Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reading List: Wednesday 5/20

News highlights for today:
  • California voters took to the polls yesterday to vote on budget measures (including cuts) designed to keep the state solvent. Confusion and low voter turnout lead to the measures being voted down, sending "the Governator" back to the drawing board for the moment.
  • The Senate today voted to reject Obama's request for funding to close Guantanamo prison. The vast margin, 90-6, may present problems for the president as he attempts to fulfill his campaign promise to close the prison. The question that is concerning senators is: what do we do with the prisoners?
  • Iran announced today that it has successfully launched a medium-range missile. This could again create serious problems for the president, who just a couple of days ago sat down with Israeli PM Netanyahu to discuss the importance of working together to halt Iran's progress towards being a nuclear state.
  • The New York Times today reported that arms sent to Afghanistan by the US have been falling into Taliban hands, thus creating continuing difficulties for US and international troops in the region.
  • Tomorrow, President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney will both be making speeches on national security policy. These "dueling speeches" continue the criticism and counterpunches thrown from the two sides of the aisle.
  • Politico has a profile today of "Barack Obama's Biggest Critic: Charles Krauthammer." The conservative columnist has proved to be one of the most articulate and formidable conservative critics of the new administration's policies on domestic and foreign affairs.
  • Alaskan Governor and former VP candidate Sarah Palin is defending Michael Steele's role as the voice of the Republican party. [Editorial note: Does anybody really care?]
  • Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich believes that current Speaker Nancy Pelosi should step down or be replaced by her Democratic caucus. [Editorial note: Is anybody really surprised? Although, I have to admit, I don't disagree.]
  • In the seemingly neverending saga of the 2008 (yes, 2008) Senate race in Minnesota, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine has called on MN Governor Tim Pawlenty to ask Sen. Norm Coleman to concede the election to Al Franken in the name of moving forward.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday announced that $110 million in US aid would be sent to Pakistan, in light of the increased fighting with the Taliban in and around the Swat Valley.
  • And just for fun: last night, on my favorite show, Dancing With the Stars, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson and her professional partner Mark Ballas narrowly edged out actor Gilles Marini and his partner Cheryl Burke to win the show's sparkly mirror-ball trophy. Johnson is the third Olympian to appear on the show, and thus has carried on the tradition of Olympians appearing and dancing their way to victory in the finals.

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