The Upshot
  • A new report says Americans face greater danger from U.S. citizens and residents recruited into terror than from weakened al-Qaida jihadists abroad.

    The Bipartisan Policy Center's report (PDF) says that al-Qaida is unable to pull off another large-scale attack like the group did on 9/11, but that leaders of the global terrorist network could recruit Americans to carry out smaller attacks.

    "The U.S. is arguably now little different from Europe in terms of having a domestic terrorist problem involving immigrant and indigenous Muslims as well as converts to Islam," the report said, while emphasizing that the threat remains small.

    Read More »from New report warns of homegrown terror threat
  • Austan Goolsbee: the economics wonk as class clown

    Barack Obama gestures to Austan Goolsbee at a campaign event in February 2008.GoolsbeeIt's safe to say that in general, economic policy wonks are something less than a laugh riot. But that may not be the case for Austan Goolsbee, whom President Obama tapped Friday as the new head of the Council of Economic Advisers.

    Last year, Goolsbee took home top honors at the 16th annual "D.C.'s Funniest Celebrity" contest, and the wisecracking economist has since made numerous appearances on Comedy Central. Even on regular cable news and other staid appearances, this former History Channel host manages to drop one-liners that may have some supporters chuckling.

    Below we take a look at some of the greatest hits from Goolsbee's gag reel:

    Read More »from Austan Goolsbee: the economics wonk as class clown
  • obama presser

    With declining poll numbers and Democrats on the verge of losing control of Congress in November, President Obama went before reporters at the White House on Friday to defend his handling of the economy. And in a nod in the direction of the hard-fought midterm battles taking shape across the country, he repeatedly stressed that the economy's problems began under the GOP watch well before he took office.

    Still, the president acknowledged his administration's efforts haven't provided the boost he had hoped for, calling economic progress "painfully slow."

    "We aren't there yet," Obama said repeatedly during the roughly 80-minute news conference. "It's understandable that people are asking, 'What have you done?' [But] the policies we have put into place have moved us in the right direction."

    Echoing recent speeches, Obama tried to instead frame the upcoming election as a choice between Democrats' efforts to "move forward" and Republican obstructionism. He contended that GOP candidates are pushing "the exact policies" that led the nation into economic strife. If the election is a "referendum" on progress, Obama acknowledged, his party could face stiff losses in November. "If the election is about the policies that are going to move us forward versus the policies that are going to get us back in a mess, then Democrats will do very well," he said.

    Read More »from Obama defends his handling of the economy, but admits recovery is ‘painfully slow’


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