Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:10 PM ET, 05/27/2009

Charles Babington writes for the Associated Press: "In a Western trip devoted mainly to raising political money, President Barack Obama is highlighting two favorite issues: clean energy and his economic stimulus plan. The president was scheduled to tour the 'photovoltaic array' at Nellis Air Force Base, near Las Vegas, on Wednesday. The solar-powered cells provide a quarter of the base's power needs, White House officials said.Obama also was expected to discuss the progress of his $787 billion stimulus package, which Congress passed three months ago. The money is paying for thousands of projects in construction and other fields throughout the country. Obama sandwiched the midday event between two political fundraisers: one on Tuesday night in Las Vegas for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and one set for Wednesday night in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Committee."

Spencer S. Hsu writes in The Washington Post: "President Obama announced yesterday that he will merge the staffs of the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council to speed up and unify security policymaking inside the White House. The combined national security staff, about 240 people, will report to national security adviser James L. Jones....Obama's changes to the national security structure, to be implemented over six weeks, address concerns that former president George W. Bush created an overlapping White House bureaucracy by establishing the Homeland Security Council after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."

Mark Landler writes in the New York Times that "as President Obama tries to find a way to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test and missile launchings, his senior aides acknowledge that every policy option employed by previous presidents over the past dozen years — whether hard or soft, political or economic — has been fruitless in stopping North Korea from building a nuclear weapon."

Dan Ephron and Michael Hirsh write for Newsweek that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel "is emerging as a central player in efforts to press Israel on key issues like Iran's nuclear program and talks with the Palestinians—and to sell those policies to the U.S. Jewish community."

Justin Elliott writes for TPM Muckraker: "We've gotten our hands on the Pentagon report on which the New York Times based its front-pager last week asserting that 1 in 7 Guantanamo detainees 'returned' to terrorism....The bottom line: Those who have counseled skepticism about the DOD numbers would seem to be vindicated by the actual report."

The Associated Press reports: "Former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik has been indicted on charges of making false statements to White House officials vetting him for the position of Department of Homeland Security secretary."

Eric Boehlert, writing for Media Matters, compares how newspapers covered former vice president Dick Cheney's harsh critiques of the Obama administration and former vice president Al Gore's September 2002 critique of the march to war in Iraq.

Jack Hidary blogs for Huffingtonpost.com about last night's Radio City Music Hall debate between Karl Rove and James Carville.

Carl Hiaasen writes in his Miami Herald column: "The argument that there's no place secure enough to hold [Guantanamo detainees] is astounding, considering the number of vicious maniacs and murderous psychos who are currently behind bars in the United States."

Mike Boehm writes in the Los Angeles Times that 21 photos of Obama as a first-year-student at Occidental College "make up 'Barack Obama: The Freshman,' an exhibition opening Thursday at M+B Gallery in West Hollywood.

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