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Your Breakfast Read, Saturday Edition

Sorry guys, I’m running very late. You’ll have to do without my extremely brilliant and insightful comments. See you later.

Edward M. Kennedy 1932 – 2009

A time to remember

With the skyline of Boston darkening behind them and his flag-draped casket before them, Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s friends, relatives, and colleagues gathered last night for an intimate memorial service that was by turns lighthearted and moving, a singular event filled with stories of Kennedy the friend, the patriarch, and the lover of sailing, joke-telling, and singing.

When does a US president deliver the eulogy?

It’s not unusual for an American president to deliver a public eulogy for a fallen friend, predecessor, or otherwise distinguished citizen.

George W. Bush eulogized two former presidents: Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Jimmy Carter did so for former Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Bill Clinton eulogized former President Richard Nixon, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, and Pamela Harriman, an ambassador and Democratic activist.

President Obama’s first such moment arrives on Saturday, when he will eulogize his mentor and friend, Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, at his funeral mass.

Kennedy’s Closest Confidante, in Politics and Life

Edward M. Kennedy’s relationship with his second wife, Vicki, defined the final years of his life, both personally and professionally.

Remembering Ted Kennedy: Videos of Testimonies

Ted Kennedy’s Passing & Healthcare

Mike Huckabee: ObamaCare wouldn’t cover Ted Kennedy

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed Friday that under the health-care plan proposed by President Barack Obama, Sen. Ted Kennedy would have been told to “go home to take pain pills and die” after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Huckabee made the remark during his radio show Friday while accusing Democrats of trying to use Kennedy’s death to marshal support for the president’s reform package.

Stephanopoulos: Kennedy Would Have Agreed To Ditch The Public Option

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos appeared on The O’Reilly factor and echoed a growing conventional wisdom.

“It’s pretty clear right now that there aren’t the votes in the senate to pass a public health insurance option as much as a majority of Democrats in the House would like it,” he said. “It’s not going to get through the Senate right now and I think that what Democrats may try to do is remind people of another side of the Kennedy legacy. That was Kennedy the compromiser. Kennedy the negotiator. The man who was willing to take a portion, incremental gain even if he couldn’t get everything he was calling for.”

Economy Watch

The Most Powerful Banker You’ve Never Heard of

Lewis Kaden is the ultimate behind-the-scenes power player. Lobbying the White House for Citi may be his biggest role yet

A Reluctance to Spend May Be a Legacy of the Recession

Even as evidence mounts that the Great Recession has finally released its chokehold on the American economy, experts worry that the recovery may be weak, stymied by consumers’ reluctance to spend.

Meltdown 101: Why banks’ struggles have worsened

Despite signs of an improving economy, the nation’s banks are still struggling — in fact, the pace of bank failures has accelerated.
What would it take to turn the banking sector around? And what can people do to protect their savings in the meantime?
Here are some questions and answers about the wave of U.S. bank failures, as the latest quarterly snapshot of the industry painted a grim picture.

The very model of a modern central banker

An academic background stood the chairman of the Federal Reserve in good stead during his first term. Political skills may be more important in his second

Around The Nation

Opposing Gay Unions With Sanity & a Smile

The nightmares of gay marriage supporters are the Pat Robertsons of the world. The James Dobsons, the John Hagees — the people who specialize in whipping crowds into frothy frenzies, who say things like Katrina was caused by the gays.

The gay marriage supporters have not met Brian Brown. They should. He might be more worth knowing about.

Secret camps and guillotines? Groups make birthers look sane

Is the federal government building secret camps to lock up people who criticize President Barack Obama?

Will it truck off young people to camps to brainwash them into liking Obama’s agenda? Are government officials planning to replicate the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, using the guillotine to silence their domestic enemies?

No. The charges, of course, are not true.

However, the accusations are out there, a series of fantastic claims fed by paranoia about the government. They’re spread and sometimes cross-pollinated via the Internet. They feed a fringe subset of the anger at the government percolating through the country, one that ignites passion, but also helps Obama’s allies to discount broader anger at the president’s agenda.

Florida governor names aide to replace senator

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday named one of his closest confidants to fill out the term of resigning Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., assuring that he will have an ally serving as a caretaker senator as Crist seeks election to the seat himself in 2010.

Candidate for Idaho governor repeats joke about hunting Obama

Top Idaho Republicans — Gov. Butch Otter, U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson and former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt — all condemned fellow Republican Rex Rammell on Friday after he amplified his “joke” about wanting to buy a license to hunt President Barack Obama.


Rammell, however, continued to press his “joke,” originally made Tuesday in the context of Idaho issuing its first hunting tags for wolves this fall. On Friday morning, Rammell issued a statement in a press release and on Twitter: “Anyone who understands the law, knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C.”

Tea-baggers out in force, including a dump truck brigade

The high temperatures here Friday were matched only by the heat from throngs of Tea Party protesters who gathered at the statehouse to rail against everything from California’s environmental policies to national healthcare reform.

The rally organized by the Tea Party Patriots of California, part of the national anti-tax and anti-big government Tea Party movement, was officially dubbed the march to “save California from big government eco-regulation.”

But while protesters took aim at California’s water policies, environmentalists, and national cap and trade legislation, the rally was a showcase for the sort anti-Obama sentiment that is being aired on cable news and in town hall meetings across America.
And that anger appears to be contagious.

Limbaugh: You’ll pry my foreskin from my cold, dead hands

If you had to whip up a too-good-to-be-true story for the right-wing pundit class to freak out over, what elements would you include? There would have to be, of course, an element of command-and-control socialist-fascist invasion and regulation of the most private parts of our lives, in the name of some spurious “common good.” But that alone is a little pedestrian nowadays, so you’d want to add a nice dollop of male sexual neurosis to really kick it up a notch.

War On Terror 2.0

Taliban’s growth in Afghanistan’s north threatens to expand war

The violence has been on the rise in recent months, however, as the Taliban and al Qaida-linked foreign fighters have staged hit-and-run attacks, bombings and rocket strikes on German, Belgian and Hungarian forces in Baghlan and neighboring Kunduz provinces.

The insurgents now control three Pashtun-dominated districts in Kunduz and Baghlan-i-Jadid, a foothold in a region that was long considered safe. With a force estimated at 300 to 600 hard-core fighters, they operate checkpoints at night on the highway to the north, now a major supply route, local officials said, and are extorting money, food and lodging from villagers.

“The Taliban want to show the world that not only can they make chaos in southern Afghanistan, but in every part of Afghanistan,” Baghlan Governor Mohammad Akbar Barekzai said. “This is a big problem. We don’t have sufficient forces here.”

For U.S. commanders, whose stretched forces have been unable to pacify the south and are taking record casualties, it’s another looming problem.

US wants 20,000 more troops to fight Taliban

The commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan will ask for 20,000 more international troops as part of his new strategic plan for the alliance’s war against a resurgent Taliban

As US fades, Iran ups the ante in Iraq

If Washington, as many analysts believe, has decided to take advantage of Iran’s internal unrest to push the government on the nuclear issue, there is a crucial point: any arena of confrontation between the countries won’t be picked by the US alone. When push comes to shove, Iran will expand the confrontation to multiple fronts, and Iraq will be its first choice.

Senior Saudi royal targeted in assassination attempt

Prince Mohammed bin Naif, the deputy interior minister and a leading figure in the crackdown against terrorism, was slightly injured after a Saudi militant with links to al-Qaeda blew himself up at a gathering in the prince’s Jeddah home on Thursday night, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“The attack demonstrates the ongoing threat of terrorism in the kingdom,” said Christopher Boucek, an expert on militant groups at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Had the attack killed or seriously wounded Prince Mohammed, it would have been a significant propaganda boost for al-Qaeda.”

Around The World

Ahmadinejad calls for prosecution of Iran’s opposition leaders

The president says post-election unrest was part of a foreign plot carried out by ‘subversives.’ His demand runs counter to supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who gave a conciliatory speech Wednesday.

U.S. Economy: Spending Climbs on ‘Cash for Clunkers’

Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in July as Americans jammed auto showrooms to take advantage of the “cash for clunkers” program while avoiding other purchases.

Britain accused of breaking promise to US over Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi

Britain was accused last night of reneging on a promise to the United States that the Lockerbie bomber would serve his sentence in Scotland.

According to confidential correspondence obtained by The Times, ministers urged the Scottish government to consider returning Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi to Libya under a prisoner transfer deal in an apparent breach of a decade-old pledge.

Revolution in Japan

Japan has been a one-party oligarchy for a very long time. This may not be a polite thing to say about a democracy and a U.S. ally. But Japan has been ruled by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) for the last 54 years, except for a few nanoseconds after the Cold War when the ruling party temporarily lost its grip on power. Because of this stifling consensus among a small political elite, “Japanese democracy” has an oxymoronic connotation and Japanese politics has been one of the most boring topics in the world.

From The Animal Kingdom

Deer ‘fakes death’ to escape cheetah and a hyena: video

A deer “fakes its own death” to escape being eaten by a cheetah and a hyena, in an inspiring nature video that is fast becoming an online hit.


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