Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - February 25, 2009

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New York Times
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Paging Uncle Sam
Seoul, South Korea: It is very useful to come to Asia to be reminded about America's standing in the world these days. For all the talk in recent years about America's inevitable decline, all eyes are not now on Tokyo, Beijing, Brussels or Moscow - nor on any other pretenders to the world heavyweight crown. All eyes are on Washington to pull the world out of its economic tailspin. At no time in the last 50 years have we ever felt weaker, and at no time in the last 50 years has the world ever seen us as more important.

-I Ponied Up for Sheryl Crow?
LOS ANGELES: Talk about being teed off. The economy is croaking and bankers are still partying at a golf tournament here on our dime.

-The Kindle Swindle?
BEING president of too many well-meaning organizations put my father into an early grave. The lesson in this was not lost on me. But now I am president of the Authors Guild, whose mission is to sustain book-writing as a viable occupation. This borders on quixotic, given all the new ways of not getting paid that new technology affords authors. A case in point: Amazon's Kindle 2, which was released yesterday.

-Analyzing Obama's Speech to Congress
Interactive video and transcript of President Obama's address before a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, with annotations from New York Times reporters.

-Strikes Worsen Qaeda Threat, Pakistan Says
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - American missile strikes have reduced Al Qaeda's global reach but heightened the threat to Pakistan as the group disperses its cells here and fights to maintain its sanctuaries, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

-Citing Cost, States Consider End to Death Penalty
When Gov. Martin O'Malley appeared before the Maryland Senate last week, he made an unconventional argument that is becoming increasingly popular in cash-strapped states: abolish the death penalty to cut costs.

-G.I.'s Attacked by Iraqis in Uniforms
BAGHDAD - American soldiers were attacked, and one was reported killed, by Iraqi insurgents wearing police uniforms in Mosul on Tuesday, making it at least the third attack in the restive northern city in the past two months by Iraqis wearing the uniforms of security officers.

Washington Post
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-Faith-Based Initiative
Can Obama Restore Our Belief in Government?
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
President Obama's message to the nation Tuesday night was plain and unequivocal: The era of bashing government is over. So, too, is the folklore of a marketplace capable of producing abundance without regulation, government oversight or public intervention. Addressing the deepest crisis of confidence in the market system since the Great Depression, Obama argued that the economic downturn, far from being an excuse for backing away from his ambitious plans, makes his proposals in health care, energy and education imperative.

-The Jindal Phenomenon
By Michael Gerson
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- selected to deliver the Republicans' Fat Tuesday response to President Obama -- might also be voted the man least likely to let the good times roll. Slight, earnest, deeply religious and supremely wonkish, Jindal resembles neither his flamboyant predecessors as governor nor his reveling, 30-something contemporaries on Bourbon Street. Somehow the hall-monitoring, library-inhabiting, science-fair-winning class president has seized control of the Big Easy. And his coup has been an inspiration to policy geeks everywhere.

-Another Star in Chicago
By Harold Meyerson
In March of 2004, a few days before the Illinois Democratic senatorial primary, I wrote a column for this page headlined "A Bright Hope in Illinois." It was, I believe, the first column for a daily newspaper outside Illinois devoted to a rising young pol named Barack Obama. Bolstered by polling that showed Obama to be the clear leader in the race, I fearlessly predicted that he'd become Illinois' next senator and quoted the assessment of Jan Schakowsky, the Democratic member of Congress from Chicago's Gold Coast district, that Obama would "march right onto the national stage and the international stage."

-Anatomy of a Presidential Address
VIDEO | Watch step-by-step analysis, fact-checking and video highlights as Obama makes case for economic agenda.

-Rescuing Pakistan from the Taliban
In its 60-plus turbulent years as an independent country, Pakistan has been held together by its music, poetry, films, literature and sports. Pakistan is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, but culture -- not religion -- is the glue that binds people in this critical U.S.-allied country. But now the Taliban are grafting an alien form of Islam onto Pakistan, with dire consequences for Pakistanis, the region and possibly the world. Earlier this month the Pakistani government and army made a deal with the Taliban and gave them control of the Swat valley. The government ceded this region near the Afghan border after countless suicide attacks resulted in the loss of many military and civilian lives.

-Northern Trust faces scrutiny for event spending
The Associated Press
Northern Trust Corp., a bank that received $1.6 billion in government funds, is facing scrutiny for hosting parties and other events connected to its sponsorship of a professional golf tournament.

Wall Street Journal
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- Photos From Obama's Address

-Mardi Gras Revives, but Shooting Scars Party
Turnout in New Orleans Is Highest Since Katrina; Two Gunmen Arrested After
Spree Along Parade Route
New Orleans celebrated the biggest Mardi Gras since Hurricane Katrina's devastation in 2005, but Fat Tuesday's revelry was marred by a shooting spree along a popular parade route

-Photos: Mardi Gras Revelry in New Orleans

-Five Key Steps After a Layoff
One of the worst parts of being laid off is coping with fear and confusion about what's ahead. You may not be able to control your exit. But you can make decisions about your money and how it will get you through the transition. So what do you do? Take a deep breath; don't rush to pull the kids out of piano lessons or soccer. Instead, start working on a new financial plan. The new stimulus package, which extends unemployment benefits and helps subsidize health-insurance costs, should help. Then consider these five elements that your plan should include:

Fort Report
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-Fifteen Things We Learned (Or Relearned) About Barack Obama and His Presidency
1. He smartly plans to ignore the media's fetishistic obsession with how he balances optimism and realism.
2. Michelle Obama (and her popularity) will not go unused by the administration as a valuable asset.
3. He appreciates Joe Biden, even when he wants to muzzle him (which is often) - and Biden is gamely taking to his role as public comic sidekick.
4. The president has a good ear for the level of populist outrage he needs to exhibit to satisfy the public's anger over Wall Street shenanigans.
5. If Republicans weren't sufficiently worried about the size and reach of Obama's megaphone before Tuesday night, they should ramp up their concern now.
6. Obama truly believes he is at the beginning of four-year teaching moment for the American people - and that his students are mature enough and interested enough to actually learn.
7. He's Mr. Cool, then, now and forever.
8. He knows that confidence is key - as much for him as for the country.
9. Like his predecessor, he feels no need to be loved by members of the Washington political power structure (but unlike his predecessor, he's not hostile to it).
10. He's doing his homework and he knows his history.
11. He's well aware of the audience(s) in the room and the audience(s) at home (and how those bodies interact and dovetail).
12. Education is the sleeper issue of this administration.
13. He seems genuinely inspired by the power and opportunities of the presidency (and has not become overwhelmed by the responsibilities, despite the overwhelming circumstances).
14. Youth + competence = a refreshing antidote to these exhausting times.
15. The man can give a heck of a speech - and has a close to perfect record of delivering at big moments.

-Palin to pay Alaska for kids' trips
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will reimburse the state nearly $7,000 for costs associated with nine trips taken by her children, her attorney said Tuesday. Palin must reimburse the state within 120 days, according to a settlement agreement filed by a special investigator hired by the Alaska Personnel Board to investigate an ethics complaint filed against her.

-The Gatekeeper: Rahm Emanuel on the job.
by Ryan Lizza
Rahm Emanuel's office, which is no more than a three-second walk from the Oval Office, is as neat as a Marine barracks. On his desk, the files and documents, including leatherbound folders from the National Security Council, are precisely arranged, each one parallel with the desk's edge. During a visit hours before Congress passed President Barack Obama's stimulus package, on Friday, February 13th, I absently jostled one of Emanuel's heavy wooden letter trays a few degrees off kilter. He glared at me disapprovingly. Next to his computer monitor is a smaller screen that looks like a handheld G.P.S. device and tells Emanuel where the President and senior White House officials are at all times. Over all, the office suggests the workspace of someone who, in a more psychologized realm than the West Wing of the White House and with a less exacting job than that of the President's chief of staff, might be cited for "control issues."


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