Content Section
  1. Seen This? McCain Closes In

    1. McCain Closes In

    Someone tell the fat lady to hold her solo: the Zogby, Rasmussen, and Gallup polls all showed John McCain closing to within 5 points of Barack Obama today. Dick Morris sees this as evidence that “McCain’s use of the Joe the Plumber and the tax issue in his ads is working!” But, he warns “McCain will not win with one hand tied behind his back.” So far, McCain has held his punches, but now is the time, says Morris, to come out swinging with Rev. Wright.

    October 28, 2008 12:42 PM

  2. Whew!

    2. Soaring Stocks Propel Dow up Nearly 900 Points

    The Dow gained 889.35 points to close at 9,065.12 today and the S&P gained nearly 11 percent on increased commercial paper sales, a signal that the credit markets are thawing. Big gainers included Alcoa, up 19 percent, and GE, the largest issuer of commercial paper, which leapt 9.9 percent. Banks including Citigroup and Bank of America were also up on speculation the Fed would cut interest rates tomorrow. “Anyone who has a long-term view and looks at earnings multiples and inflation will say it’s a cheap moment to buy stocks,” equity market strategist Linda Duessel told Bloomberg.

    October 28, 2008 12:22 PM

  3. Toxic Verbiage

    3. ‘Cowardly’ Palin Minder Gets an Apology

    Nicolle Wallace, who yesterday was accused by Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes of being the “cowardly” McCain staffer who bought Sarah Palin $150,000 worth of new clothes “on her own credit card,” has been vindicated. Barnes, appearing on Fox News this evening, said: “I was rough on Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign, who was identified as the one responsible for getting the expensive clothes for Sarah Palin and being cowardly and not admitting she was the one. Well, it turns out I was wrong, I discovered. I apologize for my mistake and apologize particularly to Nicole Wallace.”

    October 28, 2008 4:44 PM

  4. The Election The New Michelle Obama

    4. The New Michelle Obama

    Remember when, in the wake of the "proud of my country" kerfuffle, it seemed as though Michelle Obama might be her husband's campaign's greatest liability? Count that now as another unrealized rightwing fantasy. The New York Times runs an article today about Michelle Obama's evolution into a "disciplined and effective advocate for her husband." She has been deployed, recently, in key battleground states, a "sign of the campaign's confidence in her," although her focus is often soft—on motherhood and humanizing Barack. This is reflected too in her choice of interview venues, like The View, Ellen, and The Daily Show. Said one aide: "There is not one vote she will get from doing Wolf Blitzer."

    October 28, 2008 3:28 AM

  5. Gizmos

    5. An Artificial Heart That Beats Like the Real Thing

    Is the Great Depression of 2008 giving you heart palpitations? Here’s some good news: France’s leading cardiac surgeon has unveiled an artificial heart that’s almost as good as a human’s. “If you show the graphs to a cardiac surgeon, he will say it’s a human heart,” Dr. Alain Carpentier said. “But no, it’s not a human heart, it’s the prosthesis.” After successful testing on calves and sheep, the device—which uses electronic sensors to regulate blood flow and heart rate—will be implanted in human patients within three years.

    October 28, 2008 2:21 PM

  6. Smart

    6. Heavy Hitters at NYRB Weigh In on Nov. 4

    Calling it a “Fateful Election,” The New York Review of Books has corralled its bench of heady contributors to opine, as only NYRB All-Stars can, about Transformative Tuesday. The range of voices is ideologically united but temperamentally distinct. Joan Didion does her mannered, elliptical thing: “We had kept talking about how different it was, but it wasn’t.” Ron Dworkin uses the Supreme Court as his lens; Frances FitzGerald focuses on Sarah Palin’s faith as a “habit of mind.” With Russell Baker, Garry Wills, and a bunch of others, it’s a rich collage of thoughtful and sometimes desperate intellectuals who are ready to move somewhere (although they don’t know where) should Nate Silver be wrong next week.

    October 28, 2008 2:58 PM

  7. Palintology

    7. The No Talk Express

    On the heels of his long New York Times Magazine piece, Robert Draper has started up a campaign blog at GQ. One of his first items dishes dirt on the McCain-Palin rift. In the run-up to the vice-presidential debate, Steve Schmidt actually had to temporarily abandon McCain in order to help in “simplifying Palin’s prep so as to avert catastrophe.” Palin, Draper says some McCain higher-ups have told him, “simply knew nothing about national and international issues.” Then there’s this bombshell: “McCain has snubbed [Palin] on one long bus ride aboard the Straight Talk Express, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby.”

    October 28, 2008 11:08 AM

  8. Diplomacy

    8. U.S. May Talk with Taliban

    President Bush leaves office in January, but his inflexible foreign policy may beat him to the exit. The Wall Street Journal reports today on a White House assessment recommending that the United States talk with the Taliban in order to address Afghanistan’s growing unrest. The Afghan government would lead the talks, but they would include the United States while excluding top Taliban leaders. The main goals would be to extend the Kabul government’s authority while persuading some Taliban figures to cease their attacks. The White House could choose to ignore the recommendation, but Gen. Petraeus has endorsed the measure. To highlight how large a change in course this is: The last high-level Taliban official to approach the United States about cooperation was imprisoned in Guantanamo for four years.

    October 28, 2008 6:58 AM

  9. Finally Björk on the Financial Crisis

    9. Björk on the Financial Crisis

    Have you been wishing the world’s most famous Icelander would weigh in on her country’s crisis? You’re in luck! Björk pens an op-ed in The London Times today, mourning her country’s recent troubles. When she’s not touting Iceland’s draws with a Borat-like flourish (“We have ORF, one of the best biogenetics company in the world; Össur, an artificial limb-maker; CCP, a computer games maker, and so on”), she worries that Iceland’s financial straits may allow aluminum smelters to exploit its natural beauty. (Even in crisis, Iceland’s worries seem quaint). “Because of the hundreds of naturally hot pools all over the island and our (so far) almost untouched nature,” Bjork writes, “Iceland could easily become one big lush spa where people could come and nurse their wounds and relax. If only the Government could put its money into supporting these companies rather than serving Alcoa and Rio Tinto.”

    October 28, 2008 7:31 AM

  10. Essential Ted Stevens: ‘It’s Not Over’

    10. Ted Stevens: ‘It’s Not Over’

    “It’s not over yet,” growled Ted Stevens as he left the courtroom Monday, having been found guilty of lying on his financial disclosures. The Anchorage Daily News has the killer details about how the jury couldn’t face him when it came back in the court; about how Stevens shook his head from side to side after the verdict; about how his wife, Cynthia, said, “You’ve got that right,” to his notion that it wasn’t over. Stevens now pursues the tricky matter of re-election on Nov. 4 with convictions hanging over his head. Sarah Palin put out a get-my-drift statement saying, “I’m confident Sen. Stevens will do what is right for the people of Alaska.”

    October 28, 2008 3:02 AM

  11. Against the Grain Spend All Your Money!

    11. Spend All Your Money!

    A morning pep talk from London Mayor Boris Johnson: “Come off it, folks! This isn’t the Black Death. Pinch yourself. Are you still there? Got a pulse? Thought so. Look out of the window. Those aren’t zombies. They are men and women engaged in the normal business of getting and spending,” writes Johnson in today’s Daily Telegraph. Despite the recession, empty your bank account at once: “This is not the moment for dowdiness and self-sufficiency; this is the moment for a life-affirming splurge.”

    October 28, 2008 3:05 AM

  12. Books

    12. Google's Universal Library

    Good news for bibliophiles: After two years of negotiations, Google and the Authors Guild have reached an agreement on access to digitized books through Google Book Search. The agreement, which pays authors and publishers a hefty $125 million, will increase access to out-of-print books, allow the purchasing of many more digitized books, and offer institutional subscription services that will be free at U.S. public libraries. Copyright holders will receive compensation from subscription and books sales and advertising revenue.

    October 28, 2008 8:04 AM

  13. Juicy Everybody Cheats

    13. Everybody Cheats

    Marital infidelity has always been difficult to survey, since respondents often just lie, but a handful of new studies suggest that it is on the rise. In any given year, 12 percent of men and seven percent of women say they have had sex outside of marriage. It’s especially on the rise among older couples. Since 1991, the number of male cheaters over 60 has risen to 28 percent while female cheaters over 60 have tripled from five to 15 percent, while male cheaters over 60 have also risen. Some scientists speculate that medical advances like Viagra and better hip replacements have strengthened the necessary, ahem, hardware for elderly infidelity.

    October 28, 2008 10:51 AM

  14. Chilling

    14. Former Slave Wins Lawsuit

    “Nobody deserves to be enslaved,” Hadijatou Mani, 24, said. “We are all equal and deserve to be treated the same.” The London Times reports on Mani’s landmark case against Niger, where she was one of at least 40,000 slaves. Mani was first raped at 13 and forced to bear her owner three children. Eventually, she imprisoned for bigamy when her former owner refused to let her marry another man. The British organization Anti-Slavery International adopted her and she brought a suit against Niger for failing to protect her. She will be paid about ₤12,400 in compensation.

    October 28, 2008 8:32 AM

  15. Heh

    15. How China Reads the Internet

    Ever wanted to experience Chinese censorship without any repercussions? A new Firefox application called China Channel reroutes your IP through China, so you can experience the Chinese government's infamous Internet firewall. Click on a banned site and you lose your browsing privileges for 15 minutes. The application, however, allows you to reopen the browser with a new IP. Presumably, it's not that easy in China.

    October 28, 2008 3:16 AM

  16. Seen This?

    16. King Solomon's Mine Found

    The amateur archaeologists out there will be intrigued to know that one of the fabled mines of King Solomon has been discovered in modern-day Jordan. The huge copper mine—created in the 10th century B.C., when Solomon ruled over the ancient Hebrews, according to the Bible—was found in a desolate area south of the Dead Sea known in the Old Testament as the Kingdom of Edom. One academic tells The Daily Mail: “We can’t believe everything ancient writings tell us. But this research represents a confluence between the archaeological and scientific data and the Bible.” Bonus: the mine is visible from Google Earth.

    October 28, 2008 3:07 AM

  17. The Election McCain Warns of "Dangerous Threesome"

    17. McCain Warns of "Dangerous Threesome"

    McCain spoke out today against the “dangerous threesome” of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, which, we must admit, would not be the sexiest ménage a trois. McCain, whose campaign has now taken to warning of the dangers of Democratic control of both elected branches of government, warned that these leaders would initiate a “spending spree” of “your hard earned money.” A side note: During a September debate, Obama announced that he was against Washington’s “orgy of spending.”

    October 27, 2008 9:11 AM

  18. Chilling

    18. Sexual Abuse in the Military

    USA Today has a chilling story today on sexual abuse in the military. A new study shows one in seven female Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who visit the VA for medical care report being victims of sexual assault or harassment during their duty. More than half of these women suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. Less than 1-in-100 male soldiers experience sexual assault or harassment. The study covers 125,000 soldiers who sought care between 2001 and 2007. An employee who works at the Miles Foundation, which aids military-related trauma, estimates that less than a third of women who come for sexual attacks report their abuse to the military.

    October 28, 2008 3:03 AM

  19. Who Knew? The Holy Land Primary

    19. The Holy Land Primary

    Here’s a rare and unexpected agreement between Israelis and Palestinians: Both support John McCain over Barack Obama. Ynetnews reports a poll showing McCain besting Obama among Israelis 46 to 32, while a Jerusalem Post article mentions a poll of Palestinians from September, showing McCain beating Obama 33.5 to 27.7. A plurality of Palestinians, however, prefer neither candidate, and the Post article emphasizes Palestinians’ pessimism that both outcomes will have little effect on their lives. Nearly half of all Israelis, meanwhile, think a McCain administration would better impact Israel. The only other countries surveyed that support McCain are Georgia and the Philippines.

    October 27, 2008 10:53 AM

  20. The Meltdown

    20. A World Without Fords

    Last month, Congress approved $25 billion in loan guarantees for U.S. automakers, and the Big Three are already clamoring for more. Today, the Los Angeles Times asks if they're worth saving and, if not, what might be the price of their failures. "The reality is that Japanese and European automakers are already in the U.S. in a big way," says one expert. "They can more than make up the capacity lost by the closure of the Big Three." Others, however, "posit that the failure of just one of the Big Three would send shock waves through the entire manufacturing sector that could devastate suppliers and freeze up the other two carmakers. Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost."

    October 28, 2008 3:06 AM

  21. Novel In Defense of Al Franken

    21. In Defense of Al Franken

    Politics is a humorless practice, but that may change ever so slightly if Al Franken wins his Senate race in Minnesota. Jonathan Chait musters a rousing endorsement of Franken for Slate. Franken’s comedy has disqualified him in the eyes of many as a serious candidate for office. But, Chait writes, Franken is a satirist, and “satire is a form of political commentary.” After rereading Franken’s book, Chait decides that Frank is “smarter than he is funny”—smarter, in fact, “than most members of Congress or national political reporters I’ve met”—and that he’s a political moderate who suffers from a misperception that “conflates blunt opposition to the Republican right with left-wing beliefs.” Franken is so smart, Chait concludes, that, should he win, “I can’t imagine he’ll find politics anything but a crushing disappointment.

    October 27, 2008 11:33 AM