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Nov 20th
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Don't write off Palin as VP PDF Print E-mail

Maybe the governor of Alaska will be the first to break the glass ceiling that Hillary Clinton only cracked?

Jeremy Lott

In one of Barack Obama's biggest applause lines in Denver on Thursday, he said John McCain had voted with George Bush "90% of the time" and warned, "I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10% chance on change."

Now McCain has made his vice presidential pick, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, it ensures with something approaching 100% certitude that America is about to get one kind of change that Democrats have be pushing for years now.
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Dirty politics are killing what is left of hope in Pakistan PDF Print E-mail

Isambard Wilkinson

Islamabad

Pakistan's coalition government collapsed on Monday, leaving the country's ruling party with both a challenge and an opportunity.

Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, withdrew his party, the Pakistan Muslim League, from the government exactly one week after he and his coalition partner, Asif Ali Zardari of the PPP, had forced Pervez Musharraf to resign as president.

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How could having a good 'story' make Obama a good president? PDF Print E-mail

By Simon Heffer

Denver

There is an atmosphere over the Democratic Convention, and it is not merely the thin, dehydrating air of the Mile High City on the edge of the Rockies.

It is the barely concealed contempt that the supporters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have for each other, undiluted despite the Presidential Election being barely two months away.
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It's time for Brown to behave like Brown PDF Print E-mail

Irwin Stelzer

'Triangulation is the name given to the act of a political candidate presenting his or her ideology as being 'above' and 'between' the 'Left' and 'Right' sides (or 'wings') of a traditional (e.g. UK or US) democratic 'political spectrum'." So says Wikipedia.

Triangulation's most successful practitioner was Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, Gordon Brown adopted the technique, not realising that its success depends in good part on the public charm of the triangulator.
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The 21st-Century Man PDF Print E-mail

DAVID BROOKS

DENVER

I flew into the airport here on Sunday and the pilot could barely land because of the fog of bad advice. Democrats are nervous because Barack Obama's polling lead has evaporated. And when Democrats are nervous, all the Santa Monica Machiavellis emerge from their fund-raisers offering words of wisdom. And the subtext of the advice being offered this year is that Barack Obama should really be someone else.
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Rich countries once used gunboats to seize food. Now they use trade deals PDF Print E-mail

The world's hungriest are the losers as an old colonialism returns to govern relations between wealthy and poor nations

George Monbiot

In his book Late Victorian Holocausts, Mike Davis tells the story of the famines that sucked the guts out of India in the 1870s. The hunger began when a drought, caused by El Niño, killed the crops on the Deccan plateau. As starvation bit, the viceroy, Lord Lytton, oversaw the export to England of a record 6.4m hundredweight of wheat. While Lytton lived in imperial splendour and commissioned, among other extravagances, "the most colossal and expensive meal in world history", between 12 million and 29 million people died. Only Stalin manufactured a comparable hunger.
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Is America ready to embrace a black first lady? PDF Print E-mail

Michelle Obama is at least as much of a pioneer as her husband

Martin Kettle

For more than a year now, the US political world has expended trillions of person-hours of effort and ploughed billions of words of analysis into assessing whether the United States is ready to elect a black man as president. Countless further words will be written on this same subject before November 4 - and beyond, whether Barack Obama wins or loses. Yet Michelle Obama only had to step up to the speaker's rostrum in Denver to make it clear, before she even opened her mouth, that there is, and was always going to be, a second question in play in this election, nearly but not quite as important as the first: is America ready to elect a black first lady too?
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Digging Ourselves a Black Hole PDF Print E-mail

GAIL COLLINS

Exciting times coming up, people. Democratic convention! Republican convention! And then, on Sept. 10, the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider!

The Large Hadron, you may remember, is the 17-mile-long particle accelerator being built near Geneva. Once it's up and running, its designers believe it will take particle physics research to a whole new level. Its critics think it may create a black hole that will swallow up the universe. This is what is known as a wide range of possibilities.
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Voters Want More From Obama PDF Print E-mail

BOB HERBERT

After being pummeled for weeks by John McCain, and losing some of his slender lead in the polls, the Obama campaign may finally be showing signs of life.

Barack Obama was always a long shot to win the White House. It's no secret that some portion of the electorate will never vote for him because of his color. But he has made the odds even longer by running a campaign that, since the primaries, has seemed directionless, uninspired and addicted to the empty calories of generalities.
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Intimidation will not stop our boats sailing for Gaza PDF Print E-mail

Our perilous, non-violent mission should now be nearing its destination, bearing a message that some want to silence

Osama Qashoo

This morning I am sorry to find myself back on dry land in Cyprus, separated from my fellow sailors who are now completing the final leg of their trip to Gaza. They are carrying humanitarian and medical aid to a people now suffering both an international boycott and the illegal Israeli occupation. On board the refurbished fishing boats, SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty, are more than 50 activists from 17 nations - Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, farmers, fishermen, officials, language teachers, piano technicians and one 85-year-old Holocaust survivor - all united in their determination to break the Israeli siege.
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Giant Problems PDF Print E-mail

ARIANNE COHEN

SANDY Allen: superhero. That is how I perceived the world's tallest woman, 7 feet 7 1/4 inches, from my vantage point as the tallest little girl in Delmar, N.Y. Ms. Allen, who died last week at the age of 53, appeared invincible in her photograph in the Guinness Book of World Records. I imagined her wearing a red cape all the time, printed with the slogan, "The weather up here is fabulous." She must have been madly popular.

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Now That's Rich PDF Print E-mail

PAUL KRUGMAN

Last weekend, Pastor Rick Warren asked both presidential candidates to define the income at which "you move from middle class to rich." The context of the question was, of course, the difference in the candidates' tax policies. Barack Obama wants to put tax rates on higher-income Americans more or less back to what they were under Bill Clinton; John McCain, who was against the Bush tax cuts before he was for them, says that means raising taxes on the middle class.

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All the Oil We Need PDF Print E-mail

EUGENE GHOLZ and DARYL G. PRESS

WHILE oil prices have declined somewhat of late, the volatility of the market and the political and religious unrest in major oil-producing countries has Americans worrying more than ever about energy security. But they have little to fear — contrary to common understanding, there are robust stockpiles of oil around the globe that could see us through any foreseeable calamities on the world market.

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China's Rise Goes Beyond Gold Medals PDF Print E-mail

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

BEIJING

China is on track to displace the United States as the winner of the most Olympic gold medals this year. Get used to it.

Today, it's the athletic surge that dazzles us, but China will leave a similar outsize footprint in the arts, in business, in science, in education.
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The rise of Miliband brings at last the prospect of an atheist prime minister PDF Print E-mail

In this climate of quarrels between religionists and secularists, there are very many reasons to hope for a non-believer at No 10

AC Grayling

When Labour cabinet members were asked about their religious allegiances last December, following Tony Blair's official conversion to Roman Catholicism, it turned out that more than half of them are not believers. The least equivocal about their atheism were the health secretary, Alan Johnson, and foreign secretary David Miliband.
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Don't Loosen Nuclear Rules for India PDF Print E-mail

EDWARD J. MARKEY and ELLEN O. TAUSCHER

IN the next day or so, an obscure organization will meet to decide the fate of an Indian nuclear deal that threatens to rapidly accelerate New Delhi's arms race with Pakistan — a rivalry made all the more precarious by the resignation on Tuesday of the Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf.
 
Nonetheless, President Bush is lobbying the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which governs international nuclear commerce, to waive its most crucial rules in order to allow the trade of reactors, fuel and technology to India.
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Importing food means exporting drought PDF Print E-mail

We need to change the way we eat if we are to tackle the looming catastrophe of water scarcity

Tom MacMillan

If you want proof the world has a water problem you're better treading the damp summer pavements of the City than the parched bed of the Aral Sea.

Goldman Sachs says water is the next oil and has bullish investment trends to prove it. For the rest of us a water boom spells trouble: investors can smell scarcity a mile off and, however much money they pump into managing it, the last result they'll want is abundance.
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True sport is about much more than counting medals PDF Print E-mail

Britain's Olympic winners are to be lauded. But the state should always put popular participation ahead of solo, elite efforts

Ed Smith

After a bumper crop of Olympic medals, Gordon Brown was quick to celebrate a "golden weekend for British sport". No doubt the prime minister has been living every moment of the games - perhaps swinging over to one side of the sofa as he tacks through choppy waters with our sailors, or kicking his legs under the desk with our cyclists - but not everyone has been won over by Team GB's triumphs.

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America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" win ALMA Awards PDF Print E-mail

AP, PASADENA, Calif. - "Ugly Betty" and its star, America Ferrera, took top honors Sunday at the 2008 ALMA Awards, which recognize achievements by Hispanic artists.

The ABC comedy series won awards for directing and best performance by a Latino-led ensemble cast. Ferrera, 24, was named Chevy Entertainer of the Year for her on-screen work as Betty Suarez in "Ugly Betty" and her off-screen efforts to encourage young people to get involved in the political process.
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The Pill Makes Women Pick Bad Mates PDF Print E-mail

Birth-control pills could screw up a woman's ability to sniff out a compatible mate, a new study finds, reports agency.
While several factors can send a woman swooning, including big brains and brawn, body odor can be critical in the final decision, the researchers say. That's because beneath a woman's flowery fragrance or a guy's musk the body sends out aromatic molecules that indicate genetic compatibility.

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Itís the Economy Stupor PDF Print E-mail

By PAUL KRUGMAN

By rights, John McCain should be getting hammered on economics.

After all, Mr. McCain proposes continuing the policies of a president who’s had a truly dismal economic record — job growth under the current administration has been the slowest in 60 years, even slower than job growth under the first President Bush. And the public blames the White House, giving Mr. Bush spectacularly low ratings on his handling of the economy.

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