GOP DEBATE IN CALIFORNIA: The race to pick a 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama turned contentious last night during the GOP debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Although eight Republican candidates took the stage, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent much of their time sniping at each other. These spirited exchanges revealed the front-runners’ differences in policy and style.
When it was time for the other candidates to speak, former Utah governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr., former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), pizza restaurant magnate Herman Cain and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) blasted the president for his record on the economy and job creation. All of the candidates also vowed to appeal Obama’s health care law, if they win the White House. Climate change, energy, Social Security and foreign policy initiatives were discussed as well.
PLANE CRASH IN RUSSIA: Investigators are searching for the on-board recorders to help determine what caused a Yak-42 jet to crash onto the banks of the Volga River yesterday. The crash claimed the lives of 43 people, including three dozen players, coaches and staff of the elite Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team. Only two people survived. After visiting the crash site, President Dmitry Medvedev called for immediate changes to the country’s troubled air transport industry. (Source: AP)
BOMBING IN NEW DELHI: Indian police detained three people today for the deadly bombing at the New Delhi High Court. The 2 kg bomb, which was hidden inside a briefcase, killed 12 people when it exploded yesterday. Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, a militant group affiliated with al Qaeda, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. (Source: Reuters)
‘I’M STILL HERE,’ GADHAFI SAYS: Moammar Gadhafi released an audio message on Al-Rai TV today telling supporters that he will never leave “the land of his ancestors.” The former Libyan leader, who has been in hiding since opposition forces entered Tripoli on Aug. 22, denounced reports that he had fled to neighboring Niger. Gadhafi also criticized the former rebels, calling them “a bunch of mercenaries, thugs and traitors.” (Source: The Telegraph and AP)
PALESTINIANS SEEK RECOGNITION: Palestinians launched a campaign today to join the United Nations as a full member state. About 100 officials and activists gathered at the U.N. offices in Ramallah to stage a series of peaceful events and announce their plans in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The letter urged Ban to add his “moral voice in support of the Palestinian people.” The latest round of peace talks with Israel broke down a year ago. (Source: AP)
U.S.OBAMA TO PITCH JOBS PLAN: President Obama will address a joint session of Congress tonight, and outline his new plan to create jobs and head off a second recession. Details about the plan are limited but several reports said it would involve at least $300 billion in tax cuts, government aid and spending on infrastructure.
“I’m going to propose ways to put America back to work that both parties can agree to, because I still believe both parties can work together to solve our problems,” Obama said earlier this week.
With the unemployment rate steady at 9.1 percent, many Americans are eagerly seeking a change in policy. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 60 percent of respondents disapproved of the president’s handling of the economy, and only 43 percent approved of his work overall. (Sources: The Washington Post and The Telegraph)
MASSIVE ANTI-FRAUD SWEEP: A series of raids targeting crime rings in eight U.S. cities led to the arrests of 91 people for healthcare fraud. According to court documents, the defendants allegedly participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided. “From Brooklyn to Miami to Los Angeles, the defendants allegedly treated the Medicare program like a personal piggy bank,” Lanny Breuer, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said. The anti-fraud sweep took place over the last two weeks and involved some 400 local, state and federal law enforcement agents. (Sources: The Washington Post and Reuters)
HOSPITALS FINED FOR ERRORS: California public health officials fined 12 hospitals for medical errors that hurt or killed patients. The fines, which the affected hospitals can appeal, ranged from $50,000 to $75,000 for each mistake. Most of the errors were preventable, one official said, and included incorrectly administering medications and leaving foreign objects inside patients’ bodies during surgery. (Source: The Los Angeles Times)
FOOD POISONING IN CHINA: A rash of food poisoning cases have sickened nearly 300 elementary and middle school students in China this week. The children took ill after consuming unsafe food or water that was provided by their schools, state media reported. Samples of the food are now being tested and the government has ordered inspections for many school dining halls. At the time of this writing, at least 10 children are still under medical observation at a hospital in Shenxian County. (Sources: China Daily and AP)
MICHAEL S. HART DIES: The founder of Project Gutenberg, one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects, died on Sept. 6. Cause of death was not released. He was 64. A futurist and technologist, Hart digitized his first free document — the U.S. Declaration of Independence — in 1971 and transmitted it to others on a computer network. That effort eventually became Project Gutenberg, a volunteer-run Website that digitizes and archives cultural works. Over the next four decades, Hart was a strong proponent for the digitization and distribution of literature. Today, Project Gutenberg is considered the world’s oldest digital library, and hosts more than 36,000 documents in 60 different languages. (Sources: Gutenberg.org and Engadget and Wikipedia)
REESE WITHERSPOON HIT BY CAR: The Academy Award-winning actress was struck by a car on Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. Police said Witherspoon was jogging in an unmarked crosswalk when an 84-year-old woman hit her. The driver was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and Witherspoon was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. (Source: AP)
‘AMW’ FINDS NEW HOME: “America’s Most Wanted,” the seminal crimefighting series that helped bring almost 1,200 fugitives to justice, will return to the air later this year. After 24 seasons, Fox dropped the popular program in May, citing high production costs. On Tuesday, host John Walsh completed a deal to move the show to the Lifetime network. “We’ve often been called the court of last resort,” Walsh told The Associated Press. “Now we are back in the game and ready to saddle up for another season to get justice for victims and put dangerous criminals behind bars.” (Sources: AMW)
BUDDY HOLLY HONORED: The bespectacled singer/songwriter, who was best known for the hits “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue,” received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on Wednesday. Holly was just 22 when he died in a plane crash in 1959, along with musicians Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Although his success lasted only a year and a half, he is considered by many in the music industry as an influential force on early rock and roll. Holly was among the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2004 was ranked #13 among “The 50 Greatest Artists of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine. The star, which is located on the sidewalk along Vine Street at the entrance to the historic Capitol Records Building, was dedicated on what would have been Holly’s 75th birthday. (Sources: NPR and CNN and The Buddy Holly Center)
ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S JEWELS FOR SALE: The lavish gifts bestowed upon the Hollywood icon by her past loves will be auctioned at Christie’s in New York in December. Standout pieces include a 33.19-carat Asscher-cut Krupp Diamond set in a platinum ring, the 17th-century Taj Mahal diamond pendant and the 16th century La Peregrina, one of the largest and most symmetrically perfect pear-shaped pearls in the world. The late actress’s entire collection of 300 items is currently valued at $30 million. (Source: The Telegraph)
VIDEO OF THE DAY
TODAY’S POLL: The Arizona Department of Corrections wants to charge a $25 fee for adults who wish to visit inmates at any of the state’s 15 prison complexes. The one-time “background check fee” is supposed to help the state repair and maintain the prisons. Prisoner advocacy groups say the fee would create an undue burden on visitors who already shoulder the expense of traveling long distances to the prisons.
WEDNESDAY’S POLL: California lawmakers have voted to ban the sale, trade and possession of shark fins, a key ingredient in a traditional Chinese soup. Conservation groups praised the move as a way to curb the shark fin harvest, a practice that has contributed to the sharp decline in the creature’s population worldwide. Chinese American restaurateurs and traders lobbied against the bill, saying a ban on the ingredient would discriminate against a cultural tradition.
Sept. 8 is International Literacy Day, World Physical Therapy Day, National Date Nut Bread Day and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Day.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1966, the first “Star Trek” series premiered on NBC.
In 1974, President Gerald Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon.
In 1994, USAir Flight 427 crashed while on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 aboard.
* Actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas, 30.
* Singer Pink, 32.
* Actor Nathan Corddry, 34.
* Actor Larenz Tate, 36.
* Musician Richard Hughes (Keane), 36.
* Actor David Arquette, 40.
* Actor Henry Thomas, 40.
* TV personality Brooke Burke, 40.
* Basketball player Latrell Sprewell, 41.
* Singer Neko Case, 41.
* Singer Marc Gordon (Levert), 47.
* Musician David Steele (Fine Young Cannibals), 51.
* Singer Aimee Mann, 51.
* Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), 57.
* Musician Will Lee, 59.
* Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), 69.
* Ventriloquist Willie Tyler, 71.
* Former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), 73.
* Comedian Sid Caesar, 89.
* Composer Richard Strauss died in 1949. Cause of death was not released. He was 85.
* Actress/singer Dorothy Dandridge died in 1965 of a drug overdose. She was 42.
* Percy Spencer, who invented the microwave oven, died in 1970. Cause of death was not released. He was 76.
Berkeley Kite Festival. (Photo by Edwardopilopilous.)
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change.” –Edwin Way Teale