June 2010

Jun 18, 2010

On the Radar: June 18, 2010

Barton's Blunder 
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine 
When a player scores on his team in soccer, it's called an own goal. In politics, it may be known for a while as a Joe Barton. He's the Texas Republican House member who started Thursday apologizing to the CEO of BP and ended the day apologizing for his apology—twice. Continue Reading

Obama Twists Arms at BP, Setting Off a Debate on Tactics
By David E. Sanger, The New York Times  
First there was General Motors, whose chief executive was summarily dismissed by the White House shortly before the government became the company’s majority shareholder. Chrysler was forced into a merger. At the banks that received government bailouts, executive pay was curbed; at insurance companies seeking to jack up premiums, scathing criticism led to rollbacks. Continue Reading

Republican Backpedals From Apology to BP 
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times   
Representative Joe L. Barton had to be truly sorry by the time he apologized for his apology on Thursday. In the four hours between his televised apology to BP — for what he called a $20 billion “shakedown” by President Obama for loss claims in the gulf oil spill — and his apology for that apology, Mr. Barton, a Republican from Texas, had been pummeled in the blogosphere. . .  Continue Reading

Gulf oil spill puts industry-friendly Republicans in tight spot   
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post  
Who says there is no such thing as loyalty in politics? Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Tex.), who has received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the oil industry during this election cycle, revealed Thursday that he may be the only person in America who believes that BP deserves an apology for the way it has been treated during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Continue Reading

Justices uphold search of officer's texts    
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today    
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a California police department's review of provocative text messages a SWAT team officer sent his wife and, separately, his mistress on a department pager did not violate the officer's privacy rights.   Continue reading

Jun 21, 2010

On the Radar: June 21, 2010

Obama, EPA to push for restoration of Superfund tax on oil, chemical companies 
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post 
There is no question that the Superfund program, first established 30 years ago to clean up sites around the country contaminated with hazardous waste, is facing a budget crunch.   Continue Reading...

Obama uses some clout on oil spill
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
In jawboning BP out of $20 billion, the president put Republicans temporarily off their message. A far bigger challenge will be passing an energy bill.. Continue reading...  

Barton's BP comments highlight GOP's propensity for gaffes
By David S. Broder, The Washington Post 
The eagerness with which Democrats pounced on the foolish comment of Rep. Joe Barton of Texas that BP had been the victim of a White House "shakedown" tells you everything you need to know about their need to change the subject from the problems confronting the Obama administration.  Continue Reading...

Democrats spend big to lure Obama's minority and young voters back to the polls   
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post  
As political gambles go, it's a big and risky one: $50 million to test the proposition that the Democratic Party's outreach to new voters that helped make Barack Obama president can work in an election where his name is not on the ballot.   Continue Reading...

Shaping a new agenda, if needing one, divides GOP 
By Charles Babington, Associated Press 
It's not easy crafting an agenda for the fall elections. Just ask Republicans in Congress. They set up a website to solicit ideas, only to see liberals flood it with distinctly un-Republican suggestions. When Republicans invited the public to rank proposals online, critics lampooned the effort for small-bore notions such as ending a federal program for "historic whaling partners."   Continue Reading...

Can Pay, Won't Pay 
By Greg Ip, The Economist   
America’s most profligate states do not owe as much, proportionately, as Greece. But their politics are just as problematic.  Continue Reading...

Lieberman Dismisses Concerns Over Internet Bill
By Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal
Sen. Joseph Lieberman rejected as “misinformation” concerns raised by critics that he would want the U.S. to be able to shut down the Internet, but stressed that in “times of war” the U.S. needed more power over U.S. cyberspace.   Continue Reading...

Jun 22, 2010

On the Radar: June 22, 2010

McChyrstal Generally Sorry  
By Martha Raddatz, ABC News  
Top general in Afghanistan is called to Washington for his disparaging comments.  Watch video

Why Is 'Dawn' The Bird-Cleaning Liquid Of Choice?
By Elizabeth Shogren, National Public Radio
Dawn dishwashing detergent is used to clean up just about anything covered with oil — from birds to sea turtles to human skin. But what makes Dawn so effective?  Continue reading...  

Supreme Court upholds anti-terror law
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today  
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a law that makes it a crime to provide "material support" to designated foreign terrorist groups, even when the support involves training or advice on humanitarian activities. Continue Reading...

Obama and Senator Differ on Narrative of Meeting 
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times  
President Obama and Senator Jon Kyl on Monday waged a “he said, he said” war of words, disputing what the president said about enforcing the nation’s borders in a private meeting with Mr. Kyl, an Arizona Republican. But in usual Washington fashion, only their spokesmen did the talking.  Continue Reading...

For Democrats, Internal Dissent Could Stop an Agenda Cold 
By John Harwood, The New York Times  
As Democrats try again this week to fight through their election-year storm, Job No. 1 is settling on a common destination. For instance, they will need to make order out of chaos on energy, the issue President Obama elevated from the Oval Office last week.  Continue Reading...

Obama administration moves forward on Illinois prison purchase 
By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times     
A Justice Department letter says the government will buy the facility this year and plans to hire and train employees. The prison would house federal inmates if Congress rejects a plan to move terrorism detainees there.   Continue Reading...

Tighter Scrutiny for Bank Salaries 
By Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal
The Federal Reserve adopted sweeping new rules Monday that will give banking regulators more power over how the nation's thousands of banks compensate employees ranging from senior executives to traders.  Continue Reading...

Jun 23, 2010

On the Radar: June 23, 2010

Gen. Stanley McChrystal to Face Obama: 'I've Compromised the Mission'  
By Jake Tapper, Martha Raddatz and Huma Khan, ABC News  
Gen. Stanley McChrystal's job hangs in the balance as President Obama today confronts him about his disparaging comments in a Rolling Stone interview and decides whether he can effectively lead troops as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.  Continue reading

Stan Not the Man
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Last week Gen. David Petraeus collapsed. This week Gen. Stanley McChrystal did. The top commander in Afghanistan and his team were the subject of a profile in Rolling Stone in which they looked petty, frustrated, and reckless. President Obama and his staff now must evaluate whether to relieve McChrystal of his command.  Continue reading...  

Obama-McChrystal showdown may be pivotal moment
By Steven Thomma, Nancy A. Youssef and Margaret Talev, McClatchy Newspapers  
President Barack Obama will confront Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Wednesday in a high-stakes showdown that could be a pivotal moment in America's longest war and a defining point of Obama's presidency.   Continue Reading...

McChrystal’s Fate in Limbo as He Prepares to Meet Obama 
By Helene Cooper, Thom Shanker and Dexter Filkins, The New York Times  
President Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan flew to Washington on Tuesday to find out whether he would be fired for remarks he and members of his staff made that were contemptuous of senior administration officials, laying bare the disarray and enmity in a foreign-policy team that is struggling with the war.  Continue Reading...

Obama has free rein to act on McChrystal, but system is still complex 
By Anne E. Kornblut and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post   
The Constitution spells it out clearly: Civilians are in control of the military, with one in particular deemed the "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States when called into the actual Service of the United States."   Continue Reading...

For Gulf Victims, Mediator With Deep Pockets and Broad Power 
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times      
Kenneth R. Feinberg is the $20 billion man with an open-ended checkbook full of BP’s money. Just as jaw-dropping as the sum is the power he has to spend it: Mr. Feinberg will not only decide who is paid for losses from the gulf oil spill, and how much, he also gets to pick the three judges to handle appeals of his decisions. Continue Reading...

Nikki Haley Is Winner in South Carolina Runoff 
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Nikki Haley won the Republican nomination for governor of South Carolina on Tuesday, a commanding victory that elevates her to become one of the leading faces of the national Republican Party and places her within one step of being elected this fall as the state's first female governor.   Continue Reading...

Jun 24, 2010

On the Radar: June 24, 2010

Gen. David Petraeus Will Replace Embattled Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan  
By Jake Tapper, Martha Raddatz, Huma Khan, Miguel Marquez,  ABC News  
President Obama today relieved embattled Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his position as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan for his remarks belittling administration officials, replacing him with Gen. David Petraeus, currently head of United States Central Command. Continue reading

Crisis Management 101
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
The presidency should come with a neck brace. Two days ago, Barack Obama was struggling to stay on top of the oil spill in the Gulf while simultaneously trying to do something (anything) about the anemic economy, pitch a new energy initiative, and kick-start the selling of health care reform. Then, out of the blue, another crisis: Continue reading...  

Obama Says Afghan Policy Won’t Change After Dismissal 
By Helene Cooper and David Sanger, The New York Times  
President Obama on Wednesday fired his top Afghanistan war commander after only a brief meeting in the Oval Office, replacing Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal with his boss and mentor, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and sending a clear signal that the current war strategy will continue despite setbacks and growing public doubts.  Continue Reading...

Gen. Stanley McChrystal relieved of command    
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post   
President Obama on Wednesday relieved Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal of his duties as commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, a White House official said.  Continue Reading...

Bad timing helped do in McChrystal 
By Gloria Borger, CNN    
Aside from his extraordinarily bad judgment, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also had something else working against him: bad timing. Really bad timing. President Obama, you may recall, has lately had some troubles with public perception of the way he has been handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His leadership has been questioned.   Continue Reading...

Small Banks, Big Risks  
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal       
Congress is planting the seeds of the next big bank bailout. Attention is focused on the House-Senate conference on a once-in-a-generation rewrite of the rules of finance. Meanwhile, a provision added, almost unnoticed, to a help-small-business bill that passed the House last week would allow all but the 100 largest banks to pretend they haven't made bad loans.  Continue Reading...

Obama administration announces new border security measures 
By Ceci Connolly, The Washington Post 
The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will station an aerial drone in Texas as part of its stepped-up surveillance of criminal trafficking along the Mexican border.   Continue Reading...

 

 

Jun 25, 2010

On the Radar: June 25, 2010

 

Obama on Command Change: 'We Will Not Miss a Beat'   
By Martha Raddatz,  ABC News  
Gen. Stanley McChrystal replaced with Gen. David Petraeus.   Watch video

Crisis Management 101
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
The presidency should come with a neck brace. Two days ago, Barack Obama was struggling to stay on top of the oil spill in the Gulf while simultaneously trying to do something (anything) about the anemic economy, pitch a new energy initiative, and kick-start the selling of health care reform. Then, out of the blue, another crisis: Continue reading...  

An end to fiscal stimulus?    
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times    
The focus in Washington has turned to reducing the deficit, and states with high unemployment can't count on support from other states for job-creation measures.  Continue Reading...

Bad timing helped do in McChrystal 
By Gloria Borger, CNN    
Aside from his extraordinarily bad judgment, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also had something else working against him: bad timing. Really bad timing. President Obama, you may recall, has lately had some troubles with public perception of the way he has been handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His leadership has been questioned.   Continue Reading...

Justices limit scope of anti-fraud law, 9-0 
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today        
The Supreme Court on Thursday threw out part of the convictions against former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling and former media tycoon Conrad Black, in decisions that could have consequences for federal prosecutions in high-profile fraud cases nationwide.  Continue Reading...

Senate GOP blocks jobless aid extension 
By Janet Hook and Noam N. Levey, Tribune  
Senate Republicans on Thursday once again blocked legislation to reinstate long-term unemployment benefits for people who have exhausted their aid, prolonging a stalemate that has left more than a million people without federal help.  Continue Reading...

 

 

Jun 28, 2010

On the Radar: June 28, 2010

Senate Confirmation Hearings Begin for Elena Kagan   
By Pete Williams, NBC News  
A preview of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Watch video

At Summit, Banks Avoid New Global Regulations
By Sewell Chan and Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
Giant banks, while bracing for a wave of tougher regulation in Washington, will not have to face a new set of global rules on capital and liquidity anytime soon.  Continue reading...  

G-20 climate pact erases word 'voluntary' from efforts to cut oil-firm subsidies    
By Christi Parsons, Tribune     
International negotiators, under pressure from the Obama administration, agree to omit the term when describing efforts to cut production and consumption incentives. Summit also focuses on arriving at a consensus on the global economic crisis.  Continue Reading...

On U.S. policy in Afghanistan, who's running the show? 
By  Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times   
By naming Gen. Petraeus to replace Gen. McChrystal, Obama only began to resolve the crucial question concerning the war effort in the region.  Continue Reading...

Obama walks a tightrope domestically and in Afghanistan 
By David S. Broder, The Washington Post         
Two departures from the Obama administration go a long way toward illuminating what is important -- and what is not -- in determining its political fate. Continue Reading...

New GOP group plans to spend millions this fall 
By Charles Babington, Associated Press   
In a campaign season of anti-establishment ferment, some of the Republican Party's best-known insiders are building an ambitious fundraising machine for the fall elections and beyond. Continue Reading...

Jun 29, 2010

On the Radar: June 29, 2010

SCOTUS: Gun Rights    
By Pete Williams, NBC News  
A major decision by the high court on gun rights and the right to bear arms.  Watch video

Thurgood Marshall in the Spotlight at Kagan Hearing
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal 
As the Senate Judiciary Committee debates the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, it is simultaneously debating the merits of a larger-than-life figure: former Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom Kagan served as clerk in the late 1980s. Continue reading...  

Supreme Court has weighty ending to its 2009-10 term     
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today      
The last day of the Supreme Court's 2009-10 term on Monday was an unusually eventful, emotion-filled session that began with condolences for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the death of her husband, Martin, and ended with a tribute to retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Continue Reading...

With Shift in Afghanistan, Talk Turns to Exit 
By Peter Baker, The New York Times   
When he ordered 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan last December, President Obama stressed that they would not stay forever. “After 18 months,” he said, “our troops will begin to come home.”   Continue Reading...

For Better and Worse, an Era Dies With Robert C. Byrd 
By Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair          
The death of Senator Robert C. Byrd is hardly a shock, and given his great age and full life, it can’t be thought of as a tragedy, either. But it is, nevertheless, the end of an era in Washington and the nation—an era that had its great and grave flaws but whose passing is worth pausing to mourn. Byrd loved dogs, “Washington Week in Review,” tradition, fiddle music, the Senate, the Constitution, and his home state of West Virginia—not necessarily in that order.   Continue Reading...

No Special Election for Byrd Seat  
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times   
The West Virginia Secretary of State, Natalie E. Tennant, said Monday that she would not schedule a special election in November to replace Senator Robert C. Byrd, a decision that means Democrats do not have to worry about holding the seat – until 2012.  Continue Reading...

Jun 30, 2010

On the Radar: June 30, 2010

Kagan, senator spar on military    
By Joan Biskupic and Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY  
On the first day of Senate questioning, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan deflected GOP challenges, declined entreaties by Democrats to attack conservative rulings and made the spotlight at the televised hearings her own.  Continue reading

Kagan Fends Off Republican Challenges 
By Naftali Bendavid and Nathan Koppel, The Wall Street Journal 
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan fended off Republican attacks Tuesday over her position on campus military recruiting and appeared to emerge from her first day of questioning relatively unscathed. Continue reading...  

Obama: More Economic Work to Be Done     
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times      
President Obama and Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said on Tuesday that while the economy and financial markets were recovering, governments here and abroad should continue to do what they can to promote growth and strengthen regulation.  Continue Reading...

Recession cut into employment for half of working adults, study says 
By Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post    
The recession has directly hit more than half of the nation's working adults, pushing them into unemployment, pay cuts, reduced hours at work or part-time jobs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.   Continue Reading...

White House Supports McChrystal Retiring as Four-Star Officer  
By Peter Baker, The New York Times   
The White House said Tuesday that it “will do whatever is necessary” to ensure that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal can retire as a four-star officer even though his time in service would not normally entitle him to that.  Continue Reading...

Senators predict a climate bill capping emissions only for utilities  
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post    
A bipartisan group of senators emerged Tuesday from a meeting with President Obama still divided over how to craft a climate and energy bill, with lawmakers predicting scaled-back legislation that would cap emissions from electric utilities rather than impose an economy-wide limit on greenhouse gases.   Continue Reading...

For Better and Worse, an Era Dies With Robert C. Byrd 
By Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair          
The death of Senator Robert C. Byrd is hardly a shock, and given his great age and full life, it can’t be thought of as a tragedy, either. But it is, nevertheless, the end of an era in Washington and the nation—an era that had its great and grave flaws but whose passing is worth pausing to mourn. Byrd loved dogs, “Washington Week in Review,” tradition, fiddle music, the Senate, the Constitution, and his home state of  West Virginia—not necessarily in that order.   Continue Reading..