May 2010

May 03, 2010

On the Radar: May 3, 2010

Weekend Reports & Columns
"Battle Over Bailouts Shifts Oversight Debate"
By John Harwood, The New York Times
The financial regulation debate is entering tricky new territory — for the Republicans who are losing it, for the Democrats who are winning it, and for Wall Street.   Continue reading

"Looking for a benefits-spending cuts deal to reduce the deficit"
By David S. Broder, The Washington Post
It was the starchiest of all pep rallies, a gathering of bipartisan worthies in the Ronald Reagan office building near the White House. They assembled to cheer on President Obama's newly launched commission, which has the seemingly doomed mission of coming up with a cure for the nation's runaway debts and deficits.  Continue reading  
"A can-do president vs. a do-nothing mood"
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
The president’s ambitious agenda may be at odds with the American people’s anti-government mood.  Continue reading
"Britain's candidates campaigning furiously ahead of Thursday elections"
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
It was a day of rallying the base and peeling away supporters from the opposition as the leaders of the three major political parties in Britain campaigned furiously across the country on Sunday. Continue reading
Weekly Reporter Stories

"Surveillance Video Shows Times Square Suspect"
By Pete Williams, NBC News 
Investigators are eager to find a white man in his 40s seen on a surveillance video walking away from the Times Square area and switching shirts.  Watch the video report 
"Love Me, Love My Party"
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Democrats revealed themselves as the "Results Party" this week. They can only hope the new pitch will work like it did for George W. Bush in 2000 in his primary race against John McCain. Facing a tough a landscape similar to the one Democrats face now, Bush billed himself as a "Reformer With Results." He needed to redefine the race. . .  Continue reading    
"Environmental certification becoming increasingly crowded and contested field"
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post 
As consumers and businesses have begun to seek green products in recent years, environmental certification has become an increasingly crowded -- and contested -- field.  Continue reading
"U.S. Is Pushing to Deter a Mideast Nuclear Race"
By William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, The New York Times
The opening Monday of a monthlong United Nations conference to strengthen the main treaty meant to halt the spread of nuclear arms is likely to be dominated by Iran’s president denouncing the West and Secretary of  State Hillary Rodham Clinton warning that if Tehran gets the bomb, the rest of the Middle East will soon follow.   Continue reading
"Internal GOP wars shaping policies nationwide"
By Charles Babington, Associated Press  
Internal GOP politics are profoundly affecting major policies such as immigration, health care and deficit spending, as elected Republicans shift right to fend off challengers in primary elections.   Continue reading

May 04, 2010

On the Radar: May 4, 2010

"Times Square bomb suspect nabbed at airport"
By Pete Williams, NBC News
Authorities arrested a U.S. citizen in connection with the failed bombing attempt in New York's Times Square as he tried to leave the country, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday. Continue reading
"Arrest Made in Times Square Bomb Case"
By William K. Rashbaum, Mark Mazzetti and Peter Baker, The New York Times
Federal agents and police detectives arrested a Connecticut man, a naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan, early Tuesday in connection with the failed Times Square car bombing, according to people briefed on the investigation.  Continue reading 
"Oil spill concerns turn to compensation"
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
Even as BP finished construction on one massive containment dome Monday and started drilling a relief well to cope with the oil leaking from crumpled pipes at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, lawmakers and Gulf Coast residents began questioning whether the company will take full responsibility for the economic losses. . .    Continue reading   
"Spill leaves energy bill in trouble"
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
Backers of an energy bill that had been carefully crafted to balance the interests of business and environmentalists tried to keep a semblance of momentum Monday despite indications that the Louisiana oil spill may have dealt the final blow to the bill’s chances this year.  Continue reading 

"Experts At Odds Over How To Avoid A Nuclear Iran"
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
Obama administration officials say they are determined to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but they struggle to say how such a program can be disrupted. Even administration critics disagree on what should be done in Iran.  Continue reading 
"Earnest Gordon Brown struggles to reach Britons drawn by charm, vows of change"
By Dan Balz and Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post
It was early Sunday evening, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the leader of the embattled Labor Party, was in the middle of a press scrum after a rally at a pub in north London. Suddenly, he became impatient with the reporters' questions. "You're only interested in the froth," he complained. Continue reading

"Supreme Court bars visitors entering through majestic front doors"
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today 
The Supreme Court announced today that after 75 years, visitors no longer will be able to enter the majestic columned building from the front doors at the top of the steps for security reasons. Continue reading
"For Obama, a non-stop juggling act"
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times 
President Obama’s spokesman promised for a second day on Monday that the administration would “keep our boot on the throat of BP” to get the company to resolve the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yet, hours later, the president was hosting dinner at the White House with executives of the Business Council. Among the companies represented by the corporate club: BP.   Continue reading

May 05, 2010

On the Radar: May 5, 2010

"TSA tightens rules on no-fly list notification"
By Pete Williams, NBC News
The government is now requiring airlines to check no-fly lists within two hours of being notified of list updates — a move aimed at preventing known terror suspects from boarding airplanes — as the man accused in the Times Square bombing attempt did.   Continue reading

"A Renewed Debate Over Suspect Rights"
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
The arrest of a suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing revived the volatile political debate over terrorism policy on Tuesday, as President Obama’s supporters and critics squared off over how the nation should handle those plotting against it. Continue reading 

"U.S. exempted BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling from environmental impact study"
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
The Interior Department exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely. Continue reading   

"Good Government"
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
In the extended political argument over the size of the federal government, the last few weeks have favored Team Big. Wall Street excesses, the Gulf Coast oil disaster, the West Virginia mine collapse, the flooding in Tennessee and Kentucky, the Tylenol recall, and the Times Square bomber—it's a long list that reminds us that we depend on the federal government to ward off disaster or limit the damage afterwards.  Continue reading 

"Oil spill, failed bombing offer Obama a challenge of message, management"
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post 
Barack Obama's presidency has not lacked for crises. But the two that have dominated this week -- a spreading environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and a failed car bombing that narrowly missed creating carnage in Times Square -- have produced a delicate challenge of management and message at a moment when the country's mistrust of government is running high.  Continue reading 

"Michigan High School Snags Obama as Speaker"
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
Proving they have more to boast of than just their alumnus Derek Jeter, the graduating Giants of Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan have beaten more than 1,000 public high schools in a national contest of academic self-promotion. The prize: President Obama as commencement speaker  Continue reading

"Great moments in opportunism"
By John Harris, POLITICO 
The Washington think tank industry has launched a thousand blue-ribbon commissions and furrowed-brow panels to brood over the public’s loss of trust in government and its leaders. Why are people so cynical? Continue reading

May 06, 2010

On the Radar: May 6, 2010

Bid to enact energy bill might survive Gulf spill
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
The Gulf oil spill has dealt a big blow to expanded offshore drilling, leaving the nation's energy problems as murky and unsettled as ever. Continue Reading

Source: Energy bill next week
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
In a high-stakes move, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are planning to forge ahead with or without Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and introduce an energy bill next week, according to sources familiar with the planning. Continue Reading

Wanted: A consensus-building justice
By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
Right after President Obama learned a vacancy would be opening on the Supreme Court, he sent his staff on a targeted hunt for a rare breed he called "the consensus builder." Continue Reading

As Britain goes to polls, shake-up in Parliament is forecast
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Britain's Conservative Party was pressing for an outright victory as voters went to the polls here Thursday, following a hard-fought campaign that could produce this nation's most fragile government in a generation. Continue Reading

Bye-Bye Bailout Nation
By John Harwood, CNBC
The details on the Senate's approval of an amendment to the sweeping Wall Street reform bill, with CNBC's John Harwood. Watch the Video

Meet the Unemployable Man
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
The betting is that the Labor Department's Friday snapshot of the job market will show that employers added workers in April, perhaps even that the unemployment rate fell. Continue Reading

In Blow to Democrats, Influential Congressman Will Retire After Four Decades
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the third-most senior member of the House and chairman of the Appropriations Committee, announced Wednesday that he was retiring after four decades in Congress, a decision that reflected both a generational shift and the difficult political environment for Democrats. Continue Reading

Democrat Obey Won't Seek Re-Election
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Rep. David Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat who is one of the most powerful and longest-serving members of Congress, said Wednesday that he wouldn't seek re-election this year, adding a new burden to Democrats in what is shaping up as a difficult election year. Continue Reading

Barney Frank to White House: Fight the GOP
By Eamon Javers, POLITICO
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank is worried that the GOP is scoring points with its attacks on housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he’s urging the White House to fight back. Continue Reading

May 07, 2010

On the Radar: May 7, 2010

A No-Boehner
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Today House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a grave charge against the president in the wake of the Times Square bomb plot. He suggested it was merely luck that there had not been a major terrorist attack during the Obama administration. Obama lacks a "comprehensive strategy for war" against terrorists, he charged, and had no strategy for preventing future attacks.  Continue Reading

Times Sq. Bomb Suspect Is Linked to Militant Cleric
By Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times
The Pakistani-American man accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square has told investigators that he drew inspiration from Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose militant online lectures have been a catalyst for several recent attacks and plots, an American official said Thursday.  Continue Reading

Exclusive: The Moment When Federal Dragnet Closed on Bomb Suspect
By Pierre Thomas, ABC News
When the alleged Times Square bomber was summoned to the front of the Emirate Airlines jetliner, he unbuckled his seatbelt and -- despite being so close to a getaway -- did not appear surprised to find a pair of uniformed federal officers waiting to arrest him.  Continue Reading

Conservatives hold edge but lack absolute majority in U.K. elections
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
A revamped Conservative Party made major gains in Britain's closely fought elections but was falling short of the absolute majority needed to form a government and head off the prospect of the most divided Parliament here in a generation.  Continue Reading

Obama Plans Revival of Russian Nuclear Deal   
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
President Obama is preparing to revive a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with Moscow that his predecessor shelved two years ago in protest of Russia’s war with Georgia, an American ally, administration officials said Thursday.  Continue Reading

Stocks Plunge, Fear Returns
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
A closer look at what caused the stock market to plunge on Thursday. Watch the Video

Lindsey Graham unlikely to fold on energy bill
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
Two questions loomed over efforts Thursday to advance a new energy bill: Would Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stick with it, and would the generous provisions to encourage offshore oil drilling stay in it? At the end of the day, it appeared as though Graham may be out, but the oil provisions are still in.  Continue Reading

GOP takes jab at Democrats' 'luck' in fighting terrorism 
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
Two days after the dramatic arrest of Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, Republicans were engaged in a full-bore effort to rewrite the good-news narrative.  Continue Reading

May 10, 2010

On the Radar: May 10, 2010

Obama Nominates Kagan as Justice
By Peter Baker & Jeff ZelenyThe New York Times
President Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nation’s 112th justice, choosing his own chief advocate before the Supreme Court to join it in ruling on cases critical to his view of the country’s future, Democrats close to the White House said Sunday. Continue Reading
British coalition talks continue as parties focus on deficit
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Inside the stately buildings of Whitehall in the shadow of Big Ben, party leaders trying to forge a government hunkered down for talks this weekend with a 167-billion-pound elephant in the room: the British budget deficit. Continue Reading
Forget change, voters want safety
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Last week's British election was important as much for what didn't happen as for what did. The opposition Conservative Party won the most votes, but it didn't win a clear majority of seats in Parliament.  Continue Reading
Five Greek Myths, 2010 Version
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
Economist Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland is enjoying more celebrity than usually accrues to scholarly geeks thanks to a well-timed book, “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, co-authored with Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff. Continue Reading

May 11, 2010

On the Radar: May 11, 2010

Empathy in Academia
By John Dickerson, SLATE
As solicitor general, Elena Kagan is referred to as Gen. Kagan in official settings. Republicans would prefer that you call her Professor Kagan. Soon after President Obama nominated her to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, Republicans were using her academic career to characterize her as an ivory tower elitist and insider. Continue Reading

Analysis: Social issues rise with Kagan pick
By Charles Babington, The Associated Press
President Barack Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court seat is elevating touchy social issues in an election year, just as the tea party is showing how volatile and unpredictable the political landscape has become. Continue Reading

GOP Aims to Tie Kagan to Larger Obama Agenda
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Republicans are tying their scrutiny of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan to their broader assault on President Barack Obama's agenda, saying the court needs a judge who will fairly and thoroughly scrutinize his expansion of government. Continue Reading

What's ahead for next court term
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
The Supreme Court is starting to set its calendar for the annual term that will begin in October and would be Elena Kagan's first on the bench. Continue Reading

Karzai’s Reception Reflects New U.S. Approach
By Helene Cooper & Mark Landler, The New York Times
The last time Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, was in Washington — a year ago — he had to share the spotlight with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, who got the bulk of the attention from the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton even made a personal, unscheduled visit to huddle with Mr. Zardari at his hotel. Continue Reading

May 12, 2010

On the Radar: May 12, 2010

Voters' anti-establishment mood bites both parties
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
The anti-establishment political tide that ousted a three-term GOP senator in Utah has spread well beyond the tea party. It toppled a longtime Democratic congressman from West Virginia on Tuesday, and several White House-favored lawmakers elsewhere are confronting liberal voters who don't want party elites telling them what to do. Continue Reading

Federal Reserve lends bucket to EU bailout
By Eamon Javers, POLITICO
Concerned that U.S. taxpayers appear to be bailing out profligate European governments, the Obama administration is pushing back this week with a series of arguments that Americans won’t be on the hook for the EU bailout announced early this week. Perhaps the only thing less popular in Washington than the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout is the idea that Americans are going to the rescue of financially strapped Greeks.  Continue Reading

Offshore drilling agency to undergo radical overhaul, Salazar announces
By Juliet Eilperin and Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would radically overhaul the obscure government agency that oversees offshore drilling operations, under scrutiny since the oil rig explosion in the gulf.  Continue Reading

Elena Kagan Faces Political Challenges for Supreme Court Seat
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
Jim Lehrer talks to two Supreme Court watchers, Karen Tumlty from The Washington Post and Tom Goldstein, founder of, about the political landscape for the confirmation of nominee Elena Kagan.  Watch Video 

Elena Kagan's limited record may smooth her way
By David G. Savage and Christi Parsons, Tribune
President Obama on Monday hailed his nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, as "one of the nation's foremost legal minds," but Kagan's biggest asset in upcoming confirmation hearings may be her lack of an extensive public record, providing few openings for Republicans to attack.   Continue Reading

May 13, 2010

On the Radar: May 13, 2010

Don't Stand So Close
By John Dickerson, Slate
Elena Kagan spent her first day on Capitol Hill today meeting the senators who will vote on her nomination. One of them, Republican leader Mitch McConnell, took to the Senate floor to raise questions about whether she will be a captive of the White House she works for. Continue Reading

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman introduce compromise climate bill
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced a compromise climate bill Wednesday, hoping public concern about the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will boost the measure's long-shot chances for passage. Continue Reading

Voters Shifting to GOP, Poll Finds
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Republicans have solidified support among voters who had drifted from the party in recent elections, putting the GOP in position for a strong comeback in November's mid-term campaign, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Continue Reading

Avoiding Tensions, Obama Reassures Karzai
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
President Obama promised President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Wednesday that the United States would remain in Afghanistan for the long haul, even as he vowed to stick to his timetable to begin withdrawing troops by July 2011. Continue Reading

May 14, 2010

On the Radar: May 14, 2010

Pakistan arrests suspect tied to NYC bomb plot
By Pete Williams, NBC News
Pakistan has arrested a suspect linked to the Pakistani Taliban who said he helped the accused Times Square bomb plotter, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing U.S. officials. The suspect provided an "independent stream" of evidence that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack, the newspaper reported.  Continue Reading

Is sexual identity our business, or are we a nation of busybodies? 
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
As long as there has been gossip about people in public life, there has been a debate about the relevance of a very private matter: sexual orientation. But in an era when the Internet can amplify a whisper to a roar, an arched eyebrow to a slander, the politics that drive such speculation can matter more than the facts themselves. Continue Reading

Battle over financial reform pits auto dealers vs. military 
By  Janet Hook and Jim Puzzanghera, Tribune
The debate over the Senate's financial reform bill is setting up an unusual battle on Capitol Hill between two powerful groups: automobile dealers and the military. Car dealers, a well-organized small-business lobby with members in nearly every legislative district, have swarmed the Senate in recent weeks clamoring to be exempt from the legislation's proposed protections against loan scams.  Continue Reading

MMS ignores environmental permits
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
The Minerals Management Service has routinely issued drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico since 2009 without obtaining other federal permits needed to account for the toll energy exploration would take on endangered species and marine mammals, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.  Continue Reading

May 17, 2010

On the Radar: May 17, 2010

Will the 'PIIGS' trash Europe?
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
The financial messes in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain threaten the EU, and perhaps the global recovery.   Continue Reading 

U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
By Mark Mazzetti, The New York  Times
Top military officials have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies who have produced hundreds of reports from deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to American officials and businessmen, despite concerns among some in the military about the legality of the operation.    Continue Reading

Angry Voters, But How Many?
By John Harwood, The New York Times
Three United States Senate primaries on Tuesday offer new signs of the election-year intentions of America’s dyspeptic voters.  A few voters, anyway.  Continue Reading 

How the 1960 West Virginia election made history
By David Broder, The Washington Post
Last Wednesday night, the John F. Kennedy Library marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant elections in American history -- the West Virginia Democratic primary of May 10, 1960, between Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. Continue Reading 

Lawyers lining up for class-action suits over oil spill
By Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
On April 21, with the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig still in flames, John W. Degravelles and a group of other lawyers sued for damages. In the first of at least 88 suits filed since the disaster, they were seeking compensation for. . .   Continue Reading 

Tuesday's primaries could provide early answers for election year
By Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post
An angry electorate, which already has delivered a series of shocks to the political system, will render a fresh verdict on Washington, incumbency and both party establishments in a slate of high-stakes contests Tuesday that are shaping up to form one of the most important voting days of the year.  Continue Reading 

U.S. military shifts gears in combat strategies
By Nancy Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
Nearly a decade after the United States began to focus its military training and equipment purchases almost exclusively on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. military strategists are quietly shifting gears, saying that large-scale counterinsurgency efforts cost too much and last too long. The domestic economic crisis and the Obama administration's commitment to withdraw from Iraq and begin drawing down in Afghanistan next year are factors in the change.  Continue Reading



May 18, 2010

On the Radar: May 18, 2010

Major Powers Have a Deal on Sanctions for Iran, U.S. Says
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
The Obama administration announced Tuesday morning that it has struck a deal with other major powers, including Russia and China, to impose new sanctions on Iran, a sharp repudiation of the deal Tehran offered just a day before to ship its nuclear fuel out of the country. Continue Reading 

Primaries may help foreshadow November elections
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Tuesday's crucial primary elections in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Arkansas have drawn extraordinary attention from politicians and strategists in both parties who are eager to read an unsettled electorate.  Continue Reading

Primary School 
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
We know that this is a "throw the bums out" election. Tuesday, voters in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Kentucky will give us a sign of just how far they want to throw them. In three party primaries and one special election, voters will offer hints about their mood toward the president's policies as well as incumbents in both parties that will help shape the political decisions for the rest of the year. Here's a look at each of the big races: Continue Reading 

Democrats Shifting Focus Back to Jobs Creation
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
Perhaps the only thing slower than the economy in creating new jobs is the process by which the White House and Congress are creating new jobs bills. A year that Democrats decreed would be about “jobs, jobs, jobs” has produced a far different check list as its sixth month nears: health care, financial regulation, energy, a nuclear arms treaty and a Supreme Court vacancy, as well as investigations into a mine accident, a calamitous oil spill, a failed terrorist attack in Times Square and alleged Wall Street fraud.  Continue Reading 

Kagan's skills well-suited to Senate hearings
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today 
Standing before the nine Supreme Court justices, Elena Kagan is forceful, quick on her feet, admits error when necessary, then goes right back at the questioner — blunt yet polite. Her style as solicitor general is likely to serve her in confirmation hearings, but only to an extent, legal and political analysts say. Kagan has exhibited the dexterity necessary to respond to tough questions in a public forum, but a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing is a more politically charged setting than the high court.   Continue Reading 

Elena Kagan thesis in high demand
By Eamon Javers, POLITICO
If there were a best-seller list for undergraduate senior theses, Elena Kagan’s 1981 paper would be No. 1 with a bullet. Inside the Beltway, activists on both sides of the political spectrum have been scrambling to read the 130-page document, titled “To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933.”   Continue Reading