Daily Roundup

Thu 7/16 Roundup: HELP Pass This Bill, JP Morgan Chasing Goldman, Perry Mason

HELPLeader: HELP Pass This Bill

- The health care bill drafted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions came up for a vote yesterday, and passed along party lines, 13-10. The bill has taken criticism already from some industry players and moderate Democrats. The Senate Finance Committee is drafting their own bill, which is projected to be more amenable for Republicans. 

- An NY Times editorial comes out strongly in support of the health care bill just unveiled in the House.

- NPR's Steve Inskeep did a great interview with Senators Dodd and Hatch just before their vote in the HELP committee yesterday.


- New York AG Andrew Cuomo has significantly outraised Governor David Paterson so far this year.  Cuomo is still cagey about his gubernatorial aspirations, but he's widely seen as a likely primary challenger to Paterson.

- Sonia Sotomayor's hearings went into their third day yesterday.  In an analysis piece, the WaPo says that Republicans have failed to pin her down with any of the labels they'd like to stick on her.


- JP Morgan Chase followed Goldman Sachs in announcing stellar profits in the second quarter this year.  Good news for the New York economy, probably, but hardly heartening for those of us who would rather not rush back to the same economy we rode for most of this decade.


- Secretary of State Clinton gave a major address on foreign policy yesterday, urging a multi-partner world.

- A UAE Blackberry service provider is pushing an app to users that would allow the service provider to spy on them.  Creepy.

New From NDN

- Jake blogged on President Obama's new economic rhetoric yesterday.

- We had a terrific event yesterday with Eric Jaye, Theo Yedinsky, and Nico Pitney yesterday, talking about Twitter and its role in politics and in Iran.  Keep an eye out for video soon!

One More Thing

- Mark Sanford is gone on vacation again! This time, his wife is with him.

- Last, Al Franken made his first joke yesterday, questioning Sonia Sotomayor's devotion to Perry Mason:

Wed 7/15 Roundup: Sonia on the Spot, 21st Century Jobs, Ball One

Leader: Sonia on the Spot

- The second day of Sonia Sotomayor's hearings to become a Supreme Court Justice went off yesterday without fireworks or, really, much excitement at all.  She attempted to reassure skeptical Republicans that she would not let her identity distort her decisions, and dismissed her "wise Latina" remarks as "a rhetorical flourish" meant to inspire young Latinos that "fell flat." Republicans evidently "don't buy" the explanation, but it doesn't much matter-- she all but guaranteed yesterday that she would be confirmed in short order.

- Ann Gerhart interprets Sotomayor's body language, and sees a confident, mature woman who has controlled the hearing room with her warmth and her strength.


- In a speech in Michigan yesterday, President Obama laid out his plan to get our college graduation rates to the highest levels of any country in the world by 2020.  Central to his plan is support of our community college system.  Here's an excerpt from the speech which sounds like some of the arguments we've been making here at NDN in recent years:

But we also have to ensure that we're educating and preparing our people for the new jobs of the 21st century. We've got to prepare our people with the skills they need to compete in this global economy.

- Organizing for America, a branch of the DNC, will be running ads targeting Democratic Senators, urging them to get behind health care reform. That's Democratic Senators.


- The latest column from David Leonhardt of the NY Times argues that our current 9.5% unemployment rate is considerably lower than the real level of unemployment, as it is skewed downward by ignoring people who are working part-time, or have given up looking for work altogether. The NY Times also runs an editorial urging President Obama to take action on the economy.  We at NDN have been making the same case, arguing that the President needs to keep his focus on the economy.  A piece of analysis from the AP says that yesterday, Obama did take full ownership of the economy, with four words in his Michigan speech: "Give it to me!"

New From NDN

- Join us at noon today for an event on Twitter and the bottom-up media revolution.  Eric Jaye and Theo Yedinsky from Gavin Newsom's gubernatorial campaign will be there, as will the notorious Nico Pitney of the Huffington Post.

- James Crabtree came through with his second post for NDN, writing that television may be an old technology, but it's by far the most important way of expressing the aspirations of Pakistan's people.

One More Thing

- Sarah Palin said she would be willing to campaign on behalf of certain Democrats.  Could this be the secret Republican plan to bring down the Democratic Party?

- The American League beat the National League in baseball's All-Star Game for the 13th consecutive year. President Obama threw out the first pitch  (Not a strike):

Tue 7/14 Roundup: Secret Assassins, Sotomayor, Jay-Z v. The Game

PanettaLeader: Secret Assassins

- For eight years during the George W. Bush presidency, the C.I.A. had plans to send elite squads of their own field operatives along with military special forces to assassinate al Qaeda leaders overseas.  The plans were never carried out, and the program was abolished by current C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta.  New details continue to come to light about the program, and it sounds an awful lot like what Israel did after the massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

- As Simon noted late last week, Dick Cheney has been implicated in the cover-up of this program.


- Sonia Sotomayor got through round one yesterday, spending the morning listening to Senators speak at length about her and her judicial record. The line of attack taken by Republicans was to question her impartiality, and suggest that she would rule according to her biases and prejudices, rather than according to the law.  She gave a brief, 7-minute prepared statement designed to be non-controversial, in which she emphasized that a "fidelity to the law" is her chief judicial philosophy.

- On a trip to Michigan today, President Obama will unveil a $12 billion program to bolster our nation's community colleges, and raise the percentage of people with college degrees to the highest in the world by 2020. We have had more than a little to say about this in recent months.


- Mort Zuckerman, looking at length of unemployment as an indicator, would like you to know that the economy is even worse than you think.

- Steve Rattner stepped down as President Obama's car czar yesterday, and received plaudits for getting GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy so quickly.


- Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso survived a no-confidence vote yesterday, but he can't have much confidence in himself going into next month's elections. His party seems poised to lose power for the first time in fifty years.

- Hillary Clinton has been trying to get the administrator of USAID appointed, and griped yesterday about the "nightmare" White House vetting process that the nominee is suffering through now.

New From NDN

- Jake did a full update of the progress of H.R. 2060, the Community College Technology Access Bill of 2009, which was introduced by Rep. John Larson and based on a paper written by our own Dr. Rob Shapiro.

- And another reminder that you should come to our event on Twitter tomorrow-- starring Nico Pitney, Eric Jaye, and Theo Yedinsky.  Should be a good one.

One More Thing

- FP blogger Marc Lynch analyzes the beef between Jay-Z and The Game through the lens of international great power politics.  One of the most entertaining blog posts I've read in a while....

- Last, Sonia Sotomayor speaking about how she was affected by a particular case.  Personal experience indeed:

Mon 7/13: Sotomayor Under Fire, Goldman Does OK, Blakk Rasta on Obama

Sotomayor and ObamaLeader: Sotomayor Under Fire

- The confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor begin today, as she runs the final gauntlet before hopefully taking her seat on the Supreme Court. The battle this week will hardly be over her fate-- it seems almost certain that she will be confirmed, and may pull as many as 78 votes in her favor-- but the sessions will have major political implications for the President and both parties. GOP Senators are hoping to use the hearings to excite their base, but an excessively aggressive attack on racial issues could push yet more Hispanics into the Democratic base.

- Time looks ahead at how the GOP will go after Sotomayor.

- CQ tells us what to look for in the hearings.  So does Politico.

- Check out the backgrounder we released when Sotomayor's nomination was announced back in May.  It covers our commentary on her and some of our work on America's changing demography.


- Michael Scherer of Time thinks he's figured out the five basic tenets of the Obama Doctrine.

- The NY Times chronicles the bizarre, seemingly unplanned route that led to Sarah Palin's resignation.

- In Politico, Rep. Jay Inslee calls for an Apollo program for clean energy.

- The NY Times reports that unemployment is hitting blacks in New York disproportionately harder than whites.


- Tomorrow, Goldman Sachs is expected to report a $2 billion profit from March-June.  They attribute it all to the fact that they're just very, very good at international trading.


- The violence in Xinjiang has led to two very different narratives about the violence-- both the Han and the Uighurs would play the victim in their own account. 

- Hundreds of thousands of Tamils are stuck in refugee camps that are almost entirely off-limits to aid workers, journalists, and other outsiders because the Sri Lankan government says Tamil Tiger rebels are hidden in the camps, and pose a security risk to the state.

New From NDN

- Simon has been writing in the past few days about President Obama's attempt to refocus attention on the economy. Have you looked at Obama's op-ed from Sunday's WaPo?

- You should roll through our offices on Wednesday when we host an all-star cast for a discussion of the power of Twitter and other crazy social media.

One More Thing

- Blakk Rasta provided the theme song for President Obama's visit to Ghana late last week.  Keep the fire burning, Mr. President:

Thu Jul 9 Roundup: Carbon Trouble, Innovation, Half a Tablet of Viagra

G8Leader: Carbon Trouble

- The G-8 countries agreed to an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050, but failed to reach an agreement on near-term limits on carbon. The failure caused the leaders of major developing countries-- led by China and India-- to walk away from the deal, retracting the limits they had planned to announce today.  The negotiations were significantly complicated by the departure of Chinese President Hu, who left Italy on Wednesday to attend to the situation developing in the restive Xinjiang province in Western China.


- Chuck Schumer says he'll have an immigration reform bill ready by Labor Day.

- Even though most Americans live in or near cities, and even though their roads get used more than any other roads in the country, those areas are receiving less than their fair share of transportation funding.

- The NY Times editorial board applauds Gov. David Paterson for his legally questionable choice of  Richard Ravitch to step in as Lt. Gov and rescue the State of New York from itself.


- Jeff Immelt of GE argues in an op-ed in the Financial Times that innovation is the key for America to regain its greatness.  I concur.

- Perennial downer (yet perennially accurate) Nouriel Roubini sees not green shoots but yellow weeds that will likely turn into brown manure-- the job picture, he says, is way worse than we realize.


- DFID, the British version of AID, released a new white paper that sets a new course on aid and development for the British government in coming years. The Guardian wonders if Douglas Alexander, our friend and director of DFID, can end world poverty.  Here's the paper itself, if you'd like to check it out.

- The WaPo reports on some seriously harsh tactics being used by the Mexican government in the prosecution of the drug war going on within their borders.

- Hillary Clinton will be giving a major speech on foreign policy, centered around the concept of "smart power." This is a pretty clear attempt to raise not just her worldview, but also to raise herself onto the stage of players in the foreign policy community-- from which she, as Secretary of State, has been notably absent.

New From NDN

- We've got an all-star lineup coming to NDN next week for an event on the power of Twitter and other new social media to change politics here in the US and overseas.

- Jake wondered yesterday if the G-8 summit is even worthwhile anymore.

One More Thing

- Last, Warren Buffett tells us what it's like to take half a tablet of Viagra:

Wed 7/8 Roundup: Healthcare is Hard, Brawling in Urumqi, Zbig

Healthcare is HardLeader: Healthcare is Hard

- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid jumped splashing into the health care reform debate yesterday, calling on Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to quit trying to write a bi-partisan bill that taxes health benefits and kills a public option. Evidently, Baucus's attempts to accommodate moderate Democrats and centrist Republicans were leading to a bill that was uncomfortable for liberal Dems. 

- One of the trickiest questions lingering in the health care debate, according to the WaPo, is the question of how we'll decide when enough is enough with expensive procedures like MRIs.  If "rationing" isn't allowed, then who will say no to more care?

- The NY Times looks at the much-ballyhooed summits President Obama has been holding with the major stakeholders in the health care system, and wonders if the supposed deals we're making with each group to save billions of dollars might come with some kind of cost.

 - David Leonhardt of the NY Times explains his litmus test for health care reform: If the new system fixes the contradiction of high cost and mediocre care-- and he looks at prostate cancer care as a case study in the deficiency of the current system.


- A bipartisan task force assembled by the Council on Foreign Relations will recommend today that we need to overhaul our immigration system for national security reasons.  A big part of their reasoning is that, to maintain our technological, scientific and military edge, we more of the high-skilled immigrants who are currently capped by tight quotas.

- Reacting to the wild swings in the price of oil, federal regulators are considering restrictions on the speculative trading of oil, natural gas, and other energy products.

- The stimulus package passed back in February has been slow to have its effect on the economy, and rumors abound of a second stimulus.

- CQ finds that Arlen Specter has been a loyal Democrat since his switch-- more loyal than he was as a Republican.


- Google plans to introduce an operating system for small "netbooks," but believes the software will be able to power  full-sized PCs-- this is a big escalation in the Microsoft-Google software war.

- There's abundant speculation that India may come out of this economic crisis all right.  Martin Wolf explains what India needs to do to get there.


- Chinese President Hu Jintao has left the G-8 summit to return to China as unrest in Xinjiang province continues.  Clashes between Uighur and Han civilians rage on, with brawls and fights between men of the two ethnic groups in public areas within Urumqi, and Uighur women out in the streets, demanding the release of their husbands-- over 1,400 men have been rounded up by the state. So is this an Iranian-style crackdown, or were the Iranians conducting a Chinese-style crackdown?

New From NDN

- The White House announced yesterday that our own Joe Garcia would be joining the Administration as Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact in the Department of Energy.  Simon did a roundup on our blog of all NDN's friends in the Federal government.

One More Thing

- Shortly past noon today, the time will be 12:34:56 7/8/9... Celebrate with me!

- Last, Zbig speaks on the nuclear agreement with Russia:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

7/7 Roundup: Nuclear Free World, Franken the Comedian, Palin the Nutcase

No NukesLeader: Nuclear Free World

- President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev came to a joint agreement yesterday to reduce their respective nuclear stockpiles by at least one-quarter, and possibly as much as one-third.  The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which was signed in 1991, expires this December, and this new agreement will replace it. The objective is to bring stockpiles down to around 1,500 from the ceiling of 2,200 imposed by START. Obama and Medvedev also made progress on what has been a hot subject-- missile defense.  The U.S. and Russia agreed to work together to assess the threats posed by North Korea and Iran, and to move toward creating a "joint center for early detection of hostile launches."

- President Obama also met with former Russian President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in what was a decidedly more restrained meeting. Obama came out of it with positive things to say, though he apparently didn't look deep into his eyes and see a man he trusted.

- The NY Times looks at how Obama's youth shaped his vision of a nuclear-free world.  And in other news reminiscent of the Cold War, Robert McNamara, one of the chief architects of the American engagement in Vietnam, died yesterday at the age of 93.


- Ezra Klein is glad to have Al Franken in Washington, but is more interested to see Franken the comedian than Franken the policy wonk.  Here's why:

There are a lot of policy wonks in this town. There are even a couple in the Senate. They don't seem very influential. In part, that's because policy wonks are better at being right than making other people look wrong. Franken, however, is sort of professionally-skilled at making people who believe foolish things look foolish. That's a toolkit that would be pretty useful in this town.

- Over at the Fix, Chris Cillizza counts the winners and losers in the wake of the Palin bombshell.


- GM and Chrysler went through bankruptcy proceedings much, much faster than most expected.

- Paul Krugman writes on the paradox of thrift, a subject Rob Shapiro discussed last week.


- Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan yesterday, the deadliest single-day death toll in months.

- Unrest in Urumqi, in western China, carries on, as the state has deployed 20,000 troops to maintain order.  Approximately 156 have been killed, and over 1,000 have been injured in recent days.  The White House is deeply concerned about the unrest, but is waiting to make any comment.

New From NDN

- Zuraya took the Fourth of July as an excuse to tell you why immigration reform is our patriotic duty in her weekly immigration roundup.

- Mark your calendar for July 23-- the next time Simon will be giving a public presentation of his Dawn of a New Politics presentation.

One More Thing

- Speaking in Russia, President Obama forgot where he met his wife.  He's a mortal husband, after all.  Now all YOU have to do is fly your wife to New York for dinner and a show AND remember where you met her, and you'll be a better husband than Barack Obama!

- Last, Sarah Palin is a crazy lady:

7/6 Roundup: Bewaracuda, Embarracuda, Xinjiang, BO on MJ

Palin WinkLeader: Bewaracuda, Embarracuda

- Sarah Palin vaulted back into the national spotlight on Friday when she announced that, not only would she not be seeking reelection, but she would resign her post as governor of Alaska in the coming weeks.  Rumors and speculation immediately began to swirl-- was this in advance of a coming scandal? (the FBI says no), would she move into the media, perhaps host a show on Fox? (seems possible), or, most jarringly, is this the beginning of her presidential run?

- Andrea Mitchell had an early report that Palin has no presidential ambitions, but this has not been otherwise corroborated, and a media consensus seems to be growing that this must be the first, misguided step in a presidential bid. In Palin's breathless, aggressive speech on Friday, Jon Alter saw hints of help from minor league political professionals, and suggestions of national ambitions.

- Palin was surprisingly silent over the weekend, but did get in touch with the world via Twitter and Facebook. But her Lt. Governor did speak, and gave a more convincing reason for her resignation than she was able to muster: legal fees.

- Karl Rove is perplexed by Palin.  Mike Huckabee thinks it's a risky move. Ross Douthat thinks she blew it 10 months ago by accepting McCain's offer.  Bill Kristol thinks she's as qualified as President Barack Obama.

- Michael Tomasky no longer thinks Sarah Palin is a liar; now, he thinks she's so enamored with herself that she thinks she's telling the truth.  Ruth Marcus lays into Palin for being a quitter.


- VP Joe Biden went on This Week yesterday, and said, among other things, that the administration "misread" the economy back in January. This could be the beginning of the case for a second stimulus.

- The NY Times looks at the wild fluctuations in the price of oil over the past year, and identifies a problem of forecasting costs for businesses.

- Paul Krugman calls attention to the CBO's scoring of the latest draft of health care legislation-- the news is good, and health care reform is feasible.


- In Xinjiang, westernmost province of China, clashes between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese left 140 dead yesterday. Xinjiang has a long history of unrest, but this is the largest incident in years.

- President Felipe Calderon of Mexico took a political blow yesterday, when his party lost control of the legislature. His party will likely be part of the majority coalition in congress, but the loss will likely hamper his legislative agenda.

- Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya tried to return to his country yesterday, but his plane was unable to land, as the military had occupied the airport.  Clashes between Zelaya supporters and military forces following the event left 30 wounded.

New From NDN

- Simon rounded up recent musings on the economy on Friday.

- All-star blogger Jessie Singleton commented on President Obama's weekly YouTube address on Saturday.

One More Thing

- Last, our President speaks on Michael Jackson:

7/2 Roundup: Helmand, Decisive Phases, Hunger as Motivator

HelmandLeader: Helmand

- Early this morning, thousands of U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade pushed into Afghanistan's Helmand River valley, to attempt to retake the valley from the Taliban.  The Helmand valley is one of the hotbeds for poppy growth and opium production in Afghanistan, which serves as a major source of finance for the Taliban. Pakistani soldiers fanned out along the Afghan border to cut off a likely escape route for Taliban militants. 

- Shortly after the campaign began, the military reported that a Marine had been taken captive by Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan-- an incident unrelated to the new offensive.  The U.S. military is doing what they can to retrieve him.


- Ed Luce writes for the FT that President Obama has entered "the most decisive phase of his presidency." He quotes Simon at length:

President Obama was elected to make Washington work in the national, not the special, interest... The greatest threat to his personal brand would be the sense that rather than taming Washington, it had tamed him - that rather than the visionary leadership he promised, he was just another politician.

- President Obama held a virtual town hall meeting in Virginia yesterday, taking seven questions on health care, including one via Twitter!


- The unemployment rate has risen to 9.5%, and the economy lost more jobs in June than anybody expected.  The LA Times looks at the possibility that we're headed into a "jobless recovery."

- In the past three months, the WTO has counted 83 new trade-restricting measures, despite promises around the world to avoid protectionism in this economic crisis.  The WTO has a full-time job combating these new measures.


- The opposition leaders in Iran continue to stand up to the leadership, refusing to accept Ahmadinejad's victory in the presidential election. Mir Hussein Mousavi was joined in his opposition by Mehdi Karroubi, another presidential candidate, and Mohammed Khatami, a former president and cleric.

New From NDN

- Rob Shapiro has a new essay on America's rising savings rate, asking whether it's a good thing for our economy.

- Simon has a new piece that excerpts from David Leonhardt's recent article, and stresses the importance of keeping our focus on the economy.

One More Thing

- Last, Stephen Colbert is just hilarious, and that's all I have to say:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Cynthia Davis & Fox News
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Jeff Goldblum

6/30 Roundup: Bern, Baby Bern!, New Haven Firefighters, You Are What You Drive

MadoffLeader: Bern, Baby, Bern!

- Bernard Madoff, the maestro of a Ponzi scheme that swindled $13 billion from unsuspecting investors, has been sentenced to 150 years in prison-- should be long enough. The defense pled for leniency on account of Madoff's cooperation with investigators, but District Judge Denny Chin was unmoved, saying he didn't get the sense that Madoff had shared all there was to share, and described Madoff's actions as "extraordinarily evil."

- The sentence, which is three times longer than what the federal probation office suggested, has offered some solace but little relief for Madoff's victims, many of whom lost much of their life savings to his scheme.


- The Supreme Court ruled on the New Haven firefighters case yesterday, overturning a ruling endorsed by Judge Sonia Sotomayor, nominee for the SCOTUS. Our highest court decided that white New Haven firefighters were unfairly denied promotions when the city cancelled the results of a test that skewed to the disadvantage of minority firefighters.

- The White House is seeking to move the health care debate off the Hill and out to the people, the NY Times reports.  President Obama met yesterday with a bipartisan group of governors, who are presumably closer to the people they represent than their counterparts in the Capitol, and more in tune with the need for serious health care reform. 

- President Obama announced yesterday that his administration would be focusing like a laser on energy efficiency standards, to end the light bulb as we know it. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stepped up yesterday as well, announcing that he would hasten the development of solar power fields in the West.


- The British economy shrank faster in the first quarter of this year than at any point in the last 50 years.


- Iran's Guardian Council certified the results of the June 12 elections yesterday, saying there was minimal evidence of fraud, and ending the recount more quickly than many had predicted.  The announcement touched off protests throughout Tehran, as people took to the streets to protest what they see as the theft of the election. 

- Protests broke out in the streets of Honduras yesterday, as demonstrators demanded the return of the deposed President, Manuel Zelaya.  They were chased and beaten back by the government's security forces.

- Today, the US concludes its withdrawal of troops from urban centers in Iraq.  Writes the WaPo: "This is no longer America's war."

New From NDN

- Dan has been live-tweeting from the Personal Democracy Forum conference.  Lots of cool stuff, lots of hilarious commentary.

- In her Weekly Immigration Update, Zuraya argues that immigration reform is a crucial part of any sensible legislative strategy.

One More Thing

- You are what you drive? Apparently.  A new study finds that the car you drive is as good a predictor as any of your political leanings.

- Last, Barack Obama charms the world by making fun of people's funny ringtones:

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