January 23rd, 2009

cookie monster
  • capthek

yay yay yay, Obama brings good news every day!

As someone who has more than one friend in a wheelchair due to spinal injury, I say YAY!

US approves 1st stem cell study for spinal injury

By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer Malcolm Ritter, Ap Science Writer – 55 mins ago
Obama wants Congress to act on lifting stem cells ban AFP/File – Embryonic stem cells are pictured through a microscope viewfinder in a laboratory. President-elect Barack …

NEW YORK – A U.S. biotech company says it plans to start this summer the world's first study of a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells — a long-awaited project aimed at spinal cord injury.

The company gained federal permission this week to inject eight to 10 patients with cells derived from embryonic cells, said Dr. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif.

The patients will be paraplegics, who can use their arms but can't walk. They will receive a single injection within two weeks of their injury.
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How to Stump Anti-Abortionists With One Question

Did you know you can stump anti-abortionists with one simple question?

Just ask them this:

If abortion was illegal, what should be done with the women who have illegal abortions?

Now watch their faces as the cognitive dissonance sets in. They believe abortion to be murder. Murder deserves severe punishment. Thus, women who have illegal abortions should receive severe punishment — like life in prison or the death penalty. That’s the logical conclusion.

But they can’t accept this conclusion. They know it’s absurd and unfair — which means they know abortion is not really murder.

Here’s a must-watch video of anti-abortion protesters being asked this question:


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  • bispo

Lawmakers rally against BCS

WASHINGTON -- A handful of lawmakers used a resolution commending the University of Florida's national football championship Thursday to protest college football's much-maligned BCS system.

A dozen House members voted "no" or "present" on the resolution, the latest signal from the nation's capital that many people aren't happy about the way the NCAA chooses its football champion. Many of the dissenters were from Utah and Texas, both of which have schools that made a case to play for this year's national championship but were passed over.

"A fine school with a great team deserves better than a national championship that was decided inside somebody's computer," said Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who has introduced legislation to force a playoff system. "The Gators certainly could have won it on the field, but they didn't get the chance any more than Utah, Texas and USC."

President Barack Obama also has repeatedly criticized the Bowl Championship Series, saying he plans to "throw [his] weight around a little bit" to pressure the NCAA to adopt a playoff system.

The BCS was created in 1998 by the six most powerful conferences. It features a title game between the top two teams in standings that are based on two human polls and six computer rankings.

This season, Florida (12-1) met Oklahoma (12-1) in the championship game. Florida won 24-14 and ended up with a 13-1 record.

But the game was under scrutiny even before it began. Several schools that played in lesser bowls claimed they deserved a shot at the championship, including undefeated Utah (13-0), Texas (12-1) and Southern California (12-1).

"Utah has a legitimate claim but we'll never know because they couldn't play for it," said Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., who said he also voted against the resolution because he thinks it's a waste of Congress' time.

A spokesman for Rep. Bobby Bright, an Alabama Democrat and Auburn University graduate, said his reasons for not supporting the measure were simpler: He simply couldn't bring himself to support a school that is such a bitter rival of his state's universities.
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    Lost Season 5 Episode 1

The lighter side of postracial utopia - scans from the new issue of MAD Magazine

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Stolen from here

I think this is the first time I've seen the inside of an issue of MAD in like twelve years and I don't know whether it's oddly comforting or totally discomfitting to see contemporary events and figures rendered according to the completely unchanged MAD formula for uh satiric excellence. Needs more terrible puns though imo

Oh and just a heads up, I think there's some icon potential in the first bit
This time will pass
  • lucy_u2

Freed Gitmo prisoner considers suing U.S.

Freed Gitmo prisoner considers suing U.S.
From CNN's Reza Sayah

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Muhammad Saad Iqbal is a free man after serving more than six years at the U.S. military's detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- without any charge.

Now, Iqbal is considering suing the U.S. government for unlawful detention.

"I am angry in my heart," Iqbal said in a recent interview. "It's easy for the U.S. government to say, 'There are no charges found and he's free.'

"But who will be responsible for seven years of my life?"

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Obama overturns Bush "suit jacket" rule

"It was a rule during the Bush administration that no one ever enter the Oval Office without a jacket."

More info.

A major Bush rule gets scrapped by Obama
Posted: 08:18 PM ET

President Obama has already made one major change: Go through eight years of White House photos, and you won't find one of former President Bush in the Oval Office without his jacket on.

It wasn't just a personal preference. In the Bush administration, it was a rule: Jackets in the Oval Office — and now, it seems, one of the first Bush-era regulations to get scrapped in the Obama White House.

barack eye

China say, "No, the internet is NOT for porn!"

China closes 1,250 sites in online porn crackdown

BEIJING - China has closed down 1,250 Web sites in its latest crackdown on online pornography but still faces an uphill task in regulating the unwieldy Internet for vulgar content, an official said Friday.

Liu Zhengrong, deputy director of the Cabinet's Internet Affairs Bureau, said authorities have also arrested 41 people in the monthlong campaign that began Jan. 5.

"We have made apparent achievements but it's only for this phase," Liu told reporters. "We still have a lot of work to do."

Earlier this month, authorities warned Google, Baidu, Sina and Sohu — China's most heavily used sites — that they had to do more to block pornographic material from reaching Chinese users.

The moves are part of a continuing government campaign against using the Internet to access pornography, which is banned in China.

However, it remains widely available off and on the Internet, where popular Web portals frequently show sexually explicit pictures and provide links to pornographic sites.


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Sarah Palin Seeks $11 Million Book Advance. Remains crazy while doing so.

She may be back in Alaska, but Sarah Palin has a high-powered connection in Washington: the same lawyer who represented Barack Obama and both the Clintons when it came to their book deals.

D.C. attorney Robert Barnett has been retained by the former GOP vice-presidential candidate, 44, to represent her as she tries to sell her own book, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
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[sw] striking and grand

GOP Says Obama's Lobbyist Ban Already Broken

A spokesman for the Republican National Committee is slamming President Obama for appointing people who worked as lobbyists to key posts, saying the nominees don't meet new ethics rules that seek to diminish the role of special interests in his administration.

Obama on Wednesday issued a directive that bars lobbyists who take administration jobs from working on the issues they lobbied about during the previous two years.

Two nominees are the target of RNC criticism:

William Lynn, Obama's pick to oversee day-to-day operations at the Defense Department, is a senior vice president and lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon. William Corr, nominated as deputy secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, was part of a group that lobbied the agency last year for the nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, according to lobbying records filed with the U.S. Senate.

"The president should explain how nominating lobbyists to run HHS and the Pentagon is consistent with his promise to ban lobbyists from his administration," RNC spokesman Alex Conant says in an e-mail sent to USA TODAY this morning. "Even most New Year's resolutions last longer than Obama’s lobbyist ban apparently did."

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Sources: here, and here.

I'm withholding judgment myself until I hear more about this, but frankly, I think Obama still has a long way to go before he begins to get even close to the standards of rule-"bending" perpetuated on a daily basis by Shrub's administration. Which I don't seem to recall these particular guys getting too fussed over.
RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Obama "irritated" at casual meet-and-greet by actual question


What thinkest thou? On one hand, I agree with a comment on HuffPro saying that when a football player goes into the opponent team's locker room he doesn't expect (and shouldn't be) tackled. This is why the media can't have nice, pretty things. It was a freaking "hello-how-you-doing-how's-the-spouse-and-kids?" and not a presser. And where the fuck were they the last 8 years?

On the other hand, I think Mr. President will see a lot more of these sorts of question gunning -- some will be plain gotchas but others will have a serious point and purpose. The campaign is over and soon, the honeymoon will be. He can't expect them to be casual and smiley unfortunately, even for a friendly meet-up. The media seems to be trying to reassert themselves as "tough" after being emasculated by Bush for 8 years.

Obama to Reverse Abortion Policy

"WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order ending the ban on federal funds for international groups that promote or perform abortions, officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

The move, long expected in the Democratic president's first week in office, will be welcomed by liberals and criticized by abortion rights foes."

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View video here ; Yahoo's player doesn't have an 'embed' option.


Dude, Obama, you know you've got four years to get all this done...right? Just checking =P
Josephine Baker (feathers)

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Passes Senate

A wage-discrimination bill that narrowly failed less than a year ago moved closer to becoming law last night, when the Senate passed the legislation and sent it back to the House for final consideration.

The measure, approved 61 to 36, would overturn a Supreme Court decision to make it easier for women to sue employers for pay inequity, regardless of when the discrepancies took place. It may become the first legislation signed by President Obama, who campaigned in favor of it.

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Senate vote
Iowa--Blue Myself

a $13.95 book=serious business

Independence woman accused of not returning library book
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — An Independence woman who police say failed to return a library book has been arrested.

Thirty-nine-year-old Shelly Koontz was arrested Thursday night on a fifth-degree theft charge. She is accused of keeping "The Freedom Writers Diary," which she checked out from the Jesup Public Library in April 2008.

Police say the book was valued at $13.95.

Court records show library employees tried repeatedly by telephone and mail to contact Koontz about the book. A police officer visited her home in September 2008 and told Koontz’s teenage daughter that her mother needed to pay for the book or return it.

Officials at the Buchanan County jail say Koontz was released after posting $250 bond.

No telephone listing for Koontz could be found in the Independence area.


Talk about your wastes of public resources! While I agree she should have returned the book, I don't think it was worth ARRESTING her over!!

And LOL, hometown. Oh dear...

Edit: another link from the Des Moines Register. The comments are lulzy, in a "make you want to throw things" sort of way.
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Steve King, I hate you SFM.

Rep. King takes exception to Obama using middle name
By BRET HAYWORTH, Lee News Service
SIOUX CITY --- Iowa 5th District Republican Rep. Steve King, in an article posted on the national political Web site Politico.com, says President-elect Barack Obama's decision to use his middle name when he is sworn into office on Jan. 20 is "bizarre" and a "double standard."

He declined an interview with the Sioux City Journal on Friday.
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I'm so glad this fucker doesn't represent me, but GTFO my state. Dude...IT IS HIS MIDDLE NAME. The only reason no one liked his critics using it is because they refused to use his first name. Dumbass.

Edit: the Politico link:
' jules
  • schmiss


Ill. gov tells AP that strain is like Pearl Harbor

Illinois' embattled but defiant governor turned to the history books to describe the emotional strain on him and his family, comparing his arrest last month to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

"Dec. 9 to my family, to us, to me, is what Pearl Harbor Day was to the United States," Gov. Rod Blagojevich told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. "It was a complete surprise, completely unexpected. And just like the United States prevailed in that, we'll prevail in this."

The two-term Democrat, speaking on a snowy sidewalk outside the office of one of his attorneys, said there was no chance he would resign before the start of his impeachment trial in the state Senate next week.

"I'm going to fight this to the very end," he said.

But that fight, Blagojevich said, most likely won't include his appearance at the trial to begin Monday. The governor, along with his lawyers, say the trial rules are unfair, in part because they bar him from calling witnesses who are likely to be called in any criminal corruption trial later.

"I'm not going to be a party to that process," he said. "That would be a violation of my oath of office. That, to me, would be an impeachable offense."

He said his decision came from what he called a "bigger principle," which he said includes due process and the right to call witnesses.

"In some respects it's an honor to fall on principle on behalf of the people," he said.

Blagojevich, wearing a black leather jacket and gripping a blue legal folder, also accused legislators of "a rush to judgment," saying they wanted him gone so they could pass tax legislation.

"The reason they're doing this is because they can't wait to get rid of me so they can raise taxes on the people of Illinois," he said. "This is as much about a tax increases as it is about anything else."

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soap&skin 2012
  • automat

Couple fought hatred with their faith

By MIKE KILEN • January 20, 2009

Love thy neighbor.
Three simple words.
Check that. Not simple.

Partners Cyndi Wiley and the Rev. Jennifer Hall experienced plenty of hate in the months after Sept. 11, 2001, in St. Louis.

Muslims were a target of hatred. Protestors railed against homosexuals outside churches. A person screamed at the gay couple while they innocently walked through a drug store parking lot.

The easy thing to do would be to hate the haters.
But Wiley and Hall had a better idea.

They created a T-shirt: Love Thy Neighbors on the front and, on the back, "Thy homeless neighbor, thy Muslim neighbor, thy black neighbor, thy gay neighbor, thy white neighbor, thy Jewish neighbor, thy transgender neighbor, thy atheist neighbor, thy racist neighbor."

Wiley, a graphic artist with her own company, called Studio 3b, and Hall, an ordained minister, began wearing the shirts with a telephone number in 2002 and the orders started piling in.

People stopped them in the street to ask where they got it. After moving to Des Moines 1½ years ago, the positive reactions and sales on their Web site studio3b.org continue.

They grew tired of having to say they are Christians but don't hate other groups of people, so created a list that would strike a chord. They labored over it, digging deep to include their own dislikes and disagreements, such as racists and atheists.

Taken together, the list had impact.

It's a message found in all three major Abrahamic faiths — Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

"It's love thy neighbor, not love thy same neighbor," said Hall, an Iowa Health Systems chaplain.

"I know people in every category. To me, it says something about what God calls us to do."

"I wear it," said Wiley from her home office in Urbandale, "as a personal reminder."

The T-shirts ($15 short sleeve, $20 long sleeve) are challenging people to practice what they preach.

"It calls us to question, even those left-leaning progressives who get entrenched in their prejudices," said Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, which fights against using religion to promote discrimination. "If I'm going to wear it on my back, I have to think of it and make it happen."

In an age of rubber bracelets, promoting causes and thoughts, a T-shirt with a request for love is a natural fit for the younger crowd to announce who they are as a person.

"Love thy neighbor means love thy oppressors. Love thy neighbor means it's unacceptable not to love the bigots," said Cristie Cole, 25 a Grand View College senior who is president of the Grand View Pride Club, a gay/lesbian activist group which is selling the shirts for a fund-raiser.
"I wear my shirt, not because I'm changing a bigot's heart, but to say that I'm OK with you whether you are black or whether you hate me because I'm gay."


good news everyone!
  • 7950

DR Congo warlord Laurent Nkunda seized by Rwandan army

A rebel leader who inflicted misery on the Democratic Republic of Congo, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, has been arrested after losing the support of Rwanda's regime.

Laurent Nkunda, once a general in Congo's national army, helped cause a humanitarian crisis last year when his rebels advanced towards Goma, the main city in the anarchic East, displacing 250,000 people.

But Nkunda was detained on Thursday night in a joint operation mounted by the Congolese army, which he once swore to defeat, and the Rwandan army, which had supported him for years.

The arrest happened in the small town of Bunagana near Congo's eastern border with Uganda. Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi, claimed that his rebellion's only purpose was to hunt down the Hutu militias who carried out Rwanda's genocide in 1994 and then found refuge in the forests of eastern Congo.

As such, he served the interests of President Paul Kagame's Tutsi-dominated regime in Rwanda, which supplied him with recruits and weapons. Nkunda also helped bring Mr Kagame to office, serving as a young commander in the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the Tutsi army that seized power in 1994 and stopped the genocide.

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fucking FINALLY.
aaliyah » doin' it for the fame
  • abiding

What do you mean I didn't hear live music!?

Their performance was live — but music wasn't
Classical music heard by millions at chilly inauguration was pre-recorded

Associated Press
updated 4:51 a.m. ET, Fri., Jan. 23, 2009

WASHINGTON - Whether you loved or hated the classical music played at President Barack Obama's inauguration, what you heard was a recording made two days earlier unless you were sitting within earshot of the celebrated performers.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill made the decision a day before Tuesday's inauguration after a sound check to use a previously recorded audio tape for the broadcast of the ceremonies.

Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said the weather was too cold for the instruments to stay in tune.

"They were very insistent on playing live until it became clear that it would be too cold," said Florman in a telephone interview Thursday night.

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A taped musical source and an online poll on whether it was a good call or them being losers.

Oh my god people, the tape was fine. Rawr rawr rawr, go cry in your emo corner.

(no subject)

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Obama Pakistan Missile Strike Kills 18

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Suspected U.S. missiles killed 18 people on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border Friday, security officials said, the first attacks on the al-Qaida stronghold since President Barack Obama took office. At least five foreign militants were among those killed in the strikes by unmanned aircraft in two parts of the frontier region, an intelligence official said without naming them. There was no information on the identities of the others.

Pakistan's leaders had expressed hope Obama might halt the strikes, but few observers expected he would end a tactic that U.S. officials say has killed several top al-Qaida operatives and is denying the terrorist network a long-held safe haven.

The United States has staged more than 30 missile strikes inside Pakistan since August last year _ a barrage seen as a sign of frustration in Washington over Islamabad's efforts to curb militants that the U.S. blames for violence in Afghanistan and fears could be planning attacks on the West.

Pakistan publicly protests the strikes in the northwest as violations of its sovereignty that often kill civilians and undermine its own campaign against terrorists that have also launched bloody attacks on domestic targets.

But many observers believe the government secretly agrees with the tactic and may provide intelligence on the targets, noting that Islamabad's admitting to assisting the attacks would be politically damaging.

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3 killed in knife attack day-care center in Belgium

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Brussels: Two children and an adult were reported to have been killed and at least 10 children wounded in a knife attack at a day-care center in western Belgium on Friday, according to local media.

Police and medical crews were called to the center near the town of Dendermonde about 20 miles northwest of Brussels when the assailant struck. VRT television reported that a man on a bicycle, who was believed to be the attacker, had been arrested.

According to one staff member, the attacker had blackened his face with make-up, the Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported. Police mounted a huge search operation for the attacker and dispatched a helicopter to the area.

A local rescue official said many more children had been hurt in the attack. "At least 10 are injured. Ten, 15, 20 are injured, I don't know," Peter Cleymans, director of Dendermonde Ambulance Centre, told Reuters news agency. A medical emergency plan had been put into operation and the Belgian interior minister, Guido de Padt, went to the scene immediately, Belgian media reported.


3 dead, 12 wounded in Belgian day care stabbings

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  • bispo

Obama's Secret Record Collection

When Barack Obama moved into the White House on January 20th, he gained access to five chefs, a private bowling alley — and a killer collection of classic LPs. Stored in the basement of the executive mansion is the official White House Record Library: several hundred LPs that include landmark albums in rock (Led Zeppelin IV, the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed), punk (the Ramones' Rocket to Russia, the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols), cult classics (Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, the Flying Burrito Brothers' The Gilded Palace of Sin) and disco. Not to mention records by Santana, Neil Young, Talking Heads, Isaac Hayes, Elton John, the Cars and Barry Manilow.

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' jules
  • schmiss

Obama fierceness + easy penis jokes, all in one article

Obama to GOP: 'I won'

President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

The exchange arose as top House and Senate Republicans expressed concern to the president about the amount of spending in the package. They also raised red flags about a refundable tax credit that returns money to those who don’t pay income taxes, the sources said.

The Republicans stressed that they want to include more middle class tax cuts in the package, citing their proposal to cut the two lowest tax rates — 15 percent and 10 percent — to ten percent and five percent, rather than issue the refundable credit Obama wants.

At another point in the meeting, sources said Obama told the group: “This is a grave situation facing the country.” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would hold another economic meeting in the White House Saturday for a "broader group."

After Friday's meeting, Democratic and Republican leaders publicly wrangled over the developing stimulus plan.

But perhaps taking a cue from Obama’s “I won” line when Democrats were asked if they were concerned about Republicans blocking the package, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a swift one-word answer: “No.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill was on track for passage by February 16, while Republicans continued to voice their opposition.

“We expressed our concerns about some of the spending that’s being proposed in the House bill,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said after meeting with Obama.

“How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives?” Boehner asked. “How does that stimulate the economy?” (lol)

Boehner said congressional Republicans are also concerned about the size of the package. (double lol)

“Government can’t solve this problem,” he said.

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GOP: Things Are GREAT!


Pam Spaulding points us to the homepage of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Democrats tear in:
"It's stunning that the Republicans believe that ‘Thanks to Republican economic policies, the U.S. economy is robust and job creation is strong,'" said Jennifer Crider, the Communications Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Republicans' stunning claim flies in the face of all evidence that shows our economy is in crisis. At least the NRCC got one thing right - it's Republican economic policies that got us in this economic mess."
Politico asked the NRCC about their message and got this back:
"The site is currently under construction. We are looking forward to relaunching the site and fostering a discussion on just how Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues' plan to spend their way out of recession is absurd at best and financially ruinous at worst."
Under construction. Clearly they haven't found anybody who knows how to edit a website in, oh, about a year?


Obama to Repubs: Stop Listening To Rush Limbaugh

WASHINGTON -- President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.

"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," the official said. "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."

That wasn't Obama's only jab at Republicans today.

While discussing the stimulus package with top lawmakers in the White House's Roosevelt Room, President Obama shot down a critic with a simple message.

"I won," he said, according to aides who were briefed on the meeting. "I will trump you on that."

The response was to the objection by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to the president's proposal to increase benefits for low-income workers who don't owe federal income taxes.

Sita Sings the Blues

Obama Makes Exception for Ethics Pledge

The nomination of William Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense has placed Barack Obama under the burn of political heat just days into the presidency.

Having lobbied the government on behalf of the defense industry giant Raytheon, Lynn's appointment violates the newly-instituted ethics guidelines that the president applied to his staff shortly after taking office. Questioned about the transgression, the White House said Lynn was being granted a waiver.

But there is a second layer to the Lynn issue that also is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Democrats, good government groups and Republicans eager to cry hypocrisy. Raytheon is no mom-and-pop defense contractor shop. It is the type of industry behemoth that protesters of the Iraq invasion bemoaned for profiting off of the war and encouraging militarization. And as the man who led "the company's strategic planning and [oversaw] the government relations activity," Lynn was intimately involved.



EDIT: Everyone who is upset by this news, take missanemone's suggestion to heart and send a message to Obama at www.whitehouse.gov.