Daily Roundup

6/16 Roundup: Eyes on Iran, Borneo, White House Jazz

IranLeader: Eyes on Iran

- All eyes are on Iran, where massive street protests yesterday ended with seven people killed by riot police in a clash near a university.  Mondays' protests were the largest since the revolution in 1979. Iran's Guardian Council has indicated they are willing to allow a partial recount of disputed ballots from Friday's election, but they will not cancel the results and order a new election, stopping short of the demands of challenger Mir Hussein Moussavi and his followers. 

- The NY Times takes a look at Iran's shadowy Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini

- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit the road this morning to meet with the BRIC countries and other rising powers in Russia. 

- Many extraordinary photographs of yesterday's protests are available around the web.  Take a look at this slideshow from the WSJ, the HuffPo's collection, the WaPo's gallery, the NYT's slideshow.


- Sen Chuck Schumer is leading the charge for forgery-proof worker ID cards, as a provision in immigration reform.  The cards would make it easier for employers to avoid hiring undocumented workers. 

- President Obama gave a major speech to doctors of the American Medical Association yesterday, telling them bluntly he opposed a limit on malpractice awards-- their highest legislative priority.  That aside, he generally tried to woo them to his side of the fight for a better health care system.

- Speaking of health care, Obama's favorite new article is this one from Atul Gawande at the New Yorker.  He's apparently given it out to his staff, and mentioned it in his speech yesterday.  Is it good.  Yes, it's worth a read. Does it reveal new things? Unsure.


- Fareed Zakaria comes to the defense of capitalism in the Washington Post.  We have a lot of regulating and restructuring to do, but fundamentally, capitalism is the system we need.

- The CBO came back with a pretty surprising estimate of the costs for the Affordable Health Choices Act.  Ezra Klein points out this is because the bill they were evaluating is nothing like the one Kennedy and Dodd actually plan to introduce.


- On Borneo, an island mostly known for its Orangutans, the Indonesian government is opening up "honesty cafes," where customers pay on the honor system, as part of a long-term attempt to curb corruption.  Wacky!  (h/t Sarah)

- US News and World Report writes on Secretary Hillary Clinton's high-techification of the State Department, beginning with hiring our friend Alec Ross to work on facilitating diplomacy through technology.

New From NDN

- Simon has a new piece up this morning looking ahead to what the Obama Doctrine will be, and how he can define it toward Iran.

- Dan wrote a new post on technology and social media and their role in the street protests in Iran

One More Thing

- President Obama's half-brother George will be penning a memoir entitled Homeland.  Community organizing will be a theme (apparently it runs in the family).

- Last, the latest in the series of incredibly cool White House events hosted by Michelle Obama was an evening of jazz:

6/15 Roundup: Iranians Take to the Streets (and Tweets), Obama and the AMA, More

Leader: Iran in Crisis

- The turmoil continues in Iran in the wake of Friday's disputed election results. Juan Cole makes a convincing argument that Ahmadinejad stole the election. Protestors continue to fill the streets. Iran's Supreme Leader calls for an investigation, but most are skeptical of his motives. The Iranian government continues to shut down domestic and foreign media. A blogger from Tehran University documents Iranian security forces destroying computers at the school. Although SMS text messaging has been blocked, some are still managing to get the word out on Twitter and YouTube. Meanwhile, Dennis Ross, the former State Department envoy to Iran, is reportedly being reassigned, leaving the U.S. position a bit unclear.


- President Obama is in Chicago today to sell his health care plan to a tough crowd: the American Medical Association (the group which originally coined that frightening term, "socialized medicine").

- In his Sunday column, Frank Rich looks at how conservative commentators are pushing right-wing domestic terrorists over the edge. Meanwhile, GOP electeds continue to rachet up the rhetoric. A prominent Republican activist likens Michelle Obama to an escaped gorilla on Facebook. Stay classy, GOP.

- In related news, the Holocaust Museum shooter's son says he wishes it was his father that had died. Disturbingly, Salon reports that the US military is now accepting white supremacists and neo-nazis.

- The New Yorker profiles Leon Panetta, Obama's new CIA chief, and looks at where he wants to take the organization. Panetta recently said that Dick Cheney's criticisms of Obama's national security policy suggest ""he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point." I like him already.


- Ahmadinejad has cancelled his trip to Russia, but leaders from China, Central Asia and Afghanistan met with President Medvedev today at "a summit that underscored Moscow's determination to maintain influence in its backyard and seek a stronger voice in global economic issues," reports the AP.

- Germany and France have summoned the Iranian ambassador to discuss their concerns about the contested election.

- Check out these realtime images from Iran via PicFog.

One More Thing:

- A 16-year-old boy recently discovered a plastic-eating microbe, which may help to solve our global waste crisis.


6/12 Roundup: Resettlement, Nicotine, Tsvangiari

Leader: Resettlement

- President Obama backed down on the resettlement of Guantanamo detainees yesterday, giving up on plans to bring some of them into the United States.  There may be "a few" candidates for resettlement in the U.S., but the Admninstration has decided not to push this against opposition from Congress.  This move may make it significantly more difficult for the U.S. government to convince European countries to accept detainees.  Four Uighurs were shipped out to Bermuda yesterday, where they will live as foreign guest workers, and the U.S. is seeking similar arrangements with other tropical island states.


- President Obama is removing the Inspector General responsible for investigating our country's national service programs, after he conducted a dubious inspection of a Sacramento non-profit group that had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Corportation for National Service.

- The Senate yesterday gave the F.D.A. the power to regulate nicotine, and while they cannot outlaw it altogether, there will be a range of new policy options on the table to deter children from starting to smoke.


- Iranians will go to the polls today, with the chance to unseat their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in exchange for Mir Hussein Moussavi, a rock-star moderate.  The WaPo profiles Dennis Ross, and the monumental task before him in Iran, as he works to keep Iran from the bomb.

- President Obama will meet today with Morgan Tsvangiari, the opposition leader in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

- Last, ever wonder who cleans up after members of congress?:

6/11 Roundup: Violence at the HMM, Green Bay, Aggressive Birds

Leader: Violence at the HMM

- An 88 year-old white supremacist opened fire with a .22 caliber rifle in the Holocaust Memorial Museum here in Washington yesterday, killing a security guard before other guards wounded him with gunfire.  James von Brunn had published anti-Semitic and anti-black rants on the internet, and in 1983, had stormed into the Federal Reserve Board attempting to kidnap members of the Board, before being captured just outside the boardroom doors.


- President Obama will do a town-hall meeting in Green Bay today, and will talk about the need to rein in costs in our healthcare system. The choice of location, as always, has been carefully thought out.  Green Bay is something of a success story in American healthcare, with a high quality of care delivered at a relatively low cost.

- The Fix covers the Republican Party in its three body parts-- the heart, the head, and the gut.  Who do you think is which?

- Kenneth Feinberg, a "well-known Washington lawyer," has been appointed the "pay czar" of the White House, and will oversee compensation at the big banks that have received federal bailout money.


- The NY Times reports, somewhat unsurprisingly, that China's economy is now more dependant on domestic demand than ever, as exports are a less viable engine for growth.

- Foreclosures in May were 6% lower than in April, but it was still the third highest month in history. I'd like to point you back toward our working arguing that we must keep people in their homes.


- The Kyrgyz government reiterated its insistence that the US airbase in their country would be closing later this year.  The airbase is generally considered to be essential to the U.S. war-fighting effort in Afghanistan.

- Four Chinese Muslims who were held in Guantanamo Bay have been resettled in Bermuda.  Not to make light of a seriously situation, but I wouldn't mind being resettled in Bermuda right about now.

New From NDN

- Mike Hais released his first in what will be a weekly series of columns on polling.  He wonders if there's any way the Dems can win without the support of Latinos, and if Millennials could be the key to such a victory.

- Rob Shaprio blogs from Stockholm, and says it's time to get serious about our financial mess.  What happens now could affect our economy for decades to come.

One More Thing

- Last, I have nothing to add to the title of this video: "Bird in San Francisco Smacks Unsuspecting Pedestrians in the Head:"

6/10 Roundup: Healthcare Bills, Deeds Dominates, President Obama Orders the Shaving of Stephen Colbert's Head

Health Insurance BillLeader: Healthcare Bills

- The contours of healthcare reform legislation are taking shape, as House Democrats have unveiled their bill, and it looks a lot like one currently being cooked in the Senate.  The big question of how to pay for it all remains unanswered, but it looks like individuals will be required to have health insurance, and employers will be required to pay for part of it.  A public option looks to be on the slate, too.

- The WaPo seems to be wondering if we're in 1993 all over again, with the complex politics around healthcare all too likely to swamp the legislation.

- Ezra Klein disembowels a WSJ editorial that makes the case against health care reform.


- Creigh Deeds ran away with a huge victory in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary.  He doubled up his two opponents-- Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe.

- More than half of Americans have no idea who speaks for the Republican Party.  Is it Rush? Is it Newt? Is it that guy with the bad hair?  Another fun stat:  33% of Republicans have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party.

- Chuck Rausch quoted Simon in a national Gannett story on the "new liberal era" that we may or may not be in:

Some leading Democrats believe demographic and technological trends have created a "new progressivism," in the words of Simon Rosenberg, founder of the left-leaning New Democratic Network. "Allow us who survived the Bush-DeLay era to have at least a year of happiness," he joked. But in a seminar called "The Dawn of a New Politics" that he has given to Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, Rosenberg argues his case based on serious demographic facts...

You, of course, as an avid NDN reader, know what those demographic facts are, don't you?

- Cash for clunkers is gaining steam...

- The first Guantanamo detainee has arrived in the United States.  Ahmed Gailani arrived in New York yesterday, and pleaded not guilty to 286 counts related to the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa.


- David Leonhardt looks years ahead, and sees problems in the massive deficits our government will be dealing with in coming decades.  Most of it, he writes, is not the fault of the Obama budgets.  But Obama also lacks a plan to do anything about it.

- Ten of the big banks that received federal bailout money will be allowed to begin giving that money back.  A combined $68.3 billion will return to government coffers.

- The Supreme Court lifted their hold on the Chrysler-Fiat merger, and the deal will go ahead as planned.


- Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda takes a fresh look at international aid, welcoming US Peace Corps volunteers to his country, and reminding them that his home country might have something to teach them, as well.

- David Lammy, MP of Britain, writes in TNR about how to stop the rise of the far-right in Europe.

- The venerable Republic of Palau might help us out by taking the unwanted Uighur Guantanamo detainees.  In exchange for $200 million, of course.

New From NDN

- Michael Moynihan published a new essay on the need for change in our electricity industry.

- Jake rounded up the growing momentum behind H.R. 2060, the Community College Technology Access Bill of 2009.

One More Thing

- Last, a direct order from the President: General Odierno must shave Stephen Colbert's head:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama Orders Stephen's Haircut - Ray Odierno
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Stephen Colbert in Iraq

6/9 Roundup: Rule by Fiat, Macaca Moment, Neal Boortz Flies off the Handle

Chrysler FiatLeader: Rule by Fiat

- Chrysler was well on its way to a takeover by Italian auto maker Fiat until yesterday, when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a one-sentence order halting the process pending further judicial review.  Three Indiana state funds and consumer groups have complained of being mistreated in the Chrysler bankruptcy process, and though the order is far from a ruling in their favor, it indicates that the Court will take a closer look at the case. The whole thing could be wrapped up today, or it could drag on for weeks.

- Fiat has the right to walk away from Chrysler if the deal is not sealed by next Monday, and if they did so, Chrysler would be facing near-certain liquidation.  But like a faithful puppy, Fiat has assured their American friends that they have no plans to abandon them in their most desperate hours.


- President Obama is about to propose new spending rules that would require lawmakers to pay for new initiatives, including health care.  From the WaPo:

If approved by Congress, the rules would forbid lawmakers from expanding entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, creating new entitlement programs or cutting taxes unless the cost is covered by spending cuts or tax increases. If lawmakers fail to pay for their initiatives, Obama's rules would subject entitlement programs to automatic cuts, said sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has yet to be announced.

- Underdog Creigh Deeds looks like he's about to run away with the Democratic nomination for the Virginia governor's race.

- While mainstream media crashes and burns, "ethnic media" has gained 8 million new readers, listeners, and watchers in the past four years.


- Gas prices have risen a dollar since the end of 2008.  Oil is trading near $70 a barrel right now, but could it hit $100 before the summer is out?  Who knows...

- This week, Citigroup will launch its program to raise $33 billion... Gentlemen, start your engines.


- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton roundly rejected claims that the Bush Administration had brokered secret deals with Israel to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

- Did Mahmoud Ahmedinejad just have his "Macaca Moment?" This unsavory term of course refers to the video that ended Sen. George Allen's career, and Ahmedinejad is having to answer questions about his own odd statement that got caught on video.

New From NDN

- In her Weekly Immigration Update, Zuraya writes that "not all immigrants are equal before the law," and argues that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.

- Perhaps you've noticed the many exciting events we have coming up soon.  Joe Garcia will be joining us tomorrow to talk about Cuba, and Shai Agassi, founder of BetterPlace, will be in town next week, speaking at NDN about the future of the global auto industry.  Then, on the 25th, Simon will give a presentation of his "Dawn of a New Politics." All of these events are open if you'd like to come watch them here in our event space, and they'll be broadcast online, too.  How could you say no?

One More Thing

- Last, shock jock Neal Boortz goes off the handle on immigrants.  Part of me wants to start yelling, and part of me wants to keep quiet and let the crazy right-wing continue to alienate the fastest-growing part of the American electorate:

6/8 Roundup: Hermit Kingdom, Supercilious Summers, Damon Weaver is Coming to Washington

Leader: The Hermit Kingdom

- The two American journalists who were arrested on the Chinese-North Korean border earlier this year were sentenced yesterday to twelve years in a Korean labor camp.  Euna Lee and Laura Ling were arrested while reporting a story for Current TV, and were tried by the highest court in Pyongyang, meaning there can be no appeal.  The US has called for their release, but the DPRK will likely hang on to them as bargaining chips in future negotiations.

- Secretary of State Clinton signaled yesterday that it may seek to stop and inspect North Korean shipping vessels, with China's help.  The Administration is also thinking about possibly putting the DPRK back on the list of  states that sponsor terror.  George W. Bush removed them from said list last year, without any real explanation for doing so...


- Nelson Cunningham, Chair of the Advisory Board for our Latin America Policy Initiative, had an op-ed in yesterday's Houston Chronicle, as he wrote about how the swine flu scare brought the US and Mexico closer together, and made these two neighbors realize just how badly we need to work together.

- The President anticipates creating 600,000 new jobs this summer with the $787 billion stimulus package passed earlier this year.

- With the economy showing some signs of recovery, many fiscally conservative economists and politicians have called for the remaining stimulus funds to be used to cut the deficit.  Seems a little early for that kind of celebration, to me.


- The NY Times profiles Barack Obama's economic team, and particularly the tension generated by "the brilliant but sometimes supercilious" NEC Chairman Larry Summers.

- The government may start letting recipients of bailout cash repay their debts, but this shouldn't be taken as an indication that they're in the clear.

- The NT Times has details of the "pay czar" position that was initially reported last week, and will be dedicated to monitoring executive compensation at those institutions that recieve federal bailout money.


- In elections for the European Parliament, center-right and conservative parties vastly outperformed their socalist and green opponents, across the board.  In Britain, the Labor party came in third, with the Conservatives taking a comfortable 28% plurality.  The WSJ has a fun infographic to look at how the left got beaten, country by country.

- The Lebanese had their own elections yesterday, and the West-backed March 14 Movement pulled out a victory, holding on to power after a hotly contested campaign against Iran-backed Hezbollah.  Hezbollah was widely expected to take control of the Lebanese government, and President Obama has been saved a major headache by their defeat.

New From NDN

- Jake pulled together NDN's greatest hits in the international economics space for his weekly backgrounder.

- This Wednesday, we'll be hosting a Conversation on the Future of Cuba.  Joe Garcia will be the featured discussant.  Nelson Cunningham will moderate.  I hope you can make it here to our offices, or watch it online!

One More Thing

- Weep for the poor hipsters! Apparently, this economic crisis is causing their parents to cut them off, and they might have to find jobs.

- How do YOU say Sotomayor?  Chances are, there's a member of Congress who pronounces it the same way. 

- Last, remember Damon Weaver?  Well, the star reporter is coming to Washington:

6/5 Roundup: Immigration Priority, Pay Czar, Photog Tricks

Harry ReidLeader: Immigration Priority

- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday called immigration his #3 legislative priority for this year, after health care and climate change. He has said he wants it to happen this year, if at all possible, following a comment from Speaker Nancy Pelosi who also ranked immigration as her third legislative priority. From Roll Call:

Reid ruled out a gradual approach to overhauling the immigration system. And he said comprehensive reform should happen this year.

“I’m not going to deal with immigration on a piecemeal basis; it’s comprehensive reform,” Reid said.

Any legislation that comes to the Senate floor, Reid said, must address border security, expand the guest worker program so it addresses “more than agriculture,” include a pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants and include stronger penalties for companies that employ illegal workers.


- President Obama was in Germany yesterday, and renewed his call for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

- The President will be appointing a "pay czar" to oversee the executive compensation at firms that receive government bailout money.

- The Senate got a big stack of boxes filled with papers documenting Sonia Sotomayor's history as a judge.  Also, Sotomayor revealed that President Obama first contacted her about a Supreme Court seat four days before Judge Souter announced he would retire.

- Sen. Grassley wrote a "sharply worded letter" to the "Librarian of the United States," dressing him down for supposedly interfering with Senate investigations.


- Job losses slowed in the month of May, but the additional 345,000 disappeared jobs drove the unemployment rate up to 9.4%, inching ever closer to 10.

- The National Conference of State Legislatures released a new report on state budgets, and the situation is not pretty.  Even states that initially lowballed their expected tax receipts are feeling a pinch.


- James Purnell has resigned from his role in the British Cabinet, pushing Gordon Brown's government ever closer to collapse.

- Amid rising tensions over the DPRK's recent nuclear test, North and South Korea will hold talks next week to discuss their jointly-operated manufacturing plants.

New From NDN

- Melissa wrote about President Obama's speech in Cairo, and the myriad ways it was broadcast around the world in so many different languages.

- Dan wrote his weekly New Tools post about Google Wave, which is, like, intense.

One More Thing

- Last, White House press photographers reveal their secrets.  (It's mostly robots, duh):

6/4 Roundup: Obama in Cairo, Holstering Hot Hyperbole, Funemployment

Obama in CairoLeader: Obama in Cairo

- President Barack Obama spoke in Cairo this morning, pledging to "seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." The sweeping speech addressed a range of subjects-- from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to political freedom in Egypt, to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.  He did not offer up solutions to the problems and conflicts of the "Muslim world" but called for more open dialogue, less obfuscation of the truth, and a new, stronger commitment to peace.

- Charles Sennott of the Global Post begins to round up reactions from the "Arab street--" Dubai, in this case.  People were cheered by Obama's speech, but still hope that actions will follow the words. Those who saw the speech live heard the auditorium erupt in an O-BA-MA chant after he finished.  Remarkable.

- While in the midst of Obama's tour of the Middle East, Osama bin Laden released a new tape, accusing the American President of "sowing hatred." He must have gotten a bogus advance copy of the speech.


- President Obama offered his principles for health care reform in a letter to Sens. Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus, and the current scuttlebutt is that he appears to have conceded a key point to the Hillary Clinton camp of old.

- Kos wrote on immigration twice yesterday, discussing the recent polling released on Tuesday.  He writes:

The culture war bigots are finding themselves increasingly isolated on issue after issue. Remember, immigration was going to be the issue that saved the GOP last few election cycles. The GOP hopefuls spent multiple debates one-upping their anti-immigrant rhetoric, to the point that John McCain was forced to concede that he'd vote against his very own immigration reform bill. Now ... poof! First, Republicans lose big, getting zero electoral traction from the immigrant bashing. Then, polling shows people eager for reform.

- Matt Bai has a big piece in next Sunday's NYT Magazine, looking at President Obama's work to court Congress and capture the Hill

- CQ wins headline of the day with "Republicans Holster Hot Hyperbole on Sotomayor."  The GOP will henceforth take a more measured approach in their drive to undermine and defame Sonia Sotomayor.


- Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a major speech yesterday, arguing that even as we try to stem the economic meltdown, we need to focus on the deficit, and work to bring spending in line with tax receipts. 

- Jobless claims in the week ending May 23 were lower than in the week previous-- the first such drop since the beginning of 2009.  Hooray!


- Saturday will be the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and the NY Times profiles one soldier turned artist, whose work now is deeply affected by his role in breaking up the protests in Tiananmen.

- The O.A.S. has lifted its ban barring Cuba from the group.  If the government of Cuba can successfully fill a long list of conditions, they will have the opportunity to join.

New From NDN

- Michael Moynihan takes the anniversary of Tiananmen as an opportunity to write about the spread of democracy.

- Dr. Rob Shapiro publishes a new essay on the climate change legislation, arguing that the Waxman Markey bill won't accomplish everything that a carbon tax could.

One More Thing

- Unemployment getting you down?  Try Funemployment!

- President Obama snaggled a spot on Forbes' Celebrity 100 Power List.  His ranking at #49 is the lowest he's scored in anything in over a decade.

- Last, Obama in Cairo:

6/3 Roundup: 中国 [China], Immigration Polling, Barack Gives Bo a Pound

China-AmericaLeader: 中国 [China]

- Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has been hanging out in Beijing this week, talking to the Chinese leadership about a range of important bilateral issues. In a follow-up interview, he assured us all that Chinese leaders had not lost faith in the American economy, despite concerns that a crashing dollar could wipe out much of China's foreign currency reserve holdings.  Geithner did not publicly raise any contentious issues such as Tibet or Taiwan, and praised the Chinese for their handling of their own economy. He also backed away from conversation of intellectual property rights, but brought up climate change, and said he would press for a greater Chinese role in the IMF.

- GM let us know who will be buying the Hummer brand-- a Chinese company! Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, based in the city of Chengdu, bought Hummer at a bargain price, estimated below $500 million. Hummer's operations will still be based in the US, but it will become the first Chinese-owned car to be sold in the US. To me, the Hummer does seem more appropriately labeled a piece of "heavy industrial machinery," rather than a car, so perhaps this will improve its branding.

- Dr. Rob Shapiro was on CNBC's "The Call" yesterday talking about Geithner's trip. Check him out!


- The WaPo reports that, according to intelligence officials, lawmakers, and congressional officials, VP Dick Cheney led at least four briefings with senior members of Congress in 2005 to convince them to support the harsh interrogation techniques he used on detainees. 

- Our government accidentally released a 266-page report detailing the locations of nuclear sites around the country, including information on the whereabouts of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons.  Oops?

- President Obama has chosen Rep. John McHugh, Republican of New York, to serve as Secretary of the Army.  McHugh has served for years on the Armed Services Committee, and will be the third Republican Obama has appointed to a major position.  McHugh also comes from a district upstate that could very well elect a Democrat in the special election to replace him. 

- The only thing dirtier than the New Jersey Turnpike is New Jersey politics, but Chris Christie has worked for years to clean his state up.  He's now the GOP candidate to challenge embattled Democratic Gov. John Corzine.


- Dow Jones reported on the immigration polling released yesterday, particularly highlighting the argument that this economic downturn could be a boon for people (like us) rooting for the overhaul of our broken immigration system. From the article:

A recent survey by Benenson Strategy Group showed that 71% of likely voters think illegal immigrants should take steps to become legal taxpayers... "They want a level playing field and they don't have one today," said [Celinda] Lake, whose firm recently conducted a series of in-depth focus groups on immigration. "There's a huge pool of workers that are playing by a different set of rules than they [voters] are."

- German Chancellor Angela Merkel blasted the central banks of the EU, UK, and US, saying they had gone too far in fighting the financial crisis, and were setting us all up for another explosion in ten years time.


- American military personnel made serious errors in the conduct of their May 4 airstrikes that killed dozens of Afghani civilians.  If all the rules had been obeyed, at least some of the strikes would have been aborted during the 7-hour bombing campaign.

- North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Il has named his chosen successor-- his third son, Kim Jong-Un.  Not much is known about him, but there is speculation that he's a big fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme.

- Hafiz Sayeed, the founder of Pakistani militant group Lashkar-i-Taiba, the group believed to be behind December's attacks in Mumbai.  India quickly denounced Pakistan's decision to release him, but the Pakistani government insisted that they lacked the evidence to continue holding him. 

- The wreckage of the Air France flight lost off the coast of Brazil has been found.  The chances of finding survivors from among the 228 aboard has slipped to nil.

New From NDN

- Simon released a statement yesterday in the wake of the immigration poll release.  Tune in tomorrow for an online seminar from Simon, as he presents our case for passing immigration reform this year.

- I hope you've been enjoying our newly revamped website these first few weeks. It's still a work in progress, but I think it's a big step forward!  Let me know your thoughts on it.

One More Thing

- Last, Barack Obama has taught his adorable puppy to give him a pound:

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