Politics In 60 Seconds: What You Need To Know Right Now

Ben Bernanke

[credit provider=”CBS”]

Good morning!  Here’s what you need to know:1. Pakistan is lobbying Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to dump the United States as a long-term strategic partner.  Pakistan is saying that Afghanistan would be better served by a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan and China.

2.  President Obama is expected to name veteran diplomat Ryan Crocker as the new US Ambassador to Afghanistan.  Mr. Crocker most recently served as the US Ambassador to Iraq. He is currently the dean of the George H.W. Bush School at Texas A&M.

3.  The Assad regime’s brutal crack-down on the popular uprising in Syria has drawn (some of) the world’s condemnation.  It’s clear, however, that the US and its European allies aren’t going to intervene, as they did in Libya.

4.  The Washington Post reports: “Federal prosecutors in Chicago have indicted four alleged masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, including two men who have been linked by U.S. investigators and foreign court documents to Pakistan’s security forces.”

5. Mexican officials said Tuesday that the northern state of Tamaulipas has not fallen under criminal control.  Meanwhile, investigators increased to 183 the number of bodies found in Los Zetas burial sites in and around San Fernando, a small town 90 minutes south of Brownsville, Texas.

6.  Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a press conference this afternoon shortly after 2pm eastern time.  Today’s Wall Street Journal provides a handy guide to understanding Bernanke-speak.

7.  Republican Congressmen (and Congresswomen), working the home front on Spring Recess, are coming under attack at town halls and open meetings on the issue of Medicare. Some of their constituents are concerned that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan will undo the popular healthcare program.  

8.  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is pressuring the GOP House leadership to get moving on raising the debt ceiling.  Wall Street is pressuring both the White House and Congress to get moving on raising the debt ceiling. A debt ceiling “extension” seems likely.

9. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) yesterday announced that he had formed a 2012 presidential campaign exploratory committee. Mr. Paul is best known for his opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, his criticisms of the Federal Reserve Bank and his attacks on “entitlement” programs. 

10.  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has emerged as the architect of education reform in many states, including those governed by Democrats.

11.  Don’t expect the municipal bond market to rebound this year.  That’s the verdict from a poll of muni bond experts.