Thursday, November 20, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST November 20, 2008

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New York Times
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-Editorial: Flunking the Electoral College
On Dec. 15, the United States will endure a quadrennial ritual born in the economics and politics of slavery and the quill-pen era. Members of the Electoral College are scheduled to meet in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to formally choose the next president.

-Op-Ed Columnist: Obama, Misha and the Bear
TBILISI, Georgia
A wounded, angry bear is loose north of here, and it has people terrified.
The bear has ravaged this lovely country, a booming capitalist enclave that worships America, relies on a much-praised flat tax and has uprooted corruption almost overnight (in part by firing every traffic cop in the country).

-Editorial: The Former Attorney General's Legal Bills
The Justice Department has reportedly agreed to hire a private attorney to represent Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, in a federal lawsuit that accuses him of politicized hiring. It is galling to think that Mr. Gonzales, whose department trampled over the rights of so many people, is having taxpayers pay for private counsel, but it may be appropriate.

Washington Post
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-New York Police Fight With U.S. on Surveillance
An effort by the New York Police Department to get broader latitude to eavesdrop on terrorism suspects has run into sharp resistance from the Justice Department in a bitter struggle that has left the police commissioner and the attorney general accusing each other of putting the public at risk.

-Key Economic Indicators Suggest a Deep Recession
Businesses cut prices at a record rate last month, builders started fewer new homes than anytime on record, and last week more people filed for new unemployment benefits than in any week since 1992, according to government data, as the outlook for the economy continues to dim. The Labor Department announced this morning that new applications for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 last week. It also revised the figure from the previous week down to 515,000.

-Auto Execs Fly Corporate Jets to D.C., Tin Cups in Hand
There are 24 daily nonstop flights from Detroit to the Washington area.
Richard Wagoner, Alan Mulally and Robert Nardelli probably should have taken one of them.

-Ariz. Governor Said to Be Pick For Homeland Security Post
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), whose handling of immigration issues brought her accolades from fellow governors, is President-elect Barack Obama's choice to serve as secretary of homeland security, Democratic sources said late Wednesday. Napolitano, 50, was an early supporter of Obama and was the only elected official tapped to serve on his transition team. She was reelected in 2006 to a second term as governor of Arizona, the home state of Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in the race against Obama. Napolitano previously served as U.S. attorney and state attorney general for Arizona; she was the first woman in both of those posts.

Fort Report
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-Paulson, Bernanke, and Congress on the Bailout: Incompetence All Around
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke got beaten up pretty badly in the House Financial Services Committee yesterday. And on at least one point, I think, justifiably so. In his opening statement, Paulson acknowledged that at the time the Senate passed its version of the financial rescue package October 1 and the House passed the same version October 3, he had already decided that the Treasury Department would not embark on the program of acquiring toxic securitized mortgage and other paper from financial institutions, as he was telling Congress it would, and that it would instead use powers in the bill to inject capital into banks and other financial institutions. I think members of Congress have standing to complain when they are asked to approve a piece of legislation on the grounds that the administration will do A, but in fact the administration has already decided to use the broad powers in the bill to do B-and hasn't told Congress about its change of mind. Paulson in his opening statement hit back at that by noting that in the two weeks Congress had been considering the legislation-from September 19, when Paulson and Bernanke presented their three-page rescue package outline to members of Congress, until October 3, when Congress passed the bill-the stock market fell 9 percent. In effect, he's blaming Congress for dithering while $2 trillion of wealth was being destroyed. He's got an argument, too.

-Obama poised to rebrand America, experts say
President-elect Barack Obama is poised to restore the United States' image in the international community, but experts say the president-elect must show the world that his actions will live up to his rhetoric.

-Auto Chiefs Fail to Get Bailout Aid
The chief executives of Detroit's Big Three automakers departed Washington empty-handed on Wednesday night after two days of pleading for a financial lifeline on Capitol Hill.

-Op-Ed Contributor: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won't go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

-Obama taps Axelrod for senior White House adviser role
Longtime Chicago political operative elevated to role similar to Karl Rove's in Bush era,0,2527277.story?track=rss

-Lieberman On Obama, Post-Campaign Politics
He was a ubiquitous presence on the campaign trail. Sen. Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate, stumped for his close friend, Republican Sen. John McCain.

-Obama seeks reforms in talk with UN chief
President-elect Barack Obama is urging the United Nations chief to embark on "far-reaching reform" of the world organization to help it address pressing global issues. At the same time, in a telephone conversation Wednesday, Obama told Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that the United States "should rededicate itself to the organization and to its mission," said Brook Anderson, chief national security spokeswoman for the Obama transition team.

-Rosa Brooks: Bush's land mines for Obama
Last-minute rules and regulations by the Bush administration could take years to undo. » Discuss Article You knew that W & Co. wouldn't go gently into that good night, didn't you?,0,3697638.column?track=rss


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