Daily Roundup

6/2 Roundup: Fainting Spells, DNC in Texas, Senate Leader of Swearing

Fainting SpellsLeader: Fainting Spells

- The Wall Street Journal wins the headline contest today with "GM Collapses Into Government's Arms," and opens up the second-day coverage of the GM bankruptcy by noting that this is the second biggest bankruptcy in history-- after WorldCom's 2002 filing. Obama characterized the government's role in this as that of a "reluctant shareholder," but cast this as an opportunity for a "new GM" to emerge. Still, though the White House may want this to be a quick, in-and-out nationalization, in reality the exit is likely to be messy, and the quicker it happens, the less likely the government is to recoup its $50 billion.

- For their part, GM's executives have embraced their new owners: Ray Young, the CFO, called this a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get our balance sheet healthy."  In the next few years, GM will close 17 factories and cut 20,000 jobs around the country.  From the NYT article:

“I was angry at first, then I cried, then I got angry again,” said Don Skidmore, the president of United Automobile Workers Local 735, which represents the plant’s 1,100 workers. “I’m hurt for the people. The looks on their faces are horrible.”

- GM has apparently found a buyer for its Hummer line, but it won't say who.  My money is on the Russian military. And did you see the NYT article about the 31-year old near-lawyer who is in charge of dismantling GM?


- The DNC will be holding their September meeting in Texas.  Says DNC Chair Tim Kaine: "I believe Texas is poised to move towards our column, just as Virginia has."  Have you heard this before? Yes you have.  Simon's been saying it for a while. 

- The right wing wants a tougher fight against Sonia Sotomayor's nomination for the Supreme Court, and is hoping to push a vote back to September. She'll be making the rounds on the Hill today, meeting with leaders on both sides of the aisle.

- General Stanley McChrystal will go before the Senate Armed Services Committee today to face some questions about his plans as NATO commander in Afghanistan.


- The unemployment rate in Europe is higher than it's been in a decade.

- Pending home sales in the US grew 6.7% in April, the biggest jump in eight years.  Sign of life?


- The AirFrance flight that disappeared over the Atlantic yesterday appears to be lost.  228 passengers and crew from 32 different countries are feared dead.

- President Obama will have a tricky task in Cairo encouraging freedom, democracy, and rule of law, without sounding imperial.  What it will come down to, he suggests in an interview with the BBC, is leading by example.

New From NDN

- NDN Fellows Morley Winograd and Mike Hais had an op-ed in yesterday's CS Monitor, arguing that Millennials have the opportunity to save baseball from steroids in the same way the GI generation saved the sport from the hard-drinking, gambling, mean ways of the Lost Generation.

One More Thing

- Politico wonders, who will be the Senate leader in swearing?  Will it be Jim Bunning?  Bullshit!

- Last, take a look at this pronunciation guide before your next meeting on the hill:

6/1 Roundup: The Bankruptcy of GM, Cuba, Barack Tutankhamun

GMLeader: The Bankruptcy of General Motors

- General Motors filed for bankruptcy this morning, beginning a process that will leave the US government with a 60% stake in the company, and an unprecedented role as a business owner. President Obama is effectively pushing GM into bankruptcy, in the hopes that, after a brief period of nationalization, a smaller, sturdier GM will emerge, capable of competing in the international car market. The US will invest an additional $30 billion in GM, on top of the $20 billion previously committed. 

- Today's news is awash with sentimentality, looking back at this behemoth of American industry in its 101 years of existence. "What's good for General Motors is good for the country" is a saying that entered the lexicon, and is not altogether false.  Employing as many as 1 million people at points, including suppliers and dealers,  GM was the world's biggest company just ten years ago.  GM's demise (or reeducation, if you'd prefer) will be felt deeply around the country.

- A New York Bankruptcy judge cleared the way for Chrysler to exit bankruptcy by selling most of its assets to Italian car maker Fiat.  Chrysler could come out of bankruptcy as early as this week.


- George Tiller, a high-profile Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions was shot and killed on his way to church yesterday by an anti-abortion activist.  The assassin is in custody.

- Cuba continues to express interested in closer relations with the United States, and in a trip to Latin America, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is encouraging the thaw. Speaking at the inauguration for the new president of El Salvador, Clinton said:

Greater connections can lead to a better, freer future for the Cuban people. These talks are in the interest of the United States, and they are also in the interest of the Cuban people.

- The Las Vegas Sun reports that Nevada could be at the center of the battle over immigration reform.  Andres is quoted:

Immigration, Ramirez said, is a litmus test for Hispanic voters — if they think a candidate, or party, is hostile on the issue, they will show less interest in the candidate’s or party’s overall platform. This occurred in the 2008 election, analysts say. So the party could “risk alienating Hispanic voters more” by opposing a comprehensive bill, Ramirez said.

- Howard Fineman looks forward to President Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt this Thursday.


- Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is in China, and exchange rates are on the top of his agenda for discussion with his counterparts.

- Oil is at $67 per barrel, the highest it's been since November.


- An Air France jet bound from Brazil to Paris has disappeared over the Atlantic.  A search is underway off the coast of Brazil, in the hopes of finding the aircraft, which had 228 people aboard.

- The WaPo writes that US military and intelligence officials see a possibility for continued offensives by the Pakistani military in the Swat valley, combined with continued drone strikes near the Pakistani-Afghan border to seriously disrupt al-Qaeda in the region.

New From NDN

- Jake put together a backgrounder on Friday addressing the bankrupt Republican Party and bankruptcy policy. 

- Melissa posted on the President's weekly address, in which he promoted Sonia Sotomayor, his nominee for the Supreme Court.

One More Thing

- President Obama will speak in Egypt on Thursday, and he's already being compared to King Tut.

- On a recent trip to Five Guys burger joint, Obama learned about an intelligence agency he'd never heard of before.  Thanks, Five Guys!

- Last, Jeff Sessions seems to like Sonia Sotomayor, so perhaps there won't be much of a fight over her nomination after all.

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

5/29 Roundup: Cyberwarfare, Bing!, Tancredo Unhinged

CyberwarLeader: Cyberwarfare

- As the WaPo previewed earlier this week, the White House plans to announce a new military command for cyber warfare that will work alongside the CyberCzar and the civilian team dedicated to protecting our networks from attack.  It's not yet clear whether the DoD or the NSA will head up cyberwarfare duties. It's also not entirely clear to what extent our cyber-military will have offensive capabilities-- at this point, it's mainly defensive.  Part of the issue here is that our spy agencies are prohibited from acting on American soil.


- The White House is doing its best to reassure advocates  of a woman's right to choose about Sonia Sotomayor's bona fides on the abortion rights issue.


- The country's fastest-growing demographic group might not be what you think it is. It's "multiracial."

- Would you like to adopt a stimulus project?


- Paul Krugman sees more than a few problems in our economy, but inflation is not one of them.

- The NY Times takes up the struggle of everyday people, calling a recession a recession, and repoting on several American families that are making less money, and making do with spending less.

- Microsoft wants to be back in the search engine game, competing with Google, and seems to think that the difference is in the branding.  "Bing" is the name of the new MS search.  And it's an acronym, too: "But It's Not Google."


- President Obama met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office yesterday, and took the opportunity to speak out against continued construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has no plans to change his policy of continuing settlements as a part of Israel's "natural growth."

- Several European countries had said they would be happy to host a few former Guantanamo detainees.  But if the US isn't going to take in any?  Well, then it's a different situation altogether.

New From NDN

- Dr. Rob Shapiro has a critical view of the Republican approach to Sotomayor's nomination.  The debates that matter are being ignored.

- In his weekly New Tools post, Dan writes about new android features in phones.  Creepy?

One More Thing

- Newt Gingrich has doomsday fantasies involving electromagnetic pulses.  Surprised? Not really.

- How do you spell L-A-O-D-I-C-E-A-N?  Don't ask me, ask Kavya Shivashankar, the National Spelling Bee Champion!

- Last, Tancredo is really just totally unhinged:

5/28 Roundup: Ever more Sotomayor, Tsunami Watch, Gibbs Giggles

Sotomayor and ObamaLeader: Ever more Sotomayor

- President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, is still the topic du jour here in Washington.  The New York Times does a dive into how the President arrived at his decision; evidently, his staff worked hard to "avoid the pitfalls of the past," and Obama personally called every member of the Senate Judiciary committee.  The WaPo looks at the political battle lines that have already been drawn: The right, it seems, is latching on to individual remarks Sotomayor has made in the past, and will try to cast her as a "liberal activist waiting to flower on the high court."

- The biggest unanswered question may be Sotomayor's views on a woman's right to choose. Many abortion rights advocates nervously note that she has not really clarified her judicial position on Roe v. Wade, and in her only ruling pertaining to abortion rights, she did not come down the way those advocates would have liked.

- E.J. Dionne looks back at Obama's vote against the confirmation Chief Justice John Roberts, and sees Sotomayor as "Obama's anti-Roberts."

- A WSJ article looks at Sotomayor as a reflection of the rising political power of Hispanics.  Simon is quoted:

Given the demonization of Latino immigrants in the past, it is going to be much harder to oppose her on anything but deeply justifiable grounds. The opportunity to come across as once again being deeply unfair to Hispanics is going to be looming large over this process.


- The LA Times reports that the FBI and Justice Department will be vastly expanding their role in global counter-terror operations, reversing the trend of ever more clandestine operations run by the CIA, and seems to be a move toward transparency around investigations.

- Joe Sestak is likely to challenge Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary.

- President Obama spoke in Nevada yesterday, touting his clean energy plans, and visiting the largest solar power plant in the western hemisphere.

- Illinois Senator Roland Burris may have offered to pay "Crooked Rod" Blagojevich for his senate seat, but he definitely was never going to actually give him any money.  Definitely.


- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown put out his second big op-ed in as many days, this time calling in the Wall Street Journal for a continued commitment to global trade.

- The Boston Globe writes that business leaders are warming up to Democrats.  Simon is quoted:

The core conservative argument that government is the problem no longer holds... The ideological argument for the Republican Party for the last generation is spent. They're going to have to come up with a new argument.


- The US continues to push for tighter sanctions on North Korea in the wake of their second nuclear test earlier this week.  Russia and China, often laggards, appear to be on board.

- A roadside bomb in Baghdad killed an American soldier and four others.  Twenty Americans have been killed this month in Iraq, the most since last September.

- A large earthquake occurred just off the coast of Honduras yesterday, prompting the National Weather Service to place Belize and Guatemala under "Tsunami Watch" for a few hours.  They lifted the Tsunami Watch, which seems just as well, because it's hard to imagine how watching a tsunami would do much good

New From NDN

- Simon wrote this morning on what Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court means for the prospects of immigration reform. If anything, he thinks, it will help.

- Michael Moynihan is reconciled to the inevitability of a GM bankruptcy, and notes a rising trend of Russian investment in American companies like this one.

One More Thing

- Newt Gingrich called Sonia Sotomayor a racist and called for her resignation.  But wait, he didn't say it, he tweeted it! Does that make it better or worse?

- The NY Times has a must-read on the massive proliferation of hugging among American teenagers.  Disturbing? Perhaps.  But better hugging than heroin.

- Last, Politico puts together a mash-up of Robert Gibbs giggling.  Now that's what I call journalism!:

5/26 Roundup: Detonation, Working Dinners, Don't Take Our LeBron James!

Update: President Obama chooses Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

North Korean Nuclear Test

Leader: Detonation

- North Korea detonated a nuclear device yesterday, their second such test.  This weapon does not appear to have been significantly more powerful than the device detonated in 2006, but the "several kiloton event" will not be judged a failure, as the previous test was.  The international community has quickly moved to condemn the test, as an emergency session of the UN Security Council-- including Russia and China-- "voiced strong opposition" to this action.  Along with the nuclear detonation, North Korea launched three short-range missiles

- President Obama roundly condemned the test in a short statement before his appearance at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day yesterday. He vowed that the US would "stand up" to North Korea, but the NY Times notes that the President's options for real action are limited. The Hill gives the president credit for "slamming" North Korea, but what will the next step be?


- Politico gives some favorable coverage to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and seems particularly impressed with his "working dinners" that are evidently the place to be on weeknights.

- Later this week, President Obama will announce a "cyber czar," who will be responsible for keeping government and private computer networks online and safe from cyber attack.

- Jon Alter thinks President Obama is putting a little too much faith in the meritocracy and the culture of expertise... and not enough in the culture of common sense.


- The Fed has a lot on its plate right now, and signs that the economy may be slowing its slide will put another vexing challenge in front of them: inflation.

- GM extracted concessions from the Canadian auto manufacturers union, protecting jobs in advance of a likely bankruptcy filing next week.


- Pro-democracy leader in Myanmar Daw Aung San Suu Kyi testified at trial yesterday, insisting that she did not break the terms of her house arrest by temporarily sheltering an American who showed up on her property after swimming across a lake. It is still not clear if she'll be able to avoid a five-year prison term.

- The strongest challenger to Iran President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Mir Hussein Moussavi, attracted a surprisingly large crowd to a rally yesterday, and may mount a very serious challenge to the sitting government.

New From NDN

- This Friday, Simon will give a presentation of the revamped "Dawn of a New Politics" powerpoint.  You can come by our offices to watch it (RSVP), or watch online.

- Simon looked at the Kos weekly tracking poll, and noticed that, for the first time in a long time, "right track" has caught up to "wrong track." It's a tie ballgame, in the outlook of Americans.

One More Thing

- Take our textile manufacturing and our coveted place at the top of the list of worst carbon emitters, but don't take our LeBron James!

- Last, CNN questions the GOP's choice of role models:

5/22 Roundup: Barack and Dick, Dr. Doom, Jack Passion

Obama & CheneyLeader: Barack and Dick

- President Barack Obama gave a major address on national security yesterday, and former VP Dick Cheney followed it with a counter-attack, addressing the same subjects at AEI.  Obama spoke at the National Archives, home of original versions of America's Constitution and Bill of Rights, sending the message that America need not compromise its values to stay safe.  He aimed to convince the American people that standing by the rule of law and embracing our civil liberties is the surest route to national security. He said he planned to move some detainees from Guantanamo to American prisons, despite stiff resistance from Congress; he conceded "prolonged detention" for terror suspects, acknowledging that as the thorniest issue in this whole debate.

- Cheney spoke moments later, defending the record of the Bush Administration on national security, and arguing that a permanent wartime approach to national security has been necessary since 9/11.  "There is no middle ground in the fight against terror, he said. David Brooks argues that Cheney already lost this debate-- all the way back in about 2003-- within the Bush Administration.


- Julia Ioffe of TNR does a profile of Nouriel "Dr. Doom" Roubini, trying to discover whether the economist is really good, or just lucky.

- Ron Brownstein's lead article in the National Journal today talks about how the GOP has increasingly become a party confined to the deep South.  This is, of course, an argument Simon has been making for some time.


- The Administration is getting ready to put GM into bankruptcy protection as early as late next week.  The maneuver would involve injecting $30 billion into the failing auto manufacturer, shrinking the company to become a sleeker global competitor.

- Martin Wolf soberly observes that the UK has a comparative advantage in the world's most irresponsible industry (that being banking, of course).  He argues in favor of strong global regulation to curb the nasty effects of runaway financial products.


- At least 23 Iraqis and three American soldiers were killed in Iraq yesterday by a series of bomb attacks in Baghdad and Kirkuk.  This is yet another flare-up of violence, interrupting the general peace and calm that has come to Iraq. 

- International aid agencies have been calling for access to the hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire of Sri Lanka's civil war, now in its final throes.  The Sri Lankan government has ignored those calls, exacerbating an already-dreadful humanitarian situation.

New From NDN

- Dan's weekly New Tools post yesterday looks at all the digital data held by the federal government, and how much of it is being made public in an effort toward transparency.

- Jake does an update on H.R. 2060, the free computer training bill, introduced by John Larson, and based on a paper written by Dr. Rob Shapiro.  It's gradually gaining momentum in Congress.

One More Thing

- Jack Passion is the World Champion beard-grower in the "Full Beard: Natural" division of the World Beard and Moustache Championships.  He'll be defending that title this weekend.  Good luck to you, Jack Passion.

- Last, Wired White House Webmaster Macon Phillips walks us through all the upgrades he and his team have made since showing up on the job:

Daily Roundup Fail

If you've been frantically hitting refresh on your browser all day, wondering where the daily roundup was, and how in the world you were going to get the day's news without it, I apologise.  I spent the morning suffering from acute cephalalgia, and neglected my duties.

Please don't hold it against me.  Come back tomorrow-- I'll make it a extra-good, just for you.

5/19 Roundup: CAFE Standards, China's Double Score, The Boss is Money

CAFELeader: Meet me at the CAFE Standards

- President Obama will announce today stricter new standards for auto fuel efficiency.  The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will begin to take effect in 2012, and will be in place by 2016.  The hope is that the average fuel efficiency of American cars and trucks will be 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.  This is the fastest shift since the late 1970s, when the first efficiency standards were introduced. The White House has evidently been negotiating this agreement since the early days of the Administration.

- The environmental lobby has been cheered by the news, seeing this as a long-overdue tightening of standards.  The auto industry is happy as well, pleased to finally have a reasonable national standard, and enough time to work toward it.  It should be noted that, despite their positive reaction to the news, the auto industry wasn't exactly advocating for this move in recent years.


- The latest update in the GOP death watch-- Chris Cillizza finds that the decline in identification as a Republican is constant across almost every demographic group.  At this point, only about 21% percent of people will call themselves Republicans-- the lowest level since 1983.

- Ezra Klein takes a look at the health care proposals being bandied around, and notes that cost estimates are lower than expected, largely because they assume millions of undocumented immigrants will go uncovered.  Ezra takes pains to point out that this is not, in fact, a good thing for American citizens, because it makes undocumented workers cheaper to hire.  This echoes Simon's argument that our broken immigration system creates a trap door under the wages of American workers.


- Asian stocks are up on relatively good housing data from the US. Throughout the Pacific Rim, stock exchanges were up 2% today.

- Norway is officially in a recession.  Welcome, Norway!


- Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, could assume a powerful position within the Afghan government, based on conversations he is having now with President Hamid Karzai.

- China would like to build up its strategic petroleum reserves.  China would like to undercut the dollar as the global currency of choice.  So China sets up a deal, where it buys petroleum from Brazil, using a currency other than the dollar.  Double score.

New From NDN

- In her Weekly Immigration Update yesterday, Zuraya recaps Andres's Roll Call op-ed, and looks to New York state as a reason we need national immigration reform.

One More Thing

- John Dickerson looks into allegations that President Obama has a lot in common with Spock

- Last, money is the boss, and The Boss is money:

5/18 Roundup: The Fightin' Irish, The Tamil Tigers, Barack Obama, Soccer Dad

Fightin' IrishLeader: The Fightin' Irish

- President Obama gave the commencement address at Notre Dame yesterday, and took on the issue of abortion, which had caused some members of the Fightin' Irish community to boycott or protest his speech. He called for "open hearts, open minds, and fair-minded words." The cheers drowned out the protestors.

- Ed Kilgore takes a good look at the brouhaha, and finds that the disagreement is more a divide within the Catholic Church, than a divide between the church and everyone else. He takes a deep dive on opinion polls:

Catholics are no more likely to be "morally opposed" to abortion than other Americans. According to a recent Gallup survey, 40% of Catholics (as compared to 41% of non-Catholics) consider abortion "morally acceptable." And that's not so strange, since the same survey shows 71% of Catholics finding divorce "morally acceptable" (the number is 66% among non-Catholics), with similarly positive moral acceptance levels for pre-marital sex (67%, compared to 57% of non-Catholics), having a child out of wedlock (61%; 52% among non-Catholics) and homosexual relations (54%; 45% of non-Catholics). None of these positions, of course, are in line with contemporary Church doctrine.


- President Obama swiped Utah governor Jon Huntsman from the GOP, appointing him Ambassador to China.  The man speaks fluent Mandarin-- who knew?  This has been widely seen as a coup for the president, at once shutting down a potential 2012 challenger, and removing a rare voice of sanity from the Republican Party.  Still, this may make Huntsman all the more viable as a candidate in 2016.

- Ben Smith of Politico covers growing GOP alarm over their weakness with Latino voters, since a collapse in 2006.  NDN's Andres Ramirez has an op-ed in today's Roll Call, arguing that Hispanics are on track to become an increasingly powerful part of American political life.


- According the FT, smaller banks in the US require an additional $24 billion to meet the capital standards set by the federal government.

- Paul Krugman sees the cap-and-trade legislation currently progressing through congress as flawed, but still better than no legislation at all.

- In a great Sunday column, David Leonhardt writes about the close linkages between the U.S. and Chinese economies, and the necessity for each to work to correct the imbalances in the relationship.


- The Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka have laid down their arms, effectively ending the longest-running civil war in Asia. The leader of the Tigers, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, an elusive figure, was reportedly killed yesterday, as the rebels had been pressed into an area the size of a football field by the Sri Lankan military.

- Pakistan is reportedly adding to its nuclear arsenal, even as concerns rise about the Taliban taking over large portions of the state.

One More Thing

- Ezra Klein moved over to the Washington Post today, and has already taken on the policy and politics of hamburgers.  Delicious.

- Last, meet Barack Obama, soccer dad:

5/15 Roundup: Deceit, Falling Immigration, Ax on NPR

PelosiLeader: Deceit

- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged yesterday that she knew that the Bush Administration had approved harsh interrogation tactics six years ago, while at the same time accusing the CIA of misleading members of Congress about their activities.

- Dan Balz sees this accusation as either a calculated escalation of a long-running feud, or a reckless act by a politician in a tight spot. Or maybe both.

- According to an aide to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, a principal goal of the brutal interrogation tactics used by the CIA was not to prevent another terrorist attack, but to gain evidence connecting al Qaeda to Iraq.  And if that's your goal, it doesn't much matter if it's true, does it?


- In the year ending in August 2008, immigration from Mexico was down 25% from the previous year.  This data confirms what we heard yesterday about declining immigration from Latin America and Asia.

Mexican and American researchers say that the current decline, which has also been manifested in a decrease in arrests along the border, is largely a result of Mexicans’ deciding to delay illegal crossings because of the lack of jobs in the ailing American economy.

- Tom Frieden, an anti-tobacco crusader, has been chosen to run the CDC.


- Chrysler will be shuttering a quarter of its car dealerships in the US.  GM indicated that if they file for bankruptcy, they'll do it in a manner similar to how Chrysler did it. But perhaps that won't be necessary, as late-breaking reports indicate that GM is close to a deal with the UAW that would save the auto manufacturer billions.

- The Euro-zone economy shrank by 2.5% in the first quarter this year, a much bigger loss than the 1.4% they saw in the fourth quarter last year.


- Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanhayu is coming to visit President Obama, and he'll presumably try not to repeat his last visit, when he pissed off President Clinton in the utmost.

- Paul Krugman and Michael Moynihan both wrote about climate change yesterday.  Krugman wrote that China would have to do its part in any emissions regime, and Moynihan, picked up on Grist, called for cap and market legislation to be passed this year.

New From NDN

- Did you notice that this website is new? Be sure to check out the NDN front page, as well, which is superfly.

- Simon was featured on the front page of the Huffington Post yesterday, with his new essay about putting everyday consumers at the center of the economic debate.

- Rob Shapiro wrote about the various health care plans emerging from the White House, and respectfully asks for more details:

So the Administration’s health care focus, goals and priorities are right in the ways that matter. Now they need to provide a more detailed blueprint of how they intend to reach those goals and achieve those priorities.

One More Thing

- Trivia nerd like me? Then you'll be tickled pink that David Axelrod will be testing his wits on "Wait, wait... Don't Tell Me."

- Last, the Daily Show comments on "don't ask, don't tell":

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c
Dan Choi Is Gay
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

Syndicate content