The Skinny is Keach Hagey's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.
Remember all that outrage a couple years ago over "Internet hunting"? You know, those Web sites where you could log on, peer into the leafy wilderness through live web cam and, when an unsuspecting buck crossed the screen, click a mouse to drop him?
It turns out there weren't really Web "sites," the Wall Street Journal reports. More like one site, which was shut down almost soon as it opened. And, despite the fact that 33 states have outlawed the Internet hunting since 2005 and a bill to ban it nationally has been introduced into Congress, "nobody actually hunts over the Internet."
"Internet hunting would be wrong," said a Delaware representative who opposed his state's ban. "But there's a lot that would be wrong, if it were happening."
Home Loan Crisis Shakes Global Markets
American credit problems wreaked global financial havoc yesterday, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times devote major front-page real estate to surveying the damage.
Once again, sub-prime home loans are to blame. The trouble began when a French bank invested in a whole bunch of these loans announced it was freezing three investment funds, igniting panic. Central banks in Europe and the U.S. tried to calm the freakout by injecting billions into the financial system to keep credit for freezing up, but it was too late. After some hedge funds announced they were losing money and the biggest American mortgage lender said "unprecedented disruptions" in the credit market could affect its financial standing, the course was more or less set. The Dow dropped 2.8 percent, the biggest plunge since February.
And there's more to come! Not everyone invested in these festering sub-prime home loans has fessed up yet.
"There's little knowledge about who holds the toxic waste and how much they hold," Paul Kasriel, an economist at Northern Trust, told the LA Times. "We wee these dead fish float to the surface every now and then, and it's happening more frequently. This creates concern about where some of the other dead fish may be stored. No one knows why."
Spinning Gold Into Straw
Mitt Romney is dumping an insane amount of money into tomorrow's straw poll in Iowa, reports the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, despite the fact that it's neither binding nor a venue for real competition with his main Republican rivals.
None of the other major candidates can touch Romney's straw poll operation: $2 million in television ads, an army of workers paid handsomely to talk him up, a fleet of buses, slick direct mail and a production "which will include barbecue billed as the best in the state," according to the Post.
"But his preparation may have been too impressive for his own good," the Post reports. "Watching Romney spend so much, Giuliani and McCain dropped out of the straw poll in June."
The Journal reports that "although is little doubt he'll emerge the victor, Mr. Romney is marshalling a massive show of strength in hopes of not just winning but winning big. It's part of his effort to cement a growing perception among party activists and donors that he's the most driven and best organized in a crowded field of Republican candidates."
The New York Times reports that Romney has taken a beating in Iowa for his earlier pro-choice stance, and that in an interview Romney "suggested that a victory in the straw poll in Iowa, with its base of evangelical and socially conservative voters, could be read as evidence that the abortion issue would not hobble his hopes of appealing to conservatives across the country."
Times columnist David Brooks recommends that Romney stop trying to act like a cultural warrior and focus on what he's good at, "execution." And he's got a point. Remember: the best barbecue in the state, folks! Giuliani would probably serve hot dogs.
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