- Opposition figures held a government-approved conference in Syria to outline their grievances, but many are dismissing the action as a publicity stunt by the government since all the opposition figures present are unaffiliated.
- Sudan's President Bashir, indicted war criminal, is visiting China today to speak with Hu Jintao. China, like the United States, is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court and under no obligation to arrest President Bashir.
- Speaking of the ICC, they have indicted Qaddafi and a couple his sons for war crimes. The lead prosecutor for the ICC has called on Qaddafi's aides to arrest their boss. Of note, NATO forces lack the mandate to arrest Qaddafi.
- The United States will back French Finance Minster Christine Lagarde's bid to be head of the IMF, according to Tim Geithner. The U.S. support makes Lagarde's appointment all but certain and dashes the hopes of some developing countries to see one of their own atop the IMF. That's disappointing, but as noted on this blog, it protects U.S. interests come the selection of a new World Bank leader next summer.
- President Obama has entered the budget talk fray, trying to bridge the divide. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Biden led group got to $1 trillion in cuts, but when Democrats suggested $400 billion in tax increases, Republicans walked out. Good faith negotiation between serious people indeed.
- On the heels of the passage of gay marriage rights bill in New York, Maryland's governor is being urged to pursue a similar initiative in his state.
- The Supreme Court granted video games the same free speech protections that movies and books enjoy in a ruling yesterday that struck down a California law that fined retailers who sold violent video games to kids. However, the 7 to 2 decision featured several different and divergent opinions from the bench.
- Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted on 17 of 20 counts(NYT) related to his attempted "sale" of then President-elect Obama's Senate seat. Blago becomes the second consecutive former Illinois governor to be convicted of a felony. **Editorial Note: He also made this editor angry by refusing to live in the Governor's mansion in Springfield and instead remaining in Chicago. Chicago ain't the capitol of the state folks, regardless of what those north-siders tell you.**