Photo: desrunyan via flickr
Good Morning! Here’s what you need to know:1. Stratfor reports: “A Shiite cleric was arrested in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province on Feb. 27 after calling for a constitutional monarchy during a Friday sermon. The arrest…could end up sparking protests among the kingdom’s Shiite minority and raise the threat of an Iranian-backed destabilization campaign.”
2. A senior Pakistani official is proposing that the US pay “blood money” to the families of the “victims” of Raymond Davis, the CIA operative who shot two men dead in Lahore, Pakistan, a month ago. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius has the outlines of a proposed deal to win Davis’s release from jail.
3. The Washington Post reports that “less than 1 per cent of the (US) population serves in uniform at a time when the country is engaged in one of the longest periods of sustained combat in its history.” The cultural divide between the US citizenry and the military that protects it has never been wider.
4. “Where’s Obama? No matter how hard you look, sometimes he’s impossible to find.” WP columnist Ruth Marcus says what everyone’s thinking in Washington.
5. Portugal’s government is quarreling with other eurozone members over the state of its public finances. The FT reports that these arguments “may undermine efforts to find a comprehensive solution this month to the bloc’s sovereign debt crisis.”
6. Nouriel Roubini’s consultancy predicts that there will be roughly $100 billion in US municipal defaults over the next five years. The firm does not think these muni defaults pose a systemic risk.
7. The GOP-controlled House of Representatives House passed stop-gap spending legislation that averts a shutdown of the federal government until March 18.
8. States are looking to legalise online gambling to raise tax revenue. The trick is to write legislation that navigates around federal laws effectively prohibiting Internet wagering.
9. A number of US Governors told Congress on Tuesday that President Obama that they needed more immediate relief from the growing financial burden of Medicaid. Medicaid is the Pac-Man of state budgets.
10. Mickey Kaus on Wisconsin: “Is Gov. Walker using the deficit as an excuse for making long-term institutional changes? You bet. It’s “all or nothing” because when you threaten the core institutional basis of AFSCME and the SEIU they will make it all or nothing. They have no choice.”
11. Newt Gingrich is running for president. He hasn’t formally announced it yet, and he may not formally announce for another couple of months, but that’s what he’s doing.
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