Saturday’s mishmash

Hello everyone,

1. First, the crucial referendum in Sudan tomorrow. Some links for background, stakes and ways to follow:

NY Times Nicholas Kristof and president Jimmy Carter will answer questions on Monday.

The world’s eyes are focusing on Sudan, which on Sunday will hold a referendum on independence in the southern part of the country. The south, which holds more than 75 percent of the country’s oil, is expected to vote almost unanimously for secession, and that will start a process that could lead to the birth of Africa’s newest country. In the past, there had been a good deal of fear that the referendum might lead to renewed warfare, but so far the process has gone better than many had expected…

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NYT Editorial: Southern Sudan Votes

Sudan referendum: key dates in recent history

Obama envoy Scott Gration optimistic about Sudan referendum

Sudan referendum: after decades of war and millions killed, a new nation is born

Sudan referendum: southerners flood home to vote in post-war secession poll

Watching Sudanese elections from your computer

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President Obama was very much involved in the entire process. This speech of his back in September was crucial, as was the constant involvement of the administration through Secretary Clinton and Senator Kerry.

The president also met twice with president Clooney ;) who is very much committed to the issue of ending the genocide in Darfur.

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2. President Obama’s weekly address:

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3. Now the CoS SCANDAL!!!!!

Two very good reads about Mr. Daley:

Washington Post: In Daley, Obama gets change, not continuity

NY Times: Obama’s Top Aide a Tough, Decisive Negotiator

And couple of comments by Embee in yesterday’s mishmash:

…I have the advantage of knowing Bill Daley. He is not an ideologue. He is an superb manager, administrator, charming twister of arms for the benefit of whoever is writing his paycheck. He is pretty liberal personally, but doesn’t let that get in the way of getting the job done. He’s a perfect fit in this job at this time.

…Just so you know, Daley was never a Wall Street banker. He took the job the JP Morgan when they took over a Chicago bank BankOne mostly in a PR role. His job was to manage the transition. He was not involved in any way with the chicanery that caused the crash. Bill Daley is a fantastic manager who knows everybody in Chicago (think 2012) and Washington. His whole career has been about smoothing the way, twisting arms and getting things done for whoever has paid him to do it. He will now be President Obama’s arm twister who also has good relations with everyone in Washington.

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This whole new SCANDAL!!!! is a chance for me to recommend on one of my favorite additions to the blogroll: p m carpenter who is just a brilliant writer:

…In short, the Daley choice probably means less than all its attendant commotion suggests, which is rather par for most any presidential-appointment course. He will likely talk less “bluntly” than Beltway Balz anticipates, but on the other hand he won’t auction White House advertising rights to Qualcomm — the latter of which, especially, will vastly disappoint progressive activists, who have yet to get anything right”.

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4. Finally, isn’t that the *change* the professional left asked for before they were against it?

NYT: The Rule of Law

To keep the Defense Department running, President Obama was forced to sign a spending bill on Friday with a particularly harmful provision that bars spending to transfer detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States for trial. As wrongheaded as this prohibition is, the president was right not to declare his intention to defy it in an accompanying statement. By doing so, he demonstrated a greater respect for the law than did President George W. Bush.

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Despite his objections, Mr. Obama did not say he would defy the law and try to transfer prisoners anyway. That was the right position. As a candidate, he often objected to Mr. Bush’s cavalier use of signing statements to assert that his interpretation of the law trumped that of Congress and the courts. Mr. Bush routinely and contemptuously disregarded laws that he himself signed, most famously stating that he was not bound by the ban on torturing prisoners.

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The American Civil Liberties Union argues that the bill only restricts the use of Defense Department money for transferring prisoners to the United States. The administration, it argues, is free to use funds from other departments. But such a cramped reading of the law would be seen by most Americans as a defiance of Congressional intent. Taking the high ground puts President Obama in a better position to argue for the rule of law.