Today’s edition of quick hits:
* S&P didn’t persuade Fitch: “Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday it affirmed the United States’ top-notch credit rating at AAA, giving the world’s largest economy a reprieve after it was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s little more than a week ago. Fitch said the outlook for the rating was stable.”
* Europe: “The leaders of France and Germany called Tuesday for greater economic discipline and unity among European nations but declined to take the expensive financial measures seen by many investors as the only way to halt the continent’s spiraling debt crisis.”
* Housing policy: “President Obama has directed a small team of advisers to develop a proposal that would keep the government playing a major role in the nation’s mortgage market, extending a federal loan subsidy for most home buyers, according to people familiar with the matter.”
* The Murdoch media scandal clearly isn’t finished: “A high-profile parliamentary panel investigating phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid released embarrassing new evidence Tuesday that the practice of intercepting voice mail had been widely discussed at the newspaper, contradicting assertions by its owners and editors.”
* A horrible waste: “After examining hundreds of combat support and reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan, the U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers with ties to both.”
* Tiresome hackery from a Bush-era rascal: “Hans von Spakovsky is continuing the feeble Pajamas Media (PJM) campaign against Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division with a fourth column in a series highlighting the allegedly ‘liberal’ resumes of individuals hired by DOJ.”
* A fascinating read from the estimable Chauncey DeVega on race and the right’s opposition to President Obama: “As the pundit classes try to make sense of the debt ceiling-credit downgrade political drama, they are overlooking a central element in the Tea Party GOP’s almost mouth-frothing resistance President Barack Obama since his landslide election in 2008.”
* A great piece from Aaron Carroll on “malpractice reform” in Texas under Rick Perry.
* Change.org likes my stimulus idea.
* Student loans always seem to be the exception: “Apparently Americans are cutting down on everything in the current recession…. Well almost everything. According to the same article ‘there was $550 billion in student debt outstanding in the second quarter, up 25% from $440 billion in the third quarter of 2008.’”
* Ohio State Sen. Kris Jordan (R) was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife recently, which included her calling 911 to say Jordan had a gun. The police recording from the incident features the state senator telling the police about his wife: “She got a little upset. Girls do that.” Oh my.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.