Friday: New Head of Economic Council; Pastor Rethinks Quran-Burning Plans

BY Tom LeGro  September 10, 2010 at 9:56 AM EDT

Austan Goolsbee

Austan Goolsbee is expected to be named chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

President Obama is expected to choose one of his longtime economic advisers, Austan Goolsbee, to be the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers. The president will announce the appointment at the beginning of his news conference on Friday.

Goolsbee, already a member of the council and a University of Chicago professor of economics, would replace Christina Romer, who left the administration to return to her teaching position at the University of California-Berkeley.

For more about President Obama’s news conference (as well as news on a federal judge’s decision to strike down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”), check out The Morning Line, our daily post on politics.

Some information on Gooldbee, via the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes, who profiles him here:

Goolsbee has already been confirmed by the Senate as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers and will not need approval to become the chairman.

He would be the youngest chairman since Arthur M. Okun held the job from 1968 to 1969 under President Lyndon Johnson.

Goolsbee has had tense relations with Larry Summers, the director of the White House National Economic Council.

Goolsbee has a free-market bent and opposed bailing out Chrysler.

He has friendly relationship with the president. He was an economics professor at the University of Chicago when Mr. Obama taught at its law school. And he provided economic advice to Mr. Obama during his run for U.S. Senate and for president.

Goolsbee is an amateur comic.

Florida Pastor Reconsiders Plans to Burn Quran

Terry Jones, the leader of Florida church who has planned to hold a Quran-burning event on Saturday, told NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning that he won’t follow through with the burning if he’s able to meet Saturday with the organizers behind a mosque planned near Ground Zero in New York.

Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, told CBS’ “The Early Show” he had a commitment to meet with Jones and the imam in New York.

Gas Line Explosion Destroys California Neighborhood

A natural gas line explosion devastated a San Bruno neighborhood outside San Francisco Thursday evening, killing at least one person, injuring more than 20 others and igniting a blaze that destroyed 53 homes and damaged 120 more, authorities said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that at least six people were killed. The San Bruno chief told the Times Friday morning that he expected the toll to rise as more homes are searched.

Here are some first-person accounts via the Associated Press: