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Good Morning, City Desk Readers! The big news today is presidential, of course, but poor Barack Obama got usurped on his birthday by America’s other First Black President. Bill Clinton is receiving all the accolades today after his trip to North Korea, where he met with President Kim Jung Il and helped negotiate the pardoning and release of the two Current TV reporters who were captured near the Chinese border in March.
- While President Clinton’s trip was described as a private humanitarian mission before he left for Pyongyang, the Washington Post is reporting that both Clintons played an integral role in planning the trip. The State Department was reportedly negotiating with the North Koreans for weeks and Bill only left the U.S. after repeated assurances that Laura Ling and Euna Lee would be released. Regardless, it’s good news for embedded journalists.
- In worse news for journalists, MSNBC is now admitting that they erred by not revealing that former Newsweek reporter Richard Wolffe is now working as a strategist for the public affairs firm Public Strategies, Inc. Since his book Renegade, detailing the rise of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, hit the best-seller lists, MSNBC has been showing off Wolffe like a prize, having him fill in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown as recently as last Friday. However, his close ties to the Obama administration (like those private meetings with David Axelrod) and his work at Public Strategies have resulted in major conflicts of interest. Luckily, he’s already got his next Obama book all lined up.
- DC Public Schools have announced that they will extend their STD testing program to all students in the upcoming school year. Officials hope that by expanding their pilot program, they will be able to diagnose and treat students with STDs, especially since approximately half the cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the city are among adolescents.
- An extension of the Cash for Clunkers program is looking more and more definite. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have confirmed that the second round of funding will pass through the Senate before it recesses on Friday. The $2 billion extension is estimated to last through Labor Day.
- And finally, a new ad for the Child Nutrition Act has dragged Malia and Sasha Obama back into the spotlight. The new poster campaign, sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, shows eight-year-old Jasmine Messiah asking “President Obama’s daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don’t I?” Messiah has also written an open letter to the first daughters asking for their support in reforming public school lunches. Here’s an answer to your question, young Jasmine – $30,000 a year in tuition at Sidwell will buy a lot of healthy vegetables. Public schools are struggling to keep their textbooks up to date. Be happy you’ve got lunch.
And that’s the news. Happy Hump Day!