Saturday, March 07, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - March 07, 2009

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Tonight! It's time for clocks to 'spring forward' 1 hour
Daylight saving time began early Sunday, meaning that clocks needed to be turned forward one hour as of 2 a.m.

New York Times
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-A Moderate Manifesto
You wouldn't know it some days, but there are moderates in this country - moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs. But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor - caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once. So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. W end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.

-The Big Dither
Published: March 5, 2009
Last month, in his big speech to Congress, President Obama argued for bold steps to fix America's dysfunctional banks. "While the cost of action will be great," he declared, "I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade."

-The Rove-Miers Deal
The House Judiciary Committee has hammered out what appears to be a good deal to compel Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to testify about the United States attorneys scandal. Although it makes a few unfortunate concessions, the agreement is strong where it matters - requiring the two former Bush administration officials to testify under oath about the improper politicization of the Justice Department.

-Three Blind Mice
The Republicans have reached a new low, literally. According to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the percentage of Americans who view the Republican Party positively is at an all-time low. Meanwhile, President Obama's positive rating is at an all-time high, and the Democratic Party's positive rating is near its high.

-Justices Erase Ruling That Allowed Detention
The Supreme Court on Friday erased a lower-court ruling on perhaps the most fundamental national security question of all: Does the president have the power to order the indefinite military detention of legal residents of the United States?

-Crash Injures Zimbabwe Premier
HARARE, Zimbabwe - The prime minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, was hurt and his wife, Susan, was killed Friday when an S.U.V. carrying them was sideswiped by a truck that delivers American-supplied medicines about 45 miles south of the capital, American officials said Saturday.

-Madoff Expected to Plead Guilty Thursday
Bernard L. Madoff is expected to plead guilty on Thursday to charges that he operated a worldwide $50 billion Ponzi scheme, according to court documents filed late Friday.

-Judges Uphold Bribery Conviction of a Former Alabama Governor
A federal appeals court panel in Atlanta upheld the bribery conviction of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama on Friday, giving new weight to a prosecution that Democrats have contended was an example of political use of the courts during the Bush administration.

-Doctoral Candidates Anticipate Hard Times
Chris Pieper began looking for an academic job in sociology about six months ago, sending off about two dozen application packets. The results so far? Two telephone interviews, and no employment offers.

Washington Post
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-Job Losses Could Drown Stimulus
Unemployment Soars to 1983 Level, Testing U.S. Response
By Neil Irwin and Annys Shin
The nation is losing jobs so quickly that the government, racing to deal with the crisis, is having trouble keeping up. The U.S. unemployment rate last month leapt half a percentage point, to 8.1 percent, the highest level since 1983, according to data released yesterday. The stunning pace of job losses raises the possibility that, perhaps as early as this summer, one in 10 Americans will be out of a job even though they are actively looking for work. It also means that the government faces even more pressure to take further action to stabilize the economy and the financial system.

-In Obama Tax Plan, A Shift of Wealth From the Top Down
By Lori Montgomery
It has been called a Robin Hood budget: The spending plan President Obama sent to Congress last week would give the poor new tax cuts, new college loans and a new health care system by taking nearly $1 trillion from the rich in new taxes. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and other Republicans are blasting the plan as "socialist" and accusing the administration of "class warfare." Even Democrats are balking at a key element of the plan, a proposal to raise money for health care reform by limiting the value of itemized deductions, including on mortgage interest and charitable contributions, for the nation's top earners.

-With Obama in Charge, Reid Returns to Preferred Role
By Shailagh Murray
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid defined the terms of his relationship with the newly elected president when he announced in early January: "I do not work for Barack Obama. I work with him."

-Limbaugh's Audience Size? It's Largely Up in the Air
By Paul Farhi
How many people actually listen to Rush Limbaugh, the radio talk titan White House officials have spent the past week characterizing as "the head of the Republican Party"?

-2 Kenyan Rights Activists Slain
Pair Had Been Campaigning Against Illegal Killings by Police
By Stephanie McCrummen
NAIROBI, March 6 -- Human rights groups, U.N. officials and Kenya's prime minister on Friday called for an independent investigation into the execution-style killings of two Kenyan human rights activists, as political tensions are once again rising in this East African nation. In what appeared to be an ambush, Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulu were shot at close range Thursday while their car was stuck or deliberately trapped in traffic in downtown Nairobi, witnesses told the Associated Press. Two gunmen fled.

Wall Street Journal

-Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad Will Resign
Associated Press
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The Palestinian Prime Minister submitted his resignation Saturday, a move that could help pave the way for an elusive power-sharing deal between Palestinian moderates and militants.

-The GOP's Limbaugh Dilemma
Radio Host's Prominence Underscores Party's Challenge to Forge New Identity
Rush Limbaugh is right where he wants to be and right where the White House wants him: in the news. But Republicans have more mixed feelings about the controversial talk radio host's recent elevation.

-Obama Channels Cheney
Obama adopts Bush view on the powers of the presidency. The Obama Administration this week released its predecessor's post-9/11 legal memoranda in the name of "transparency," producing another round of feel-good Bush criticism. Anyone interested in President Obama's actual executive-power policies, however, should look at his position on warrantless wiretapping. Dick Cheney must be smiling.

Miami Herald
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-What to do if you lose your job
If you have lost your job, the first thing you should do is apply for unemployment. ''People wait for some reason or another. You can't get those weeks back,'' said Kelly Allen, a spokeswoman for Workforce One of Broward. The government-funded entity helps job seekers find work and employers who are hiring -- at no charge. Here are some other suggestions for what to do next.

Fort Report
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-While fighting earmarks in budget bill, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison tops list
of Texas' earmarkers
Todd J. Gillman contributed to this report.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison fought against earmarks this week, urging her colleagues to trim wasteful spending from a $410 billion bill and even voting to strip all 8,500 earmarks from the measure. Yet Hutchison also was the state's biggest sponsor of earmarks - more than $150 million for Texas.

-Obama: Endure, Find Opportunity in Time of Crisis
Sounding theme of hope, Obama encourages citizens to endure, then prosper from big challenge
President Barack Obama appealed Saturday to his fellow citizens to endure, find opportunity in these hard times and ultimately prosper from the challenge.

-I Would Still Vote Obama
Christopher Buckley
A self-loathing elitist responds. My old and dear friend Peter Robinson (we single-handedly won the Cold War together as Bush I speechwriters at the White House in the early 1980s) takes me to task Friday on for having recognized--finally, after all these weeks--that President Obama is a hard-left ideologue big-spender. He also congratulates David Gergen and David Brooks for similarly having come to their senses.

-Dean for surgeon general?
Howard Dean has said he doesn't want the job. The White House hasn't even contacted him about it. But that hasn't stopped Dean admirers from pushing his name for surgeon general, a post that opened up Thursday when CNN's Sanjay Gupta removed his name from consideration.

-The TNR Roundtable Part 5: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?
by Elizabeth Rubin
Obama should back the ICC.
To: Alex de Waal, Richard Just, Eric Reeves, Alan Wolfe
I would like to respond to Alan's final question which gets to the heart of all the debates in recent years on justice versus peace and the nature of interventions. Alan ends by saying that perhaps the ICC should have thought about the political consequences of its decision especially when those consequences may prove so harmful.

-Census Bureau said to be behind schedule, computer glitches may affect 2010 count
With the 2010 census fast approaching, computer glitches, operational missteps and ballooning costs could overwhelm the government's ability to conduct the once-a-decade count of the nation's population, congressional investigators said Thursday. Reports released by the Government Accountability Office show critical preparations for the 2010 census are behind schedule and the Census Bureau has no clear strategy for improving the count of hard-to-reach minorities.,0,3356182.story


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