National Security: Petraeus Chosen To Lead in Afghanistan
• "President Obama on Wednesday placed his hopes for the future of the war in Afghanistan on the same man -- Gen. David Petraeus -- who helped turned around the Iraq war for Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush," USA Today reports.
• "Afghan officials said they were saddened and disappointed by the dismissal Wednesday of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, but they expressed high hopes for his replacement," the Washington Post reports.
• "Obama's decision Wednesday to accept" McChrystal's resignation "won nearly universal praise from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill," Politico reports.
• "The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will station an aerial drone in Texas as part of its stepped-up surveillance of criminal trafficking along the Mexican border," the Washington Post reports.
White House: First Lady Visits Justice Department
• "Soon after her husband met with" McChrystal, "first lady Michelle Obama was onstage Wednesday with" Attorney General Eric Holder "as she gave a pep talk to employees at the Justice Department," the Washington Post reports.
Politics: Barton To Keep Energy Committee Role
• "House Republican leaders on Wednesday spared Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)," The Hill reports. "On the same day" Obama relieved McChrystal "of his duties in Afghanistan, House Republicans opted not to punish Barton for apologizing to BP last week."
• "Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in" the president's "leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll," the Wall Street Journal reports.
• "House Republican Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.) and Lamar Smith (Texas) are hoping that if they speak loudly and often enough about allegations that the White House used job offers to try to clear Senate primaries in Colorado and Pennsylvania, someone will eventually listen," Roll Call (subscription) reports.
Economy: Conferees Wind Down Financial Reform Negotiations
• "Derivatives trading, a business long prized by Wall Street but little noticed by anyone else, is rapidly gaining prominence as the rare part of the nation's vast financial infrastructure that Democrats cannot agree how to regulate," the New York Times reports. "House and Senate Democratic leaders failed at a meeting Wednesday morning to persuade Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, to soften a provision she wrote that would force banks to abandon the lucrative business."
• "Congressional negotiators are poised to ease some proposed new financial regulations, notably those aimed at banks and auto dealers, as they race to secure political support for a final deal," the Wall Street Journal reports.
• "Senate Democratic leaders had not won consensus late Wednesday on a slimmer package of worker benefits, tax breaks, physician payments and other items, after lopping off nearly $20 billion more from the cost to win over the holdouts." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "at presstime had put the Senate in recess subject to the call of the chair, pending further negotiations," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.
Energy & Environment: Mishap Leaves Gusher Uncapped For Most of Wednesday
• "The Deepwater Horizon well became an uncapped geyser once again Wednesday, the hydrocarbons surging freely into the deep sea after engineers were forced to remove the dome that had been capturing significant quantities of oil," the Washington Post reports. "Late Wednesday, the company said the cap was successfully reinstalled. But it was unclear when it would return to its previous level of performance."
• "BP PLC and other big oil companies based their plans for responding to a big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on U.S. government projections that gave very low odds of oil hitting shore, even in the case of a spill much larger than the current one," the Wall Street Journal reports.
• "The future of BP's offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico has been thrown into doubt by the recent drilling disaster and court wrangling over a moratorium," the New York Times reports. "But about three miles off the coast of Alaska, BP is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally to reach what is believed to be a 100-million-barrel reservoir of oil under federal waters."
• "It's become a bit of a parlor game in Washington to guess at Sen. Lindsey Graham's," R-S.C., "true motivation for abandoning negotiations on comprehensive energy and climate legislation," Politico reports.
Health Care: Panel Questions Medicare Report
• "The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee engaged in what ranking member John Shimkus, R-Ill., called a 'healthcare food fight' Wednesday, as the panel questioned the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission chairman on the group's June report to Congress," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.
Technology: Google Wins Summary Judgment in Copyright Case
• "In a major victory for Google in its battle with media companies, a federal judge in New York on Wednesday threw out Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google's YouTube, the No. 1 Internet video-sharing site," the New York Times reports.
• "Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman," I/D-Conn., "and ranking member Susan Collins," R-Maine, "plan to fight back today against criticism that their sweeping cybersecurity bill goes too far in allowing the government to shut down Internet services during emergencies," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.
Supreme Court: Republicans Lay Groundwork For Attack On Kagan
• "After weeks of lying low, Republicans on Wednesday began stepping up their attacks on Elena Kagan, and are laying the groundwork to oppose her confirmation to the Supreme Court by casting her as a partisan Democrat who has spent more time practicing politics than law," the New York Times reports.
• "Outside groups with a stake in who sits on the Supreme Court are hoping that" Kagan's "Senate confirmation hearings... will energize their supporters and capture the attention of a public focused on other matters," Roll Call (subscription) reports.
Lobbying: Abramoff Tries Out Pizza Business
• "A lively mix of regulars and families with small children ate lunch at a kosher pizzeria in northwest Baltimore on Wednesday, and several said they have no problem with the restaurant's new employee: ex-Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.