Daily Roundup

2009 Election News Roundup

In a throwback to the good old days of daily roundups, I've put together a compendium of some of the best analysis of yesterday's elections floating around the internet this morning. Enjoy:

- Mike Tomasky says it wasn't really about Obama.

- Chris Cillizza sorts through all the numbers.

- Marc Ambinder offers 11 ways to look at yesterday.

- Ben Smith covers Mike Bloomberg's surprisingly close brush with fate, and also writes about losses for gay marriage, wins for gay executives.

- Ezra Klein on statewide vs. national elections, the economy, and voters who didn't show up.

- Hendrik Hertzberg has five predictions for the next four years.

- Chuck Todd and the Today Show sqad ask if the elections are representative of a broader shift:

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

And here's NDN's Take:

5/1 Roundup: Souter's Scooting, Surgical Bankruptcy, Shirking Bo Duties

Leader: Souter's Scooting

- Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter is planning to retire at the end of this term, according to a "government official" who passed word along to NPR.  Unlike the other eight justices, Souter has not yet hired clerks for the fall, suggesting that he would be fulfilling his oft-stated desire to return to his cabin in the woods of New Hampshire, rather than stay in Washington-- a city for which he has no affection.

- President Obama will have the job of filling the open seat, and Souter has suggested he might stay around until his successor is confirmed. The most likely choices for replacing Souter are Sonia Sotomayor of New York, Diane P. Wood of Chicago, and Elena Kagan, the new Solicitor General.  VP Joe Biden has been tasked with pulling together a list of possible candidates.


- Simon made the case for immigration reform on Huffington Post yesterday, with an essay that held the top spot on the site for most of the day.  In "Making the Case: 7 Reasons Why Congress Should Pass Immigration Reform This Year," he does exactly that.

- Noam Scheiber of TNR points out the deep divides between banks and hedge funds, particularly in the policies they're fighting for in Washington.


- Chrysler will undergo a "surgical bankruptcy" process, that will leave the United Auto Workers with a controlling stake in the company, with Fiat and the US Government as junior partners.

- Michael Moynihan published a new essay yesterday arguing that the Obama Administration must prevent GM from falling to the same fate. Simon challenged the government to take a hard look at failing American brands, and to find what is most valuable, and still profitable about them.


- The Swine Flu continues to spread, with 247 confirmed cases worldwide. Three hundred schools have been closed in the US, but Mexico remains the epicenter of the disease. The NY Times reports on why the disease has been more deadly in Mexico.  

- A right-wing talk-show host in Boston tried to blame Mexican immigrants for the spread of the disease to the US.  He's been canned.  Michelle Bachmann tried to blame Democrats for the flu.  Can we fire her, too?

New From NDN

- Morley winograd and Mike Hais wonder if the Specter party switch was inevitable.  They project that this will not be the last party switch we see in the coming years.

One More Thing

- Malia and Sasha have been shirking Bo-walking duty.  Is this more disturbing than Swine Flu?  Yes. Yes, it is.

- Last, Simon offered some thoughts yesterday on President Obama's first 100 days in office:

4/30 Roundup: Pandemic Pandemonium, Boring Presser, Donkey Flu

Leader: Pandemic Pandemonium

- The World Health Organization announced yesterday that a pandemic-- the global spread-- of H1/N1 Swine Flu seems inevitable.  The WHO raised the global alert level from 4 to 5, citing the spread of the virus in the US and Mexico, particularly the proliferation of cases among people with no connection to the initial outbreak in Mexico. Dr. Margaret Chan, director of the WHO, called for global solidarity saying “After all, it really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic.”

- Thanks for the reminder, Dr. Chan. President Obama reminded us all yesterday to wash our hands regularly, cover our mouths when we cough, and stay home if we feel sick. The LA Times optimistically reports that this appears to be a relatively mild flu strain-- one that might not cause as much destruction as even the usual winter flu outbreak.

- The CDC and HHS are using Twitter and YouTube to disseminate information about the flu.  Three government officials will hold an online Q&A this afternoon.  Welcome to the future of viral outbreaks!


- President Obama gave a press conference outside St. Louis today, and Politico concluded that he was making a concerted effort to be boring.

- A new GOP initiative, called the National Council for a New America, is in its early stages, but includes a number of major party figures, and will be dedicated toward developing a new policy agenda.

It will involve an outreach by an interesting mix of GOP officials, ranging from 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and the younger brother of the man many Republicans blame for the party's battered brand: former President George W. Bush.


- Talks between the Treasury and Chrysler's major creditors broke down yesterday, all but guaranteeing that the auto manufacturer will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. This will result in the dismissal of chief executive Robert Nardelli, transfer of management to Fiat, and the injection of another $10 billion into the company.

- The economy shrank faster in the six months ending in March than at any point in the past 50 years, after a worse-than expected first quarter.


- Five car bombs around Baghdad killed 48 yesterday, in what the WaPo calls "The latest in a series of attacks that appear designed to discredit Iraq's security forces as the U.S. military starts to withdraw from urban areas."

New From NDN

- Simon was quoted in the all-new PoliticsDaily.com, talking about Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic Party:

This is further evidence that there is a major realignment taking place... But Specter's shift also has other major implications. It puts more pressure on the congressional Democrats to deliver on President Obama's agenda.

- Dr. Rob Shapiro was on Fox yesterday.  What's that?  You missed it?  You don't have a television? You couldn't find your clicker thing?  Have no fear, it's on the internet.

One More Thing

- Last, Stephen Colbert suspects Arlen Specter might have Donkey Flu:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Arlen Specter Contracts Donkey Flu
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor First 100 Days

4/29 Roundup: 100 Days, Specter Spectacle, Sharon Jones on Obama

Leader: 100 Days, 100 Nights

- Today is Barack Obama's 100th day as our President, and so I offer you a run-through of all the 100 days analysis on this Hallmark holiday:

- Chris Cillizza of The Fix counts winners and losers in the first 100 days.

- Time's reporters all grade Obama.

- Newsweek's Jon Alter says Obama is in league with FDR and LBJ.

- Politico's John Feehery says we've seen more talk than action.

- Joe Klein of Time Magazine has a top-to-bottom assessment.

- Newsweek's Howard Fineman says the next 100 days will be the real test.

- GlobalPost reporters gather reactions to the first 100 days from around the world.

- Carla Marinucci and Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle on Obama's outreach.

- The editors of the NY Times look at how Obama compares to his predecessors.

- Fareed Zakaria says Obama has accomplished enough to make any president envious.

- Business Week finds corporate leaders give Obama mostly good grades.

- Slate's Chris Beam braces for the GOP's continued failure in the next 100 days.

- The Guardian's Mike Tomasky writes that Obama has transformed US politics.

- Politico's Jonathan Martin looks at 10 decisions Obama will face in the next 100 days.


- Arlen Specter has switched sides of the aisle, becoming a Democrat after 44 years as a Republican. By joining the Senate Democrats, he puts Dems within reach of a filibuster-proof 60 votes, which they'll have once Al Franken is seated. Facing a likely primary challenge from the right, he would have faced an uphill battle to gain the Republican nomination in 2010, and will face much better prospects as a Democrat.

- John Dickerson calls this a pretty good 100th-day gift to President Obama, and Dan Balz wonders if the GOP will sleep through this wake-up call.  With moderate Republicans an endangered species, and the GOP sliding ever further right, sensible centrists like Specter are certain to find more to like in the Democratic Party.

- Specter's fellow moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine pens an op-ed in the NY Times lamenting that it didn't have to be this way-- that the Republican Party need not demand ideological fealty at the expense of any diversity of thought.


- The FT's Martin Wolf writes that fixing our financial systems is just the first step toward economic recovery:

The overhang of debt makes deleveraging inevitable. But it has hardly begun. Those who hope for a swift return to what they thought normal two years ago are deluded.


- Swine flu has now appeared on four continents, and illnesses in the US are appearing to be more severe than originally thought. The disease killed its first American yesterday-- a young child in Texas. A vaccine may still be months away.

- In a seemingly significant, if symbolic move, the Chinese government indicated that it would drop its objection to Taiwan's participation as an observer at the World Health Assembly.  This is certainly a step toward improvement of relations, though it's less clear whether it's a step toward or away from reunification.

- The Pakistani military successfully pushed Taliban militants out of Lower Dir, and took aim at those militants still within the Buner district.

New From NDN

- Michael Moynihan looks at progress on clean technology in President Obama's first 100 days.

- Tracy published a full description of the event we'll be hosting here on May 5th, looking back at the first 100 days of the Obama presidency.  We hope you'll be able to join us!

One More Thing

- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's campaign slogan translates as "We Can." Sound familiar?

- Last, do you know Sharon Jones? She's great.  She has a song that I think might be about Barack Obama ("100 days, 100 nights to know a man's heart... And a little more before he knows his own"):

4/28 Roundup: Swine, Science, AutoTune Winston Churchill

Leader: Swine

- The Swine Flu is on the march, with 40 cases in the United States-- 28 of them connected to a high school in Queens, NY-- and new cases detected in New Zealand, Israel, and Mexico.  To date, the disease has only proven fatal in Mexico, where 152 people have died.  The WHO raised the global threat level from three to four; I won't tell you what happens at level six, but trust me that we don't want to get there.

- WHO officials say a pandemic is not inevitable, but they no longer think it can be contained.  Their efforts going forward will focus on slowing its spread and working toward a vaccine.  The Obama Administration is facing the significant challenge of preventing panic, while not treating the subject too lightly. The WaPo notes that the White House may be a bit understaffed, as many senior health positions have not yet been filled.

- Henry Miller has an op-ed in the WSJ, explaining the epidemiology behind a virus like this, and how we can go about preventing its spread.


- President Obama spoke yesterday about the necessity of science, setting the goal of devoting more than 3% of GDP toward R&D:

Just think what this will allow us to accomplish: solar cells as cheap as paint; green buildings that produce all the energy they consume; learning software as effective as a personal tutor; prosthetics so advanced that you could play the piano again; an expansion of the frontiers of human knowledge about ourselves and world the around us. We can do this.

- Steven Gray in Time wonders if Artur Davis could lead Alabama to becoming ground zero for a Democratic revival in the South.

- Ryan Lizza profiles Peter Orzag, looking closely at his challenge of keeping the White House's ambitious goals within the limits of reality.

- The NY Times maintains coverage of the rise of cyberwarfare, reporting that the Obama Administration is doing a major review of our strategy:

Just as the invention of the atomic bomb changed warfare and deterrence 64 years ago, a new international race has begun to develop cyberweapons and systems to protect against them.


- GM has conceded that, if it is to remain a viable manufacturer of automobiles, it will need to become a lot smaller.  Their next challenge will be to convince the Obama Administration they mean it when they say it.

- The White House will unveil today a new set of incentives for lenders to work with struggling homeowners renegotiate second mortgages.


- Fighting in Pakistan has spread from Swat into the Lower Dir district, a region that links Swat to the border with Afghanistan.  Many fear that Lower Dir could serve as a pipeline for Taliban fighters to move interchangeably between Swat and Afghanistan.

- It's a slightly longer trip, but there is also evidence that terrorists are moving from the Af-Pak region all the way to Somalia, taking advantage of the failed state as a lawless haven. Could Somalia be the next Afghanistan?

New From NDN

- NDN hosted UK Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander yesterday, as he gave a major address indicating a new course for British foreign aid. An excerpt from his speech is available on HuffPo-- we'll have video and a transcript of the speech soon.

- Zuraya's Weekly Immigration Update is out, looking at progress on reform coming from the other side of the border.

One More Thing

- Maybe you've seen AutoTune the News (if not, you should).  But you probably haven't seen AutoTune Winston Churchill:

4/24 Roundup: Good Car Bad Car, Right Track Wrong Track, Barack on a Hip Trip

Leader: Good Car Bad Car

- Ford Motor Co. lost $1.4 billion in the first quarter, but outperformed expectations, and will remain off the government dole.  Despite lower sales, the company used up less reserve capital last quarter than it did in the fourth quarter of 2008.

- Things are less rosy over at Chrysler. The Treasury has instructed Chrysler to be ready for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing as early as next week.  The company has until April 30 to reach a deal with Fiat, the Italian auto manufacturer with an interest in acquiring a stake in Chrysler. The WSJ reports that even if a deal is reached, Chrysler will likely still have to file for bankruptcy.


- For the first time in seven years, more Americans think the country is on the right track than think it's on the wrong track. This is great news for President Obama as his 100-day evaluations approach.

- In response to a Freedom of Information Act suit filed by the ACLU, the Obama administration will release a number of photographs depicting the harsh interrogations as they were used at US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The photos are reportedly not as shocking as those that ignited the Abu Ghraib scandal, but many still fear that they could ignite a fresh backlash.

- Foreign Policy collects grades on Obama's performance in his first 100 days from a panoply of experts, academics and public intellectuals.  On the whole, he does quite well.  Except with Elliott Abrams.


- World Bank President Robert Zoellick spoke out against the trend among G-20 nations toward trade protectionism.  Rob has issued similar warnings. Quoth the Zoellick:

"As the recession deepens, leaders will be under pressure to protect home markets. Such retreats behind barriers will only make the economic crisis worse."

- China has revealed that it has been stockpiling bullion-- and we're talking gold, not chicken stock.  Much to everyone's surprise, China is now the world's fifth largest holder of gold.


- Under threat of an assault from the Pakistani military, Taliban insurgents pulled back from the Buner district that they had successfully occupied yesterday.  The US has been pushing Pakistan to fight the Taliban more aggressively

- The UN reports that nearly 6,500 ethnic Tamil civilians have been killed in Sri Lanka.  As many as 100,000 civilians have escaped the "no-fire zone" in which they have been trapped alongside the Tamil Tigers, who had taken refuge there from government forces. About 50,000 civilians remain trapped in the small sliver of land, lacking basic resources, and surrounded by violence.

New From NDN

- Rob Shapiro wrote yesterday about the political challenges to any kind of climate change legislation.  He writes:

Doing our part to contain climate changes will be very costly and consequently very difficult politically. That makes a strong, economic revival here and around the world perhaps the single most important thing the Obama administration can do right now to help preserve the Earth.

- Rep. John Larson unveiled a bill yesterday based on Rob Shapiro's paper calling for free computer training for all Americans through the US's community college system.  Dan got some nice pictures of the event.

One More Thing

- Politico earns MAJOR POINTS for referencing Tower of Power lyrics in a headline. Bonus point for concluding that Obama is hip.  (He's on a hip trip. Maybe hipper than hip.)

- A child asked Michelle Obama a totally adorable question: "What would you do if something bad happened to a country?" I think her answer rather reasonable.

- Last the guy who sang us a song about Paul Krugman a few weeks ago, today sings us one of the tortue memos.  It's a little incongruous, and an interesting way to listen to this cold language describing chilling acts:

4/23 Roundup: Tortured Memos, Downward Mobility, Dr. Dot

Leader: Tortured Memos

- President Obama may have hoped he could put the question of torture to rest by ending the questionable interrogation techniques, releasing the memos, and reassuring CIA employees that they would not be prosecuted. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, the release of the memos has ignited fury on both sides of the aisle. On the right, congresspeople and former Bush officials see the release of the memos as weakness, while on the left there is a desire to investigate and punish the officials responsible.

- People on the left will likely be dissatisfied, as there are significant hurdles to the indictment, including a dearth of legal precedents for such action. Plus:

It could create a partisan firestorm that Mr. Obama, who has said he wants to concentrate on fixing the economy and on other parts of his agenda, would prefer to avoid for political reasons. And, like the interrogators, the policy makers could argue that government lawyers assured them the program was legal.

- An NY Times analysis piece today asks the fundamental question-- did the interrogation methods actually stop attacks? This on the same day that Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent, pens an op-ed in the Times, offering his side of the story of the history behind the development of the torture memos. They were built on a foundation of lies, it seems, and were totally unnecessary to stop attacks.


- Rep. John Larson, the House Democratic Caucus Chairman, will unveil a bill today that will provide free computer training to Americans through the nation's community colleges.  The bill grew up out of a paper written by Dr. Rob Shapiro, Chair of NDN's Globalization Initiative.

- The NY Times reports on the story of one little boy whose immigrant mother was swept up in a workplace raid and sent to prison. After more than a year in prison, her custody rights were revoked, and the boy was adopted by a local couple.  DHS is reportedly looking for better ways to deal with all-too common situations like this.


- The economic downturn has led to a sharp decline in Americans' mobility, driving down the numbers of people seeking to move. 

Experts said the lack of mobility was of concern on two fronts. It suggests that Americans were unable or unwilling to follow any job opportunities that may have existed around the country, as they have in the past. And the lack of movement itself, they said, could have an impact on the economy, reducing the economic activity generated by moves.

- The iPhone pushed up Apple's profits last quarter, and saved AT&T from a much larger drop in revenue.


- Taliban militants have pushed out of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, and taken the district of Buner, just 60 miles from the capital, Islamabad.  Though militants cannot immediately threaten Islamabad, this move is an indicator of the strength of the Taliban, and the inefficacy of the Pakistani military.

- Two explosions in Baghdad killed 60 and wounded over a hundred, as the city was offered a deadly reminder that the country is far from past its violence.

New From NDN

- Michael Moynihan celebrated Earth Day yesterday with a post encouraging us all to work together as we strive to save our planet.

- Zuraya looked back at our Summit of the Americas preview event.  We now have video available of all the excellent speakers who addressed us a few weeks ago, including Sen. Bob Menendez.

One More Thing

- The President of Georgia might be brought down from power with the inadvertent help of a busty American masseuse.  Her name is Dr. Dot.

- Last, Mother Nature thought the conservative anti-Earth Day "beach party" yesterday was pretty dumb. You and me both, Mother Nature:

4/22 Roundup: Tortured History, National Service, Toby Keith is Cool with Obama

Leader: Tortured History

- The NY Times reports this morning on the origins of the harsh interrogation methods used by the CIA.  They were approved at the highest levels of government in 2002, with no dissent from anyone in the Cabinet or White House, and no enquiry into the history of the techniques.  No effort was made to research or read what had been previously written about even the most questionable method-- that known as waterboarding. 

- President Obama indicated  yesterday that he would not stand in the way of any investigation into senior Bush Administration officials deemed responsible for authorizing the techniques.  The CIA memos, he said, reflected us "losing our moral bearings"

- The WaPo reports that Pentagon and CIA officials began preparing to conduct the harsh interrogation techniques, exploring ways to "break" detainees, months before the techniques were approved by Justice Department lawyers, and weeks before the CIA had even captured its first terrorism suspects. This news comes from a Senate Armed Services Committee report.


- Gavin Newsom is officially running for governor of California, and he announced his candidacy yesterday via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  Simon is quoted in the SF Chronicle piece:

"The way that Gavin Newsom announced will become standard practice in the post-Obama era of politics," said Simon Rosenberg, who heads NDN, which studies Democratic policy issues. "We're seeing a reinventing of politics ... and in a state as wired as California, and a campaign as expensive as this one will be, the candidates who can figure out how to tap into the power and passion of their supporters will have an advantage."

- President Obama signed the Ted Kennedy National Service Act yesterday, a bill meant to encourage public service, particularly among young Americans.  NDN fellow Morley Winograd is cited saying the Act represents a historic shift, representing the civic nature of the Millennial generation.


- Japan has run a trade deficit over the past year-- the first time this has happened in 30 years.  The shift was caused by declining exports, and rising commodity prices.

- The FT's Martin Wolf writes that the green shoots may yet wither, and that the worst of this economic collapse is not yet behind us. He writes:

The world economy cannot go back to where it was before the crisis, because that was demonstrably unsustainable. It is at the early stages of a long and painful deleveraging and restructuring. Fortunately, policymakers have eliminated the worst possible outcomes. But there is much more yet to be done before fragile shoots become healthy plants.


- Nelson Cunningham, Chair of NDN's Latin America Policy Initiative, has an op-ed in today's Chicago Tribune, responding to the President's success at the Summit of the Americas.  It's high time the US "friended" its southern neighbors.

- The war in Sri Lanka is in its final throes, but as many as 100,000 civilians are still endangered and trapped in the last stronghold of the rebels. The humanitarian situation is dire already, and has the potential to become far worse.

New From NDN

- Tracy reminded you that we're hosting three great events soon, and you-- yes, you-- should give some serious thought to coming. We've got a breakfast in New York tomorrow morning with Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, and a press event tomorrow with Rep. John Larson as he introduces legislation to provide computer training through America's community colleges.

- Then, on May 5th, we're hosting an event here, as Simon will be joined by Frank Foer, Mark Schmitt, and Mike Tomasky for a reflection on President Obama's first hundred days. Should be a good discussion.

One More Thing

- Last, Toby Keith talks DC and Presidential politics.  On Obama?  So far, he's cool:

4/21 Roundup: Lat-Am,

Leader: Lat-Am

- The Caucus reports on a new poll from Sergio Bendixen that finds most Cuban-Americans are in favor of the relaxation in US-Cuba relations proposed by President Obama.  Sergio was instrumental in the development of our own proposal for US-Cuba relations, and we're glad to see his work demonstrating what a sensible policy course this is.

- The NY Times has a big editorial today on immigration, arguing that there is an economic advantage and moral imperative to fixing our very badly broken immigration system.

“You may not want to do this because you like José Rodríguez,” Mr. [Eliseo] Medina said, “but this affects you. Your standard of living is not going to improve, and you’re not going to be in a stronger position to solve your problems as long as you have all of these people out there without any rights — without any ability to contribute. Things will only get worse, not better.”


- The Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter project was breached by hackers who were able to download several terabytes of data about the design and electronics of the aircraft.  Former officials suggest the cyber-attack likely came from China, but that appears to be nothing more than speculation at this point.

- We live in a nation of 20 million bloggers, where half a million can say that blogging is the primary source of their income-- that's more than we have firefighters, bartenders, or computer programmers.  I was going to laugh and scoff... but maybe I'm one of them.

- Ezra Klein calls attention to Eliot Spitzer's prescient prediction of the financial crisis, and suggests it's high time we welcomed him back.


- The special investigator overseeing the Treasury bailout has launched 20 criminal investigations of people suspected of abusing the bailout process and making off with money they shouldn't have.

The disclosures reinforce fears that the hastily designed and rapidly changing bailout program run by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve is going to carry a heavy price of fraud against taxpayers -- even as questions grow about its ability to stabilize the nation's financial system.

Chrysler turned down a $750 million loan from the government because the auto manufacturer didn't want to abide by the limits on executive pay.  Instead, Chrysler borrowed from private institutions at higher rates, pushing them even further over the edge.


- The sole surviving pirate from the Maersk Alabama episode arrived in New York yesterday, and will be brought to court today on piracy and hostage-taking charges.  He's a Somali teenager, and his parents appealed from their poor town in Somalia for their son to be released, saying he was misled into becoming a pirate.

- Spain is suffering from just the kind of galloping deflation that can cripple an economy for a long, long time.

New From NDN

- Morley Winograd and Mike Hais have a new essay on the day that President Obama will sign the Ted Kennedy Serve America Act.

- Zuraya Tapia-Alfaro's Weekly Immigration Update looks at the ongoing debate over foreign workers.

One More Thing

- We here at NDN are an enthusiastic bunch of soccer players, parents, and fans. I assure you, however, we are far more civil than the group of ballistic soccer moms and dads who flipped their wigs on the ref, and were forever banished to 100 yards from the sideline of their kids' games.

- Last, Dick Cheney is still in love with the idea that talking to your rivals is an admission of defeat.  Can we please send this man back into the hole from whence he came?



4/20 Roundup: Budget Cuts, Little Green Hats, The Handshake

Budget CutLeader: Budget Cuts

- President Obama will gather his cabinet today, and order them to collectively cut $100 million from the budget over the next 90 days. This will be the first full meeting of the cabinet.  Already, certain cuts have been identified: DVA conferences, Agriculture locations, and DHS office supplies.

- Greg Mankiw reminds us that "$100 million represents .003% of $3.5 trillion." Still, the intent is to demonstrate the President's commitment to fight the budget deficit in the long run.


- President Obama has returned from a successful trip to Trinidad and Tobago, where he projected a new era of openness in US-Latin American relations.  Simon writes that this is a new day indeed in the Western Hemisphere.

- The NY Times reports word that the CIA used waterboarding 266 times on just two suspects.  Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 terror attacks, suffered the treatment 183 times in just one month in 2003. 

- The Treasury will be moving to convert its TARP loans to banks into common stock.  This will allow the government to continue to loan ot banks without requesting more money through congress, and will turn the federal aid into available capital for the banks.  Some see this as a backdoor to nationalization.

- Frank Foer and Noam Scheiber continue the quest to unpack President Obama's theory of state.  It's long, but it's worth  your time.


- Paul Krugman is afraid we all might turn Irish. No shamrocks and little green hats, rather, a 10% drop in GDP combined with a disastrous governmental response that includes slashing government spending.

- The IMF is reimagining itself as a true global bank, more heavily involving rising powers like India and China, and acting more like a bank than an economic advisor.

- Bank of America's profitability is up, but it's holding ever more sour loans.


- Gunmen in Mexico attacked a prisoner transfer convoy, killing eight police officers in a failed attempt to spring a cartel leader from imprisonment. 

- Three aid workers with MSF-Belgium (Doctors Without Borders) were seized by Somali gunmen, who are demanding $1 million in ransom.

New From NDN

- Over the weekend, Jake looked at John Boehner's denial of global warming, and saw it as yet more evidence that the GOP is deeply out of touch and facing a long road back.

- On Friday, Rob Shapiro wrote about Americans' changing attitude toward saving (as opposed to, say, spending).  It may yet become the thing to do.

One More Thing

- Are you friends with any tween girls? Well, they'd rather be friends with the Obama girls than you.

- Last, everybody's jibber-jabbering about Obama's handshake with Hugo Chavez.  Here's the take from Meredith Viera and MSNBC:

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