Thursday Morning Open Thread

Good morning.

In Prague today, President Obama signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) Treaty with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. From Obama’s statement:

It includes significant reductions in the nuclear weapons that we will deploy. It cuts our delivery vehicles by roughly half. It includes a comprehensive verification regime, which allows us to further build trust. It enables both sides the flexibility to protect our security, as well as America’s unwavering commitment to the security of our European allies. And I look forward to working with the United States Senate to achieve ratification of this important Treaty later this year.

Both the Russian Parliament and U.S. Senate have to ratify the treaty. In the Senate, that requires 67 votes. I just heard NPR’s Mara Liaisson say that will be tough because there are “only” 59 Democrats in the Senate. “Only” 59.

Next week, there’s going to be a gathering of world leaders from 47 countries here in DC to discuss a strategy to keep nuclear weapons and materials out of the hands of terrorists.

Also next week, Congress returns from its two week recess. It’s going to be interesting to see how fired up — or not — the Democrats, particularly in the Senate, are going to be to take on more big issues. Health insurance reform sucked up most of the calendar. There’s going to be a lot of jockeying to see what gets attention next. And, all of this will play out against the backdrop of the midterm elections. It should make for some wild times on Capitol Hill…

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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