THE WHITE HOUSE: Obama surprised the international financial world this morning by nominating Dartmouth’s president, Jim Kim, to head the World Bank.
As a native of South Korea and a physician with an expertise in public health — he’s best known for work to slow the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis — the 53-year-old Kim should be able to counter criticism from developing countries that the United States has misguided priorities for the 187-nation global lending consortium, which focuses on fighting poverty and promoting economic growth. “It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency,” the president said. (As a practical matter, the U.S. has always been able to decide who runs the bank because it’s the biggest stakeholder. Bob Zoellick is stepping down after five years. Other candidates the president considered included Susan Rice, John Kerry, Larry Summers, Laura Tyson and Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi.)
Air Force One takes off for Seoul at midnight. (On Sunday the president will visit some of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed at the DMZ — hoping an appearance at the world’s most heavily defended border might help get North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, to the nuclear disarmament bargaining table. On Monday and Tuesday the president will be at a 60-nation summit on keeping nuclear weapons material away from terrorists.)
Tired of hearing Republicans lie about the President being responsible for rising gas prices? Do you think that more drilling would make prices go down? Yesterday, President Obama clarified the record.
Tomorrow Central American presidents are convening in Guatemala to discuss alternative strategies to the failed war on drugs. The host of the meeting, President Otto Perez Molina, has said that all options, including decriminalization and legal regulation, will be on the table.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a growing number of former presidents and prime ministers denounce the drug war and call for breaking the taboo on discussing alternatives to failed prohibitionist policies. But now, we’re hearing the same calls from current presidents and prime ministers.
When I traveled to Guatemala and Mexico a few weeks ago to meet with business leaders and top officials, I was struck by the growing number of prominent individuals who at last are willing to speak out. They’re fed up with U.S. government demands that they persist with policies that are so obviously ineffective and counter-productive. And they are emboldened by the rapidly growing number of leaders who dare to speak truth to power.
When Vice President Biden visited the region a few weeks ago, he acknowledged that legalization was now a legitimate subject of debate — even as he insisted the Obama administration still firmly opposes legalization. That acknowledgement represented a modest but important new step forward. We know, however, that U.S. officials are doing whatever they can behind the scenes to suppress this discussion.
The meeting of Central American presidents this weekend is extremely promising for the drug policy reform movement around the world. With more countries calling for new approaches to drug policy, it is increasingly difficult for the U.S. to ignore the legitimacy of this burgeoning debate.
Arianna Huffington: On Monday, I spoke at a conference centered on the timely theme of “Delivering in a Delevering World.” “Delevering,” as it’s traditionally used, means decreasing a company or country’s leverage, usually by paying down existing debt. It is a term more likely to be heard at finance conferences than around dinner tables, but it’s an idea that gets to the heart of our current economic crisis. Because the ways we pay down our debts, in life and in business, have a real influence on our ability to arrive at positive outcomes. Unfortunately, on both the political and economic level, we’re being told that delevering means that we must cut, cut, cut. But smart delevering isn’t just about cutting — and the relentless emphasis on cutting has obscured the more important question of what is being cut. In far too many cases, our approach to delevering is keeping us from growing, and keeping us from tapping into all our resources.
Today is World Water Day, an annual event focusing on the importance of fresh water and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This is the complete opposite of the toxic spills, groundwater contamination, air pollution and other issues associated with fracking. So why is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promoting fracking around the world?
Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a modern form of drilling for gas in tight shale rock. Water, sand and toxic chemicals are injected into the earth at high pressure to crack the shale rock to release methane gas. Each fracking well requires millions of gallons of fresh water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals. Once used, this frack fluid becomes wastewater with no safe way of disposing it. Our freshwater resources are depleted or contaminated with toxic chemicals.
Save the Date: March 28 is Healthy Air Call-In Day! On Wednesday, March 28, volunteers from across the country will be coming to Washington to fight for air on our 2012 Capitol Hill National Advocacy Day. Please add your voice to our advocacy day and join with thousands of supporters across the U.S. by calling your U.S. Senators and asking them to stand up for the Clean Air Act and for public health.
The Clean Air Act is once again coming under attack. The Senate may vote soon on a resolution that would permanently block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lifesaving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Introduced by Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the resolution (S.J. Res. 37) would prevent the long-overdue cleanup of life-threatening toxic air pollution from power plants. This bill would endanger our children, our communities, and human healthby exposing the public to unsafe levels of toxic air pollution.On Wednesday morning, we will send you information on how to call your Senators and talking points so that you can ask your elected officials to save lives, support the Clean Air Act, and oppose any rollbacks of critical public health safeguards.In order to maximize the impact of these calls to the U.S. Senate, please wait to make your calls until Wednesday, March 28, when you receive the talking points in your email. Also, please ask your family and friends to participate in the Healthy Air Call-In Day as well.Thank you for joining together with us on this important day to fight for clean air!P.S. Want to do more? Use hashtag #HealthyAir on Twitter and ask your followers to participate on the 28 too. Also, post on your Facebook status: “On Wednesday, March 28, call your U.S. Senators and tell them to support clean air!”
“You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there,” said Santorum. “If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the etch a sketch candidate of the future.”
For the second day in a row, the former Pennsylvania senator brought an Etch A Sketch on the trail as a prop to remind voters of Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s response to a question about whether Santorum is pushing Romney too far right to win over moderate voters in a general election. “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes,” Fehrnstrom said Wednesday on CNN. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.” MORE