links for 2009-06-22

  • But Tapscott’s paper has gotten there first. After Anschutz’s Baltimore Examiner newspaper was closed in February, more resources were allocated to the Washington paper. They’ve been used to scoop up talent from other conservative media. Tim Carney wrote a column about the lobbying industry while still editing the Evans-Novak Political Report; when founder Robert Novak decided to shutter it in January, Carney moved to the Examiner full-time. One week later, the paper hired Byron York away from a nine-year stint National Review, where he’d been the magazine’s lead political reporter. At the start of June it poached David Freddoso also of National Review, the reporter who’d written the bestselling “The Case Against Barack Obama” for Regnery, and it hired J.P. Freire, who had recently left The American Spectator, to be the managing editor of the editorial pages.
  • As Jon and Kate’s big announcement draws near, reported that the reality show couple filed documents to initiate a legal split at the Bucks County Courthouse in Reading, Pa., Monday afternoon.
  • The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.

    President Barack Obama's administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

    "There's no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

    "We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran," Kelly said. "We tried many years of isolation, and we're pursuing a different path now."

    But he said it was not clear if Iranian diplomats had accepted the invitations.

  • Police have charged the tour manager of the Black Eyed Peas with assault after he allegedly gave celebrity blogger Perez Hilton a black eye outside a Toronto nightclub.

    Hilton said he got into an argument with band members Fergie and at the Cobra nightclub early Monday morning and was punched outside by Polo Molina, the band's tour manager. They were at the club following a Sunday night video awards show.

    Molina turned himself in and has been charged with assaulting Hilton, Toronto Police Constable Tony Vella said. Molina is due in court Aug. 5.

    Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, complained about the incident on the microblogging site Twitter. He tweeted at 4 a.m.: "I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke."

    (tags: Perez_Hilton)
  • Expectations for President Obama's stimulus package have diminished, with barely half of Americans now confident the $787 billion measure will boost the economy, and the rapid rise in optimism that followed the 2008 election has abated, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
    (tags: barack_obama)
  • Eroding confidence in President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and ability to control spending have caused his approval ratings to wilt to their lowest levels since taking office, according to a spate of recent polls, a sign of political weakness that comes just as he most needs leverage on Capitol Hill.

    The good news for Obama is that his approval ratings — 57 percent in a Gallup tracking poll over the weekend — remain comfortably high by historical standards for presidents.

    But the trend lines among a variety of polls over the past several days are unmistakable: Independents and even some Republicans who once viewed him sympathetically are becoming skeptical, and many people of all stripes are anxious about economic and fiscal trends.

    (tags: barack_obama)
  • Sen. Chris Dodd writes, "Public officials aren’t supposed to change their minds. But I firmly believe that it’s important to keep learning."
    Hey, guess who now supports gay marriage? Chris Dodd. Gay Democratic donors, please note the reappearance of your fair-weather friend.

    UPDATE: Once again, Dick Cheney leads, Chris Dodd follows.

    I see that back in 1996, when the Defense of Marriage Act was up for debate, Chris Dodd said, "I agree with my colleagues who have risen and raised questions as to the motivations of why this legislation is before us. It is clearly, in my view, premature." Then . . . he voted for it anyway. Profile in courage!

  • U.S. President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup finals in South Africa next year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Monday.
    President Obama, whose late father was Kenyan, has indicated he will attend the event on June 11 next year when the first World Cup to be staged on African soil begins.

    Blatter told a media briefing: "The World Cup in Africa will go well, there is no doubt.

    "And the man who said, 'Yes we can do it,' will be there. President Obama has accepted an invitation to the opening ceremony.

    "Of course the schedule of heads of state can change, but he has said he will be there if he can."

    (tags: barack_obama)
  • The whereabouts of Gov. Mark Sanford was unknown for nearly four days, and some state leaders question who was in charge of the executive office.

    But Sanford’s office told the lieutenant governor’s office Monday afternoon that Sanford has been reached and he is fine, said Frank Adams, head of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer’s office on aging.

    Neither the governor’s office nor the State Law Enforcement Division, which provides security for governors, had been able to reach Sanford after he left the mansion Thursday in a black SLED Suburban SUV, said Sen. Jake Knotts and three others familiar with the situation but declined to be identified.

    (tags: Mark_Sanford)
  • President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out Monday at the practice of wearing the Muslim burqa, insisting the full-body religious gown is a sign of the "debasement" of women and that it won't be welcome in France.
    In the first presidential address in 136 years to a joint session of France's two houses of parliament, Sarkozy laid out his support for a ban even before the panel has been approved—braving critics who fear the issue is a marginal one and could stigmatize Muslims in France.

    "In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Sarkozy said to extended applause in a speech at the Chateau of Versailles southwest of Paris.

    The French leader expressed support for a recent call by dozens of legislators to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full-body garment in France.

  • In Hawaii, state employees are bracing for furloughs of three days a month over the next two years, the equivalent of a 14 percent pay cut. In Idaho, lawmakers reduced aid to public schools for the first time in recent memory, forcing pay cuts for teachers.
    And in California, where a $24 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year is the nation’s worst, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed releasing thousands of prisoners early and closing more than 200 state parks.

    Meanwhile, Maine is adding taxes on candy and ski tickets, Wisconsin on oil companies, and Kentucky on alcohol and cellphone ring tones.

    With state revenues in a free fall and the economy choked by the worst recession in 60 years, governors and legislatures are approving program cuts, layoffs and, to a smaller degree, tax increases that were previously unthinkable.

  • North Korea reminded the U.S. on Monday that it has nuclear weapons and warned it will strike back if attacked, as a U.S. destroyer continued to trail a North Korean cargo ship suspected of carrying illicit weapons.

    The Kang Nam, previously involved in weapons shipments, is the first vessel monitored under new U.N. sanctions adopted after the North's nuclear test last month. It could become a test case for interception of North Korean ships at sea – something Pyongyang has said it would consider an act of war.

    President Barack Obama said the U.S. is ready to cope with "any contingencies" amid reports the North appears to be preparing for a long-range missile test planned sometime around July 4, the Independence Day holiday. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered additional protections for Hawaii as a precaution.

    (tags: north_korea)

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