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    FBI Asked Homeland Security to Refrain From Notifying All Airlines About Shahzad 'No Fly' Listing

    The FBI asked officials at the Homeland Security Department to limit the number of airlines which were given special emergency warning that the name of Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad had been added to the U.S.  government's "no fly" list in the early afternoon on May 3, 2010, Declassified has learned. The FBI asked Homeland officials to limit special notifications about Shahzad's fresh no-fly listing because it feared that telling too many airlines about it might lead to news leaks, which the bureau feared were already interfering with its investigation and threatening to spook the suspect, said two Obama administration officials familiar with the issue, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information. An FBI spokesman declined to discuss the matter....
  • If Utah Elects Its First Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 40 Years, Thank the Tea Party

    Tea Partiers weren't the only ones happy to see Sen. Bob Bennett lose Utah's Republican nomination on Saturday: plenty of Democrats in the state were elated as well. Why? Because even though the 3,500 delegates in Utah's GOP convention didn't like Bennett, the majority of the electorate still did. Polling suggests that if the three-term incumbent had secured the nomination, voters almost certainly would have sent him back to Washington. ...
  • Gay Rights a Flashpoint in Kagan Confirmation

    Even before President Obama officially announced Elena Kagan as his Supreme Court pick, gay-rights advocates were celebrating and conservatives were grumbling. President of the Human Rights Campaign Joe Solomonese applauded the leaked decision, saying, “We are confident that Elena Kagan has a demonstrated understanding and commitment to protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans, including [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] Americans.” There is one place where Kagan has demonstrated that LGBT commitment most, and that is at Harvard, where she was the first female dean of its esteemed law school. The war in Iraq, which started shortly before her 2003 appointment, would soon lead to massive recruiting efforts by the U.S. military, but Kagan was opposed to military recruitment on campus because of the armed forces’ policy against allowing gays and lesbians to serve their country openly, calling it “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order.” Gay advocates...
  • Quote of the Day: John McCain

    "Complete the danged fence." —Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in a new ad about illegal immigration. It's the latest area where McCain, facing a Tea Party-aligned primary challenger, has tacked right from earlier positions. See the ad below:
  • Kagan Might Not Be Prepared to Sway Anthony Kennedy

    Elena Kagan is being attacked for her lack of judicial experience by some of the same folks (e.g., Sen. John Cornyn) who said Harriet Miers was especially qualified for the Supreme Court because President Bush had gone outside the usual suspects and nominated someone who wasn't a judge. That's Washington, where hypocrisy is just another day at the office....
  • Kagan Has Appropriate Experience for a Seat on the Supreme Court

    Many commentators are questioning the extent of Solicitor General Elena Kagan's experience, noting that, unlike her eight potential future colleagues, she has never served as a judge. They shouldn't. President Obama wanted to nominate somebody outside of the judicial monastery, and Elena Kagan fits the bill. In fact, she's the first non-judge nominated since the 1970s—unless you count Harriet Miers, whose appointment was withdrawn under fire from the right and the left because of her parochial credentials. Unlike Miers, who was a vanity choice by George W. Bush, Kagan brings top-notch academic and practical credentials. And her lack of judicial experience is trumped by the six cases she has argued before the court as Solicitor General. ...
  • Orrin Hatch's VAT Straw Man

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) takes on the tax system in a Politico op-ed published Friday. A lot of what Hatch says is likely to resonate on both sides of the aisle: he's concerned that large tax increases could trip up the fragile but improving economy, and he argues that federal tax code is simply far too complicated. The latter is a point about which there's been an even greater consensus for even longer than the former, and it's accepted by both liberals and conservatives. So far, so good. And then this:...
  • BP Oil Spill, by the Numbers

    As of today, BP has spent about $350 million—or $16 million a day—on cleanup and related problems due to the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf. Sure, it’s a lot of money, but cleanup and related costs are only the beginning. While it’s difficult to predict the long-term impact of the spill, here’s a closer look at the short term.400The minimum number of species threatened by the oil spill2,000Number of estimated square miles of oil slick7,000Square miles of federal fishing area in the Gulf that has closed because of the slick10 Minimum number of days the federal government is restricting fishing in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill25 millionNumber of birds that crisscross the Gulf Coast each day, and could be at risk from the oil spill $365 millionCost to build the now-bleeding Deepwater Horizon oil rig$1.6 billionEconomic activity at risk because of the oil spill$14 billion+Current estimated total cost of the spill$163 billionBP profits from 2001 to 200910-15The...
  • Feds Claim Corroborating Evidence of Times Square Bomber's Dealings with Pakistani Taliban

    Federal investigators are not just taking Faisal Shahzad's word for it that Pakistani Taliban elements were involved in his failed Times Square car-bombing attempt. The naturalized U.S. citizen has confirmed under interrogation that the Pakistani Taliban helped prep him for the plot, according to three U.S. counterterrorism officials who asked not to be named discussing sensitive information—and the three officials add that U.S. agencies have evidence to corroborate his contacts with the group, which is aligned with Al Qaeda. U.S. officials have also said there is reason to believe that the Pakistani group, known formally as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), may also have helped to finance Shahzad's mission....
  • How Obama Got to Kagan

    President Obama's process to select Solicitor General Elena Kagan began the day after outgoing justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement, according to a White House official. Administration staffers, led by chief counsel Bob Bauer, assembled records on "a broad array" of candidates, all presented to the president for review during his several trips around the country in April....
  • gal-tease-environmental-disasters

    Will the BP Oil Spill Kill Offshore Drilling?

    BP has been trying hard to burnish its public image in recent years after being hit with a pair of environmental disasters, including a fatal refinery explosion in Texas and a pipeline leak in Alaska. One major step was to announce, in 2007, that it had hired a high-powered advisory board that included former EPA director Christine Todd Whitman, former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, and Leon Panetta, who were each paid $120,000 a year. (Panetta left when he became President Obama’s CIA director.) Two years ago the oil giant’s chief executive, Robert Malone, flew board members out to the Gulf of Mexico on a helicopter to demonstrate the safeguards surrounding BP’s advanced drilling technology. “We got a sense they were really committed to ensuring they got it right,” Whitman told NEWSWEEK.
  • We Must Remember Reality of War

    When I was growing up, I was semi-addicted to the novels of Herman Wouk, particularly The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. They did not glamorize warfare, but they did humanize it. For the generations who came of age long after World War II, books such as Wouk’s gave words such as Auschwitz and Midway and Leyte all the more meaning, for readers experienced them through the lives (and deaths) of the novelist’s characters. In the closing pages of his epic, Wouk mused on the tragedy of history, and on its redemptive possibilities. “The beginning of the end of War,” he said, “lies in Remembrance.”
  • Evan Thomas: Why We Love War

    The reasons and causes—territory, ideology, WMDs—may change with the times, but our lust for it is eternal.
  • supreme-court-announce-kaga-vertical

    Kagan to Be Attacked From Left and Right

    It’s a pretty safe bet that the Democratic-ruled Senate will confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, by about Aug. 6, with over 60 votes.
  • gop-presidents-ronald-reagan-wide-horizontal

    Even Reagan Wasn't a Reagan Republican

    In the year and a half since Barack Obama was elected president, Republicans nationwide seem to have given up on the whole governing thing and chosen instead to play a long, rancorous game of “I’m More Conservative Than You Are.”
  • The Trouble with Arizona's Immigration Law

    With the right spin doctor, Gordon Brown could seem an easy politician to admire. This was the smart, serious-minded Scot who took prudence as his watchword in his successful management of the British economy; the man who oversaw the country’s longest period of economic growth and averted global catastrophe through his handling of the financial crisis. He was the clergyman’s son who thrived on hard work and liked to talk of the “moral compass” offered by his parents’ example.
  • The Times Square Bomb Scares and the Perils of False Alarms

    In the days since the failed Times Square bombing last Saturday night, New York has faced several additional brief, but fraught, alarms. Late Wednesday night, the city’s RFK (formerly Triboro) Bridge was swarmed by police and shut down after a man ran away from a rental van which smelled of gasoline fumes. False alarm. On Thursday morning, an Emirates airways flight for Dubai was temporarily grounded at JFK airport shortly before takeoff because of a possible match between the name of a passenger and that of an individual on the U.S. government’s “no fly” list. Another false alarm; the plane was sent on its way. On Friday afternoon, part of Times Square was evacuated when police were notified of a “suspicious package.” Yet another false alarm; it turned out to be a cooler filled with water bottles.This spate of false alarms, which received greater than normal publicity due to the fact that they occurred just after the genuine but unsuccessful Times Square car bombing, demonstrates...
  • Tea Partiers Can't Be 'Screaming Meemies' Anymore

    Since its debut as a ragtag protest group, the Tea Party has cohered into a formidable voice in the GOP primaries. Now, with a slew of statewide ballot measures, the movement is pivoting again—this time into the unglamorous world of knocking on doors and gathering signatures in an effort to shape local policy.