1. National, state and local debt in the United States will exceed the debt levels reached just after World War II. The combined debt presently exceeds the size of the entire economy, according to government estimates.
2. The European debt crisis is likely to get worse in the coming months. The upcoming eurozone summit (March 24-25) isn’t expected to resolve “bail-out” issues for the weaker members.
3. German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s political party, the CDU, was hammered in local elections in Hamburg. Bundesbank Chairman Alex Weber promptly criticised plans to expand the euro-zone’s support mechanism for financially troubled countries.
4. The US government confirmed that Raymond Davis, a former Special Forces operator who is being held on murder charges in Lahore, Pakistan, works for the CIA. This news makes the dispensation of his case in Pakistan an even more explosive problem.
5. Mid-level Taliban military leaders are growing weary of the fight in Afghanistan and are quarreling with their commanders.
6. Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi appeared increasingly besieged, as opposition forces in eastern Libya consolidated control of that region. Fighting continued in Tripoli.
7. The battle between Republicans and public employee unions continues to escalate across the country. Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are three states where the battle lines are clearly drawn. But there are many others.
8. Moody’s expects defaults and distress in US municipal bond markets. But the ratings agency downplays the possibility of a broad “crisis of confidence.”
9. Illinois is set to launch a $3.7 billion bond offering to help pay down pension obligations. The offering was postponed last week to allow investors time to “digest” a speech by Gov. Pat Quinn (D).
10. Gallup reports that the number of “solidly” Democratic states has been cut in half in two years. The survey points to a close presidential general election in 2012.
11. Mike Huckabee has money in his pocket and celebrity status as a radio and television “personality.” He may be enjoying his new life too much to return to the campaign trail.
12. The Republican Party of Indiana is lining up behind Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who will challenge long-time GOP Senator Richard Lugar in the May 8, 2012 primary. Lugar is seeking a seventh six-year term.
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