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In today's pages: Biden-Palin debate, Obama and Ayers, Maher's "Religulous"

October 7, 2008 | 11:03 am

Lisa Benson, Washington PostConservative columnist Jonah Goldberg today makes an uncharacteristically bipartisan comment about GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, admitting that in last week's debate she "failed to answer direct questions directly" and "offered up some obviously canned one-liners." But that's downright complimentary next to his comments about Democrat Joe Biden and his "string of falsehoods and gasbaggeries." Also in for a conservative spanking is TV host and confirmed atheist Bill Maher, whose documentary "Religulous" gets the thumbs-down from rabbi and author David Wolpe. Maher's premise that religion is responsible for the world's violence is a misreading of history, Volpe says, and his view of human nature as "animalistic" is plain wrong.

Also on the Opinion page, New York University professor Steve Fraser compares today's financial crisis to the Great Depression and notes ominously that the same general forces that brought about the 1930s disaster are still with us. And legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky wonders why there has been so little discussion of the Supreme Court during the presidential campaign, given that the next president is likely to appoint more than one new justice to the court and thus could impact the interpretation of constitutional law for decades to come.

The editorial board, meanwhile, is disgusted with Palin's assertion that Barack Obama pals around with terrorists, while conceding that the Democratic presidential nominee showed bad political judgment by associating with Bill Ayers, a founder of the 1960s-era Weather Underground. Obama and opponent John McCain are also taken to task for supporting "clean coal," given that there is no such thing and that it directly contradicts their positions on climate change and pollution. And the board ponders a Las Vegas jury's motives in convicting "arrogant thug" O.J. Simpson on robbery and kidnapping charges; were they making amends for perceived mistakes by the jury in his earlier murder trial?

Cartoon: Lisa Benson, Washington Post

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