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Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
1:15 PM ET, 02/26/2009

Joby Warrick writes in The Washington Post: "The daily White House intelligence report that catalogs the top security threats to the nation has a grim new addition, reflecting the realities of the age: a daily update on the global financial crisis and its cascading effects on the stability of countries through the world."

James Kuhnhenn writes for the Associated Press: "After devoting money and time in search of a rescue for the ailing banking sector, President Barack Obama on Wednesday demanded tough new regulations to keep financial institutions in check and avoid future Wall Street meltdowns."

David Lightman writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "The day after President Barack Obama told Congress that it would have to 'sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars,' the House of Representatives passed a massive budget bill Wednesday that increases spending by 8 percent over last year....Obama has tried to distance himself from the bill. He didn't mention it in his address Tuesday and has repeatedly criticized earmarks, local projects that lawmakers insert into such measures without review. This bill contains about 9,000 such earmarks, at a total of about $3.8 billion."

Luke Baker writes for Reuters: "Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards 'get their kicks in' before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees."

William Glaberson writes in the New York Times that 20 men still imprisoned in Guantanamo despite having been declared in court not to be enemies of the United States "are now appealing directly to President Obama, arguing that the federal habeas corpus cases allowed by the Supreme Court decision are failing to deliver the only justice that matters: freedom."

Carrie A. Johnson writes for The Washington Post: "Two days after returning from a trip to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told reporters this afternoon that he remains determined to shutter the scandal-plagued facility within a year, despite a series of legal and diplomatic hurdles in his path."

William McCall writes for the Associated Press: "For the second time since Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a review of Bush administration state secrets claims, the Obama administration finds itself defending the doctrine used to protect anti-terrorism programs accused of illegal spying. The Justice Department has asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay to delay trial court hearings involving the state secrets privilege and the only U.S. chapter of a defunct Islamic charity based in Saudi Arabia."

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer calls on Obama to "make good on his promise of transparency by releasing the dozens of still-secret legal memos written by the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel...The documents most crucial to the historical record -- including many of the memos used to justify the administration's most radical policies -- are still being withheld. The result is that the public lacks access to basic information about how the Bush administration's national security policies were developed, who participated in their development and what legal arguments were generated to support them."

Margaret Talev writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "The longest-serving U.S. senator in history, who's one of the nation's top authorities on congressional power, is challenging President Barack Obama for naming White House policy czars who can operate without the same legislative scrutiny as Cabinet officials."

Jon Cohen writes in The Washington Post: "About two-thirds of Americans support President Obama's decision to send approximately 17,000 additional U.S. military forces to Afghanistan, and, in stark contrast to the sour public reception of former president George W. Bush's 'surge' of troops in Iraq, support for Obama's move crosses party lines, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll."

Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times: "A group of liberal bloggers said it is teaming up with organized labor and MoveOn to form a political action committee that will seek to push the Democratic Party farther to the left...Organizers of the new group, to be called Accountability Now, said their intention is to enable Mr. Obama to seek more liberal policies without fear of losing support from the more conservative members of his party serving in Congress. But they did not rule out occasional friction with Mr. Obama, as well." More here, from Sam Stein of Huffingtonpost.com.

J. Freedom du Lac writes in The Washington Post that Motown music legend Stevie Wonder "went to the White House last night to receive the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and a full-blown concert broke out. As George and Martha Washington peered over the temporary stage from their portraits, the stately East Room was transformed into the world's most exclusive music hall...as Wonder headlined his own gala coronation-cum-concert.

Sandra Sobieraj Westfall writes for People that the first lady "says she thinks she is going to look for a rescue Portuguese Water dog who is 'old enough' and a 'match' for the family dynamic."

Eric Brook writes for the Detroit Free Press that the American Museum of Fly Fishing has indefinitely postponed a dinner honoring former vice president Dick Cheney that had been set for March 5 at the New York Angler's Club -- after some anglers complained about his environmental record.

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