstrate any particular defendant was directly harmed.

Mostly, the ACLU will continue to push Congress and encouraging efforts of lawmakers like Harman and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson to stop the program.

“The Homeland Security Committee has the right instinct,” Sparapani says. “It smells a rotten fish, and the only thing you can do with a rotten fish is throw it out in the trash.”

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Palin Continues To Cost McCain

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:30 PM MST

Palin continues to hurt McCain

Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 11:40:13 AM PDT

Good thing we didn’t lay off Palin, as so many counseled.

With the vice presidential candidates set to square off today in their only scheduled debate, public assessments of Sarah Palin’s readiness have plummeted, and she may now be a drag on the Republican ticket among key voter groups, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll [...]

But it is the experience question that may prove her highest hurdle, particularly when paired with widespread public concern about McCain’s age. About half of all voters said they were uncomfortable with the idea of McCain taking office at age 72, and 85 percent of those voters said Palin does not have the requisite experience to be president.

The 60 percent who now see Palin as insufficiently experienced to step into the presidency is steeply higher than in a Post-ABC poll after her nomination early last month. Democrats and Republicans alike are now more apt to doubt her qualifications, but the biggest shift has come among independents.

I know I harp on this a lot, but it’s an important teaching moment — when Palin was picked, she debuted to sterling approval numbers. Her speech at the RNC was a big hit. She was beloved, and McCain’s numbers skyrocketed as a result. This site and others went on the attack. Republicans were busy trying to build a great story about Palin — hockey mom, “real”, ate mooseburgers, reformer, blah blah blah. We fought back discussing her record, her corruption, her lack of experience, and the results of her brand of “family values”.

Too many counseled that we should lay off her. It’s the curse of the Democrats — instead of trying to move public opinion, we’re constantly trying to “shift the debate to more favorable terrain”. That’s what happened when Democrats sold out our troops and voted for Bush’s war in Iraq. Supposedly, that would shift the terms of the debate from Iraq and terrorism, to more favorable domestic issues. Of course, that didn’t happen. We lost big in November 2002.

Then in 2004, we once again tried to move the debate from national security (Bush is too popular there!), which would be accomplished by nominating a war hero, taking that issue “off the table”. Well, Republicans, masters at this business, went straight after Kerry’s strongest attribute — his military service — and destroyed it via the Swiftboat stuff.

They even tried it this year, going after Obama’s strength — the passion of his supporters — by trying to brand him a “celebrity” on par with Paris Hilton. It wasn’t a bad line of attack until they undermined it with the selection of Palin, their very own “celebebrity”.

This is all stuff out of Crashing the Gate and Taking on the System — our fear of targeting our opponents’ strongest points. Yet that’s how you win elections. So excuse me if I belabor the point, because it’s an important one.

People criticized us for taking on Palin, saying that we were ignoring McCain. But she was his biggest strength, and as such, it would be tough to knock McCain down if she wasn’t knocked down first.

Ultimately, we were successful beyond our wildest dreams — the McCain campaign has been forced to stash away Palin in Cheney’s undisclosed location, and even needs McCain to chaperone her during media interviews.

This has forced McCain to shoulder a greater load of the campaign, deprived of a top-level surrogate. This was glaringly obvious during the first presidential debate, when Biden was all over the networks spreading the good Democratic cheer, while they stashed Palin in a Philly bar. And even there, she was unable to stay out of trouble, answering a shouted question by some random dude with an endorsement of Obama’s plan to take out Osama Bin Laden even if found hiding in Pakistan.

So I hope this serves a lesson to the likes of Paul Begala, in the party establishment, and way too many bloggers outside it, who thought focusing on Palin was harmful to our efforts. It wasn’t. A popular Palin would’ve given us far less favorable dynamics in this race. Thankfully, that isn’t something we have to worry about.

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Millionaire’s Plane Found Slammed Against A Mountain!

GEF @ 3:18 PM ET

OUCH!!

Millionaire Steve Fossett's Plane Found

Crews find Fossett’s plane, wreckage

Official: Missing millionaire adventurer ‘would’ve died instantly’
NBC News and news services

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. – Searchers found the wreckage of Steve Fossett’s airplane in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada just over a year after the millionaire adventurer vanished on a solo flight, and the craft appears to have hit the mountainside head-on, authorities said Thursday.

Most of the plane’s fuselage disintegrated on impact, and the engine was found several hundred feet away at an elevation of 9,700 feet, authorities said.

“It was a hard-impact crash, and he would’ve died instantly,” said Jeff Page, emergency management coordinator for Lyon County, Nev., who assisted the search.

Crews conducting an aerial search late Wednesday spotted what turned out to be the wreckage in the Inyo National Forest near the town of Mammoth Lakes, Sheriff John Anderson said. They confirmed around 11 p.m. that the tail number found matched Fossett’s single-engine Bellanca plane, he said.

Anderson said no human remains were found in the wreckage.

“It’s quite often if you don’t find remains within a few days, because of animals, you’ll find nothing at all,” Anderson said.

Teams led by the sheriff’s department would continue the search for remains Thursday, while the National Transportation Safety Board was en route to probe the cause of the crash, he said.

Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the NTSB, said the agency has reviewed photographs of the site and after a preliminary look, “it appears to be consistent with a nonsurvivable accident.” He also said it was “indicative of a high-impact crash.”

The NTSB would bring in a private contractor to help with recovery of the airplane, Rosenker said. “It will take weeks, perhaps months, to get a better understanding of what happened,” he said.

Borrowed plane
Fossett, 63, disappeared on Sept. 3, 2007, after taking off in a plane he borrowed from a Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton. A judge declared Fossett legally dead in February following a search for the famed aviator that covered 20,000 square miles.

“The uncertainty surrounding my husband’s death over this past year has created a very difficult situation for me,” Fossett’s widow, Peggy Fossett, said in a statement. “I hope now to be able to bring to closure a very painful chapter in my life. I prefer to think about Steve’s life rather than his death and celebrate his many extraordinary accomplishments.”

Searchers began combing the rugged terrain on Wednesday after a hiker found identification documents belonging to Fossett earlier in the week. The wreckage was found about a quarter-mile from where hiker Preston Morrow made his discovery Monday.

The IDs provided the first possible clue about Fossett’s whereabouts since he disappeared Sept. 3, 2007, after taking off from a Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

“I remember the day he crashed, there were large thunderheads over the peaks around us,” Mono County Undersheriff Ralph Obenberger said, gesturing to the mountains flanking Mammoth Lakes.

Aviators had previously flown over Mammoth Lakes, about 90 miles south of the ranch, in the search for Fossett, but it had not been considered a likely place to find the plane.

The most intense searching was concentrated north of the town, given what searchers knew about sightings of Fossett’s plane, his plans for when he had intended to return and the amount of fuel he had in the plane.

A judge declared Fossett legally dead in February following a search for the famed aviator that covered 20,000 square miles.

Fossett made a fortune trading futures and options on Chicago markets. He gained worldwide fame for more than 100 attempts and successes in setting records in high-tech balloons, gliders, jets and boats. In 2002, he became the first person to circle the world solo in a balloon. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in July 2007.

He also swam the English Channel, completed an Ironman Triathlon, competed in the Iditarod dog sled race and climbed some of the world’s best-known peaks, including the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

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Blackwater Machine Gun Found In Iraqi Raid

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

A machine gun sent to Iraq by Blackwater was discovered during a US military operation against suspected insurgents, according to documents obtained by ABC News. (ABC News Photo Illustration)

A machine gun sent to Iraq by Blackwater was discovered during a US military operation against suspected insurgents, according to documents obtained by ABC News. (ABC News Photo Illustration)

Blackwater Machine Gun Found in Raid on Iraqi Insurgents

Incident Was Kept Secret and Raises More Questions About the Firm’s Iraq Operations

An M4 machine gun sent to Iraq by the Blackwater private security firm somehow disappeared from the company’s storage facility in Baghdad and was later discovered during a US military operation, apparently against suspected insurgents, people familiar with the situation have told ABC News.

The incident, in 2006, has been kept secret until now but it raised more questions about Blackwater’s operations in Iraq.

Allegations that Blackwater shipped weapons and silencers to Iraq without proper licensing are already under investigation by a federal grand jury in North Carolina, according to people familiar with the case.

Blackwater says all of its weapons “are shipped in accordance with U.S. export control regulations.”

A separate federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. is investigating a shooting incident involving Blackwater guards that led to the deaths of 17 civilians. Indictments in that case could come as soon as next week, officials say.

MORE HERE

More Coverage

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Afternoon Jukebox… Walk on Water

By- Suzie-Q @ 11:55 AM MST


Aerosmith- Walk on Water

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While Bankers Get Bailed, Americans Get Nailed!

GEF @ 1:28 PM ET

SENATE PASSES BAILOUT…

Monopoly Man

No end in sight to southeastern US gas shortage

Posted on: October 1st, 2008 by Martin Fellowes

A gas shortage that is related to the recent hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico has left some parts of the southeastern U.S. with no gas at all and others with gas lines of two hours or more, and will probably continue for two more weeks, at least, according to energy experts and officials in the oil industry.

On the first of September, oil refinery operations shut down in the Gulf before as tropical storm activity picked up. After Hurricane Gustav, operations were coming back online when Ike came through, making it necessary to shut down once again.

The shortage, which is now in the third week, is hitting hardest in Atlanta, but also having an impact in Nashville, Tennessee, and in parts of North and South Carolina.

Long gas lines plagued Charlotte, North Carolina over the weekend and in Asheville, North Carolina, some government offices closed on Friday.

Oil pipelines supplying this part of the U.S. are still not operating at full capacity, due to power outages following the severe storms, according to the energy fellow, Kenneth Medlock, at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

The U.S. southeast is the only part of the country without oil refineries or significant gasoline storage capacity, and has to pump in its gas requirements by pipeline, Medlock added.

Panic buying, which means drivers stopping whenever they see gas for sale, has made the situation worse, noted the executive director of Tennessee’s Oil Marketers Association, Marylee Booth.

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