FPF: Week of July 13
This week on Front Page Flash: The G-8 sets global warming goals, Iran tests some missiles, the Senate says government snooping is ok, and the Fed talks doom and gloom. Plus, election update and the remarkable rescue of Ingrid Betancourt!
target="_new">U.S. Joins G-8 Plan to Halve Emissions [Washington Post]
For the past three days, the G-8 Summit has taken place in Toyako, Japan, and we’ve have all awaited a solution to the global food crisis, expected a resolution for rising oil prices, and hoped that the hours wasted on our bikes and hybrids were not in vein. While the majority of global dilemmas were left unresolved, the Group of Eight did resolve to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is the first time Bush has supported such a goal, but unfortunately the details were absent from the plan, leaving many to wonder if this is merely an empty gesture.
target="_new">Iran fires more missiles in war games [AFP]
Iran test-fired nine missiles on Thursday, with at least one capable of striking Israel (thankfully, the only casualty was one unlucky cat!). Iran's actions raised international concern over the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapons program after a five year diplomatic effort among the world powers to convince Iran to give up its nuclear enrichment program. U.S. officials downplayed Iran's missile launches as a sort of flexing of military muscles, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also warned that the U.S. is ready to defend its interests and those of its allies in the Middle East.
target="_new">Senate OKs surveillance revamp [USA Today]
The vote to expand the government’s ability to run wiretaps was not close at all, and it represents another big victory for President Bush over Democrats on the issue of national security. Along with broadening government surveillance practices, the bill grants legal immunity to phone companies that helped the National Security Agency in the wake of 9/11. For those counting at home, Barack Obama voted in favor of the bill (see below), while Senator Clinton voted ney and McCain didn’t attend.
target="_new">Fed Sees Turmoil Persisting Deep Into Next Year [NYT]
As homeowners continue to default on their mortgages (2.5 million foreclosures are expected by the end of 2008) and the ripple effects continue to cripple the financial industry (i.e., the sub-prime debt crisis), The Fed doesn't expect the economy to stabilize until sometime next year. In the meantime, The Fed is considering continuing through 2009 its program to lend capital to financial institutions and The Federal Housing Administration is on track to help even more troubled borrows keep their homes afloat. The hitch? Both plans must pass muster with Congress to continue for another year. I do not envy the next President who has to step into this mess.
target="_new">Columbian Special Forces Free Ingrid Betancourt [NYT]
If you don't know about Ingrid Betancourt's captivity by the Columbian FARC rebels and her movie-like rescue, you should definitely check it out. Certainly fodder for water-cooler talks.
Election Update: Obama is catching some “flip-flopping” flack after his vote to expand the government’s wiretap powers. He had previously opposed the immunity provision for phone communications, and he says that while he tried to introduce an amendment taking out that clause, he ended up voting for “an improved but imperfect bill.” Not only does he have to explain himself for that, but Rev. Jesse Jackson said he wants to “ target="_new">cut [Obama’s] nuts out” when he thought his mic was off during a FOX appearance. Jackson has apologized profusely, but the media brouhaha continues. On the Republican side, McCain is working hard to target="_new">woo Hispanic voters, who could be crucial in his effort to capture swing states like Nevada, Florida, and New Mexico.