Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Criminal negligence – or just plain criminal?

[Dday] From the Boston Globe, a terrifying report about how the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the agency that insures retirement funds, decided to play in the stock market at precisely the wrong time . . .

More: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/03/big_trouble_2.php

And over at AIG

The Feds are closing in on a criminal fraud case against Joseph Cassano, reports ABC News . . .

Must see tv: Inside Guantanamo


Torture tape update

Cheney Lies, Obstruction Of Justice & Torture Tape Destruction . . . [read on]

World War III

Cornyn Says Coleman Challenge Could Take Years
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is threatening "World War III" if Democrats try to seat Al Franken (D) in the Senate before Norm Coleman (R) can pursue his case through the federal courts, Politico reports. . . .

Minnesota Analyst: Cornyn's Threat Of "Years" Without Senator Could Backfire On State GOP . . .

Obama’s problem with centrist Dems




Making Sarah Palin the new Rush Limbaugh


More: http://www.mydd.com/story/2009/3/30/164247/618

Meanwhile, keeping the heat on the old Rush Limbaugh

"Based on what we've seen with General Motors and the banks, if he fails, America is saved. Barack Obama's policies and their failure is the only hope we've got to maintain the America of our founding."

The billboard: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/dnc-rolls-out-anti-limbaugh-billboard.php

Picking a fight with Bill O’Reilly? http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/political-media/rush-no-comment-on-oreillys-desire-for-obama-to-succeed/

How they do “news” over at Fox


Interesting how we hear a lot more about Paul Krugman’s criticisms now that a Democrat is in the White House


Bonus item: Michael Steele, comedy genius (unintentionally)


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Monday, March 30, 2009


Once a Dick, always a Dick

[Seymour Hersh] American and foreign government officials, intelligence officers, diplomats, and politicians said in interviews that renewed Israeli-Syrian negotiations over the Golan Heights are now highly likely, despite Gaza and the elections in Israel in February, which left the Likud Party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the head of a coalition that includes both the far right and Labor. Those talks would depend largely on America’s willingness to act as the mediator, a role that could offer Barack Obama his first—and perhaps best—chance for engagement in the Middle East peace process. . . .

The Obama transition team also helped persuade Israel to end the bombing of Gaza and to withdraw its ground troops before the Inauguration. According to the former senior intelligence official, who has access to sensitive information, “Cheney began getting messages from the Israelis about pressure from Obama” when he was President-elect. Cheney, who worked closely with the Israeli leadership in the lead-up to the Gaza war, portrayed Obama to the Israelis as a “pro-Palestinian,” who would not support their efforts (and, in private, disparaged Obama, referring to him at one point as someone who would “never make it in the major leagues”).

Michael Steele (RNC) abandons “bipartisanship” he was never committed to in the first place


Mitch McConnell (R-KY) cries crocodile tears

“I must say I'm disappointed,” Senate Minority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “After two months, the president has not governed in the middle as I had hoped he would. But it's not too late. He's only been in office a couple of months. Still before him are the opportunities to deal with us on a truly bipartisan basis” . . .

Glenn Beck


Rush Limbaugh


When will people accept the obvious: Sarah Palin is a lightweight, raised by circumstance far beyond her abilities and accomplishments?

A seemingly unending series of public relations gaffes has Sarah Palin loyalists frustrated and worried she is diminishing her stature. And they blame an inner circle they say is composed of not-ready-for-primetime players. . . .

Bonus item: Good question

[Josh Marshal] Why is [GM CEO] Rick Wagoner getting the boot while the management of the big banks remains in place? . . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Ticking time bomb, my ass

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions . . .

It appears that the CIA is going to have to give up documents relevant to the torture tapes they destroyed – like, who saw them


The truth will out

Torture Investigations to Begin--In the UK and Spain . . .

More: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/can-of-war-crimes-by-digby-dday-is.html

World reactions to Obama’s Afghanistan plan


More: http://washingtonindependent.com/36143/obama-strategy-deepens-us-committment-to-afghanistan-pakistan

Today’s must read: how we got into our economic mess (thanks to Elaine N. for the link)


More: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/if-you-read-one-article-about-financial.html

Paul Krugman: the anti-Obama?



Fred Barnes: Obama MUST be stopped!


The neo-con “Project for the New American Century,” as responsible as anyone for getting us into the Iraq mess, and now totally discredited, has re-invented itself under a new name


The future of the Supreme Court


I hate the Democrats sometimes – now they’re pretending that Chief Justice Roberts “tricked” them into thinking he was more moderate than he was. Anybody who thought that at the time was either a fool or kidding themselves. In fact, he should have been rejected as soon as WH operatives stole a file containing his early reports on Affirmative Action from the Reagan Library. You just don’t let shenanigans like that go unpunished


The missing files: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1147251932822


Playing hard ball on judges

[Steve Benen] The non-partisan Congressional Research Service reported last year that historically, when a president is of one party and both of a state's senators are of a different party, "the primary role in recommending candidates for district court judgeships is assumed by officials in the state who are of the President's party." . . .

Yesterday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) denounced this and described it as wholly unacceptable. And what kind of process does Cornyn prefer? . . . .

Looks like Minnesota will seat Franken as soon as state court appeals are settled – even if Coleman takes it all the way to the Supreme Court. Plus more


The dosey-do between the DC press corps and the WH spokesperson is always fun to watch


UPS pulls its ads from Bill O’Reilly’s show


Outing an anonymous blogger

[Paul Rosenberg] Alaska's top anonymous blogger, AKMuckraker. aka "Mudflats", had her identity exposed by an abusive elected official, State Representative Mike Doogan, who apparently took offense at a critical diary, and then spent several months trying to discover who she was. . . .

[NB: A Democrat, by the way]

Sunday talk show line-ups

NBC Meet the Press: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

CBS Face the Nation: President of the United States Barack Obama.

ABC This Week: Timothy Geithner; Roundtable: Paul Krugman (The New York Times), George Will (ABC News), Cokie Roberts (ABC News), and GOP Strategist Matthew Dowd.

CNN State of the Union: CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petraeus; Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke; Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND); Rep. John Spratt (D-SC); Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Reliable Sources: Chip Reid (CBS News); Ann Compton (ABC News Radio); Kevin Chappell (Ebony Magazine); Attorney Gloria Allred; Ray Richmond (The Hollywood Reporter).

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Obama’s plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan – a range of responses










The full speech: http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=12515

Harry Reid (D-NV) tells the left, “Back off”




The GOP, still rerunning the campaigns of the past, invokes 9-11 (again)



And “Joe the Plumber,” of course


Michele Bachmann (R-MN), decries “Marxism,” calls for revolution






Reactions: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/sabato-bachmann-needs-to-take-a-deep-breath-and-maybe-a-tranquilizer-too.php
Sabato: Bachmann "Needs To Take A Deep Breath, And Maybe A Tranquilizer, Too" . . .


[DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan] "I think I'll pass. Michele Bachmann's rants serve to discredit her more than anything I could say."

[Minnesota DFL Party chairman Brian Melendez] “The revolution already happened. The old way of doing business -- her way of doing business -- lost.”

[Steve Benen] Bachmann simply isn't well. . . . [read on]

What it costs to have Al Franken’s victory in Minnesota tied up in the courts


The Senate trial they SHOULD be having in Minnesota

According to the original report, businessman Nasser Kazeminy, a longtime Coleman friend, arranged for money to be paid to Norm Coleman's wife, for no work done, as a way of funneling money to Coleman himself. . . . [read on]

Fox News does real journalism, FOIA’s TARP emails


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Friday, March 27, 2009


Real economists analyze the Geithner plan (thanks to Shane S. for the links) – no, I still don’t know what to think after reading them




Here comes the Obama financial re-regulation plan




What’s coming down the road with Afghanistan and Pakistan?






How did Obama’s online town hall meeting go?

Obama's gimmicky online chat session actually worked. . . .

It took until 2009, but the Internet just got a little more legitimate. . . .

More: http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/03/assessing_the_obama_online_town_hall_meeting.php

Is Obama “triangulating” himself vis a vis progressive groups? (It’s useful for him politically to be criticized from the left.)



You really couldn’t get a better example of empty “moderation” and “bipartisanship” for its own sake

[Evan Bayh, D-IN] "Our group seeks to work collaboratively with the Obama administration and Senate leadership to make sure legislation is crafted in a practical way that will solve people's problems . . .

We are not ideologues. We are pragmatic. We are not strident partisans. We care about our country more than our party . . .

We literally have no agenda," Bayh shot back. "How can they be threatened by a group that has taken no policy positions?"

More: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/3/26/713160/-Leave-Evan-Bayh-Alone


The GOP’s “alternative budget” – what you come up with when you don’t have to pass anything, commit to anything, or actually DO anything








“Where’s the beef?” http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/03/so_few_details_so_much_disappointment.php

Why their little ploy failed miserably




Snark: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_03/017468.php

Jonathan Singer is right: you don’t want an RNC head who is running for President – especially when he is the ONLY person floating such ridiculous speculation. (Well actually, WE DO want an RNC head like that, since it only breeds chaos and strife.)


The sharks are eating each other


John McCain (R-AZ), still a big phony


Michele Bachmann (R-MN), still crazy


Sarah Palin (R-AK), still whining

Reflecting on the campaign, Palin said there were "a variety of reasons" Republicans lost in November, namely the faltering economy, but she seemed to place most of the blame on the press.

"Some in the media actually participated in not so much the 'who-what-where-when-why' objective reporting on candidates and positions, those five W's that I learned when I had a journalism degree so many years ago in college, when the world of journalism was quite different than it is today," she said.

"No, things have changed," she continued. "But complaining? Or whining? Absolutely not. But I am going to call it like I see it. It doesn't do any good to whine about any of this. But I can call it like I see it. Sometimes it gets me in a lot of trouble when I speak candidly, and I speak from the heart and I do such a thing. But I am going to."

"And there was that media slant this go round," she said. "And unless things change, the GOP had really better can stand together, 'cause we got that on the battlefield also. I call it like I see it and like I lived it on the campaign trail. Not complaining, but dealing with reality." . . .

[NB: OK, just so you aren’t complaining . . . or whining. . . .]

More: http://firedoglake.com/2009/03/26/sarah-palin-continues-to-champion-personal-responsibility-by-constantly-blaming-other-people-for-her-failures/

Bonus item: More Sarah Palin, settling scores – says she couldn’t find anyone to pray with in the McCain campaign


Watch: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/report-mccain-2008-staffers-angered-by-palins-prayer-remarks.php

More trouble: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/3/26/713477/-More-Republican-Infighting,-Alaska-Style

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Michael Steele, having laid low for a few days, now apparently thinks it’s safe to start talking again. Keep talking, Mike

[Alex Koppelman] Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is back to giving media interviews -- and reminding everyone of why he stopped doing them in the first place.

Talking with CNN's Don Lemon, Steele addressed some of the trouble he's had during his tenure at the RNC, saying, "If I do something, there's a reason for it. Even, it may look like a mistake, a gaffe -- there is a rationale, there's a logic behind it."

Naturally, this prompted Lemon to ask Steele about the most well-known example of one of Steele's gaffes, his criticism of Rush Limbaugh. That, too, was planned, according to the RNC chair, who responded, "I want to see what the landscape looks like, I want to see who yells the loudest, I want to know who says they're with me but really isn't." . . . [watch]

On whether he wants to run for President: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/03/25/bonus_quote_of_the_day.html
"God has a way of revealing stuff to you, and making it real for you, through others. And if that's part of the plan, it'll be the plan... If I run it'll be because that's where God wants me to be at that time."

Michael Steele just doesn't know how to stop. . . .

What genius thought it was a good thing for the Republicans to get into an argument with one another about whether they want Obama to fail, or not? Oh, right, that fat genius sitting at his radio microphone in Florida . . .


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal . . . . brought up, unbidden, a question that's been addressed to many Republicans after Rush Limbaugh answered it in the affirmative: Does he want the president to fail? Jindal's response to the question -- which he termed -- "the latest 'gotcha' game" -- was a qualified sort of "maybe." . . .

[DNC] "We understand that Governor Jindal has had some problems with public speaking lately, but turning to Rush Limbaugh to be your new speechwriter doesn't help. What we know has failed is the reflexive partisan politics of the past that Rush Limbaugh and his Republican party continue to be mired in. Rather than rooting for failure, we urge the Republican party to play a constructive role in moving the country forward and offer a budget proposal” . . .

More: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/3/25/712944/-Bobby-Deep-Thoughts-Jindal-Asserts-He-Is-Not-A-Traitor



Keep arguing!

Count former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson among the growing chorus of prominent Republicans who want President Obama's policies to fail. . . .

[Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H)] I really don’t want the president to fail. If the president fails, the country fails. . .

The trials of moderation in today’s GOP. Arlen Specter (R-PA), in the tank against a conservative primary opponent, decides he has to tack rightward to have a chance. So he drops his support for the Employee Free Choice Act. It won't help him with the right, and now he’ll lose labor support, and the election, because of it



Hmmm. . . . the WH says it doesn’t mind? http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=12466

Keep trying, boys: the GOP wants us to think that the economic collapse is all the Democrats’ fault


Steny Hoyer (D-MD) calls out GOP hypocrisy


You’ve read that moderate Dems are taking a meat cleaver to Obama’s budget bill. Here’s what’s really going on







The statute of limitations is running out on Bush/Cheney crimes


I like this: How often did the Bush gang use the “nobody could have predicted” excuse? (lots)


Obama is using the nontraditional media – and my how the mainstream press establishment whines about it

At a time when his Washington honeymoon is turning into a hazing, President Barack Obama and his team are launched on a strategy to sail above the traditional White House press corps by reaching out to liberal commentators, local reporters and ethnic media. . . .

More: http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/25/enervating/




On the other hand, at least we don’t live in Iran

Iran Considers A Death Penalty for 'Offensive' Bloggers . . .

Bonus item: Grumpy old man


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


A few quick takes on Obama’s press conference

Here are some quick thoughts on President Obama's press conference . . .

First, everyone who asked a question had the chance to ask a follow-up. I don't have the heart to go back and look at Bush's old press conferences, but I don't remember his allowing reporters to ask follow-up questions; in fact, if I recall correctly, he sometimes got annoyed when people tried. This matters, of course, since while a President can just refuse to answer a question twice, it's a lot more obvious when he does so. Allowing follow-up questions makes it harder for a President to be flatly unresponsive, and this is a very good thing. . . .

Obama skipped over the nation's top newspapers. Indeed, there were no questions from the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today."

From the beginning, the questions were tough and required thoughtful answers. . . .

Karl Rove and Bill Bennett both say the media were tough on Obama tonight . . .

We have a pretty terrible media. The press conference featured question after question of irrelevant, puerile, ill-formed half-thoughts . . .

More: http://www.samefacts.com/archives/_/2009/03/network_reportial_ignorance_presidential_press_conference_edition.php


Obama’s choices in Afghanistan




Too many ideas?

[Kos] So today we've seen Republicans try out their new line of attack: that Obama is throwing out "too many ideas" on the economy, with little cohesion. A DNC spokesman fires back: “I guess when you have no new ideas, anything more than zero must seem overwhelming.”

More: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/obama-to-judd-gregg-zing.php

Why can’t the governors spend stimulus money any way that they want?


Norm Coleman calls the unresolved Minnesota election situation “surreal,” as if he’s had nothing to do with it

Coleman Considering Federal Appeal . . .

More: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/minnesota-senate-mess-could-get-new-influx-of-money----and-appeals.php

Arlen Specter (R-PA) – aka “Mr. 60” – was supporting the Employee Free Choice Act. Then the right wing got to him






Unions react: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/seiu-and-change-to-win-react-to-specter.php


Michele Bachmann (R-MN): my incendiary comments were “just metaphorical”

[Eric Kleefeld] Now this is reassuring. A spokesman for Michele Bachmann told the Star Tribune that the Congresswoman was speaking metaphorically when she said she wanted people to be armed and dangerous" on the issue of energy taxes. . . .

[NB: And when she called Obama “foreign,” “nefarious,” and an “enemy,” was that metaphorical too?]

More idiocy from Bachmann: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/beholdthe-bachmann-effect.php


Ron Fournier still using the Associated Press to recycle tired old GOP talking points


I’m up in Canada at the moment, and wouldn’t you know that Fox News manages to offend the folks up here too


Bonus item: Bill O’Reilly, buffoon


Extra bonus item: The ubiquitous Mr. Cheney

[Jon Stewart] "I don't understand this. [Dick Cheney] is vice president for eight years, you barely see a whiff of him. He lives in some subterranean lair, literally has his house removed from Google Earth. Then, when he's no longer accountable to the American people, he's popping up everywhere. I can't get him off my TV. . . .” [read on]

Triple bonus: How to get a tv gig

[Attaturk] Are you African-American, under 40, and moderately attractive? Then Cable News Talking Republican Meat-Puppet may just be the job for you! . . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


A kind of justice

[Newsweek] Over objections from the U.S. intelligence community, the White House is moving to declassify—and publicly release—three internal memos that will lay out, for the first time, details of the "enhanced" interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration for use against "high value" Qaeda detainees. The memos, written by Justice Department lawyers in May 2005, provide the legal rationale for waterboarding, head slapping and other rough tactics used by the CIA. One senior Obama official, who like others interviewed for this story requested anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity, said the memos were "ugly" . . . [read on]

More: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2009/03/exposing-torture


[Spencer Ackerman] President Obama just announced that Harold Hongju Koh, the head of Yale Law School and a human-rights official in the Clinton administration, will be the legal adviser to the State Department. That's big news as the administration proceeds with its review of interrogations, detentions and renditions policy. Koh, recall, dramatically testified at Alberto Gonzales' confirmation hearing to become attorney general in 2005, calling the infamous August 2002 Office of Legal Counsel memo authorizing torture "perhaps the most clearly erroneous legal opinion that I have ever read" and a "stain on our national reputation." With Koh advising the State Department, expect a great deal of emphasis on international human rights law. It'll be especially interesting to see what he says about the legality of rendition in particular, and, relatedly, on the repatriation of detainees to countries where they're likely to be abused . . .

[Spencer Ackerman] According to knowledgeable sources, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has hired John Kiriakou, the former CIA official who assisted with the 2002 capture of al-Qaeda detainee Abu Zubaydah and who said the detainee was tortured, as an investigator. . . .

Iran/Contra and Cheney’s assassination squads


GOP asks Cheney: please, please go away


Remember when Bobby Jindal (R-LA), ridiculed the waste of spending for “volcano monitoring”?

[Zachary Roth] Remember how, during his big prime-time speech last month, Lousiana's Republican governor Bobby Jindal, in addition to making stuff up about what he did during Hurricane Katrina, also found time to mock the Obama administration for "wasteful spending" in the stimulus bill, including "$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring'"? . . .

As a slew of observers -- from local officials to geologists to bloggers to Paul Krugman ("the intellectual incoherence is stunning") -- pointed out at the time, volcano monitoring is crucial work. . . .

Why is Jindal's line looking even worse now? Because, as you've likely heard, Alaska's Mount Redoubt, 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, erupted last night. . . . [read on]

Remember when Sarah Palin (R-AK) made this promise to disabled kids?

[Sept. 3, 2008] “I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House,” Palin said. . . .


[March 23, 2009] Palin turned down nearly $40 million in Federal funding for programs catering to special education kids. . . .

[NB: Well, she didn’t GET elected, did she?]

Remember when Barack Obama did Judd Gregg (R-NH) the honor of inviting him into his Cabinet?

[Josh Marshall] [J]ust a little while ago Gregg was on MSNBC saying the president was bankrupting the country and that Obama was taking a 'Chicago approach' to governing: "You're talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement, and throwing them in the Chicago River." . . .

Remember Michael Steele, feckless leader of the RNC?

[Eric Kleefeld] You might get the feeling that Michael Steele is going out of his way to please the religious right -- to the point of really laying it on thick -- in the wake of his flap over abortion.

The RNC just sent out a press release announcing the appointment of former Microsoft executive Todd Herman as the RNC's new media director. This is a key part of Steele's efforts to get the Republican Party tuned in to digital media and its place in modern politics.

Now take a look at the very last sentence: "He currently lives in Washington State, where he works at his most important roles: Christian, husband and father."

Remember how crazy Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is?

"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back” . . .

"I’m a foreign correspondent on enemy lines and I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington."

[Blue Texan] I'm starting to believe Michelle Bachmann isn't actually a real politician at all, but instead, an unusually gifted performance artist who's engaged in a brilliant post-modern parody of an insane wingnut.

More: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_03/017409.php


Everybody’s talking about this WSJ article: why Obama decided to make nice with Wall Street


More: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/03/must_read_4.php
[Josh Marshall] [O]ver the last three months Obama and his team have learned that they've got to start respecting Wall Street and the big banks if they want to get anything done. As Monica Langley describes it, the Obama team went in with a dim view of Wall Street, didn't bring the big bankers in on key policy decisions etc. But now they're realizing they have to play ball. . . .

[Steve Benen] I think it's important to be really, really clear about what this article claims. Both the stress tests and the attempts to get credit flowing again are essential parts of our attempt to solve the enormous economic problems we now face, problems that these very firms are largely responsible for. If the banks are "slow-walking" the stress tests and threatening not to help get credit flowing, that just is threatening not to help get the country out of the economic crisis.

That would be an absolutely appalling thing to do under any circumstances. It would be doubly appalling since these very people bear a lot of responsibility for that crisis. But the fact that they are making these threats not over some large issue of principle, but over their bonuses -- that's just breathtaking. . . . [read on]

Astounding. Think about reading this headline even a few months ago

U.S. Seeks Expanded Power to Seize Firms . . .

More: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2009/03/another-mile-down-road
[Kevin Drum] If, several weeks ago, you had charged a task force with figuring out how to successfully nationalize a big bank, what do you think they'd say you had to do? Three things, at least: (1) you have to figure out a widely acceptable way to value the toxic assets on bank balance sheets, (2) you have to set up a fair and consistent test for evaluating bank solvency based on those values, and (3) you need to make sure you have the legal authority to take over a huge, multinational financial conglomerate in an orderly way. Is it just a coincidence that these are precisely the things Tim Geithner has set in motion over the past month? I wonder.


I certainly can’t tell you whether Geithner’s plan is going to work or not – and the analyses are all over the map








Nuts and bolts: the 50 vote rule

Could an obscure Senate rule free Barack Obama from the filibuster and enable health-care reform? . . .

More: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/03/minority_rules.php


Man, they are really stretching to try to create some air of controversy around Obama

[60 Minutes] "Kroft to Obama: Are you punch-drunk?"

"You're sitting here. And you're -- you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, 'I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money--' How do you deal with-- I mean: explain..." Kroft asked at one point.

"Are you punch-drunk?" Kroft said.

"No, no. There's gotta be a little gallows humor to get you through the day," Obama said, with a laugh. . . [read on]

The wingnuts react: http://washingtonindependent.com/35321/punch-drunk-love



Because the press doesn’t have a cozy enough relationship with the halls of power


Bonus item: What happens if they don’t approve it?

Texas Board of Education to Vote on Evolution

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

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Monday, March 23, 2009


Obama takes on Cheney

"The facts don't bear him out. . . ." [read on]

More: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20312.html

The AIG outrage continues to grow

[Eliot Spitzer] The transfer of $12.9 billion from AIG to Goldman looks fishier and fishier. . . .

[Frank Rich] A charming visit with Jay Leno won’t fix it. A 90 percent tax on bankers’ bonuses won’t fix it. Firing Timothy Geithner won’t fix it. . . . .

[Glenn Greenwald] The public rage we're finally seeing is long, long overdue, and appears to be the only force with both the ability and will to impose meaningful checks on continued kleptocratic pillaging and deep-seated corruption in virtually every branch of our establishment institutions. . . .

More: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/quils-mangent-de-la-brioche-by-digby.html


Defending the Geithner plan





Little conclaves of irrelevant people are staging orchestrated “tea parties” to try to generate the appearance of popular outrage over Obama’s stimulus and budget policies. They’re getting more press attention than they deserve – but they’re mad that they don’t get even more



Getting rid of Karzai in Afghanistan?


The steep increase of airstrikes into Pakistan



Merriam-Webster makes wingnut heads explode

Merriam Webster Upsets Conservatives with Updated Definition of Marriage . . .

Bonus item: How the TV show “24” shapes public perceptions of torture and government lawlessness



***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Tim Geithner: part of the solution, or part of the problem?

[Paul Krugman] The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It’s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed — and found wanting — a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won. . . .

[Krugman] Why was I so quick to condemn the Geithner plan? Because it’s not new; it’s just another version of an idea that keeps coming up and keeps being refuted. It’s basically a thinly disguised version of the same plan Henry Paulson announced way back in September. . . .

More: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_03/017393.php









[John Cole]
The Illness- reckless and irresponsible betting led to huge losses
The Diagnosis- Insufficient gambling.
The Cure- a Trillion dollar stack of chips provided by the house.
The Prognosis- We are so screwed.

[Atrios] Anyone want to lend me $300 billion so I can go hit the roulette table in Atlantic City?

[George Stephanopoulos] Early read on Geithner plan from plugged in investment source asset managers he knows just won't play until sure WH can control Congress

The Republicans keep trying to find some political leverage here – but they just don’t have the credibility to do so


Companies try to derail Employee Free Choice Act



More: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/3/21/711236/-Annals-of-Hypocrisy:-The-GOP-and-the-Secret-Ballot

Of course

CIA Refuses to Turn Over Torture Tape Library

Another Republican to setup a legal defense fund? I think you know her


Fox News lies



Sunday talk show line-ups

NBC's Meet the Press: NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and a roundtable with NBC's Tom Brokaw and CNBC's Erin Burnett

CBS' Face the Nation: White House Council of Economic Advisors' Austan Goolsbee, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Slate's John Dickerson and NYT's Jackie Calmes

ABC's This Week: Vice President Biden's Chief Economic Advisor Jared Bernstein, Sen. Ken Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Rep. Michael Pence (R-IN) and a roundtable with ABC's Donna Brazile, George Will, Betsy Stark and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich

CNN's State of the Union: White House Council of Economic Affairs chair Christina Romer and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, March 21, 2009


No, no, no. Bad on you, Barack

In an appearance Thursday night on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," President Barack Obama made a joke about his lackluster bowling skills by saying: "It was like Special Olympics or something." . . .

Kolan McConiughey, a Special Olympics bowler from Ann Arbor Michigan who has reportedly bowled three perfect 300 games, says he could take President Obama on the lanes. "He's cool, but he can't beat me," McConiughey told TMZ, saying he'd love to go to the White House and bowl against the president at the White House bowling alley. . . .

The braintrust of the Republican party is hard at work planning their reformation and comeback – oh, wait, it just looks like more of the same

GOPers Re-Name Climate Change Bill -- Now It's An 'Energy Tax'!

McCain: Obama budget a "threat to the Nation"

[Glenn Greenwald] There will be no shortage of people attacking this as a Chamberlain-like capitulation to the Evil Persian Hitlers, and there will be an equally vocal group mocking it as an empty gesture from America's bloodthirsty and war-craving emperor. It's true that, ultimately, this will only be meaningful if followed up by action, but this video -- sent by Obama to Iran, and to Iranians, for Nowruz, a major national holiday, and released this morning -- is, after 30 years of nothing but threats and hateful rhetoric exchanged between the two countries, a palpably different message not only in tone but also in content.

It explicitly repudiates threats and is also deeply respectful not only of the people of Iran but also of its government. . . .

Who will be the first to scream about 1938, Czechoslovakia and Obama's umbrella? There are so many options, but only the foolish among us would bet against the award going to someone from Commentary, The Weekly Standard, or one of the AEI "scholars" . . .

That didn't take long. We now have a winner . . .

Dems still outraising the Repubs


Their own fault

"Republicans invented this. I don't like it but there are chickens coming home to roost."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by the Financial Times, on a parliamentary short-cut which could be employed by Democrats in passing health care reform that had been devised by Republicans to push through the Bush tax cuts.

Nothing to fear? Why is Roland Burris setting up a legal defense fund?


Newt’s new-found godliness



Sarah Palin, still not ready for prime time


Another Republican dares to question El Rushbo, and has to beat a hasty retreat



Give it up, Norm

Lead Coleman Lawyer: Franken Will Have Bigger Lead After Trial, Then Come Appeals

Minnesota Dem Spokesman: It's Refreshing To See Coleman's Lawyer Tell The Truth

Their “news”

[Brit Hume, Fox News] "I want to say a word of thanks to Brent [Bozell] and to the team at the Media Research Center...not only just for this wonderfully fine award... but also for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Reseach Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring "Special Report" -- I don't know what I would've done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from and we certainly made tremendous use of it."

[Barbara Morrill] What do you do if reality clashes with your agenda? If you're Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, apparently you make it up. . . .

Bonus item: Ick – now I have to wash my brain out with soap


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Friday, March 20, 2009


Happy anniversary

[Spencer Ackerman] It's eerie and uncomfortable and inappropriate that there isn't much notice that six years ago today the U.S. invaded Iraq. . . .

More: http://firedoglake.com/2009/03/20/well-its-an-anniversary/


“Why AIG matters”


The Obama admin’s uncharacteristically ham-handed approach to the AIG debacle

[Josh Marshall] What is so damaging about this isn't the money -- which is almost trivially small compared to the many hundreds of billions we've already committed. The problem is what appears to be the president's mortifying impotence in the face of bankers and financiers who created the problem. The president speaks and acts for the federal government, which is to say, the American people, who have mobilized more than a trillion dollars and all powers of the state to repair the damage emerging out of the financial sector. And with all that, he's jacked up on a employment agreement between a company the government now owns and derivatives traders who sank the world economy and may quite likely be looking at criminal charges for their activities in the not too distant future?

Anyone can look at that and see that the equation of power and accountability is all screwed up. . . .

[Digby] Yesterday, Rahm Emmanuel was quoted saying that the AIG bonus scandal was a distraction and today David Axelrod says,“people are not sitting around their kitchen tables thinking about AIG, they are thinking about their own jobs.”

I don't think this is correct. . . .

[Atrios] The issue is that Timmeh and friends never distinguished between bailing out the system and bailing out the players. There was a way to do that, and they didn't do it.

More: http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=03&year=2009&base_name=evening_question#113877


The Republicans sense some kind of political opportunity, but their own internal fractures and contradictory messaging prevent them from taking advantage















Bonus bill vote splits House GOP
Passed 328 to 93. 85 Republicans voted for it, 87 against it. Cantor voted for it, Boehner against it. . . .

Who said it?

“The blame for these bonuses rests solely with the Bush and Obama Administrations and those who march in lock step with their irresponsible policies.”

Obama speaks to Iran




In other news

The best news you didn't hear about yesterday . . .

Another GOP gov with Presidential aspirations rejects stimulus money. I think you’ve heard of her




Following up on yesterday’s item – Greta’s conflict of interest in covering Sarah Palin


Oh, the things the wingers find to get worked up about

[Thers] Conservatives think it's just so very hysterically amusing that President Obama uses a teleprompter. . . .

Bonus item: Ho ho ho

[Raw Story] In a BookTV interview postponed from February and airing last weekend, author Ann Coulter said that she will probably stop writing books, citing increasing taxes on the rich by the Obama administration. . . .

[NB: Not her own plummeting sales numbers, of course.]

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***