February 10th, 2009
10:47 AM ET

Judges back a one-third reduction in state prison population

Michael Rothfeld
Los Angeles Times

A panel of three federal judges, saying overcrowding in state prisons has deprived inmates of their right to adequate health care, tentatively ruled Monday that the state must reduce the population in those lockups by as many as 57,000 people.

The judges issued the decision after a trial in two long-running cases brought by inmates to protest the state of medical and mental health care in the prisons.

Although their order is not final, U.S. District Court Judges Thelton Henderson and Lawrence Karlton and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt effectively told the state that it had lost the trial and would have to make dramatic changes in its prisons unless it could reach a settlement with inmates' lawyers.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Health Care
February 10th, 2009
10:31 AM ET

One region, two states

Shimon Peres
For The Washington Post

There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to Middle East affairs, and the recent events in Gaza have not muted them. A minority of Middle East pundits have recently emerged as advocates for a one-state solution, which would undermine Israel's legitimacy and internationally recognized right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the land of my forefathers. Having personally witnessed the remarkable progress we have made with the Palestinian Authority in recent years, I believe that a two-state solution is not only the best resolution to this age-old conflict but one within our reach.

The one-state solution has enough intrinsic flaws to render it no solution at all. From Israel's perspective, it is not possible for the Jewish people to accept an arrangement that signifies the end of the existence of a Jewish state. From the Palestinians' perspective, they should not be denied the opportunity to take their national destiny into their own hands.


Filed under: Crisis in Gaza • Global 360° • Israel • Middle East
February 10th, 2009
10:25 AM ET

Re-thinking Iraq

Andrew Sullivan
The Atlantic

Since my initial excessive enthusiasm for the Iraq war disintegrated on impact with reality, I've done my best to keep empirical facts at the center of assessing strategy – and to accept the limits of my own understanding more thoroughly. Of course, such an assessment includes reviewing domestic US politics – hence my support for Ron Paul and Barack Obama in the last campaign – and wider American aims and goals in the Middle East and beyond, a sense of the fiscal and diplomatic costs of any course of action, and a willingness to rethink and adjust in the face of new realities in what is a very dynamic and often opaque situation. This can lead to criticisms such as this:

Andrew Sullivan no longer is interested in winning in Iraq, in fact is probably quietly eager for a defeat there, doubtless out of a combination of a certain degree of conviction, a ravenous hunger for leftist Web traffic, and because having decided a few years ago he’d picked the wrong horse in supporting it, he finds it unbearable to imagine that the wrong horse may prove to be the right horse after all.


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Filed under: Iraq • President Barack Obama • War on Terror
February 10th, 2009
10:08 AM ET

A race against time in Afghanistan

John Kerry
Wash Post

No foreign power has remained welcome in Afghanistan for a sustained period, and the British and the Soviets paid a bitter price for trying. Our goal has never been to dominate Afghanistan but, rather, to eliminate al-Qaeda's haven and to empower Afghans to govern their country in line with their best interests and our national security.

We shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking that we are in anything but a race against time in a region suspicious of foreign footprints. The United States is not in Afghanistan to make it our 51st state - but to make sure it does not become an al-Qaeda narco-state and terrorist beachhead capable of destabilizing neighboring Pakistan.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • President Barack Obama
February 10th, 2009
09:54 AM ET

A to-do list for Clinton's China trip

Nina Hachigian
LA Times

The debate about whether to engage China is over - we are now about 20 years into a common-law marriage. The debate about whether China will join the international community is also over. Beijing has been signing up for multilateral forums as if they were going out of style. The great challenge for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when she visits Beijing next week is to influence China to play a larger role in preventing global catastrophes in these areas: the economy, nuclear proliferation, climate change and pandemic disease.

China deserves high marks for acting quickly on the global economic crisis. Beijing turned on a dime from trying to cool down its economy last summer to enacting potentially potent stimulus measures over the last months. Some measures, such as a plan to invest $123 billion in universal health insurance over the next three years, could lay the foundation for a social safety net that will help establish a broad Chinese middle class, which would support the growth of the American middle class by fostering a robust market for U.S. exports. Moreover, working with the International Monetary Fund, Beijing is helping to bail out Pakistan, whose economic stability the United States is concerned about, to put it mildly.


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Filed under: Economy • Energy • Environmental issues • Hillary Clinton
February 10th, 2009
09:54 AM ET

Did President Obama use a "bully pulpit?"

One analyst says President Obama effectively used the bully pulpit, but another says he didn't connect with Americans.

February 10th, 2009
09:47 AM ET

President Obama's news conference in full

President Obama pushes the stimulus plan and takes questions from reporters during his first prime-time news conference.

February 10th, 2009
09:36 AM ET

Sins of commission: Senator Leahy's truth squad

Sen. Patrick Leahy's comments are likely to re-ignite a simmering debate about how actively to focus on past political and legal policy disputes.

Sen. Patrick Leahy's comments are likely to re-ignite a simmering debate about how actively to focus on past political and legal policy disputes.

David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

Can Congress multitask... With the global financial crisis dominating all of our attention, can members of Congress deal with anything else?

Separating out the overwhelming urge to question whether Congress can even do one thing right, the question of Congressional multitasking comes up because Senator Patrick Leahy has just proposed the creation of a "truth and reconciliation" commission to investigate alleged wrongdoing by the Bush administration's Justice Department.

Talk about a political hot-potato!

Leahy, of course, is a Democrat, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. No doubt, calling for a commission to investigate the former President and his Justice Department smacks of a political witch hunt.


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Raw Politics • Technology
February 10th, 2009
09:14 AM ET

Dear President Obama #22: Yada yada yada

Reporter's Note: President Obama wants ideas about how to run a more effective White House. It’s not too much to ask, so I’m writing a letter a day.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on another first! You made it through your inaugural prime time news conference in reasonably good form. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, what with the bright lights, the TV cameras, and the beady eyes of Helen Thomas boring in on you; but you held up well.

One suggestion: Don’t talk so much. If you’re going to answer a question, do it and be done. If not, say “Sit down, Ed Henry, I wasn’t pointing at you.” Ha! I’ll give you a dollar if you do that next time. But on the level, at the beginning your answers were way too long, too complex, and wandered too far from the subject. Someone would ask you about the economic stimulus package, and ten minutes later you were still chattering about camping in Montana. (And btw: first time I’ve ever heard a president use the phrase “the RV capitol of the U.S.” so congrats on that, too.)


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