Friday, February 13, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - February 13, 2009

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New York Times
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-Op-Ed Columnist: Failure to Rise
By any normal political standards, this week's Congressional agreement on an economic stimulus package was a great victory for President Obama. He got more or less what he asked for: almost $800 billion to rescue the economy, with most of the money allocated to spending rather than tax cuts. Break out the Champagne!

-Op-Ed Columnist: The Worst-Case Scenario
Between 1990 and 2007, the total mortgage debt held by Americans rose from $2.5 trillion to $10.5 trillion. This rise was part of a societal credit bubble that burst in 2008. To cushion the pain of that collapse, federal authorities decided to replace private debt with public debt.

-Editorial: Mr. Tsvangirai's Leap of Faith
One can only wonder what Robert Mugabe was thinking as his political rival and now partner, Morgan Tsvangirai, was sworn in Wednesday as Zimbabwe's prime minister. In his inaugural speech, Mr. Tsvangirai promised a virtual revolution: rule of law, political freedoms, independent news media, economic reform, food for needy Zimbabweans regardless of party affiliation.

Washington Post
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-Gregg Withdraws As Commerce Pick
Republican Senator Cites Policy Disagreements As Congress Prepares to Vote on Stimulus Plan
By Anne E. Kornblut and Michael D. Shear
Saying he "made a mistake," Republican Sen. Judd Gregg withdrew yesterday as the nominee for commerce secretary, dealing a fresh blow to President Obama's quest to fill out his Cabinet and dramatically undercutting his efforts to forge a new bipartisanship in the capital.

-Snap, Crackle, Pot
By Kathleen Parker
Drink and drive and it's grrrrrrrr-eat! Smoke pot and your flakes are frosted, dude. So seems the message from Kellogg's, which has decided not to renew its sponsorship contract with Michael Phelps after the Olympian was photographed smoking marijuana at a party in South Carolina.

-OUTLOOK PREVIEW: Nationalize the Banks! We're all Swedes Now
By Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini
The U.S. banking system is close to being insolvent, and unless we want to become like Japan in the 1990s -- or the United States in the 1930s -- the only way to save it is nationalization.

-'My Mistake'
Commerce secretary? Never mind.
ON A DAY when President Obama hoped to bask in the glow of an agreement in Congress on the massive economic stimulus bill, he had to contend with yet another high-profile withdrawal from his Cabinet. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) withdrew his nomination yesterday to become commerce secretary. He cited the stimulus package, direction of the census and an inability to be "100 percent with the team" as driving his decision to drop out a week after his selection.

-At Wal-Mart, a Health-Care Turnaround
Once Criticized, Company Is Now an Innovator in Employee Coverage
By Ceci Connolly
Washington policymakers contemplating a fundamental overhaul of the nation's troubled health-care system may want to study the saga of Wal-Mart.

-Austria: Priests criticize pope's bishop pick
VIENNA -- A group of Austrian priests has vehemently criticized Pope Benedict XVI's decision to promote an ultraconservative pastor who suggested Hurricane Katrina was provoked by sin in New Orleans, the group's head said Wednesday.

Wall Street Journal

-Obama's Antiterror Progress
He embraces Bush policies on secrecy, rendition. President Obama has done a masterful job disguising his Administration's growing antiterror maturity, but this week produced further evidence that he is erring on the side of keeping the country safe rather than appeasing the political left. The Justice Department filed to dismiss a federal appeals case involving rendition, embracing an argument developed by . . . the Bush Administration.


-Detention should not be a growth business
Prison management is expanding as the U.S. government seeks help from private companies in detaining immigrants being ordered out of the country.,0,1881247.story

Pew Research center
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-Money Matters
Jobs Worries Climb the Economic Ladder
For the public, the continuing financial crisis has been overtaken by a jobs crisis; the proportion citing jobs or unemployment as the nation's most important economic problem has more than quadrupled to 42% since early October and concern about job loss has climbed steeply among affluent Americans. Read more

-Immigrant Latino Unemployment Rises Sharply
Job loss data reveal a rapidly worsening situation for foreign-born Hispanics, native-born Hispanics and blacks in the labor market. Read more

-Stimulus News Seen as More Negative Than Positive
Many Americans say they want more information about specifics of the economic rescue proposals -- and less about Michael Phelps and the octuplets. Read more

-Meet the Press
The New Face of Washington's Press Corps
As mainstream media decline, niche and foreign outlets grow, and the transformation will markedly alter what Americans will know and not know about government. Read more

More and More Mobile Americans Take to Tweeting
About one-in-ten online adults now use Twitter or a similar 'micro-blogging' service that allows them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others. Read more

-Foreign Affairs
The Globe's Emerging Middle Classes
As economically developing countries grow prosperous, their middle classes understandably become more satisfied with their lives and their values become more like those of the publics of advanced nations. Read more

-All You Need is Love
Cupid's Arrow Often Hits People of Different Faiths
More than one-in-four (27%) American adults who are married or living with a partner are in religiously mixed relationships. Read more

-Daily Number
63% - Reject Darwin's Theory of Evolution
In the 150 years since he published his groundbreaking On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, and the 200 years since the date of his birth celebrated this week, Charles Darwin has failed to convince the majority of Americans of the validity of his theories. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-Obama's winning ugly, but he's winning
The White House is making policy in public, and it's messy.
By Mike Madden

-GOP Targets Stimulus Supporters In New Ad
Posted by Brian Montopoli
The National Republican Congressional Committee today began running radio ads targeting 30 House Democrats who supported the stimulus package - or, as the NRCC puts it, "a trillion-dollar spending bill chock full of wasteful Washington spending."

-Congress readies final vote on $790B stimulus bill after overcoming
last-minute snags
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted Friday that Congress will finish its work on a massive, $790 billion economic stimulus plan, possibly by day's end, giving President Barack Obama a big victory.,1,4954815.story

-Poll: 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis,28804,1877351_1878509,00.html

-Gregg's Withdrawal Becomes a Partisan Issue
By Paul Kane
To hear him tell it, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) withdrew as President Obama's nominee for commerce secretary to remain "my own man" -- the principled loner who chafes at taking orders.


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