Edward M. Kennedy, the “liberal lion” of American politics, passed away this morning after serving in the U.S. Senate for nearly 50 years. President Obama said that the country had lost “the greatest United States Senator of our time,” adding, “For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. … An important chapter in our history has come to an end.”
World leaders have rushed to pay tribute to Kennedy. In the UK, where Kennedy received an honorary knighthood earlier this year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised him for believing that “every single child should have the chance to realize their potential to the full.” In both Britain and Ireland, he was also remembered “particularly for his involvement in the long process that led to Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday peace accord.”
In July, Kennedy sent a letter to Massachusetts lawmakers, requesting that they “amend the state’s rules and grant the governor the power to appoint his successor until a special election could be held.” But no action has been taken and the question of Kennedy’s successor still lingers. According to Politico, a special election is likely in January.
The White House said yesterday that the federal government would have to borrow more than $9 trillion to support President Obama’s agenda over the next decade. Budget director Peter Orszag said this year’s deficit is now expected to reach $1.6 trillion, “the highest on record and the biggest as a percentage of the economy since the end of World War II.”
New documents released Monday detailing the CIA’s interrogation show that the agency maintained tight control over the actions of its interrogators. “The documents underscore how closely supervised the program was…in Washington,” said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union, commenting on the report. “Any investigation that began and ended with…rogue interrogators would be completely inadequate.”
According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, “many of the lenders eligible to receive billions of dollars from the government’s massive foreclosure prevention program helped fuel the housing crisis by issuing risky subprime loans.” Of the top 25 participants in the $75 billion program called Making Home Affordable, “at least 21 specialized in servicing or originating subprime loans.”
President Obama “is close to brokering an Israeli-Palestinian deal that will allow him to announce a resumption of the long-stalled Middle East peace talks before the end of next month,” the Guardian reports. “There is a possibility” of a breakthrough meeting between Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next month, says Israeli ambassador Gabriela Shalev.
With the deaths of four U.S. soldiers yesterday, “the U.S.-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan now has lost more troops this year than in all of 2008, and August is on track to be the deadliest month for American troops there since U.S. operations began nearly eight years ago.”
And finally: President Bush stopped by the Southern Methodist University Mustangs football practice on Monday, where he told the team to “win one for Yom Kippur.”
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