Here’s what you need to know this morning:
1. American interests in the Middle East are very much in play as the political ground shifts in Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen. U.S. foreign policy officials are particularly concerned with the outcome of events in Egypt, where civil unrest is threatening to oust a longtime U.S. ally.
2. There is “insufficient disclosure information for more than $2 trillion of the $3 trillion in outstanding (municipal) bonds,” says Peter Schmitt, CEO of DPC DATA, specialists in municipal disclosure. Of 17,000 bond issues DPC studied on behalf of the Wall Street Journal, more than 56% filed no financial statements in any given year between 2005 and 2009.
3. The SEC is investigating disclosures by Illinois about its “unorthodox pension funding method,” according to The New York Times. That’s one way to put it. Here’s how unorthodox it is:
“The method, enacted last year, is based on sharp cuts in benefits for state workers who have not yet been hired. Although the cuts will not produce an appreciable savings until far in the future, Illinois has begun funding it’s plans as if its current workers were already earning the smaller benefits of the future.”
5. The Financial Crisis Commission says the 2008 financial crisis was avoidable if regulators had done their jobs, policymakers had made better choices, and financial services companies had behaved responsibly. The full report will be released Thursday.
6. Rudy Giuliani thinks he might have a chance as a moderate candidate in 2012, if the GOP field is crowded with conservatives and Tea Partiers. The former NYC mayor told CNN he is considering another bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
7. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed to expedite a review of Rahm Emanuel’s appeal to get his name back on the Chicago mayoral ballot. With the President behind him, Rahmbo has reason to be hopeful.
8. In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s visit to Mexico to discuss the escalating drug war, U.S. authorities announced they broke a gun smuggling ring allegedly planning to ship 700 guns to Mexico’s cartels.
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