Noteworthy

Articles and posts you may have missed.

Al Kamen, The Washington Post, on USAID:

Despite all the talk from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about how super-important foreign assistance is these days, the administration has yet to announce a candidate to head the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Clinton a few months ago blamed the clearance process for the delay, calling it a "nightmare." No one is going to disagree with that, but pretty much the same ridiculous process was in place in 1993 when Bill Clinton named Brian Atwood to the job only two months after inauguration. And nothing in the process had changed by 2001 when George W. Bush named Andrew Natsios to the job scarcely one month after taking office.

But there's an increasing feeling in the foreign aid community that the leadership required to rescue a long-sinking ship is not going to be easy to find. As one observer noted: "Anyone smart enough to do the job is smart enough not to take it," especially when it's unclear whether USAID will be part of the State Department, as Clinton prefers, or whether it will be an independent, Cabinet-level agency, as many aid experts advocate.

Charlie Savage, The New York Times, on finally revoking a ridiculous law:

The Justice Department has declared that President Obama can disregard a law forbidding State Department officials from attending United Nations meetings led by representatives of nations considered to be sponsors of terrorism.

… Philip J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, pointed out that the United States contributes about $400 million a year to the Development Program. It is in the national interest, Mr. Crowley said, to participate in meetings that will decide how to spend that money.

“We should not give Iran a veto over our national interest just because it happens to chair a particular meeting,” he said.

Scott Ruston, COMOPS Journal, on ADM Mullen’s Strategic Communication article:

No amount of new radio stations, cell phone systems or mobile trivia games will sway the Afghan populace to supporting the Karzai government and US interests until the government and US presence becomes integrated into the narratives that govern the individual, tribal, regional and national world views.

Galrahn, Information Dissemination, on CNN ducking when somebody said bang:

What did you learn today? I learned that Coast Guard training is more realistic than anything said on CNN.

Credit the Coast Guard PA folks. I got an email with a public statement regarding the training at 11:23am. The picture of CNN freaking out on Drudge shows the time 10:29am.

Then they had a press conference at noon? That is the kind of efficient response time the Department of Homeland Security is not very well known for.

Gibbs was funny.

Preeti Anon, Madam Secretary, on random Americans opinion on Secretary Clinton:

A Harris Interactive poll of 2,498 American adults conducted online from Aug. 10 to 18 found that of the Obama administration officials asked about, only Secretary Clinton received an overall positive rating:

  • 51% positive (with 16% "excellent" and 36% "pretty good")
  • 31% negative (with 19% "only fair" and 12% "poor")
  • 18% not familiar enough to have an opinion

President Barack Obama was not included in the poll.

Warren Strobel, Nukes & Spooks, on State as a ‘best place’ to launch a career: 

A Businessweek magazine survey ranked the State Department No. 5 in terms of best places to launch a career, and first among all US government agencies. It ranked behind only four premier accounting firms (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG) as the most desirable place to get going in the workforce.

Dan Gillmor, Mediactive, on things he’d do if he ran a news organization:

1. We would not run anniversary stories and commentary except in the rarest of circumstances. They are a refuge for lazy and unimaginative journalists. …

4. We would create a service to notify online readers, should they choose to sign up for it, of errors we’ve learned about in our journalism. Users of this service could choose to be notified of major errors only (in our judgement) or all errors, however insignificant we may believe them to be. …

6. We would refuse to do stenography and call it journalism. …

10. A core mission of our work would be to help people in the community become informed users of media, not passive consumers …