"Morning Briefing: September 22, 2011"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address the United Nations today as a weakened and isolated leader facing declining political fortunes at home and isolation from the Muslim world for his support for Syria’s efforts to violently crush protesters. Admadinejad is expected to hurl insults at Israel, which he called a “fake regime” in a recent interview.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that President Obama deserves “a badge of honor” for his opposition to Palestinian statehood recognition at the U.N. Agreeing that Palestinians and Israelis should negotiate a settlement, Netanyahu said Palestinians “are not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return.”
Despite backing down from demanding that a Security Council vote be held Friday, Palestinian diplomats say they will not accept any delay on their bid to seek full membership in the United Nations. “We will not allow any political maneuvering on this issue,” said Saeb Erakat, one of the senior aides to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.
The 2010 census reveals young adults now “suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II” with nearly one in five who risk living in poverty. “They will be called the ‘lost generation‘ — in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster,” said one Harvard University economist.
European and Asian stocks tumbled this morning on the Federal Reserve’s grim assessment of the U.S. economy yesterday. The Fed also announced new extraordinary steps to help the economy by attempting to bring down long-term interest rates. So far, the Fed has focused on short-term rates.
House Republicans’ attempt to deny funding to the National Labor Relations Board was narrowly rejected by the Senate yesterday. NLRB’s dispute with Boeing has become a fixation for the GOP and the measure, in an omnibus spending bill, would have cut off funding for the NLRB to pursue any order threatening Boeing’s new non-union production line in South Carolina.
In an embarrassing setback for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), 48 rank-and-file Republicans voted against their leadership’s temporary spending bill last night. The revolt underscores Boehner’s lack of control over his own caucus and the GOP’s need to get Democrats on board to govern. The speaker even threatened to strip Republicans of their committee assignments if they didn’t toe the party line, to no avail.
Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (OR) and Mark Udall (CO) accuse the Justice Department of making misleading statements about the legal justification for secret domestic surveillance the department is carrying out under the Patriot Act, and the two are calling for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to “correct the public record.”
And finally: Guitar shredding Congressman and presidential hopeful Thaddeus McCotter said yesterday that he was “bummed” by news of R.E.M.’s breakup, but acknowledged that “all things must pass” — perhaps a reference to Beatles guitarist George Harrison’s seminal solo album. “I just downloaded all my stuff onto my iPod late last year during lame-duck. And it was one of the ones I found myself going back and listening to,” McCotter told Yahoo news of the band.