1.) Should Pakistan lose its allowance? — What ever shall we do about Pakistan? Our barely governed ally-cum-parasite (we give it roughly $1 billion per annum) likely could have given us Osama bin Laden ages ago, but didn’t. We are engaged in a delicate dance with them. “In the last two days, top officials have repeatedly complimented Pakistan’s government for helping arrest and kill jihadis,” writes TheDC’s Neil Munro. But those same officials “have also repeatedly said that Pakistan has to explain why Osama bin Laden was comfortably tucked away in a villa, nestled in a city that is Pakistan’s combination of the West Point military academy and the Hamptons.” Certain members of Congress seem ready to put the screws to Pakistan: “Democratic Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut are among the growing number of legislators who are eager to question the Pakistan government’s trustworthiness.” The House GOP, on the other hand, is divided on the issue. “I think it is quite clear that unless we get a clear explanation of what the Government of Pakistan knew about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, all foreign aid from American taxpayers to this nation needs to cease,” Rep. Allen West wrote in a letter to Rep. Kay Granger. Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner told the AP that “having a robust partnership with Pakistan is critical to breaking the back of al-Qaida and the rest of them.” The question is: Which Pakistan?
2.) Poll finds that America wants to make Afghanistan the 51st state — Nearly half the respondents in a New York Times/CBS poll “said the nation should decrease troop levels in Afghanistan. But more than six in 10 also said the United States had not completed its mission in Afghanistan, suggesting that the public would oppose a rapid withdrawal of all American forces.” Said one respondent, “The Taliban needs to be defeated. I have no idea how long it will take to complete that mission. And we can’t leave until Afghanistan is back on its feet a little bit.” Yes, that’s right: The country that was never on them to begin with must get back on its feet.
3.) Leon Panetta promises the release of bin Laden pics, possibly on Facebook — Spymaster Leon Panetta spoiled the White House’s guessing game in an interview with Brian Williams Tuesday night. “I don’t think there’s — there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public,” Panetta told Williams, regarding the bullet-riddled visage of one Osama bin Laden. Panetta acknowledged concerns that the pictures would incite Islamic radicals to violence (just as when said radicals heard of a stupid friggin book being burned by some redneck in North Florida), but concluded that “the bottom line is that, you know, we got Bin Laden and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him.” According to Jake Tapper, the White House is asking itself this question: “Why are we releasing this photograph if no one seems to really doubt his death and releasing it could cause more harm than good?” Well, duh! Of course no one in the White House doubts bin Laden’s death! Outside it is another story.
4.) Nikki Haley plays hard to get — “Newly-elected South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has said she will ‘absolutely’ make an endorsement during primary season. That said, she’s also recently let it be known that she’s not satisfied with the current field of candidates,” reports TheDC’s Amanda Carey. “There is a group,” Haley said recently, “that has come through South Carolina. They are trying to tell me how they are going to win. I don’t care how they are going to win, I want to know how they are going to fix our country.” That said, most South Carolina consultants consider Sen. Jim DeMint’s to be the only endorsement that matters. “If she and DeMint were to go in opposite directions,” said one consultant, “I’d want his endorsement over hers.”
5.) Oil subsidy debate not going away — “Democrats plan to offer language to overturn the oil industry subsidies in the form of amendments to GOP-sponsored offshore drilling legislation that would require the Interior Department to conduct lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia,” reports The Hill. With gas prices going through the roof, Democrats see an opportunity to gouge Republicans for being friendly with oil companies. But Republicans say the perception of friendliness makes it that much easier to evade the Democrats’ amendment. “They’re going to say that no matter what we do. That’s just the reality. If we were in the minority and they were proposing something we didn’t like, we’d be beating the crap out of them too,” Rep. Mike Simpson told The Hill. And besides: removing Big Oil’s subsidies would open the door to defunding Big Ag. And no one wants to piss off farmers at the start of an election cycle.
6.) Last major U.S. solar company is on its last legs — “Uncertainty about First Solar’s future operations led investors to smash the company’s shares in trading after the bell [Tuesday] after the company failed to grow its revenues in the first quarter this year,” reports Venture Beat. “Net income for the solar panel provider fell 33 percent to $116 million in the first quarter this year, down from $172.3 million in the first quarter last year.” Apparently, the Chinese are doing solar better in part because “foreign solar power competitors benefit from low-cost manufacturing and a lax regulatory environments.”
VIDEO: Jamie Weinstein talks about Osama bin Laden’s death on ‘The Big Picture’
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