Friday, February 27, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - February 27, 2009

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New York Times
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-Obama Plans to End Combat Mission in Iraq by August 2010
President Obama heads to one of the nation's most storied military bases Friday morning to unveil plans to pull most troops out of Iraq by August 2010 and he has support from an unlikely quarter - Senator John McCain, the Republican he beat in last year's election.

-Budget Choices Test Obama's Political Skills
Whatever else it is, President Obama's budget is a political gamble of the first order. In his ambition to put his own stamp on liberalism and to move domestic policy leftward, Mr. Obama has much going for him.

-U.S. Is Said to Agree to Raise Stake in Citigroup
The Treasury Department reached a deal late Thursday to take a stake of 30 to 40 percent in Citigroup as part of a third bailout of the embattled bank, according to several people close to the deal.

-U.S. Will Give Qaeda Suspect a Civilian Trial
The Justice Department, in an abrupt change in policy from the Bush administration, is preparing to bring terrorism-related charges against a man identified as an operative of Al Qaeda who has been held in a military brig for more than five years, government officials said Thursday.

-Palestinian Rivals Announce Steps Toward Healing Rift
CAIRO - Leaders of the rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah declared Thursday a "historic day" at the conclusion of a meeting here aimed at healing a 20-month schism.

-U.S. Is Arms Bazaar for Mexican Cartels
The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them. When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.

-The Drug Cartels' Right to Bear Arms
The hypocrisy grows all too gruesome: The Justice Department pronounced the Mexican drug cartels "a national security threat" this week, even as American gun dealers along the border were busily arming the cartels' murderous gangs. Mexico complains that American dealers supplied most of the 20,000 weapons seized last year in drug wars in which 6,000 Mexicans died.

-President Obama's Budget: Some Honesty About Taxes - Finally
President Obama's first budget recognizes what most of Washington has been too scared or ideologically blind to admit: to recover from George W. Bush's reckless economic policies, taxes must go up.

-Climate of Change
Elections have consequences. President Obama's new budget represents a huge break, not just with the policies of the past eight years, but with policy trends over the past 30 years. If he can get anything like the plan he announced on Thursday through Congress, he will set America on a fundamentally new course.

-The Uncertain Trumpet
On Tuesday night, President Obama talked about a national culture of irresponsibility. He talked about the way Americans have sacrificed the long term for the short term, spent more than they could afford, and how the country's leaders have broken promises and delayed reform. Obama described a rot that was ingrained and pervasive.

-President Obama's Budget: Progress on Health Care
Mr. Obama's budget plan makes a bold and long overdue commitment to overhaul the dysfunctional and far-too-costly American health care system. The plan will not guarantee affordable health coverage for all Americans, the ultimate goal, and it contains no blueprint for comprehensive reform of the system. Those issues will have to be thrashed out with Congress.

Washington Post
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-D.C. Rights, With a Bullet
The Senate offers the city a vote in the House -- at a cost. THE SENATE voted yesterday to give the people of Washington, D.C., a voting representative in Congress. It was a historic moment and should have been a moment for pure celebration. But both moment and measure were tarnished by a dangerous amendment that would strip D.C. officials of their rightful authority to regulate guns. Senators, perversely, offered the District a taste of democracy while at the same time not trusting it to run its own affairs.\

-Israel's Netanyahu Meets With Envoy Mitchell
By Aron Heller
JERUSALEM, Feb. 26 -- Israel's next leader sat face-to-face Thursday with a man whose vision of Israeli-Palestinian relations is radically different from his own: the Obama administration's new Middle East envoy.

Wall Street Journal
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-Senate Panel to Probe CIA Interrogations
The Senate intelligence committee is expected to open a new probe into the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation program as soon as Friday, congressional aides said, signaling a desire in Congress to examine Bush-era policies, even as President Barack Obama talks of looking to the future rather than the past.

Inside Higher Education
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-Gulf Withdrawal
United Arab Emirates: It's the kind of story that could have come straight out of Peter Stearns' new book. Discussing the potential pitfalls of setting up branch campuses in foreign lands, the George Mason University provost strikes a sober tone: "This is difficult terrain, with a shaky past; caution is abundantly justified," Stearns writes in Educating Global Citizens in Colleges and Universities: Challenges and Opportunities. The challenges presented by international branch campuses are now all too familiar for Stearns and his colleagues at George Mason. After three years developing a full degree-granting campus in the United Arab Emirates, the university is pulling out without producing a single graduate. Plagued by slow enrollment growth, funding problems and disagreements with the Emirates government organization that bankrolled the project, the model is no longer viable, Stearns said Thursday.

Pew Research center
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-The 4th Estate Formula
Newspapers Face a Challenging Calculus
The growth in readership online has not offset the decline in print for newspapers. Read more

-Economies of Scale
Harsh Words for Wall Street
An increasing number of Americans say the government's action on the economy is on the right track while Americans remain angry about the financial problems that contributed to the current crisis. Read more

-Supply & Demand: Crisis Eclipses All Other News
With the stimulus passed, the media moved on to other economic horror stories such as the mortgage bailout. Read more

-Budget Busting
With Crisis as Catalyst, State Governors Push Big Changes
State executives are using the economic crisis to sell big changes in how jurisdictions operate, promising overhauls that could alter governments around the country. Read more

-86% - Social Segregation
The voluntary social segregation in America, recently commented on by Attorney General Eric Holder, can be seen in Pew Research data showing that while most have a friend of a different race (86%), pluralities of whites, blacks and Hispanics have just a few. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-The GOP's New Colors
Michael Steele and Bobby Jindal don't look like the vast majority of Republicans. But do new faces mean new ideas?
By John Heilemann
Not long after Barack Obama delivers his pseudo-State of the Union on February 24, the official televised Republican riposte will be uncorked by a guy who violates almost every prevailing liberal stereotype of the contemporary GOP: the governor of Louisiana, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal. At 37, Jindal is the nation's youngest governor and the first Indian-American to win statewide office in U.S. history. The son of Punjabi immigrants, he's an Ivy League-educated Rhodes scholar and an unrepentant policy wonk, with heterodox views on his specialty, which is health care, and a reputation for competence as much as ideology. For all these reasons and others, Jindal strikes many savvy conservatives as the answer to their party's prayers: a brainy, precocious, multiculti change agent-a Republican Obama.

-Governor Jindal, Rising G.O.P. Star, Plummets After Speech
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has been a rising star in the Republican Party, but his stock took a hit as he was roundly panned for his televised response to President Obama's first speech to Congress on Tuesday night.

-Poll: Do you support raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for health care for the uninsured?


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