Friday, February 06, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - February 06, 2009

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New York Times
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-High Stakes for Obama at Weekend Security Conference
The Obama administration is facing its first big international test this weekend as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. heads to a conference in Europe in the face of a confrontational stance from an old cold war adversary.

-A Diverse Group of Senators at Center Stage in Economic Debate
There's a new gang in town. Its members - a bipartisan group of about 20 senators - spent Thursday shuttling in and out of a nondescript committee room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, occasionally ordering staff members into the hallway to allow for more candid discussion on how to broker a political bailout of the economic recovery legislation.

-Obama Set to Name Economic Panel
President Obama is set to appoint on Friday a new team of outside economic advisers, led by a former Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, to offer independent advice to help the White House craft a response to the nation's growing recession.

-Pakistan Lifts Restrictions on Nuclear Scientist
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A Pakistani court ruled Friday that the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who was accused of selling nuclear technology abroad, was no longer under house arrest and was free to move around the country.

-Kyrgyzstan Says Base Closing Is Final
BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan said on Friday its decision to shut a U.S. air base was final, dealing a blow to Washington's efforts to retain what has been an important staging post for U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan.

-Editorial: Getting Tough in Washington
We're happy to see President Obama getting tough with Congressional Republicans who are trying to sabotage the stimulus and recovery bill and bring even greater ruin on the economy. Since Mr. Obama campaigned on the promise of bipartisanship, we hope he will also bring his hammer down on shortsighted Democrats who are threatening their own brand of havoc.

-Op-Ed Columnist: On the Edge
A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clich├ęs about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts.

-Op-Ed Columnist: The Gang System
Barack Obama is a potentially transformational figure. In political style and intellectual outlook, he is unlike anything that has come before. On matters of policy substance, however, he's been pretty conventional. The policies he offered during the campaign matched those of just about every other Democrat.

-Editorial: Arpaio's America
It has come to this: In Phoenix on Wednesday, more than 200 men in shackles and prison stripes were marched under armed guard past a gantlet of TV cameras to a tent prison encircled by an electric fence. They were inmates being sent to await deportation in a new immigrant detention camp minutes from the center of America's fifth-largest city.

-Op-Ed Contributor: Please Raise My Taxes
Los Gatos, Calif.
I'M the chief executive of a publicly traded company and, like my peers, I'm very highly paid. The difference between salaries like mine and those of average Americans creates a lot of tension, and I'd like to offer a suggestion. President Obama should celebrate our success, rather than trying to shame us or cap our pay. But he should also take half of our huge earnings in taxes, instead of the current one-third.

Washington Post
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-A Holocaust Denier at the Church Door
By Michael Gerson
I recall sitting at a Kigali restaurant with a Tutsi woman who described the death of her younger sister, a university student, during the Rwandan genocide. The girl had been given up for murder by one of her own teachers, who was a nun. The survivor across from me, previously a Catholic, had never attended church again. In the sacrifice of the Mass, she could see only the sacrifice of her sister.

-Capitalist Punishment
By Harold Meyerson
We are in some ways still a nation of Puritans, and we don't much cotton to people who can't take care of themselves and end up sponging off our generosity. We demand that welfare recipients do an honest day's work for their checks. And now, since President Obama laid down the law Wednesday, we demand that the guys who ran our banking system into the ground abide by our pay scales in return for our bailing them out.

-OUTLOOK PREVIEW: A Liberal Revival of Americanism
By Michael Kazin
Barack Obama's rise to power has, to many people's surprise, once again made patriotism a liberal faith. At the pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, "This Land Is Your Land," lustily rendered by Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, shared equal billing with "The Star-Spangled Banner." In his inaugural address, the new president evoked "obscure" Americans who "toiled in sweatshops" or "endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth" as exemplary citizens, while denouncing those who "seek only the pleasures of riches and fame." Before him stretched a crowd of some 1.8 million admirers; many, to paraphrase Michelle Obama's controversial words from last winter, were surely as proud of their country as they had been in many years. That throng on the Mall was probably the largest pro-government demonstration in U.S. history. That spirit is probably strong enough to withstand the news that some high-placed Obama appointees had failed to pay their taxes -- and may even be bolstered by the president's apology for "screwing up" the process.

-Zimbabwe's False Hope
South Africa demands that the West aid a 'unity' government under Robert Mugabe. How to answer?

-Phelps Suspended For Three Months
Ban by USA Swimming Is Latest Fallout
By Amy Shipley
USA Swimming slapped Michael Phelps with a three-month suspension from competition and withdrew his monthly stipend yesterday in the latest and strongest response to the furor over a published photo that appeared to show him using marijuana.

-Afghanistan Appeal May Temper European Allies' Ardor for Obama
By Craig Whitlock
MUNICH, Feb. 5 -- European leaders cheered when Barack Obama was elected president in November. They cheered again when he proclaimed during his inaugural address that America was "ready to lead once more" in the world, and yet again when he pledged to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

-List Brings Home Impact of Madoff Scandal
Nearly 250 Washington Area Names in Court Filing Identifying Customers of
Investment Firm
By Dana Hedgpeth and Megan Greenwell
Nearly 250 Washington area names, including some of the region's most prominent and wealthiest business people, are on a new list of customers of the New York investment firm operated by Bernard L. Madoff, who is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

-Barack Obama
Obama Signs S-CHIP Legislation
By Anne E. Kornblut
President Obama signed legislation on Wednesday extending health insurance to millions of low-income children, ending a two-year Democratic effort to enact a bill that former president Bush had vetoed.

Wall Street Journal

-Obama's Trade Deflection
Will he stand up to his own party's protectionists?
Amid the bacchanal that is the Beltway stimulus debate, a rare note of sobriety has sounded. President Obama exercised some leadership on trade this week, and the Senate proceeded to water down the "Buy American" provisions in the House version.

-What's So Scary About Deflation? Read On
Lower prices may be manna to consumers, but they can cause economists to break out in cold sweats. Their fear: that one big D (deflation) will lead to another (depression). Recent economic data suggest that the U.S. may well be heading into its first significant bout of deflation since the early 1930s, with potentially major impact on consumers and investors. "That we are going to have deflation this year is a given," says A. Gary Shilling, deflation expert and president of economics consulting firm A. Gary Shilling & Co. "The real road test is whether we end up with chronic deflation."

-The GOP Has a Dumb Mortgage Idea
It contradicts the ideals of Republicanism and good economics. Few philosophers have done more good than Locke and Montesquieu, whose advocacy of divided government inspired America's Founders. Our history, and the less happy past of nations without checks and balances, suggests the wisdom of John Adams's statement: "a people cannot be long free, nor ever happy, whose government is in one Assembly." Today, the Senate Republicans bear the heavy burden of providing the primary check on one-party rule in America.

Miami Herald
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-Should there be limits on fertility?
Maybe we owe an apology to the doctors who made the birth announcement with such pride and excitement. The delivery of eight babies in five minutes was, they exhaled, ''amazing.'' The mom was ''incredibly courageous.'' All in all it was a ''very exciting day,'' a feat for which the 46-member medical team at the California hospital expected kudos and high fives.

-Bernard Madoff's Complete Client List [PDF}


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