Tidbits: Coleman’s finances, Obama’s faith-based office, Zinni’s diss

  • The National Jewish Democratic Council is urging the passage of the economic stiumulus package: While the Senate works to improve the final version of this plan, the overall mission is clear: strengthen our economy now, and invest in our nation over the long term. … Yet, Republicans have had a knee jerk reaction to sideline this important and necessary legislation.
  • The Los Angeles Times has more information on Obama’s 25-member Council of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which is reportedly set to include Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: "[It] will focus renewed attention on poverty, calling for the economic stimulus package under consideration in Washington to provide assistance to the neediest Americans, according to two members of the panel. The group also will weigh in on the need to reduce abortions in this country, and urge new action to tackle human trafficking, climate change and military conflicts."
  • Politico looks into Norm Coleman’s finances, noting that the former (and possibly future) senator is not rich but has been the focus of a number of allegations that he received financial assistance from associates. The Republican Jewish Coalition consulting job he took last month, Politico says, is "not exactly a smart political play but neither is it entirely out of character. Coleman’s efforts to make ends meet on a public servant’s salary were a persistent theme throughout his 2008 reelection campaign — and burned him politically time and again. (The story’s writer, Kenneth P. Vogel, is apparently not a big fan of the RJC, referring to them as a "little-known Beltway political group" and "a second-tier political action committee run by a [Coleman] friend."
  • Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, who had a brief tenure during the Bush administration as an Israeli-Palestinian envoy, says he was offered the job of ambassador to Iraq by the Obama administration, but then it was given to Christopher Hill without telling him. Zinni tells Laura Rozen at Foreign Policy.com that his friend, National Security Adviser James Jones, made him another offer: Jones asked him if he would like to be ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Zinni said. "I said, ‘You can stick that with whatever other offers,’" Zinni recalled, saying he had used more colorful language with Jones. Asked Jones’s response and if he was apologetic, Zinni said, "Jones was not too concerned. He laughed about it."
  • The Washington Times reports that the Obama administration wants to see the president of Sudan indicted: "President Obama supports implementing the war crimes indictment by the International Criminal Court against Sudanese President Omar Bashir, a strong indication of the tough approach the new administration will take toward Sudan as well as its favorable view of an international body the Bush administration refused to join."
  • Obama talked about the Golden Rule and said religion shouldn’t be used to divide in his remarks this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast: "I raise this history because far too often, we have seen faith wielded as a tool to divide us from one another – as an excuse for prejudice and intolerance. Wars have been waged. Innocents have been slaughtered. For centuries, entire religions have been persecuted, all in the name of perceived righteousness."

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