Saturday, January 31, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - January 31, 2009

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New York Times
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-Supreme Court Steps Closer to Repeal of Evidence Ruling
In 1983, a young lawyer in the Reagan White House was hard at work on what he called in a memorandum "the campaign to amend or abolish the exclusionary rule" - the principle that evidence obtained by police misconduct cannot be used against a defendant.

-Daschle Pays 3 Years of Tax on Use of Car
President Obama's pick for health and human services secretary, Tom Daschle, failed to pay more than $128,000 in taxes, partly for free use of a car and driver that had been provided to him by a prominent businessman and Democratic fund-raiser, administration officials said Friday.

-Republicans Choose First Black Party Chairman
The Republican National Committee chose Michael Steele, an African-American, as party chairman on Friday, putting a new face on a beleaguered party as it seeks the right posture to take on President Obama and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress.

-After Departure, No Leader for U.S. AIDS Program
The abrupt departure of the State Department's global AIDS coordinator has led to debate over who should run what may be President Bush's most important achievement: his commitment of billions of dollars to fighting AIDS overseas.

-Stimulus Plan Encounters Stiff Resistance in Senate
Senate Republicans and even some Democrats are pressing for big changes to the $819 billion economic stimulus package the House passed this week, setting the stage for a bruising debate over tax cuts and spending that will test the Obama White House.

-Rising Acidity Is Threatening Food Web of Oceans, Science Panel Says
The oceans have long buffered the effects of climate change by absorbing a substantial portion of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. But this benefit has a catch: as the gas dissolves, it makes seawater more acidic. Now an international panel of marine scientists says this acidity is accelerating so fast it threatens the survival of coral reefs, shellfish and the marine food web generally.

-Editorial: Help for 11 Million Children
Congress is moving rapidly to rectify the Bush administration's shameful refusal to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or S-chip, to cover substantially more low- and middle-income children. That is especially important now when so many workers are losing their jobs and health benefits.

Washington Post
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-'Palestine Today Is an Open-Air Prison'
Tensions between Israel and Turkey broke into the open at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted Israel for its offensive in Gaza. Excerpts from Erdogan's interview with Newsweek-The Post's Lally Weymouth:

-The House's Modern-Day Hoovers
By Colbert I. King
Republicans are given to saying and doing the darnedest things. Remember last fall when House Republicans, led by Minority Leader John Boehner, whined that they were forced to kill the Bush administration's bank bailout bill because Speaker Nancy Pelosi had given a speech that hurt their feelings?

-THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM: Using the Holocaust to Attack the Jews
By Walter Reich
Dozens of cities held ceremonies last week to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The good news is that the dead were remembered. The bad news is that even as the Holocaust is becoming a fixture in the world's memory, it is also being increasingly used as a weapon against the Jews and the Jewish state.

-Mr. Mitchell in the Mideast
The Obama administration would do well to follow the advice he already offered -- eight years ago. GEORGE MITCHELL, the Obama administration's new Middle East envoy, encountered a grim landscape on a tour of the region this week. The conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to simmer; no cease-fire has been agreed to. Moderate Palestinian leaders and U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia and even Turkey are furious about the heavy loss of life and continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But Israel is drifting to the right. The leader in polls for next month's election is Binyamin Netanyahu, who favors postponing an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement indefinitely -- and promises to "finish the work" in Gaza.

-A Multi-Pronged Bank Plan
Administration Finalizing Strategy, Probably Won't Toughen Pay Restrictions
By David Cho
The Obama administration has finished drafting the central elements of its plan to rescue the financial markets and is gathering feedback from regulators and Wall Street executives, sources familiar with the matter said yesterday.

-Admiration Turns to Anger as Wall St. Bosses Feather Nests
By Frank Ahrens
In times of prosperity, Wall Street executives are highly paid heroes to be emulated. Eye-popping corporate profits and pocket-lining dividends are celebrated like Super Bowl wins and Oscar sweeps. In bad times, like now, the Wall Street Gotbucks find themselves fallen idols on the wrong side of a quick and vicious shift, chastised by President Obama, powerful senators and subpoena-wielding lawmen. Not to mention angry taxpayers who lost savings on Wall Street and who now fund its bailout.

-Bishop Apologizes to Pope but Does Not Retract Holocaust Denial
By Francis X. Rocca
VATICAN CITY, Jan. 30 -- A Holocaust-denying bishop who was readmitted to the Catholic Church apologized Friday to Pope Benedict XVI for the "unnecessary distress and problems" caused by his "imprudent remarks."

Wall Street Journal
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-Obama Touts Middle-Class Task Force Led by Biden
President Barack Obama signed a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" for labor unions in their struggles with management. Mr. Obama also used the occasion at the White House to announce formally a new White House task force on the problems of middle-class Americans. He named Vice President Joe Biden as its chairman. (Read more about the White House plan.)

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-Exxon Mobil shatters US record with $45.2 billion annual profit despite year-end oil plunge
Exxon Mobil Corp. on Friday reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for a U.S. company, even as its fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago. The previous record for annual profit was $40.6 billion, which the world's largest publicly traded oil company set in 2007.,0,2193063.story

Miami Herald
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-Worst of recession is yet to come, economists say
The nation's economy has just suffered through its worst quarter since the early 1980s, and most experts expect the misery to continue through all of 2009.

Fort Report
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-15 lawmakers to join Obama to watch Super Bowl
He met at the White House with congressional leaders from both parties. He went to Capitol Hill for private meetings with House and Senate Republicans. President Barack Obama even schmoozed with a group over cocktails at the executive mansion. How far is he willing to press his push for bipartisanship? All the way to the Super Bowl.,w-barack-obama-super-bowl-plans.article

-Are you with Obama or Rush?
President Obama and a key outside ally are stepping up efforts to ensure passage of the massive economic stimulus package, reaching out to Congress with both carrots and sticks.

-Conyers-Rove showdown postponed
The John Conyers-Karl Rove showdown has been delayed. Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, agreed on Friday to postpone the deadline on the Rove subpoena for three weeks, giving the Obama administration time to decide how it wants to handle the issue of executive privilege and congressional subpoenas.

-State Department To Blackwater: You're Fired, Leave Iraq by May
$1.2 Billion Contract Won't Be Renewed Following Iraqi Refusal to License U.S. Firm

-Putting A Face On The Minority Party
It's not too early to look forward to the fight for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
In the absence of a party leader with an outsized, charismatic personality -- think House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich circa 1993 -- a minority party has a hard time defining itself. And, like it or not, its presidential candidates tend to become the face of the party. [...] Running first was the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, with 67 percent wanting her to run; 30 percent did not want her in the 2012 race. Next came former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 62 percent (32 percent opposed), and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 61 percent (33 percent opposed). [...] In fourth place was Army Gen. David Petraeus with 49 percent (39 percent opposed). He was followed by another 2008 candidate, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 48 percent (47 percent opposed). The final five drew more opposition than support. Gingrich got the nod from 47 percent (48 percent opposed). Next were Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, 34 percent (36 percent opposed); former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 31 percent (61 percent opposed); Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, 23 percent (46 percent opposed); and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, 21percent (53 percent opposed).


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