Scozzafava Quits NY Race For Hoffman

From the Associated Press:

Republican in NY House race suspends campaign

ALBANY, N.Y. — Republican Dierdre Scozzafava has suspended her campaign for the New York House and is encouraging supporters to embrace Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman.

Campaign spokesman Matt Burns says she thinks dropping out of the 23rd Congressional District race is in the best interests of the party.

The announcement comes after a Siena College poll found she was in third place with 20 percent of the vote in the heavily Republican district, while Hoffman and Democratic nominee Bill Owens were too close to call with 35 percent and 36 percent, respectively…

To paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare in the ‘Scottish Play,’ nothing became Ms. Scozzafava’s campaign like the leaving it.

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Abdullah May ‘Boycott’ Afghan Runoff

From those handicappers at the Associated Press:

Sources: Abdullah to pull out of Afghan runoff

By Heidi Vogt And Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writers

KABUL – Afghan presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah plans to boycott next week’s runoff against incumbent Hamid Karzai following a breakdown in talks on how to fix the country’s electoral crisis, two people familiar with the discussions said…

Abdullah, who was once Karzai’s foreign minister, put forward several conditions this week to avoid a repeat of the massive fraud of the August presidential election, including the replacement of the top election official and the suspension of several ministers.

He set Saturday as the deadline for his demands to be met.

A Westerner close to talks between the two sides said their agenda also included a power-sharing proposal by the challenger and cited both Karzai and Abdullah as saying that talks broke down Friday, prompting Abdullah to decide on a boycott of the Nov.

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EU To Fund Poor For ‘Climate Change’

From a wildly cheering New York Times:

E.U. Reaches Funding Deal on Climate Change

By JAMES KANTER and STEPHEN CASTLE

October 31, 2009

European Union leaders on Friday offered to contribute money to a global fund to help developing countries tackle global warming hoping kick-start stalled talks on a new agreement on climate change.

But E.U. leaders disappointed climate campaigners by making the offer conditional on donations from other parts of the world and by failing to decide how much Europe would contribute to a global pot of up to 50 billion euros by 2020.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt insisted the E.U. now had "a very strong negotiating position" to press for a global deal at United Nations talks in Copenhagen in December that are aimed at agreeing a successor accord to the Kyoto Protocol.

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Obama Reveals (Only) 100 WH Visitors

From MSNBC:

Obama names 110 White House visitors

The White House on Friday released a small list of visitors to the White House since President Barack Obama took office in January, including lobbyists, business executives, activists and celebrities.

No previous administration has released such a list, though the information out so far is incomplete. Only about 110 names —and 481 visits —out of the tens of thousands who have visited the Obama White House were made public

Under the Obama White House’s policy, most names of visitors from Inauguration Day in January through the end of September will never be released. The White House says it plans to release most of the names of visitors from October on, and that release is due near the end of the year.

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Obama Lifts Ban On HIV Entries To US

From a walking on air Associated Press:

Obama lifts ban on US entry for those with HIV

By Darlene Superville, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. will overturn a 20-year-old U.S. travel ban against people with HIV early next year.

The order will be finalized on Monday, Obama said, completing a process begun during the Bush administration.

The U.S. has been one of about a dozen countries that bar entry to travelers based on their HIV status. Obama said it will be lifted just after the new year, after a waiting period of about 60 days.

"If we want to be a global leader in combatting HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it," Obama said at the White House before signing a bill to extend the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program…

In 1987, at a time of widespread fear and ignorance about HIV, the Department of Health and Human Services added the disease to the list of communicable diseases that disqualified a person from entering the U.S.

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US Makes Honduras Restore President

From an elated New York Times:

Deal Reached in Honduras to Restore Ousted President

By ELISABETH MALKIN

October 31, 2009

MEXICO CITY — A lingering political crisis in Honduras seemed to be nearing an end on Friday after the de facto government agreed to a deal, pending legislative approval, that would allow Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president, to return to office.

The government of Roberto Micheletti, which had refused to let Mr. Zelaya return, signed an agreement with Mr. Zelaya’s negotiators late Thursday that would pave the way for the Honduran Congress to restore the ousted president and allow him to serve out the remaining three months of his term. If Congress agrees, control of the army would shift to the electoral court, and the presidential election set for Nov.

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Pelosi Bill Requires Posting Of Calories

From Nation’s Restaurant News:

Menu labeling part of Pelosi’s health care reform bill

By Paul Frumkin

WASHINGTON (Oct. 29, 2009) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Thursday introduced a sweeping, $894 billion health care bill that also includes provisions for menu labeling.

The 1,990-page bill outlines general nutrient-labeling requirements for restaurants and retail establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more outlets.

Those restaurants affected would be required to prominently post calorie counts for standard items on menus and menu boards as well as calories per serving for each item on a buffet, salad bar, cafeteria line or self-service display.

Standard menu items are defined as those offered for at least 60 days per calendar year and would not include daily specials, custom orders and test market items on the menu for less than 90 days.

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NYT: House Bill Will Cost $1.055 Trillion

From, of all places, the New York Times:

What the Health Care Bill Really Costs

By David M. Herszenhorn AND Robert Pear

October 29, 2009

So what does the House health care bill really cost?

Throughout Thursday, news accounts, including our own, focused on $894 billion, the total cost given out by aides to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, before the official cost analysis was released by the Congressional Budget Office.

But a closer look at the budget office report suggests that the number everyone should have reported was $1.055 trillion, which is the gross cost of the insurance coverage provisions in the bill before taking account of certain new revenues, including penalties by individuals and employers who fail to meet new insurance requirements in the bill.

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Why Not Claim Obama Saved Every Job?

From the Politico:

Obama: Stimulus saved 1 million jobs

By: Mike Allen and Eamon Javers
October 30, 2009

White House officials, under pressure from the economy’s continuing job losses, plan to announce Friday that President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan "has created and saved at least 1 million jobs" since he signed it in February.

“We anticipate that these reports will credit the Recovery Act with directly creating or saving about 650,000 jobs,” a senior administration official e-mailed POLITICO Friday morning. “Because these reports show that less than half of the spending through that date created or saved about 650,000 jobs, they confirm government and private forecaster’s estimates that overall Recovery Act spending has created and saved at least 1 million jobs.” …

Once the data is posted, the administration says, visitors to Recovery.gov will be able to see who received funds for each project, when they received them, how they began to spend them and the jobs they have supported so far – all with the help of user-friendly mapping features that allow them to zoom in by state, zip code or Congressional District.

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3.3% GDP Under Bush Was A Recession

Remember how the press reported the economy’s uptick back in the second quarter of 2008 during the Bush administration?

As we noted at the time, the reports were universal – this growth was all due to the temporary tax rebates that Mr. Bush had mailed out. And, if anything, it just showed that the recession was going to be even worse.

From a despondent Reuters:

Economy grows at soft pace

Thu Jul 31, 2008

By Glenn Somerville

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An emergency dose of government stimulus helped the U.S. economy grow at a 1.9 percent annual rate in the second quarter, a soft pace but enough to take it off a path perilously close to recession.

Revised data from the Commerce Department released with the second-quarter figures on Thursday showed national output shrank in the final quarter of 2007 before barely edging up at the start of this year.

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Dozens Of Dems Are Under Ethics Inquiry

From an outraged (at the leak) Washington Post:

Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

AN ACCIDENTAL DISCLOSURE
Document was found on file-sharing network

By Ellen Nakashima and Paul Kane
Friday, October 30, 2009

House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.

The report appears to have been inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network, and it was provided to The Washington Post by a source not connected to the congressional investigations. The committee said Thursday night that the document was released by a low-level staffer.

The ethics committee is one of the most secretive panels in Congress, and its members and staff members sign oaths not to disclose any activities related to its past or present investigations.

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Obama Is The Best Writer Since Caesar

From Fox News:


Obama ‘Most Powerful Writer Since Julius Caesar,’ Says NEA Chief

Et tu, Rocco?

Maybe President Obama will win the Nobel Prize for Literature, too, now that the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts has declared that "Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar."

Rocco Landesman rendered unto Obama that considerable compliment in a little-noticed speech to a group of art philanthropists in Brooklyn, N.Y., last week, praising the president as an "Optimist in Chief" who is developing "the most arts-supportive administration since Roosevelt."

Putting the president in the pantheon with such pencil-pushing powerhouses as the man who was, literally, the Czar of all Czars, Landesman said that since Obama "actually writes his own books," he’s the most powerful man to be a true writer in the 2,000 years since Caesar strode the narrow earth.

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AP: GDP Up, Recession Is Over (Again)

From a giddy Associated Press:

Economy grows in 3Q, signals end of recession

By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – The economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter, the best showing in two years, fueled by government-supported spending on cars and homes.

The Commerce Department’s report Thursday delivered the strongest signal yet that the economy entered a new, though fragile, phase of recovery and that the worst recession since the 1930s has ended.

Many analysts expect the pace of the budding recovery to be plodding due to rising unemployment and continuing difficulties by both consumers and businesses to secure loans.

"We’re beginning to crawl out a very deep hole," said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. "It will take time to get back to normal again and there are questions about how consumers will hold up in the months ahead.

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Obama Wants To Dismantle Non-Banks

From a gleeful Associated Press:

Obama seeks new powers to dismantle nonbank firms

By Anne Flaherty, Associated Press Writer Thu Oct 29

WASHINGTON – A year after Lehman Brothers collapsed, helping to trigger the worst financial crisis in seven decades, the Obama administration is pressing Congress for the power to dismantle other nonbank firms considered so large and influential that they could bring down the entire economy.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was asking a House panel on Thursday to pass legislation that would enable federal regulators to identify and monitor big financial firms and step in to wind them down before they collapse.

The proposal, worked out in an agreement with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., also will give new powers to the Federal Reserve to enforce tougher requirements for these "too-big-to-fail" companies

Democrats are largely behind the plan.

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One In Six Stimulus Jobs Does Not Exist

Some investigative reporting from, of all places, the Associated Press:

Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands

By Brett J. Blackledge And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON – A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan. The real number: fewer than 1,000.

A child care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs with the help of stimulus money. Instead, it gave pay raises to its existing employees.

Elsewhere in the U.S., some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times.

The government has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under the president’s $787 billion recovery program, according to an Associated Press review of data released in the program’s first progress report.

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