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Obama agenda: Admonishing Karzai

"President Obama on Monday admonished President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan that he must take on what American officials have said he avoided during his first term: the rampant corruption and drug trade that have fueled the resurgence of the Taliban," the New York Times front-pages. "What he is seeking, Mr. Obama told reporters … , is 'a sense on the part of President Karzai that, after some difficult years in which there has been some drift, that in fact he's going to move boldly and forcefully forward and take advantage of the international community's interest in his country to initiate reforms internally. That has to be one of our highest priorities.'"

The Hill notes the record number of lobbyists who've quit since Obama's taken office: "The giant spike in resignations came just after the Obama administration instituted strict new rules on lobbyist activity. The White House banned employees from receiving gifts from lobbyists and announced that any lobbyist hired by the executive branch could not work on the same issues on which he or she lobbied." (Over 1,400 lobbyists 'deregistered' with Congress in the second quarter of 2009, according to a study conducted jointly by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and OMB Watch. Typically, only a few hundred lobbyists quit each quarter.)"

More: "But the study's authors warn that not all of the deregistered lobbyists may actually be out of business. 'At the federal level, many people working in the lobbying industry are not registered lobbyists, instead adopting titles such as 'senior adviser' or other executive monikers, thereby avoiding federal disclosure requirements under the Lobbying Disclosure Act,' CRP and OMB Watch said in a statement."