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11:05 AM ET, January 25, 2009

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Joby Warrick / Washington Post:
To Combat Obama, Al-Qaeda Hurls Insults  —  Soon after the November election, al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader took stock of America's new president-elect and dismissed him with an insulting epithet.  “A house Negro,” Ayman al-Zawahiri said.  —  That was just a warm-up.
RELATED:
Washington Post:
Guantanamo Case Files in Disarray  —  President Obama's plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials …
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Which Governor Is Wackier?  —  I love Blago.  —  I love his beady little eyes.  I love his Serbian shock of hair.  I love his flaring nostrils.  I love the way he jogs through the snow under indictment, like a stork in spandex trying to gallop.  I love the way he compares himself …
RELATED:
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
West Wing on steroids in Obama W.H.  —  President Barack Obama is taking far-reaching steps to centralize decision-making inside the White House, surrounding himself with influential counselors, overseas envoys and policy “czars” that shift power from traditional Cabinet posts.
Ron Rosenbaum / Slate:
The Worst Pop Singer Ever  —  Why, exactly, is Billy Joel so bad?  —  This may seem an odd moment to bring up the subject of Billy Joel.  But the recent death of the painter Andrew Wyeth revived a long-standing debate over whether his art is respectable or merely sentimental schlock.
Mark Hosenball / Newsweek:
A Loophole In the Rules  —  From the magazine issue dated Feb 2, 2009  —  Publicly at least, President Obama has made a clean break with his predecessor's controversial counterterrorism policies, but in private the new administration is leaving itself some wiggle room.
Discussion: theheretik.us and Emptywheel
Alan S. Blinder / New York Times:
Six Errors on the Path to the Financial Crisis  —  WHAT'S a nice economy like ours doing in a place like this?  As the country descends into what is likely to be its worst postwar recession, Americans are distressed, bewildered and asking serious questions: Didn't we learn how to avoid such catastrophes decades ago?
Discussion: The Big Picture
Dave Kopel / Rocky Mountain News:
Rocky, Post go all out for inaugural  —  Has there ever been such a frenzy of Denver newspaper attention to a presidential inauguration?  —  To find out, I surveyed the archives of the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post.  I counted staff-written articles (not articles from wire services …
Discussion: The Volokh Conspiracy
New York Times:
Radio Spreads Taliban's Terror in Pakistani Region  —  PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Every night around 8 o'clock, the terrified residents of Swat, a lush and picturesque valley a hundred miles from three of Pakistan's most important cities, crowd around their radios.
Discussion: Swampland and A Blog For All
Isabel Vincent / New York Post:
RANGEL PROBERS AWOL  —  ETHICS INQUIRY STALLS AS POLS LEAVE PANEL  —  Nobody's home at the House ethics committee that's supposed to be investigating Rep. Charles Rangel.  —  The panel created on Sept. 24 to probe the Harlem Democrat's alleged ethical lapses has been virtually disbanded …
Ethan Bronner / New York Times:
A Play About Shells for Gaza Children  —  GAZA — The boys clapped and sang to pulsating music.  They played games and shouted.  It could have been a group activity at any school in any place, but this was the middle school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, near where the United Nations …
Discussion: Obsidian Wings and Commentary
Frank Rich / New York Times:
No Time for Poetry  —  PRESIDENT Obama did not offer his patented poetry in his Inaugural Address.  He did not add to his cache of quotations in Bartlett's.  He did not recreate J.F.K.'s inaugural, or Lincoln's second, or F.D.R.'s first.  The great orator was mainly at his best when taking shots …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Jon Perr / Crooks and Liars:
Bush Latest GOPer to Show Democrats Better for the Economy
Andrew Higgins / Wall Street Journal:
How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas
Discussion: Harry's Place
Los Angeles Times:
Google ready to pursue its agenda in Washington
Discussion: RedState and Pajamas Media
Anthony Shadid / Washington Post:
Iraq Election Highlights Ascendancy of Tribes
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Obama gets his opening grade
Discussion: Don Surber
Mark Leibovich / New York Times:
Dolls Resembling Daughters Displease First Lady
Discussion: The Swamp
 Earlier Items: 
Robert H. Reid / Associated Press:
Elections are test for al-Maliki, Iraq
Stephen Labaton / New York Times:
Obama Plans Fast Action to Tighten Financial Rules
Mark Steyn / Orange County Register:
Obama raises heart rates, lowers expectations