Saturday, December 13, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 13, 2008

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New York Times
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-Op-Ed Contributor: When the Cars Go Away
Detroit. THIS week, as Washington has tried to decide whether to rescue the automobile industry, Americans have wondered what it looks like when a giant automobile company goes under. The answer can be found in Detroit.

-New York Housing Chief Picked for Slot in Cabinet
Published: December 13, 2008
WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama has picked the widely respected housing commissioner for New York City, Shaun Donovan, to be the secretary of housing in his cabinet.

-Sorry, Obamas, Early Check-In Isn't Available
CHICAGO - To the list of people having trouble finding somewhere in Washington to stay in early January, there can now be added one more entry: the Obama family. President Bush's aides have turned down a request from President-elect Barack Obama to move from Chicago into Blair House, the official guest residence across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, in time for Mr. Obama's daughters to start school in Washington on Jan. 5.

Washington Post
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-'All Just One Big Lie'
By Binyamin Appelbaum, David S. Hilzenrath and Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writers
Bernard Madoff was a Wall Street whiz with a golden reputation. Investors, including Jewish charities, entrusted him with billions. It's gone. Deborah Coltin learned yesterday morning that the $8 million foundation she has led for a decade, which supported a wide range of Jewish programs on the north shore of Massachusetts, did not actually exist.

-Al Franken gets boosts in Minnesota Senate recount
Democrat Al Franken won a pair of victories Friday before the state board overseeing the Senate recount, including a decision that as many as 1,500 incorrectly rejected absentee ballots should be included. The board also opted to recommend use of election night results in a Franken-leaning Minneapolis precinct where 133 ballots went missing, a decision that could have cost him 46 votes if it had gone the other way.

-An Old Rage to Quell
By David Ignatius
Barack Obama wrote in "Dreams From My Father" of his days as a student at Occidental College, groping for his political identity: "We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Frantz Fanon, Eurocentrism and patriarchy."

-Dealing With Revisionist Russia
By Ronald D. Asmus
Among the foreign policy challenges facing President-elect Barack Obama is the need for a new strategy toward Russia. Moscow is a partner and competitor: We need to work with the Russians on issues such as Iran and counterterrorism, but Moscow today is also a nationalistic revisionist power bent on rolling back Western values and influence on its borders with Europe. Russia is seeking major changes to the ground rules of European security, a desire underscored recently when Moscow pressed the West to agree to a new European security charter proposed by President Dmitry Medvedev.

-Lead Us Not . . .
Basic campaign finance reform might discourage future 'pay for play' chicanery. AS THE EXAMPLE of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) illustrates in profane, sickening detail, you can't legislate morality. But you can reduce the opportunities for temptation. Illinois offers useful guidance on how to accomplish that.

Wall Street Journal

-Mitch McConnell's Finest Hour
The same can't be said for President Bush on the auto bailout. In the Senate's Thursday night automobile showdown, the United Auto Workers said "No thanks" to a bailout with strings attached. Most Senate Republicans took them at their word and voted to block the bill. But within hours, President Bush blinked and Treasury is now scrambling to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Who'd have thought Mr. Bush would want to join the long line of Detroit executives in caving to the UAW?

Miami Herald
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-Raúl Castro may not maintain ties to Venezuela's Chávez
Unlike his older brother, Cuban President Raúl Castro, who visits Venezuela this weekend, may keep an arm's length from Hugo Chávez.

Fort Report
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-Meet the GOP's wrecking crew
By Alex Koppelman and Mike Madden
Why did a small group of Southern Republicans turn the auto bailout into a demolition derby? Introducing the senators who hate unions and love foreign cars. On July 15, Bob Corker was a happy man.

-Editorial: Clinton should close our diplomats' religion deficit
A secretary of state's day is so filled with the pressing conflicts of the moment that it's extraordinarily difficult to find the time to think about the larger trends shaping the world. The job prizes action more than reflection.

-Poll Shows Obama Gains Support
Public Roots for His Success in Face of Economic Crisis but Is Wary of Big Spending
President-elect Barack Obama is entering the White House with an enormous reservoir of goodwill from an American public that is rooting for his success in the face of bad economic times, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.


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