Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - March 24, 2009

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New York Times
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-Strip-Search of Girl Tests Limit of School Policy
Savana Redding still remembers the clothes she had on - black stretch pants with butterfly patches and a pink T-shirt - the day school officials here forced her to strip six years ago. She was 13 and in eighth grade. An assistant principal, enforcing the school's antidrug policies, suspected her of having brought prescription-strength ibuprofen pills to school. One of the pills is as strong as two Advils.

-Hail to the Chief - in Public, That Is
By Richard Reeves
President Obama must have been a bit surprised when, on his 54th day in office, the former vice president, Richard Cheney, decided to go on television and brand him a danger to the Republic. " "He is," said Cheney, "making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack."

-Combat and Community
Wardak Province, Afghanistan:
You drive up to the forward operating base in Wardak Province in an armored Humvee, with the machine-gunner sticking up through the roof and his butt swinging on a little perch just by your head. Outside there's a scraggly downtown, with ragamuffin Afghan children, almost no old people (the median life expectancy is 45) and dust everywhere. The dust of Afghanistan piles up in front of the storefronts and covers the ruins of the buildings destroyed during the Soviet period, or during the civil war or during some lost conflict from centuries past.

-Obama Flinches on Immigration
In a little-noticed act of political faintheartedness, the Obama administration has pulled back from nominating Thomas Saenz, a highly regarded civil-rights lawyer and counsel to the mayor of Los Angeles, to run the Justice Department's civil rights division.

-Nominate and Wait
ROBERT C. BYRD, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, chastised the Obama administration last month for using White House policy czars to undermine the president's own cabinet. "At the worst," he wrote to President Obama, "White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials."

Washington Post
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-Consider This: NPR Achieves Record Ratings
By Paul Farhi
At a time when newspapers, magazines and TV news continue to lose readers and viewers, at least one part of the traditional media has continued to grow robustly: National Public Radio.

-Geithner Asks Congress for Broad Power to Seize Firms
Goal Is to Limit Risk to Broader Economy
By Binyamin Appelbaum, David Cho and Debbi Wilgoren
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner today told Congress the administration will seek unprecedented power to seize non-bank financial companies whose collapse could jeopardize the economy, a move Geithner said would have allowed the government to bail out insurance giant American International Group at a far lower cost to taxpayers.

-AIG Employees to Repay $50 Million in Bonuses
Executives at Troubled Unit Vow to Give Up Payments, Staving Off Cuomo
Threat to Release Names
By Brady Dennis
The e-mail went out at 6:46 p.m. on Friday.
It had been a brutal week inside AIG Financial Products. News that the firm had doled out more than $165 million in retention payments over the past week had angered the country and sent lawmakers into fits of rage. American International Group's president, Edward M. Liddy, had asked that the unit's employees consider returning some, if not all, of the money. New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo had subpoenaed AIG for a list of Financial Products employees and how much money each had received.

-Community Policing Defines Nominee to Lead Drug Office
As Seattle Police Chief, Kerlikowske Is Known for Pragmatism
By Amy Goldstein
Ten months after R. Gil Kerlikowske became Seattle's police chief, two of his officers arrived at the home of JoAnna McKee, where she ran a co-op giving medical marijuana to patients and teaching them to grow their own. Neighbors, the police told her, had been complaining. Soon, a "cease and desist" order was tacked to her door.

-Churchill takes stand in lawsuit to reclaim job
A former University of Colorado professor, assailed for likening Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi leader and fired for alleged plagiarism, testified in court Monday that the 2001 terrorist attacks were "perfectly predictable." Ward Churchill took the stand in his lawsuit seeking to get his job back at the university, where he was a tenured professor of ethnic studies.

-Saudis awaiting change from religious police
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Visitors to a women's job training center heard terrified screams _ and rushed to see an agent of the religious police dragging a woman by her hair down the stairs of the building.

-The End of Dollar Dominance?
By John Pomfret
Are the Chinese just worried about the sagging value of the $1.4 trillion in U.S. Treasuries they hold or are they really on to something? That's the big question now that China's central banker, Zhou Xiaochuan, has called for the greenback to be jettisoned as the world's dominant currency and replaced by a new type of benchmark controlled by the International Monetary Fund.

-The Repairman's Burden
By Eugene Robinson
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is a repairman, not a revolutionary. Contrary to the impression he sometimes gives, he does understand why the Sun King excesses of Wall Street's pampered executives make people so angry. Essentially, though, he blames the players, not the game.

Wall Street Journal
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-Madoff Trustee Locates Assets of $75 Million
A lawyer for the court-appointed trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff's firm confirmed they have located an additional $75 million in Madoff assets -- a figure that would put the total above $1 billion. A lawyer for the court-appointed trustee also said Monday that French authorities are moving to seize Mr. Madoff's residence in France, to satisfy claims by victims in that country. The residence in Cap d'Antibes, France, was valued at about $1 million, according to a statement of Madoff's assets as of Dec. 31, 2008.

-Bill Would Limit Corporate Campaign Fund Raising
Democratic leaders, riding public sentiment against corporate influence in Washington, will attempt to rein in the role of corporations and lobbyists in fund raising for congressional elections. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, is set to introduce a bipartisan bill this week that would give congressional candidates the option of financing their campaigns partly through a public fund, in exchange for limiting their funding from corporate political-action committees.

-Message to Iran Shows Strategy Shift
Write to Gerald F. Seib at
When President Barack Obama sent a video message to Iran marking the Persian New Year last week, it ran to just 556 words. But that brief message spoke volumes about the strategy that lies behind his oft-repeated pledge to reach out to Tehran.

-Three Companies to Back Proposal on Union Bill
Three big retailers are expected to back an alternative proposal next week on a hotly contested bill that would make it easier to unionize workplaces, a move some experts said would bolster the legislation's chance of passage. Costco Wholesale Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Whole Foods Market Inc. are supporting the alternative proposal, according to someone familiar with the effort. Ray Krupin, a management labor lawyer in Washington said the most likely compromise would allow employees to unionize if 70% of them sign union-authorization cards, as opposed to 50% as currently proposed in the Employee Free Choice Act.

Miami Herald
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-Why Iran is angry
Most Americans vilify Iran and somehow don't know or have forgotten that, in 1953, the United States toppled a democratically elected government there and installed the shah to get a better deal on -- and control of -- its oil. The shah spent decades terrorizing and killing his own people using state police trained by the CIA. That is why there was so much anger toward the United States when Iranians took our diplomats hostage. During the most recent Bush administration, a huge U.S. armada was positioned off Iran, and there was a formidable military build-up. Is Iran not supposed to feel threatened? Iran has not attacked a country in 400 years. Can the United States or Israel claim that they haven't attacked anyone in the past 10? Once again, too many Americans have been trained to hate an entire people that has suffered from our actions. I am glad that President Obama is reaching out. He needs to take concrete action, such as withdrawing the armada and not unconditionally backing Israel. JOHN A. STARNES JR., Tampa

Fort Report
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-Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney
By Molly K. Hooper
Congressional Republicans are telling Dick Cheney to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input. Displeased with the former vice-president's recent media appearances, Republican lawmakers say he's hurting GOP efforts to reinvent itself after back-to-back electoral drubbings.

-No Retreat, No Surrender
by E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Obama's reeling a bit, but the larger challenge is to take on those who would indefinitely delay health care reform, energy conservation, and the expansion of educational opportunities. President Obama's biggest task at his news conference on Tuesday will not be to defend Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner or to push aside the administration's bungling of the AIG bonus imbroglio. It will be to challenge Washington's habit of evading substantive issues by transforming them into procedural questions.

-EPA says global warming a public danger
The White House is reviewing a proposed finding by the U.S. environmental agency that global warming is a threat to public health and welfare.


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