The 'Brutal' Dem Plan for November The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse write, "As Democrats brace for a November wave that threatens their control of the House, party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority. In the next two weeks, Democratic leaders will review new polls and other data that show whether vulnerable incumbents have a path to victory. If not, the party is poised to redirect money to concentrate on trying to protect up to two dozen lawmakers who appear to be in the strongest position to fend off their challengers." In other words, Democrats whose odds look unlikely are getting left behind.
- We Overreacted To 9/11 Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria asks, "Nine years after 9/11, can anyone doubt that Al Qaeda is simply not that deadly a threat?" He says we have sacrificed far too many civil liberties in fighting this small and relatively weak group. "The rise of this national-security state has entailed a vast expansion in the government’s powers that now touches every aspect of American life, even when seemingly unrelated to terrorism. ... In the past, the U.S. government has built up for wars, assumed emergency authority, and sometimes abused that power, yet always demobilized after the war. But this is a war without end. When do we declare victory? When do the emergency powers cease?"
- American Fear The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof writes, "Screeds against Catholics from the 19th century sounded just like the invective today against the Not-at-Ground-Zero Mosque. The starting point isn’t hatred but fear: an alarm among patriots that newcomers don’t share their values, don’t believe in democracy, and may harm innocent Americans. ... Suspicion of outsiders, of people who behave or worship differently, may be an ingrained element of the human condition, a survival instinct from our cave-man days. But we should also recognize that historically this distrust has led us to burn witches, intern Japanese-Americans, and turn away Jewish refugees from the Holocaust."
- The Hamid Karzai Problem NPR's Jackie Northam says on Weekend Edition, "the problem nowadays is that Karzai appears less and less of a team player. There are increasing concerns about what Washington sees as his erratic behavior. In just the past few months, Karzai threatened to join the Taliban. He announced he would phase out thousands of private security contractors used to help move equipment and supplies to military bases around the country. And, just recently, the Afghan leader fired a key anti-corruption figure who had played a role in the arrest of a member of Karzai's inner circle, even though fighting corruption is a priority for the U.S. ... it's been remarkable that the U.S., after nearly 10 years, still hasn't been able to figure out how to deal with the Afghan leader."
- Not Yet 'Victory' In Housing Market Bloomberg's Lorraine Woellert writes, "Home sales, showing new signs of life two years after the credit crunch drove down home prices, must gain more ground before policy makers can 'declare victory,' Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said. 'It is too early to certainly declare victory,' Donovan said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s 'Political Capital with Al Hunt,' airing this weekend. He said prices picked up over the last year and Americans added $1.1 trillion in equity to their homes. ... The administration is putting more emphasis on affordable rental housing and less on homeownership as Obama and Congress work to stabilize home prices and rebuild the U.S. mortgage- finance system, Donovan said. 'We do need to rebalance our priorities.'"