Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday 5/18 Reading List

Here's a round-up of interesting articles for today:
  • The New York Times has a profile of "ROTUS"- the receptionist of the United States (or the White House, anyway). Darienne M. Page has both a unique job and an interesting background, making this a profile well worth reading.
  • Britain's The Guardian reports that the mayor of Kabul is petitioning to make a diplomatic district in the style of Baghdad's green zone, nominally to make life easier for both the diplomats (who would finally be able to bring their families with them) and for the people in the neighborhoods where the embassies are now located (who are in danger because the embassies are prime Taliban targets, and are also inconvenienced by the constant tie-ups in traffic).
  • The Treasury Department is currently the classic example of a slow-moving bureaucracy, thanks to top deputy positions still unfilled or largely undefined. The consequence: programs and policies are getting slowed down or even stopped.
  • WH focuses on the Middle East: Obama will be meeting today with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and will likely be focusing on talking the hardliner PM around to not standing in the way of a two-state solution with Palestine. Next week, the president will also meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. NYT Op-Ed contributer Roger Cohen says that Obama should make clear to Netanyahu that the status quo must change, for the sake of everyone in the Middle East and indeed, throughout the world.
  • Apparently not one to dodge controversial topics, President Obama used his commencement speech at Notre Dame University yesterday to address head-on the highly contentious debate over abortion, spending much of the speech calling for both sides to find common ground and understanding. In the past weeks, Notre Dame had come under considerable fire from its students and Catholics around the world for inviting a pro-choice president to deliver its commencement address.
  • Sri Lankan authorities today declared a final victory in their 25-year civil war with the rebel Tamil Tigers, saying that they had militarily vanquished most of the organization, including its leader.
  • BREAKING: The Supreme Court has declared that detainee abuse lawsuits against FBI Director Robert Mueller and former Attorney General John Ashcroft cannot go forward.
  • Politico's Jonathan Martin recently posted a piece on President Obama's continuing pursual of the GOP's moderates for his purposes-- the most recent, of course, being Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, the soon-to-be ambassador to China. This also includes his dialogue with Congressional Republicans, in his ongoing quest for GOP support for his major initiatives-- most recently, health care.

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