Israel's Leader Paying Price For War

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reacts as he sits in the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, during a session in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007. AP

The Skinny is Joel Roberts' take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.



An unpopular leader stands accused of rushing his country into war without a detailed plan or realistic goals.

Sound familiar? Well, the leader is Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The country is Israel. And the war is last summer's indecisive confrontation with Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.

An Israeli government commission's rebuke of Olmert's handling of the war is the lead story in Tuesday's New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and the second item in the Wall Street Journal's front-page news box.

The Journal called the commission's report "scathing." The New York Times said the panel "excoriated" Olmert for his conduct of the war. And the L.A. Times called it an "unexpectedly harsh censure."

Specifically, the commission accused Olmert of having made a hasty decision to go to war, failing to ask for a detailed military plan and setting "over-ambitious and unobtainable goals."

All three papers report Olmert is facing mounting calls to resign, but insists he will not step down.


Warnings Missed On Student Loan Crisis?

Could the current crisis for the student loan industry have been prevented?

Perhaps, reports the Washington Post, which says documents and interviews with government officials show the Bush administration failed to heed warnings about problems in the industry as far back as 2001.

The Post says Bush aides killed a proposal, drafted by the Education Department in the latter days of the Clinton administration, to rein in the industry following charges that companies "sought to shower universities with financial favors to help generate business."

The $85 billion-a-year industry now faces a slew of investigations after "a series of revelations about conflicts of interest and financial links among universities, lenders and government officials."

Some officials told the Post the current fiasco facing the industry could have been averted if the 2001 proposal had been adopted.


Give Me Your Minor Leaguers Yearning To Be Free…

Tens of thousands of high-skilled foreign workers are eagerly awaiting the results of this month's lottery for temporary U.S. work visas. But some foreigners with special skills need not worry.

According to a report in USA Today, if you can hit a curveball or fire a slap shot you can start packing your bags for the trip to America.

The newspaper says minor league baseball and hockey players are exempt from a cap on work visas, one of several new categories Congress has created "to get around limits on some of the work visas most in demand."

The government also raised the limit on foreign students with graduate degrees from U.S. universities, and removed caps on foreigners at nonprofit organizations and professionals from U.S. free trade partners.

Competition for the spots is fierce. The government received more than 123,000 applications for roughly half that many high-skilled worker visas in the first 48 hours after the April 1 filing date.

But while power-hitting first baseman and hard-checking defensemen get a pass, nothing is apparently being done to open the doors for high-heeled fashion models.

Katie Ford, head of the Ford modeling agency, said she has lost business to foreign companies because she couldn't get visas for her models.

"This is a huge issue for us," Ford said. "It's easier for a client to find a model internationally and shoot somewhere else."

A NOTE TO READERS: The Skinny is now available via e-mail. Click here and follow the directions to register to receive it in your inbox each weekday morning.
  • Joel Roberts

Comments