President-elect Barack Obama voiced his support for workers engaged in a sit-in protest at a recently closed Chicago factory. “The workers who are asking for the benefits and payments that they have earned, I think they’re absolutely right and understand that what’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy,” Obama said.
Three top executives in the Pentagon inspector general’s office received a hefty bonus of about $30,000 — 20 percent of their annual basic pay — and a framed certificate signed by President Bush for outstanding leadership. The award was offered in spite of the agency’s low staff morale and strained relations between employees and supervisors.
A Congressional oversight panel led by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) plans to ask the NSA “to start an investigation into new evidence that the agency illegally wiretapped a Muslim scholar in Northern Virginia and concealed the eavesdropping during a 2005 trial in which the scholar was convicted on terrorism charges.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said the situation in Afghanistan is “going to get harder before it gets easier, just like the surge in Iraq was.” “It’s a stalemate that exists and we’re going to need additional troops,” McCain said while visiting the country yesterday. Meanwhile, a report by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), a think tank, said the Taliban has a permanent presence in 72 percent of Afghanistan.
The Franklin County Board of Elections declared Mary Jo Kilroy the winner of Ohio’s 15th congressional seat making her “the first Democrat to represent any part of Franklin County in a generation.” Kilroy “eked out a small but convincing victory over Republican state Sen. Steve Stivers in her second election cliffhanger,” according to results released last night.
Obama issued a warning that days of doling out pork projects as a strategy are over: “What we need to do is examine: What are the projects where we’re going to get the most bang for the buck? How are we going to make sure taxpayers are protected?”
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman said yesterday that the the concentration of the auto industry in Detroit will likely disappear. “It is no longer sustained by the current economy,” he said. A Big Three bailout is a “short-term solution” resulting from a “lack of willingness to accept the failure of a large industry in the midst of an economic crisis.”
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner is facing increasing pressure to resign. “If you’re going to restructure, you’ve got to bring in a new team to do this,” Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) said. “I think [Mr. Wagoner] has to move on.” GM vice chairman Bob Lutz – who famously called global warming a “total crock of sh*t” — said Wagoner “is without doubt the best CEO I’ve ever worked for.”
“Although the impact of Bush’s judicial appointments is most often noticed at the Supreme Court, it has played out much more frequently and more importantly” in the nation’s 13 appellate courts. “Republican-appointed majorities firmly control the outcomes in 10 of these courts, compared with seven after President Bill Clinton’s tenure. They also now share equal representation with Democratic appointees on two additional courts.”
And finally: Former presidential candidate Fred Thompson is attempting to cash in on Obama’s inauguration. Page Six reports this morning that Thompson is “offering to rent his luxury one-bedroom condo in Washington, DC, for five days” for $30,000. An anonymous source told Page Six, “It has a balcony overlooking the inaugural parade route, the Navy Memorial and the US Capitol, and comes with a reserved parking space.”
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