Quick Hits

Here are some other stories making news today.

The House Ethics Committee released its formal charges against Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters who represents the California Thirty-Fifth Congressional District that covers South-Central Los Angeles. Representative Waters and Mikael Moore, her grandson and chief of staff, are accused of improperly intervening on behalf on OneUnited, a minority-owned Boston-based bank in which Waters's husband owned stock.

The charges are laid out in a ten page Statement of Alleged Violation released today by the House Ethics Committee. If OneUnited had not received the aid from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Waters' husband's financial interest in the bank would have been worthless, according to the House Ethics Committee's 10-page statement of alleged violations. The report accuses the 10-term congresswoman of violating three House rules: one that requires its member to "behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House"; a second that prohibits lawmakers from using their influence for personal benefit; and a third forbidding the dispensing of favors. The story in the Los Angeles Times.

The Hill reports that Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota has been hospitalized with a high fever.

The first Guantánamo Military Tribunal of the Obama Presidency started today at the Guantánamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba. The trial of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, faces a maximum life sentence if convicted of charges that include conspiring to commit terrorism, providing material support to Al Qaeda and the killing of US Army Sgt. Christopher Speer in Afghanistan with a hand grenade near the end of a four hour battle. US forces captured Khadr in Afghanistan in July 2002, when he was just 15 years old. The military trial is in violation of various international statues that state that children captured in war should be treated as victims and not perpetrators. More from the Christian Science Monitor.

Speaking of Afghanistan, National Public Radio reports on the evolving, by which they mean increasing, US role in Afghanistan as NATO allies depart.

Letitia A. Long is the new director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency becoming the first woman to head one of the 16 major US intelligence agencies. More on the appointment from the Associated Press.

Bloomberg News reports that for the first time since the start of the financial crisis in August 2007, U.S. investors own more Treasuries than foreign holders. Mutual funds, households and banks have boosted the domestic share of the $8.18 trillion in tradable U.S. debt to 50.2 percent as of May, according to the most recent Treasury Department data.

Matthew R. Simmons, the founder of Simmons & Company International, a boutique energy investment bank, has died of a heart attack at his vacation home in Maine. Mr. Simmons, 67, was one of the foremost experts on energy and a leading advocate of green energy. He was also the founder the Ocean Energy Institute in 2007 to investigate ways to use the ocean to generate power.

Editorial of the Day
The editorial board of the New York Times writes on the slowing economy - Goldman Sachs last week cut its forecast of US GDP for 2011 to 1.9 percent from 2.4 percent - urging policy makers to tackle the nation's anemic economy.

The economic news — on growth, consumers, housing and manufacturing — was bad enough before the jobs report for July, released last Friday. The report leaves no doubt that a slowdown is well under way. The odds of renewed recession remain uncomfortably high.

And yet, the response from Washington has been inadequate, at best, with Democratic initiatives too timid and Republicans bent on obstruction. When legislation does emerge from the gridlock, it is invariably a disappointment in the face of a dissolving recovery.

With unemployment persistently high, the economy is losing whatever momentum it had after last year’s stimulus. Recovery, such as it is, appears to be a repeat of the lopsided growth of the Bush years, with corporate profits rebounding and jobs and incomes lagging. Back then, policy makers advised patience, saying that with time, economic gains would distribute themselves more evenly. We know how that ended.

There is no one way to foster job growth. There are many ways, and they should all be deployed. Maybe after Congress gets back from vacation.

SD expectations

The South Dakota primary is on June 3rd, and there's been some news on the primary. First, we get a poll next week:

A statewide poll next week could shed more light on whether the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments about the United States have had an effect on voters. The poll is being conducted by the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Steve Jarding, who is managing Sen. Tim Johnson's re-election campaign, thinks Obama turned out a good speech this week, but Jarding isn't sure it was enough. Some Democrats are concerned about how Wright's taped rantings will affect the race.

"You do hear that," Jarding said. "I talk to a lot of Democrats every day. It's on people's minds."

Sen. Hillary Clinton had a good shot at winning the South Dakota primary before, Jarding said, and now her chances have improved.

"This might be one where she could surprise people."

Johnson, one of the state's Democratic super-delegates, supports Obama. But Johnson will vote for Clinton at the national convention if Clinton wins the June 3 primary in South Dakota, Jarding said.

Johnson's a Senator who is up for re-election in a tough red state, but cruising to date, yet he's putting some hypothetical distance between himself and Obama; no doubt, due to the Wright attack on Obama.

SD Democrats met yesterday, and considered whether to open the primary to Independents, but it was decided to wait, and not institute that change for this primary.

There's more...


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