April 28, 2009

The Morning Scoop – New Warrior in Flu Fight

Filed under: News — hypeplug @ 3:58 pm

The Daily Beast

Apr 28, 2009
The Morning Scoop
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1.New Warrior in Flu Fight

Amidst the swine flu outbreak—and possible pandemic—President Obama has yet to fill the top 15 positions at the health department or name a full-time director for the Center of Disease Control, according to The Washington Post. But some relief is on the way, as the Senate is expected to confirm today Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Anti-abortion groups have been lobbying against her, but she is expected to earn the 60 votes needed this afternoon. The Associated Press writes “Sebelius would be the first of 20 HHS officials requiring Senate approval to clinch her job, so she’d be getting to work without much of a team.” In Sebelius’s absence, Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano has been leading the swine-flu response, although 20 of her senior-level posts are being temporarily filled by career civil-service employees.

Read it at Associated Press

2.Citi, BofA Flunk Stress Test

Oh hey look at that—Citigroup and Bank of America need more money. According to Reuters, ” U.S. regulators have told Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc they may need to raise more capital following stress testing of the two banks.” The shortfall at Bank of America, according to people familiar with the situation, is billions of dollars, and it is expected that some of the other 17 banks that underwent stress tests will need more capital. Officials at Citi and BofA are objecting to the findings and plan to reply with detailed rebuttals.

Read it at Reuters

3.We’re Buying G.M.

General Motors, having long prided itself on being “America’s” brand, can now make the boast literally: In a bid to avoid bankruptcy, the carmaker revealed a debt-for-equity restructuring proposal yesterday where US taxpayers would take a majority shareholding in the company. The New York Times observes, ” For all the uncertainty swirling around General Motors, the troubled automaker said Monday that one thing was clear: it must become drastically smaller if it hopes to remain a viable company, regardless of whether it has to file for bankruptcy.” GM is trying to convince the Obama administration that it is willing to take the harsh measures necessary for survival. “By the time it is finished, G.M. expects to have only 38,000 union workers and 34 factories left in the United States, compared with 395,000 workers in more than 150 plants at its peak employment in 1970.”

Read it at Financial Times

4.Cheney’s Run for the White House

29-year-old conservative wunderkind Ross Douthat breaks into The New York Times today with his first column: “Cheney for President.” For his debut, Douthat has gone the counterintuitive path: “Watching Dick Cheney defend the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, it’s been hard to escape the impression that both the Republican Party and the country would be better off today if Cheney, rather than John McCain, had been a candidate for president in 2008.” Dick Cheney would have been the “diamond-hard distillation” of “real conservatism”—”a conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions, uninterested in social policy and dismissive of libertarian qualms about the national-security state.” “Disciplined,” “ideologically consistent,” and “cuttingly effective”—”when [Cheney] went down to a landslide loss, the conservative movement might – might! – have been jolted into the kind of rethinking that’s necessary if it hopes to regain power.”

Read it at The New York Times

5.Giving the Torture Judge the Boot

President Obama and other Democratic bigwigs may have nixed a truth commission on torture, but liberal activists are rallying around another cause: The impeachment of Jay Bybee, the federal judge who, as the head of President Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel, advised that waterboarding was not torture. An impeachment of Bybee would be difficult for Congressional Republicans or conservative Senate Democrats to stop. “If the House votes for it, there’s no way the Senate can avoid it,” says a former Senate parliamentarian. The liberal establishment has been getting behind the idea: The New York Times editorialized in favor of Bybee’s impeachment, while John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress and the chief of President Obama’s transition team, also came out in favor of impeachment. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said last week “we’re coming after these guys.”

Read it at Politico

Astor Trial Opens With a Bang
“Pulled Mrs. Astor out of the arms of her nurse.”
Fox News’ Obama Snub
Won’t air press conference.
Gordon Brown’s Flame War
P.M. runs afoul of Web commenters.
Obama Happiness Update
Now he’s repairing divide between races.
Mormon Beefcake Calendar
Leads to ex-communication.
Featured Stories

Busting the Torture Myths

by Scott Horton
Scott Horton, who has led coverage of Bush-era wrongdoing, exposes three pervasive myths—and the surprising reason Cheney and Rove are keeping the issue alive.
The Quake at Condé Nast
by Tina Brown
The closing of Condé Nast’s smart business glossy Portfolio is a terrible loss for the media business. But saddest of all is the unprecedented sight of the magazine world’s last big believer, Si Newhouse, throwing in the towel.
The Myth of Online Predators
by Lenore Skenazy
Internet child molesters may be the modern parent’s great fear but new research suggests this electronic monster is mainly the stuff of bad dreams.
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