February 2011

Feb 01, 2011

On the Radar: February 1, 2011

Plan to Replace Hosni Mubarak May Be in the Works
by Tom Gjelten, NPR
Two of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's closest allies, his new vice president, Omar Suleiman, and his defense minister, Hussein Tantawi, are quietly working on a plan under which Mubarak would step down from power, according to a U.S. scholar who has been staying in regular touch with the Egyptian political and military leadership. Read more

U.S. Scrambles to Size Up ElBaradei
by Helene Cooper and Scott Shane, The New York Times
When President Obama unexpectedly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, one predecessor was quick to applaud his selection for the award.   Read more

Pakistani Nuclear Arms Pose Challenge to U.S. Politics
By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times
New American intelligence assessments have concluded that Pakistan has steadily expanded its nuclear arsenal since President Obama came to office, and that it is building the capability to surge ahead in the production of nuclear-weapons material, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power. Read more

Egypt's military says it wont use force on 'our great people'
by Nancy Youssef, McClatchy News Service
The Egyptian military vowed Monday not to use force against protesters ahead of a planned million-person protest set for Tuesday, buttressing what had been growing signs that the military wouldn't step in to ensure the survival of President Hosni Mubarak's regime. Read more

Growth Stymied by Egypt
by John Harwood, CNBC
The latest on whether the crisis in Egypt will stymie any growth, Watch the report

Health Care Fuling: WTF?
by John Dickerson. Slate Magazine
President Obama has been on tour to promote his investment agenda with photo-ops (light fixtures!) and new slogans ("Startup America"). But last year's health care legislation is getting in his way. A federal district court judge declared the law unconstitutional on Monday, and Senate Republicans are pushing for a repeal vote. How do you win the future when you're stuck in the past? Read more

Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional
by Eamon Javers, CNBC
A federal judge rules that Obamacare law is unconstitutional.  Watch the report

Judge rules Obama health care law unconstitutional
by Kelly Kennedy and Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY
A federal judge's ruling Monday that the health care law that passed last year is unconstitutional leaves implementation exactly where it was: moving forward. Read more

White House to Appeal Health Care Ruling
by Pete Williams, NBC News
A federal judge in Florida rules that parts of the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama last March are unconstitutional.  Watch the report

The deficit: Getting it down without the glory
by Gloria Borger, CNN
It's easy to see why any politician would want to avoid making huge promises on the deficit. After all, it's out of control, unpredictable and chances are you'll fail anyway. Read more

Envoy to China to Resign, Weighing 2012 GOP Bid
by Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
The United States ambassador to China, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., delivered a letter of resignation on Monday to President Obama and intends to leave his position on April 30, a White House official said, clearing the way for him to explore a potential 2012 Republican presidential bid. Read more

Feb 07, 2011

On the Radar: February 7, 2011

Depart with Dignity
by Yochi Dreazen, National Journal
The Obama administration officials working to persuade Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign are increasingly focused on designing an exit strategy that would allow the embattled leader to leave office while retaining the dignity that Mubarak -- and many of his supporters within the country’s powerful military -- believes is his due after 30 years as the country’s paramount ruler Read more

Prizing Status Quo, Mubarak Resists Pressure to Resign
by Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times
He walks several yards to his office from his living quarters at the presidential palace every day, dressed in his trademark black business suit and tie. On Saturday, he conducted a meeting of his new government’s economic team. And on Sunday, he received an envoy from Oman, who delivered a letter from the sultan. Read more

After First Talks, Egypt Opposition Vows New Protests
by David D. Kirkpatrick and David E. Sanger, The New York Times
Leaders of the Egyptian democracy movement vowed Sunday to escalate their pressure for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, even as his government portrayed itself as already in the midst of American-approved negotiations to end the uprising, now in its 13th day. Read more

Should Investors Be More Worried About Egypt?
by Tom Gjelten, NPR
So far, there's little sign that the upheaval in Egypt is producing jitters in the world economy. But there may be troubles yet to come. The stock market fell sharply when the crowds first took to the streets in Egypt — a country that sits astride the Suez Canal and has major oil producers to its east and west. But this week, the stock market rebounded. Read more

Striking Out on Egypt and the Weather
by David S. Broder, The Washington Post
Having grown up in the Chicago area, rooting for years for the luckless Cubs and more recently for the hapless Washington Nationals, I feel particularly qualified to comment on the Obama administration's struggles to find a useful role to play in the crisis racking Egypt and the wider Arab world, let alone the blizzards in the Midwest and New England. Read more

Cairo is not Tehran
by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Doomsayers are already warning that we're seeing a remake of Iran's Islamic revolution in Cairo. And on the surface, there are certainly parallels. Then, as now, a popular uprising caused the United States to nudge a longtime ally, and autocratic leader, toward the exit. And then, as now, the White House searched for a way to hold the country together. Read more

Can they avert a budget wreck?
by Jeanne Cummings and John Maggs, POLITICO
In the 1990s budget negotiations between the Clinton White House and congressional Republicans, the first effort ended in name-calling and a partial government shutdown. But the second one produced a historic bipartisan agreement that led to record surpluses. Read more

A young Wisconsin trio could shape the direction of the GOP
by Dan Balz, The Washington Post
The Green Bay Packers aren't the only Wisconsin team having an impact these days. A trio of young Wisconsin politicians are now positioned to have a substantial influence on the future direction and success of the Republican Party. Their names are Scott Walker, Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan. Walker is the newly elected governor of Wisconsin. Priebus is the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. Read more

How President Obama plays the media like a fiddle
by John Harris and Jim VandeHei, POLITICO
In early November, Barack Obama was one sad sack of a president — his agenda repudiated by midterm voters, his political judgment scorned by commentators, his future darkened by a growing belief he might be a one-time president. Read more

Palin, Rallying Base, Paints Dark Picture of Obama's Policies
by Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Sarah Palin opened a celebration of Ronald Reagan this weekend by declaring that the United States was lurching toward a “road to ruin,” saying the nation had become so weighed down by debt and excess government that a new direction was urgently needed in Washington. Read more



Feb 08, 2011

On The Radar: February 8, 2011

Exceptionally Articulate: Obama's eloquence fails to quiet charges that he does not believe in God or America
By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
President Obama does not treat all conspiracy theories alike. He dismisses those who question where he was born, but he's unsettled by those who question whether he is born again. At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, he said his Christian faith has sustained him through his presidency—"all the more so," he said, "when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned." Read More

Governors from both parties plan painful cuts amid budget crises across the U.S.
By Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post
Faced with the most severe budget crisis since the Great Depression, governors across the ideological spectrum are embracing the politics of austerity in a desperate effort to balance the books.Read More

Obama and U.S. Business Sheath Weapons for Now
By John Harwood, The New York Times
For Bruce Josten, the feisty top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it got personal last fall on a Sunday talk show when President Obama’s spokesman invoked his name. Read More

Parsing Barack Obama’s message to the Chamber of Commerce
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO 
President Barack Obama’s address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Monday has been rightly described as the biggest and latest signal of the post-midterm détente the White House wants with the business community. But a decoding of the speech also offers the first whiff of the desperation inside the White House about the slowness of the economic recovery, the high unemployment figures, and the need to get the business community fully engaged in turning things around. Read More

In Egypt, U.S. Weighs Push for Change With Stability
By Helene Cooper and Daivid Sanger, The New York Times
Vice President Omar Suleiman of Egypt says he does not think it is time to lift the 30-year-old emergency law that has been used to suppress and imprison opposition leaders. He does not think President Hosni Mubarak needs to resign before his term ends in September. And he does not think his country is yet ready for democracy. Read More

Donald Rumsfeld's memoir, "Known and Unknown"
By Gwen Ifill, special to the The Washington Post
By definition, memoirists get to tell their stories the way they remember them. The retellings can be gentle or scorching, illuminating or concealing. Donald Rumsfeld has chosen all of the above in "Known and Unknown," a hefty and heavily annotated accounting and defense of his life in public service. Read More

Feb 14, 2011

On The Radar: February 14, 2011

A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History
By David D. Kirkpatrick and David Sanger, The New York Times
As protesters in Tahrir Square faced off against pro-government forces, they drew a lesson from their counterparts in Tunisia: “Advice to the youth of Egypt: Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas.” Read more

Egypt’s Military Will Have to Remember Jobs
By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal
The Egyptian military’s move Sunday to dissolve parliament and suspend the country’s constitution offered the first concrete indications of how it intends to rule Egypt in the months ahead. But the generals now running the country will soon face complicated questions about whether -- and how much -- to privatize the military’s vast business holdings, which extend into virtually every aspect of daily life in the country. Read more

Mission not yet accomplished
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
"Mission Accomplished" read the hauntingly familiar phrase from Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim on Thursday when the first word came that President Hosni Mubarak might step down. Ghonim delivered the words by Twitter, unlike George W. Bush, who had them printed on a banner. But in both cases, they were premature. Read more

Was Obama Too Indecisive on Egypt?
By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
After it was announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was stepping down, at about 11 a.m. on Friday, the White House announced that President Obama would speak at 1:30 p.m. Then word came that the statement would be delayed and the time was TBD, which was fitting. Throughout the 18 days of protest in Egypt, U.S. policy constantly felt like it was to be determined. At first supportive of Mubarak, U.S. policy slowly moved to appear supportive of his ouster, stopping in the middle to appear to contradict itself. Read more

Analysts: 3 key moments likely drove Egypt's military
By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
Three key developments likely led the Egyptian military to abandon its support for President Hosni Mubarak after 18 days of political crisis, Obama administration officials, U.S. military officers and Mideast experts agreed Friday, even as they said they were in the dark about the exact chain of events. Read more

A Spreading Revolution?
With Martha Raddatz, ABC News
An examination of the impact of Egypt's revolution on the Middle East. View

AM Report: Obama's $3 Trillion Budget Ignites GOP
With David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
A report on President Obama's proposed $3.73 trillion budget which calls for just over $1 trillion in spending cuts. Also, Apple plans to release a line of lower-priced iPhones that would compete with other smartphones on the market. Read more

Two Budgets Now In Play at Same Time
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
The battle over federal spending will unfold this week in two separate but related fights. Congress and the White House must devise a plan to fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year while simultaneously debating a spending plan for next year. Read more

Steny Hoyer: Some Democrats to back Republican cuts
By Jeanne Cummings, Politico
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer expects some Democrats to support spending cuts proposed by the new Republican majority in the House but says the GOP effort to reduce the deficit is so far “more cosmetic than real.”  Read more

Obama's budget raises taxes on affluent, businesses, boosts spending on innovation
By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post
President Obama rolled out a $3.7 trillion budget blueprint Monday that would trim or terminate more than 200 federal programs next year and make key investments in education, transportation and research. The plan is aimed at boosting the nation's economy while reducing record budget deficits. Read more

Obama begins rollout of budget certain to spark strong debate
By Christi Parsons and Andrew Zajac, Los Angeles Times
President Obama began the official rollout of his new budget proposal Monday morning with a visit to a math and science magnet school, pointing to such public-education programs as the kind in which the federal government should invest more money. Read more

A House Democrat Relishes Role Reversal
By John Harwood, The New York Times
Two years ago, Representative Chris Van Hollen and fellow House Democrats were responsible for setting President Obama’s legislative agenda in motion. It was heady, historic — and hard. Read more

At CPAC, Indiana Gov. Daniels looks at 2012 and decries a 'new red menace'
By Dan Balz, Washington Post
Some presidential candidates decide to run for the White House and only then try to figure out their message. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is the opposite. He knows what he wants to say; he's just not sure whether he will run. Read more


Feb 16, 2011

On the Radar: February 16, 2011

Critics of GOP Spending Bill Cite Impact of Cuts

by Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Critics of the Republicans' 2011 spending bill, which would cut $61 billion from current government funding levels, began circulating what they said were details of the impact the cuts would have on individual programs Tuesday. Read more

Obama, Conceding Budget’s Limitations, Seeks Consensus
by Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
President Obama conceded on Tuesday that his new budget does not do enough to resolve the nation’s long-term fiscal problems, but he counseled patience, suggesting that he would eventually come together with Republicans on a broad deal. Read more

Republicans blast Obama budget but signal willingness to work with Democrats
by Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
One day after President Obama submitted his budget request for fiscal 2012 to Capitol Hill, congressional Republicans assailed the document as too weak on spending. But they also signaled an openness to working with Democrats to solve the nation's financial problems. Read more

Assume a Budget Summit
by John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
Obama's spending plan is so timid, he must be working on a smarter plan we don't know about. Read more

Debt is the issue of the decade
by Jeanne Cummings and James Hohmann, POLITICO
Sen. Mary Landrieu says getting control of the ballooning debt will require substantial spending cuts, tax increases and structural changes to Medicare. In an interview last week for the POLITICO video series “The Economic Outlook,” the Louisiana Democrat even raised the possibility of politically treacherous cuts to Social Security. Read more

U.S. Follows Two Paths on Unrest in Iran and Bahrain
by Mark Landler and David E. Sanger, The New York Times
The Obama administration has responded quite differently to two embattled governments that have beaten protesters and blocked the Internet in recent days to fend off the kind of popular revolt that brought down Egypt’s government. Read more

A Spreading Revolution?
by Martha Raddatz, ABC News
The impact of Egypt's revolution on the Middle East and how it has sparked similar protests around the region. Watch video

A Phone-y Stan Musial : 41 Years After Hoax, He Gets to Meet the Real Stan the Man
by Jack Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Note: Baseball legend Stan Musial was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on February 15, 2011 -- this is a  repost of a September 28, 1990 story by long-time Washington Week panelist Jack Nelson.
It had been more than 41 years since the story based on my telephone interview with Stan (the Man) Musial had created a sensation in Biloxi, Miss., and created headlines nationwide. Finally, last Wednesday, I was getting a chance to meet the great man in person. Read more



Feb 22, 2011

On the Radar: February 22, 2011

Four Americans Captured by Pirates Killed
By Jim Sciutto, Martha Raddatz and Sarah Netter, ABC News
Four Americans aboard a hijacked yacht off the coast of Somalia were killed by their pirate captors Tuesday, touching off a firefight with a U.S. warship, military officials said. Read more

Obama Meets Small-Business Owners
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
President Obama called for increased spending on education and transportation in order to help increase American competitiveness on Tuesday, as the White House continued to position itself as business-friendly and prepared to wrestle with Republicans over the budget deficit. Read more

Could Sen. Thune's 'no' to 2012 presidential race preclude 2016 and beyond?
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
When President Obama began to seriously explore running for the White House, among those whose opinion he sought was the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Don't wait, Kennedy told him. The longer you stay in the Senate, the more difficult it will be to win the presidency. Read more

Killings of Four Americans on Yacht Shows Long Reach of Somalia’s Pirates
By Yochi J. Dreazen and Sara Sorcher, National Journal
Somali gunmen killed four American citizens aboard a hijacked yacht earlier on Tuesday in a bloody incident that highlights the growing reach and increasingly lethal nature of the pirates operating out of Somalia, one of the world’s poorest and most lawless nations. Read more

Superpower and Upstart: Sometimes It Ends Well
By David E. Sanger, The New York Times
For a superpower, dealing with the fast rise of a rich, brash competitor has always been an iffy thing. Read more

In Cleveland, a battle for the economy
By Christi Parsons and James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times
The narrative that haunts Cleveland — former empire of iron and steel, shipping and rail — has followed it for decades: the collapse of the manufacturing economy, the erosion of jobs, the exodus of residents. Read more

High court rules against parents in drug vaccine case
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the parents of a child who suffered seizures after a routine vaccination could not sue the drugmaker. Read more


Feb 28, 2011

On the Radar: February 28, 2011

Deal on Spending Cuts Would Defer Tougher Decisions
by Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Republicans and Democrats appear increasingly likely to reach a deal that would avoid a government shutdown Friday, but in doing so they are deferring and possibly deepening the challenge of reaching a longer-term spending agreement. Read more

A Three-Man Band of Budget Cutters
by Monica Davey and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
In private, three of the Republican governors at the center of a growing national debate over public sector workers commiserate in telephone calls and e-mail messages. In public, the three — now members, it seems, of a newly established fraternity — sound like one another’s biggest boosters. Read more

For Boehner, the Dace Won't Be Getting Easier
by John Harwood, The New York Times
After this week, the steps for Speaker John A. Boehner will grow progressively harder in his budget minuet with Democratic adversaries.
But there’s little disputing that he has moved deftly to this point. Read more

Police stop short of evicting demonstrators from Wisconsin capitol
by Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post
Police on Sunday shelved plans to evict demonstrators who had been camped inside the state capitol here, as the impassioned standoff over Gov. Scott Walker's effort to reduce the pay and curb the collective-bargaining rights of public workers continued with no end in sight. Read more

Spiking Oil Prices Could Derail Recovery
by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
WSJ's David Wessel reports oil has been hovering around $100 per barrel, which could potentially drive gas prices in the U.S. to $4 per gallon and put a crimp on consumer confidence and spending.  Watch video

For potential GOP presidential hopefuls Daniels and Barbour, the decision-making differs
by Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour have been comrades in arms in Republican politics for decades, friends who have followed similar paths. Both worked in the Reagan White House. Both had success in business before turning to elective politics. Read more

Rebels in Libya's east say they're not ready to take Tripoli
by Nancy Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
Military commanders in liberated eastern Libya said that while they're eager to wrest control of the capital, Tripoli, from dictator Moammar Gadhafi, they believe his personal forces are better equipped and trained than their newly cobbled together Libyan People's Army. Read more

Revolution in Libya
by John Dickerson, CBS News
CBS News Political Analyst John Dickerson puts the unrest in Libya into perspective for Americans. Watch video

Helping the Arabs Help Themselves
by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
A basic tenet of the U.S. war against terrorism under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama has been the need to "drain the swamp" — to eliminate the conditions that drive young Muslims toward extremism. Now, in much of the Arab world, the inhabitants of the swamp have pitched in courageously to drain it themselves. Are we ready to help? Read more