Good Morning! Here’s what’s going on:
1. Federal budget negotiations continued into the evening yesterday, with “progress” reported. President Obama said that he remained “confident” that “we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown.”
2. A possible shutdown of the Federal government puts Republican lawmakers in a bind. Their conservative base wants them to hold the line and damn the consequences. Independent voters want compromise to avert a shutdown. A new WSJ/NBC News poll analyses the political dilemma.
4. President Obama will soon reconfigure his national security team. The New York Times, with excellent access to White House decision makers, reviews who is likely to get which jobs. The Financial Times reports that Gen. David Petraeus will be the new CIA Director. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon told The Washington Post that National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon will be coordinating the new team.
5. “Humanitarian Imperialism” is how some describe the US “intervention” in Libya. Things are not going well. The Libyan “rebels” are not a capable fighting force. Col. Qaddafi is winning the military battle. George Will looks at the whole mess with barely concealed disdain.
6. A top Afghan government official confirmed for the first time yesterday that the government had been in “reconciliation talks” with representatives of the Taliban. A negotiated end to the war is almost certainly the only way the war ends.
7. The secular Wafd Party has emerged as Egypt’s leading political organisation, according to a new poll. The Muslim Brotherhood runs second. David Ignatius of the Washington Post reports on the political showdown between the seculars and the believers in Egypt.
8. The European Community Bank is set to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point. The last time the ECB did that it didn’t really work out.
11. A new WSJ/NBC News poll says that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee were tied for second.