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Mayor's race, Washington, D.C. 

* "Polls show Mayor Fenty getting more credit than support in primary race against Gray" -- Very interesting Washington Post analysis of the upcoming September 14 mayoral primary election in Washington, D.C., and why, according to the WP, incumbent Adrian Fenty is foundering in his reelection bid." Would recommend this to anyone with even the least interest in politics and the political landscape in the nation's capital city....


Was today's at-bat Manny's last appearance in a Dodgers uniform? Sounds like it....

"Manny Ramirez headed to the White Sox" - Dodgers Blog, Los Angeles Times

"Deal with White Sox will end Mannywood era" - Yahoo Sports

"Dodgers Move Closer to Sending Manny Ramirez to White Sox"- MLB Fanhouse

***Latest on the Manny Ramirez is-he-or-isn't-he saga would appear that the embattled slugger may indeed have played his last game in a Dodgers uniform.  And, as with many other aspects of Manny's stay in Los Angeles, his final appearance (if in fact all the commentators are correct that a deal is officially in the works for him to go to the White Sox), will be a memorable one.  From MLB Fanhouse:

   Ramirez’s final plate appearance for the Dodgers will be, like most everything he did in Los Angeles, memorable. Pinch-hitting Sunday afternoon in Colorado with the bases loaded, Ramirez saw one pitch. He believed it to be ball one. It was called strike one. Ramirez was ejected from the game arguing his point......




Miscellaneous Memos: Attorney general race; fewer women in Congress after November elections; traffic fines/red-light camera legislation; McCourt divorce....

* "Attorney general hopefuls zero in on gifts" -- Looks like the battle has indeed been joined between Kamala Harris and Steve Cooley.  And what are the arguments so far?  Who took what from whom?  and how this does/does not reflect on their character and integrity?  San Francisco Chronicle discusses the barbs and arrows being exchanged by the two candidates, particularly over gifts, travel expenses, tickets for sporting events....

* "GOP tide could reduce the ranks of women in Congress" -- Fewer women in Congress if, as prognosticators are predicting, Democrats take a drubbing in this fall's midterm elections?  Los Angeles Times analysis today says that, if large numbers of Democratic incumbents lose in November, many women could be replaced by men, which the LAT says would be the "first backslide in the uninterrupted march of women to Washington since 1978."  LAT speculates that 10 of the current 90 seats held by women might be lost....

* "State, cities battle over money from traffic fines" -- Following up on earlier reports here on this issue, Los Angeles Times has a brief item regarding the red-light camera legislation moving through the Legislature.  A key issue on the part of those opposing the legislation is that it would impact the right of local authorities to divert traffic ticket fines from the state to municipal coffers.  Thus, the city of Los Angeles is among the list of municipalities opposing the legislation.

* And with the McCourt divorce trial set to begin tomorrow, a couple more items on this....

 From the Daily News:  "Courtroom battle for the Dodgers begins Monday"

 From the San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "Fate of Dodgers court rest in McCourt divorce case"

 From the Downtown News:  "The Hating Game"



United - Continental merger clears major regulatory hurdle. Guess I may be able to use my United Airlines miles on more routes sooner than expected?

* "United-Continental Merger Clears Federal Hurdle" -- New York Times reports that big news in business and aviation circles is that the U.S. Justice Department says it has given clearance to the merger of United and Continental, thus lifting what had been viewed as the largest regulatory hurdle to a deal that is expected to create the world's largest airline.   From the NYT:

   The Justice Department said it had closed its review following a “thorough investigation” of the proposed merger after Continental agreed to lease 18 pairs of takeoff and landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport to Southwest Airlines to resolve competition concerns. United and Continental, which announced the merger in May, said they now expected to complete it by Oct. 1 after a shareholder vote on Sept. 17.


   The all-stock merger will form a coast-to-coast giant with a leading presence in the top domestic markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and an extended network to Asia, Europe and Latin America. The combined company will keep the United name and will be based in Chicago. Together, the airlines will have 21 percent of domestic capacity, in terms of available seat miles, or one seat flown one mile, exceeding the 20 percent held by Delta, the current market leader.


Remember the "half-a-mile-a-day" traffic jam from earlier this week? Here is the latest....

* As noted here earlier this week, the New York Times gave us a clear description of a MASSIVE traffic jam outside of Beijing, with drivers being stuck almost in place for days on end.  Well, update today from the NYT is that the traffic jam is over.  Or maybe not really? -- Excerpts from the NYT:

   Chinese authorities proclaimed an end this week to an epic traffic jam that had brought some drivers here to a dead halt for up to five seemingly endless days. Which is heartening news, save two problems. One is that the traffic jam has not ended. “That’s impossible,” an officer at the Zhangjiakou Highway Traffic Police Detachment said Friday. “All the lanes are filled up. If you get on the highway from Inner Mongolia to Hebei, you’ll be stuck for four or five days.”

   The other is that it may not end until, oh, 2012.

And, as for the reason for all of this, NYT reports:

   The gridlock has been building for up to a year, the inevitable result of the difficulty of China's construction crews in keeping up with China’s breakneck growth. In this case, a government decision to satisfy surging demand for electric power by tapping Inner Mongolia’s coalfields has flooded local highways with thousands of coal trucks, overwhelming police officers’ best efforts to herd them.

   The government is building two new rail lines on the trucks’ route, one for coal and the other for freight, as well as a second passenger-only line to relieve congestion. But those railroads will not open until at least 2012, and perhaps later. And so huge traffic jams of the sort that plagued this road in August are all but guaranteed to continue. Indeed, logistics experts here say the miracle is that more such bottlenecks do not occur.

And as for future prospects relating to the government's road-builing effort to keep up with growth:

  “The more roads they build, the more congested it gets,” one trucker, 45-year-old Wang Haihe, volunteered. “And then they build some more roads.”