February 10th, 2009

garf tired

Since I'm a Jersey Girl..

I saw this in today's Star Ledger, and I would like to share it.


Obama provides comfort -- but no assurance -- on 9/11 prosecutions

Posted by Bob Braun/Star-Ledger Columnist February 08, 2009 8:21PM

Categories: Real-Time News
Noah Addis/The Star-LedgerSally Regenhard, a Coalition of 9/11 Families member who met with President Obama on Friday, holds a sign during a press conference in this 2004 file photo.
Representatives of families who lost relatives to the 9/11 attacks are satisfied with the new president's handling of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
For now. But expectations may be too high.

Collapse )
fleur de lis

President Obama's First Press Conference

Prepared Remarks

Collapse )

I am more than in favor of skepticism and vigorous debate, but not beyond that which is reasonable. I welcome feet held to fires. I welcome the harshest of criticisms. But I also welcome respect when and where respect is earned. And Monday night, President Obama earned respect. I cannot express how satisfied I am in witnessing a President, clearly smarter than I, addressing complex situations with grace, nuance, competence, efficacy, and most satisfying of all— reasonableness.

And to all those critics who all-administration-long will undoubtedly chirp in their blind ideological opposition the already-tired sarcastic quip, "Is this the "change" you were looking for?" YES. Yes. Mother. Fucker. It. Is.

Joe Scarborough: "Perhaps we don't know what we're talking about."



As Bob Herbert says:

There is always a tendency to underestimate Barack Obama. We are inclined in the news media to hyperventilate over every political or policy setback, no matter how silly or insignificant, while Mr. Obama has shown again and again that he takes a longer view...Mr. Obama is like a championship chess player, always several moves ahead of friend and foe alike. He’s smart, deft, elegant and subtle. While Lindsey Graham was behaving like a 6-year-old on the Senate floor and Pete Sessions was studying passages in his Taliban handbook, Mr. Obama and his aides were assessing what’s achievable in terms of stimulus legislation and how best to get there.


Is this where I pretend to be surprised?

Glenn Thrush says the question from the Senate floor this evening was "where was Cornyn," as the Texas Republican was the only senator to miss the crucial cloture vote on the stimulus package.
The answer: He was at a New York gathering of prominent media conservatives and Wall Street Republican donors called the Monday Meeting, held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
Though not a fundraiser, the meeting is a hub of conservative money and buzz, a good place for Cornyn to tap into resources in his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The meetings are off-the-record, but a source there emails me that Cornyn -- who was billed as speaking about the 2010 senate races -- took some pokes at Democratic leaders, saying that "Nancy Pelosi drives the train" and describing Chuck Schumer as a "human vacuum cleaner."
If there's a crowd open to the argument that FDR's New Deal was a big mistake, this is the one.
Cornyn spoke at the end of the meeting and was, I'm told, received warmly.

By Ben Smith 08:15 PM

Meanwhile, Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy were both there in their wheelchairs.
If Big John is going to be a partisan obstructionist douchebag, he should at least put his money where his mouth is and show up to vote the way the other partisan obstructionist douchebags tell him to. Guess he's not a true believer in the Republican insurgency.

Not sure how I feel about this

Given the consistent failure of compromise between Republicans and Democrats, it might be time to take away the minority's most harmful weapon: the filibuster.

The most important number in Washington this month is not the $827 billion price tag on the stimulus bill. Nor is it the eye-popping 598,000 jobs lost in January. Those numbers will change. The $827 billion will shift in conference committee, and January's job losses will amaze only until February's job losses are announced. You will not see those numbers again. They can be safely forgotten. Do not, however, forget the number zero. It will prove a frequent companion in the coming years.

Zero. That's how many Republican votes the stimulus bill received in the House. Zero. Not one. Not Mike Castle of Delaware, whose constituents gave 62 percent of their votes to Obama. Not Anh Cao of Louisiana, whose district went 74 percent for Obama. Not Illinois' Steven Kirk, whose district went 61 percent for Obama. Zero. A popular new president elected amid an economic crisis was not able to attract one crossover vote on his first major priority. In the more moderate Senate, Obama is expected to attract three Republican votes. They will have cost him hundreds of billions in concessions, and they will have cost America hundreds of thousands of jobs.
It is time to say this quite simply: There is no such thing in Washington as bipartisanship. This is not to say that there will be no such thing as bipartisan bills. Republicans will vote for Democratic initiatives when it appears to further their goals. But insofar as crossover votes have come to be seen as representative of an elusive character trait or political spirit known as "bipartisanship," it is time to let go of an increasingly damaging fantasy. And if we let go of the myth of bipartisanship and embrace the reality of continued minority obstructionism, that may also mean it's time to let go of the filibuster.

Collapse )

On the one hand: gets tons of shit done and prevent future disasterous concessions such as those in the stimulus. On the other hand, isn't this exactly the sort of crushing all debate and dissent behavior the Democrats are supposed to be above?

Petraeus Leaked Misleading Story on Pullout Plans

POLITICS-US: Petraeus Leaked Misleading Story on Pullout Plans
Analysis by Gareth Porter*

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (IPS) - The political maneuvering between President Barack Obama and his top field commanders over withdrawal from Iraq has taken a sudden new turn with the leak by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus - and a firm denial by a White House official - of an account of the Jan. 21 White House meeting suggesting that Obama had requested three different combat troop withdrawal plans with their respective associated risks, including one of 23 months.

The Petraeus account, reported by McClatchy newspapers Feb. 5 and then by the Associated Press the following day, appears to indicate that Obama is moving away from the 16-month plan he had vowed during the campaign to implement if elected. But on closer examination, it doesn't necessarily refer to any action by Obama or to anything that happened at the Jan. 21 meeting.

The real story of the leak by Petraeus is that the most powerful figure in the U.S. military has tried to shape the media coverage of Obama and combat troop withdrawal from Iraq to advance his policy agenda - and, very likely, his personal political interests as well.

This writer became aware of Petraeus's effort to influence the coverage of Obama's unfolding policy on troop withdrawal when a military source close to the general, who insisted on anonymity, offered the Petraeus account on Feb. 4. The military officer was responding to the IPS story 'Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision' published two days earlier [link below].

The story reported that Obama had rejected Petraeus's argument against a 16-month withdrawal option at the meeting and asked for a withdrawal plan within that time frame, and that Petraeus had been unhappy with the outcome of the meeting.

Collapse )


Apparently Gen. Petraeus hasn't completely realized that there's a new sheriff President in town.....and his name is Barack Obama.  This unfettered free reign of the "commanders on the ground" has come to an end, and you all are no longer dictating military policy for the U.S.  Just sayin'.
  • cindel

Geithner Said to Have Prevailed on the Bailout

The Obama administration’s new plan to bail out the nation’s banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, against some of the president’s top political hands.

In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.

Collapse )

Conservative Columnist Makes Sense. Watch For The Flying Pigs!

At What Cost?
By Richard Nadler

Conservatives should stop trying to remove 12 million illegal aliens from American soil, either by rounding them up or by inducing them to “self-deport.” In the Southwest, the West, the Northeast, and Florida, attempts to remove illegals have diminished the conservative movement, transforming a governing majority into a structural minority. To continue the effort will damage the conservative cause even more among Hispanics and entrepreneurs.

To understand why, consider the three permanent interests involved in immigration.

The first interest is border security. Today, a border jumper entering the U.S. from Mexico has a two-in-three chance of remaining here. An uncontrolled border is a potential target for terrorists, and a sure target for criminals. Many interpret our porous border as a degradation of national sovereignty. Others regard a free market in cross-border labor as an economic liability, driving down American wages.

Collapse )

I hope Steele is paying attention to this. The last thing the GOP needs right now is to become an all white party because that will be the end of national dominance for us.

don&#39;t say any more by pouringsand
  • lidane

Octo-Mom: I'll raise my kids with student loans

Seriously, this bitch needs to STFU. Also, someone needs to intervene because she's clearly unfit to take care of these children:

Octuplet mom: I’ll raise them on student loans
Reports say she gets food stamps and payments for 3 kids with disabilities
By Mike Celizic
TODAYShow.com contributor
updated 8:57 a.m. CT, Tues., Feb. 10, 2009

The California woman who gave birth to octuplets has no income and intends to use student loans to care for them and her other six children at home, all under the age of 8.

“Do you have any income at all?” TODAY’s Ann Curry asked Nadya Suleman during her exclusive interview with the 33-year-old mother of 14 children.

“At the moment, no,” Suleman replied, adding that she intended to use student loans “temporarily” to pay for her family’s care.

“Right now, you don’t have an income to provide for your children?” Curry repeated.

“Probably just with the student loans,” Suleman said. “I am providing for my children. I am. And that will probably run out by the time I go back to school. So I have my own way. It’s an alternative way, but it works.”

Collapse )

K-Box cartoon


From Thomas Sowell's Random Thoughts:

I realized how far behind the times I am when I saw a TV commercial for some weight-loss product, showing Marie Osmond "before" and "after." I thought she looked great "before."
At first, I wondered if I had woken up in some sort of fucked-up Bizarro World, where Thomas Sowell is sane, Spock has a goatee, the Brigadier has an eyepatch and there are zeppelins in the sky, but then, I was reassured to see him say this:

The great sense of urgency of the Obama administration to get legislation to authorize slow-moving spending projects may seem inconsistent. But the urgency is real, even if the reasons given are not. The worse case scenario for the administration would be to have the economy begin to recover on its own before this massive spending bill is passed, reducing their chances of creating the kind of politically directed economy they want.
Whew! Thomas Sowell, still batshit enough to believe that FDR's New Deal prolonged the Great Depression, or that we'll be anywhere close to clear of this recession anytime sooner than three years from now? I guess that means I'm still on Earth-Prime, then.

Still, I was able to make at least one more of his statements in that column accurate, with a simple substitution edit:

War A stimulus should of course be "a last resort"-- but last in terms of preference, not last in the sense of hoping against hope while dangers grow, and wishful thinking or illusory agreements substitute for serious military economic preparedness-- or, if necessary, military economic action. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "If you wait until you see the whites of their eyes, you will never know what hit you."
More military deployments? Sure, why not? The military's job is to "do or die," after all, so if they're going to die anyway, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. [/Scrooge]


Read Thomas Sowell's full column for yourselves.
*betty draper reading

Drug & medical device companies don't want you to know whether their products are a waste of money

WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW CAN HURT YOU.... The Wall Street Journal reported today, "The drug and medical-device industries are mobilizing to gut a provision in the stimulus bill that would spend $1.1 billion on research comparing medical treatments, portraying it as the first step to government rationing."

Now, you may read this and wonder what's so bad about research comparing the efficacy of medical treatments. Paul Krugman, who called the push to gut the provision "truly vile" and "really unbelievable," added, "Because freedom is all about laying out vast sums on medical treatments without knowing whether they're actually doing any good."

But let's go a little further, because the $1.1 billion for comparative medical research has been an issue for a while. In fact, just last week, the Senate "centrists" specifically targeted this provision for elimination.

As Harold Pollack explained very well a few days ago, this issue should be a no-brainer.
Comparative medical research is a high priority by any conceivable measure. Candidate Obama and Candidate McCain both advocated major investments here to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care, and they were right. An astonishing proportion of American medical care has never been rigorously evaluated, or outright fails to meet reasonable thresholds of quality and cost-effectiveness.

As Ezekiel Emanuel put it in his book Healthcare, Guaranteed: "The United States spends over $2 trillion on healthcare, about $200 billion on prescription drugs, and nearly $100 billion on medical research and development, but only a paltry $1 billion to evaluate the comparative costs and effectiveness of medical interventions and their influence on health outcomes."

The two most responsible funding agencies for this research -- the National Institutes of Health and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality -- are now getting many more high-quality proposals than they are able to fund. Their peer-review process is rigorous and highly competitive, sometimes excessively so. Many of my junior colleagues are suffering professional setbacks because they cannot find funding for excellent research that would have been supported five or ten years ago. Incidentally, both the loudest and the most dangerously silent opponents of comparative medical research have been surgical subspecialties, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies afraid that their ox might be gored.
That the drug and medical-device industries hope to "gut the provision" is crazy.

SOURCE: Steve Benen
barack eye

LIVE POST! Obama speech, stimulus vote expected...

Obama is currently speaking to the town of Fort Myers, Florida.

You can watch it live here: http://www.cnn.com/video/flashLive/live.html?stream=stream1&iref=lb100

UPDATE: The $838 Billion Stimulus Bill Just Passed!

NOTE: The House and Senate must NOW come together to decide on a final version of the bill. Expect lots and lots of drama! 

EDIT: Now on CNN stream, Senators prepare press conference in relation to passage of bill

EDIT2: Press conference ongoing: Dems gloat, Reps crying crocodile tears. Lulz all around.

EDIT3: If you want to talk about the bailout overhaul hearing, you can as part of this post.

Obama sets aside Bush-era Off-Shore Drilling Plan

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Tuesday overturned another Bush-era energy policy, setting aside a draft plan to allow drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

"To establish an orderly process that allows us to make wise decisions based on sound information, we need to set aside" the plan "and create our own timeline," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in a statement.

Alleging that the Bush administration "had torpedoed" offshore renewable energy in favor of oil and natural gas, Salazar said he was extending the public comment period by 6 months.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Collapse )

My little enviromentalist heart is weaping tears of joy. I nearly collapsed on the floor at the sight of the words "wave-energy"

source: MSNBC

New Health Provisions In Stimulus Plan

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

New Penalties

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties.  “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

Collapse )


barack eye

Don't do it, bb! It's probably poison.

Hannity and Obama to share a six pack?

(CNN) — They're the unlikeliest of drinking buddies: President Obama and one of his fiercest critics — Fox News host Sean Hannity.
But the two may just be getting closer to sharing a bottle or two– so long as Hannity is willing to foot the bill — according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
"Get him a six pack of Budweiser and we'll meet Hannity anywhere he wants to go," said a laughing Gibbs, who also added the meeting should take place in public otherwise "nobody would believe it actually happened."

The comments come one day after the president was asked at a town hall in Indiana whether he would take up Hannity's open invitation to meet for a beer.


Collapse )

(no subject)

There's No Stimulus Free Lunch

How much will the stimulus package moving in Congress really stimulate the economy?

The evaluations to date have been incomplete, so we looked at the likely stimulative effect from the spending parts of the House and Senate bills -- over $500 billion -- and assessed the quantitative effects of four basic factors.

1) How much increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be expected from the stimulus package?

In a full-employment situation, increased government spending would largely replace private spending, so the net stimulus to GDP would likely be quite small. In the present environment, however, with growing unemployment of both labor and capital, the net stimulus would be larger since the additional government spending would put some unemployed resources to work.

For example, if the government spent money to build new homes with unemployed labor, the stimulus to GDP might be close to, even larger than, the amount spent. However, given the present housing glut, that hardly seems to be a wise policy, although it is a small part of both the House and Senate stimulus packages.

In fact, much of the proposed spending would be in sectors and on programs where the government would mainly have to draw resources away from other uses. This type of spending includes adding broadband to rural areas, spending more on health coverage, encouraging scientific innovations, developing renewable energy, as well as many other things.

As President Barack Obama recently said, "This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending -- it's a strategy for America's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education." Such spending may encourage long-term growth, but it will have little short-term effect on GDP.

So our conclusion is that the net stimulus to short-term GDP will not be zero, and will be positive, but the stimulus is likely to be modest in magnitude. Some economists have assumed that every $1 billion spent by the government through the stimulus package would raise short-term GDP by $1.5 billion. Or, in economics jargon, that the multiplier is 1.5.

That seems too optimistic given the nature of the spending programs being proposed. We believe a multiplier well below one seems much more likely.

Collapse )


Well, debate's over, the Nobel laureate has spoken.

(no subject)

Obama offers US aid to Australia fire victims

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is sending his prayers and condolences to victims of Australia's worst wildfire disaster.

Immediately after his first prime-time news conference Monday night, Obama telephoned Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama and Rudd talked about the fires raging across Victoria state in Australia, fueled by strong winds, record heat and drought.

Australian authorities say more than 170 people have been killed, hundreds of homes have been destroyed and thousands have been left homeless.

Obama offered U.S. assistance to help with the fires.


Thanks, Barack. ♥

Utah Governor Voices Support For Gay Rights Initiative, Civil Unions

Equality Utah's 'Common Ground' initiative has not seen much success. Two of its bills have failed already. The first failed in committee on the second day of the legislature, and the second, which would have erased the portion of the state's same-sex marriage ban forbidding civil unions, was pulled. But the set of initiatives did receive support yesterday from Utah's Governor:

Huntsmanjr"Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a spokeswoman said Monday, backs Equality Utah's Common Ground Initiative, a legislative effort that would provide some rights to gay and transgender Utahns. Even more, the Republican governor favors civil unions. It's a position that runs counter to his political party and against the majority of Utahns -- 70 percent of whom oppose civil unions, according to a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll. 'He's long supported many of the ideas that are presented within the Common Ground Initiative,' said Lisa Roskelley, the governor's spokeswoman, noting her boss waits to endorse specific bills officially until presented to him in final form. 'He supports civil unions.' It's doubtful Huntsman's backing will lead to civil unions getting past the conservative Legislature. And it may not help the rest of this year's gay-rights legislative push, which already has shrunk from four bills to two."

As far as the remaining half of the gay rights initiative: "Of the remaining Common Ground bills, one would make it illegal to fire or evict someone for being gay or transgender. The other would allow two, unmarried cohabiting adults to file a "declaration of joint support" with their county recorder and gain benefits of inheritance and medical-decision making."

Homophobic Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka and Utah State Senator Scott McCoy debate the Common Ground initative on Utah's KSL5,


He's kind of hot.  y/n?

Four Arrested for Vandalism of Long Island LGBT Youth Center


Four people have been arrested in connection with vandalism that occurred earlier this month at the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Center in Bay Shore, New York. In the attack, the Center's front door and van had its windows smashed. The van's tires were also slashed. Investigators initially suspected a hate crime because nothing in the center had been stolen, although authorities now say the damage was not bias-related:

Door"Police arrested three men and a woman, all from Bay Shore, Monday in connection with the vandalism and charged each of them with second-degree criminal mischief. None of the four was charged with a hate crime. Police declined to say what led them to determine the crime was not bias-related. On Friday, state commissioner of human rights, Galen Kirkland, told a rally in Bay Shore: 'When somebody is attacked because of their race, religion or sexual orientation, we're all attacked.' No motive for the attack has been given. Arrested Monday were Milagro Ruiz, 21, and Gilbert R. Geigel, 20, both of 1343 Fifth Ave., Bay Shore; and Kerrond Miller-Jones, 19, and Charles Diaz, 21, both of 40 Perkal St., Bay Shore, police said. All four were charged with second-degree criminal mischief and are scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip."

The incident prompted a public forum last Friday attended by Kirkland as well as a statement from Governor David Paterson.

barack eye

Joe who? Meet Julio Osegueda aka young Tweety on crack

Julio Osegueda, Florida College Student,
Rules Obama Town Hall

College student Julio Osegueda stole the show at President Obama's Fort Myers town hall Tuesday afternoon, just one day after attempting to sell tickets to the event on Facebook.
Osegueda enthusiastically asked Obama the final question of the event.
"It's such a blessing to see you Mr. President, thank you for taking time out of your day!" Osegueda shouted. "Oh, gracious God, thank you so much!"

Collapse )

American Family Association Launches Anti-Gay Site And Anti-Gay TV Special

The American Family Association has launched SilencingChristians.com in conjunction with an hour-long television show decrying advances in gay rights. Pam Spaulding has the letter the AFA is sending its members to announce the launch.

Dear XXX,

Local network television stations will soon begin airing a new television special produced by the American Family Association. Most Americas get their information about the homosexual movement from the secular news media and Hollywood, which not only support but promote the gay agenda. What people know is tainted by pro-homosexual propaganda.

AFA now presents this one-hour special to reveal the truth about the radical homosexual agenda and its impact on the family, the nation, and religious freedom. "Speechless" - the title of the television special - will air in the Grand Rapids area Monday, February 9. You can watch it locally at 7 p.m. on WOOD, channel 8.

* The TV Special will reveal the truth about:
* The claim that homosexuals are born that way and cannot change.
* The negative impact on children resulting from schools promoting the gay lifestyle,
* Protected minority status for homosexuals.
* Same-sex marriage, and
* Legislative initiatives like Hate Crime and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

And, it will:
* Attack the major lies of militant gay activists head-on.
* Alert viewers about what's at stake for the family if they get what they want.
* Present helpful information to stop the radical homosexual political agenda.
Visit our website to learn more about the entire series of "Speechless: Silencing the Christians."

Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution to help us continue?

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

The television special is available for viewing on Silencing Christians, along with a lengthy survey on LGBT rights. Please go fill out the survey. And watch the show, a lot of your favorite haters are there, including Matt Barber. All the usual topics are covered including Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle's robo-potty debacle, the Folsom Street Fair, etc.


Apparently not bending to their will is silencing them.


Ha. Haha. Hahaha. BAHAHAHA!!!

Ann Coulter Under Investigation For Voter Fraud

The New York Daily News reports that Ann Coulter is under investigation by the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission for allegedly voting in that state while registered to vote in New York City.

Officials are responding to a formal complaint filed by Coulterwatch.com blogger Dan Borchers. "For over 10 years, Ann Coulter has gotten away with illegal, immoral and unethical behavior, ranging from plagiarism to defamation, perjury to voter fraud," claims the conservative Borchers. Coulter declined to comment, but in the past has branded Borchers a stalker. He says the FBI has determined he poses no threat.


Collapse )

XD I came across this while reading another article. The title and cut text pretty much sums up my reaction.

(no subject)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Markets Boo Geithner

With so much of his speech already released to the media, it is no wonder that Tim Geithner, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, failed to light a fire under the stock market with he speech shortly after 11 a.m. (ET) on Tuesday.

Read More

Geithner plan disappoints investors

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's blunt admission that his new $2,000bn-plus plan to tackle the American banking crisis "will cost money, involve risk, and take time" unsettled Wall Street.

Read More

Geithner Reax

Some early reaction to the speech. Most appear distinctly underwhelmed.

Read More

Top Economist On Geithner Speech: 'This Is Not A Plan'

Timothy Geithner's speech laying out the Treasury's plan for bailout 3.0 struck us as devoid of key details that might have settled some of the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the Obama administration's approach.

Read More

Administration Officials Laughed At In Bailout Meeting

Administration officials were greeted with sarcasm and laughter Monday night when they briefed lawmakers and congressional staff on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new financial-sector bailout project, according to people who were in the room.

Read More

(no subject)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Is Rahm Emanuel Criticizing Obama Via ABC's George Stephanopoulos?

On Sunday's "Good Morning America," journalist George Stephanopoulos asserted that "some White House officials I've talked to concede" that Barack Obama has placed too much emphasis on gathering Republican support for the stimulus bill now before Congress. Now, considering that the Politico claimed on January 27 that Stephanopoulos has been participating in daily phone calls with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, one wonders if Emanuel was the aforementioned "White House official." If so, was this a criticism by Emanuel of his boss?

In the original Politico article, John Harris wrote about daily strategy sessions between Stephanopoulos and the White House chief of staff, as well as Democratic pundits/strategists James Carville and Paul Begala. Harris explained, "And in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls."

On Sunday's program, in response to a question by weekend GMA co-host Bill Weir about whether Obama made too many promises about "nonpartisan nirvana," Stephanopoulos replied, "I think part of the problem, and I think some White House officials I've talked to concede this, is that he [Obama] put too much emphasis on nonpartisan nirvana rather than on getting the job done."


Does Helen Thomas Need to Cut a Bitch?

Bill O'Reilly called legendary White House reporter Helen Thomas the "wicked witch of the east" Monday night following President Obama's press conference.

"The White House press corps looked intimidated to me," O'Reilly said. "Except for that, what's her name? The old lady, Helen Thomas."

O'Reilly then squawked out a Helen Thomas impression.

"It's like the wicked witch of the east! If I were Obama I would've poured water on her, and she'd dissolve," he said.

"Bill, it's not nice to impersonate an old woman like that," Alan Colmes told him.

"Why can't my mom ask a question?" O'Reilly asked, trashing Thomas' question (about Taliban hiding in Pakistan).

"Helen Thomas' fifteen minutes were up during the Lincoln administration," Bernie Goldberg said later. "It's time for Helen to find something else to do during press conferences."


Stay klassy Bill-O.

Mr. T the Patriot

Property seizure by police called 'highway piracy'

Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
Feb. 7, 2009, 11:10PM

TENAHA — A two-decade-old state law that grants authorities the power to seize property used in a crime is wielded by some agencies against people who are never charged with, much less convicted, of a crime.

Law enforcement authorities in this East Texas town of 1,000 people seized property from at least 140 motorists between 2006 and 2008, and, to date, filed criminal charges against fewer than half, according to a San Antonio Express-News review of court documents.

Virtually anything of value was up for grabs: cash, cell phones, personal jewelry, a pair of sneakers, and often, the very car that was being driven through town. Some affidavits filed by officers relied on the presence of seemingly innocuous property as the only evidence that a crime had occurred.

Linda Dorman, a great-grandmother from Akron, Ohio, had $4,000 in cash taken from her by local authorities when she was stopped while driving through town after visiting Houston in April 2007. Court records make no mention that anything illegal was found in her van and show no criminal charges filed in the case. She is still waiting for the return of what she calls “her life savings.”

Dorman’s attorney, David Guillory, calls the roadside stops and seizures in Tenaha “highway piracy,” undertaken by a couple of law enforcement officers whose agencies get to keep most of what is seized.

Guillory is suing officials in Tenaha and Shelby County on behalf of Dorman and nine other clients who were stripped of their property. All were African-Americans driving either rentals or vehicles with out-of-state plates.
Collapse )
Mr. T the Patriot

Mistrial declared in girl’s alleged assault on cop

By Chris Paschenko
The Daily News

Published February 10, 2009
GALVESTON — A deadlocked jury failed to reach a verdict Monday in the case of a girl accused of assaulting a police officer after officers allegedly mistook her for a prostitute.

After eight hours of deliberation, a jury of three men and three women told Judge Roy Quintanilla they were hopelessly deadlocked in the case charging Dymond L. Milburn, now 15, in the Aug. 22, 2006, assault of Galveston police officer David Roark.

Quintanilla declared a mistrial in the case, and Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said that, based on discussions with jurors after trial, the state won’t prosecute the case again.
Collapse )

Here's the rundown for those who aren't familiar with this story. In 2006 the police were called to a neighborhood because of a complaint that three white prostitutes and two male drug dealers were walking around. The police chose to drive around this neighborhood in an unmarked van and out of uniform in order to find the three white prostitutes and two male drug dealers. They never found the three white prostitutes and two male drug dealers.

12 year old Dymond L. Milburn was asked by her mother to go outside to flip a breaker box switch. The police saw her and decided to jump out of their unmarked van while not wearing their uniforms and attempt to drag her into the unmarked van while not wearing their uniforms. Like any sensible person Dymond Milburn attempted to vote these grown men trying to drag her away in an unmarked van. The police beat Dymond Milburn in the face and neck so badly she was hospitalized with a sprained wrist with abrasions, and throat, neck and face pain. (Warning .PDF File) She suffered a contusion to the back of the head (where she was struck with a flashlight). "There were abrasions on her arm and wrist. Her throat was swollen; she had difficulty swallowing, nausea and vomiting, and hoarseness of voice due to being struck in the throat. She had black eyes, scalp lacerations, tenderness of the vertebrae. She was experiencing double vision and loss of hearing. Dymond’s ear drum and nose were also injured (blood in ear, bruised nasal septum, and nose bleed)."

The following day the police went to Dymond Milburn's school and arrested her while she was in class.

The family filed a lawsuit against the police for a violation of state law and Dymond Milburn's constitutional rights.

For the second time the jury deadlocked on whether the police should be held responsible for beating and arresting a 12 year old girl without probable cause.

ETA: I wrote that out wrong. For the second time the jury deadlocked on whether the 12 year old girl should be sent to jail for defending herself while being beaten and arrested by non-uniformed white men from an unmarked vehicle.

Cheers to Happy Hour at the White House!

 Obama plans regular happy hours

By: Amie Parnes

February 10, 2009 04:47 AM EST

You can stiff the president on a policy issue and defy him on a political one, but who can turn down an invitation to the White House?

Using one of the world’s most famous private residences as bait, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are unleashing a bipartisan charm offensive and exploiting every square inch of their new home to make friends and influence rivals. The social calendar suggests a return to the days of Camelot.

Since moving into their new digs, the first couple has hosted a half-dozen gatherings — from bipartisan cocktail receptions to a public open house to the more intimate Super Bowl party two Sundays ago — ending many of their days past midnight. Most recently, on Wednesday, the Obamas opened the White House doors to House caucus leaders from the moderate Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus. White House aides say the couple hopes to make the Wednesday cocktail parties a tradition.

Friends say the Obamas are looking to maintain the dizzying social calendar they had in their pre-White House days, while using their knack for socializing to find new friends and win hearts on Capitol Hill and in other Washington power centers.

“They want to replicate the same kind of environment they had in Chicago,” said a longtime friend of the Obamas, adding that White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is “the perfect person” for the job because she knows the couple’s former life inside out and is “designing the calendar to reflect the kinds of things they like to do.”
Collapse )


Man arrested at Capitol for Obama threat

Man arrested at Capitol for Obama threat
Posted: 04:57 PM ET

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Police arrested a man near the U.S. Capitol Tuesday after he drove up to one the building’s barricades with a rifle in his vehicle and told officers that he had a delivery for President Barack Obama, a Senate spokesman said.

The man was arrested and transported to Capitol Hill police headquarters for further processing. Charges against him are pending.

Source: http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com/

UPDATE: Man arrested with rifle said he had delivery for Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Police arrested a man near the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday after he drove up to one of the building's barricades with a rifle in his vehicle and told officers that he had a delivery for President Obama, a Senate spokesman said.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider identified the man as Alfred Brock, 64, of Winnfield, Louisiana. She said Brock was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition.

Brock drove up to the north barricade at the Capitol late Tuesday afternoon, saying he had a delivery for the president, Schneider said.

After further questioning, he admitted he had a rifle in his truck. He was arrested and taken to police headquarters for processing, she said.

A search of his truck turned up several rounds of ammunition, Schneider said. Police also checked the area around the barricade, but found nothing hazardous.

Threats against Obama have led to arrests in previous cases.

In one, federal prosecutors concluded that three people arrested with drugs and weapons in a suburban Denver, Colorado, motel posed a "true threat" to Obama during the Democratic National Convention.

In the second, a Florida man was charged with threatening bodily harm against the then-candidate in August. He has pleaded not guilty.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/10/obama.threat/index.html

GOP still clueless and techno-stupid; no one is surprised

Jeff Frederick's Twitter Use Foils GOP Virginia Senate Coup

So, how long before someone wises up and tells the GOP to slowly and carefully put down the social media platforms and back away? Last week, I documented two instances of different Republicans taking their Twitter account and using it to do either themselves or their country some amount of harm. Today, in the Virginia State Senate, we have yet another example of an idiot who needs to be told in no uncertain terms to stop using Twitter, forever and ever.

Basically the story, as reported by the blog Not Larry Sabato, goes like this. Democrats currently control the Virginia State Senate, 21-19. But Virginia's Lieutenant Governor is Bill Bolling, a Republican, and he would be a tie-breaking vote in the event of a 20-20 split. Today, one of the Democratic State Senators, Ralph Northam, agreed to switch sides, a move that would give the Republicans in the Senate a much greater share of power.

And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for this moron, Jeff Frederick, who is the Republican Party Chairman of Virginia and the owner of a shiny Twitter account! Frederick, upon hearing the news, tweeted the following:

What King of the Dimwits Jeff Frederick failed to take into consideration is that, by tweeting this information, he was tipping off the Senate Democrats about this bit of parliamentary prestidigitation. And once they found out, Majority Leader Dick Saslaw adjourned the session so that it couldn't happen. And then, the Senate Democrats gathered together and promptly browbeat the ever-loving daylights out of Northam.

So there you have it! Nice work, Jeff Frederick!

Source link at the Huffington Post by Jason Linkins

Edited for follow-up; thanks to cindel
In a word - NO. You've probably all heard by now that Senator Ralph Northam was considering leaving the Democratic Caucus and taking with him Democratic control. Well today word spread around the General Assembly that it was a done deal. My sources in the House of Delegates tell me the deal was made and they were told it was public.

Modern social media being what it is, Jeff Frederick got onto Twitter, hinted at what was coming and word got out to people outside the General Assembly. Shortly thereafter news that the deal had fallen through spread and, as you can expect, Jeff Frederick got the blame.

Here's the problem, the deal had fallen through before Jeff posted. You see the Democrats (all the way up the Governor), knew about the deal before the post and made Northam an offer he couldn't refuse. It's that simple - the deal was public and, while Jeff posted, he didn't reveal a secret and didn't cause the deal to die...it was already dead. I'm certainly not known as a Jeff Frederick apologist but, in this case, he doesn't deserve the blame he's getting.

Source Link from the Roanoke Valley Republican blog

Edited to add more on this brain surgeon of GOP politics.....

Oh, and if dear Jeffrey looks familiar, it's because he has made a downright fool of himself on numerous occasions in recent months:

November 20, 2008 in the Washington Post, an article ran regarding how the VA StateGOP seemed to be slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard, and Jeff Frederick was right out there "helping".

"On the day after the election, Virginia Republican Party Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick blamed the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the party's poor showing in the state on Election Day.

"What happened had nothing to do with the Republican Party of Virginia," said Frederick, noting that McCain also lost Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. "It had everything to do with the candidate and campaign that was run. . . . We did our best to communicate with the McCain campaign and give them our advice, but they chose not to take it."

Before that, it was this charming remark he made that was originally printed  in a Time Magazine article:

The McCain campaign got into trouble on Oct. 11 when Jeffrey Frederick, the 33-year-old head of the Virginia Republican Party, likened Obama to Osama bin Laden. "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he told a group of about 30 canvassers. "That is scary." It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama's controversial association with William Ayers, a former '60s radical, was enough to stoke the volunteers at McCain's campaign office in Gainesville. "He won't salute the flag," one woman said, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man in the crowd, wearing a polo shirt embroidered with "I Love America," who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born." (Actually, we do. It's Hawaii.) Frederick beamed: "You need to go out and tell people that from your hearts," he said as he sent the volunteers on their way to knock on doors across Prince William County. (The McCain campaign distanced itself from Frederick, who later claimed he'd been joking.)




He then followed up on that comment later by saying that it was "stupid but true" and never apologized for it.  Ya gotta love this guy.  If I didn't know better, I'd say he was a saboteur courtesy of the Democratic party!


Sita Sings the Blues

Paul Kanjorski: USA was 3 hrs away from Economic, Political Collapse in September 2008

Start watching at the 2:10 mark:

More here.

Allegedly, this was caused by the collapse of the Reserve Primary fund, which was caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, etc. Is it bad that I hope this is a case of organized extortion and not the reality of the situation? A financial system this fragile will inevitably collapse.

(no subject)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Joe Biden, the punch line?

Obama cracks wise about his vice president. The men are quick to praise one another in public. But a few episodes -- such as a news conference quip -- suggest the mutual admiration may have limits.

Reporting from Washington -- It was a largely somber prime-time news conference, focused on recession and war -- except for a moment when President Obama slipped off message and turned his No. 2, Joe Biden, into a punch line.

A reporter asked the president to explain something Biden had said in a recent speech: Even if the White House did everything right in combating the economic downturn, the vice president said he had told Obama, there was still a "30% chance we're going to get it wrong."

What exactly did Biden mean by that?

"You know," Obama replied Monday night in a light-hearted tone, "I don't remember exactly what Joe was referring to."

Then, the president added, "Not surprisingly" -- a seeming reference to Biden's well-known gaffes.

Aides say Obama and the vice president eat lunch together once a week.

The two men are quick to praise one another in public. But a few episodes suggest the mutual admiration may have its limits.

Collapse )



Folksy v. Disciplined

The somewhat awkward episode yesterday at the White House staff swearing-in ceremony may be a harbinger of the Obama-Biden relationship for the remainder of this Administration. For all his respective strengths he brings to the office, Biden is a very different person from Obama. Biden is folksy, gregarious, undisciplined, an attention seeker and always the life of the party. Obama is sober, serious, and disciplined. At some point, the two styles will clash in a more significant fashion than yesterday.

To put it another way, Obama respects Biden for his years of experience, relationships with world leaders, and working class roots, but I don't think the two will become personally close. I doubt you will see the Obamas and Bidens vacation together or socialize.


new primetime reality Show y/y?

Final Word: 'American Idol' for pundits? Sounds good to us.
By Craig Wilson, USA TODAY

Collapse )

Honestly, I'd rather see the existing guys just fight it out. It'd be way more fun to watch. So what do you think ONTD_P, who'd win in a fight between Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly? How about Jim Cramer and Sean Hannity?

Poll #1347263 Pundit Fights

In a fight between Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly, who'd win?

Chris Matthews
Bill O'Reilly

In a fight between Sean Hannity and Jim Cramer, who'd win?

Sean Hannity
Jim Cramer
  • Current Music
    Hardball with Chris Matthews
  • Tags

Paper linking vaccines to autism accused of fraud

MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism
February 8, 2009

THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.

The research was published in February 1998 in an article in The Lancet medical journal. It claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.

However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records.
Collapse )
Source is Times Online

This may be one of the biggest scientific scandals since Hwang Woo-Suk. Despite research paper after research paper discrediting it (and I don't know how you count 12 as a viable sample size), this may finally be the thing to convincing people that the link is bogus. I'd like to see Wakefield face consequences but at this point I don't think it's possible for him to become a bigger pariah in science or medicine. Undoubtedly some will see this as a vast conspiracy between vaccine companies, Israel and the Unilever conglomerate to silence Wakefield because they're fucking insane. Also, 10 of the 13 original authors of the Lancet paper called for a retraction of it.
Sebastian Stan

Michelle Obama to Appear on Cover of Vogue

Michelle Obama is making history again – by becoming only the second president's wife to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine.

The newly-minted first lady was photographed by famed shooter Annie Leibovitz at the Hay-Adams Hotel, where the Obamas stayed before the Inauguration.

While nearly every first lady – beginning with Herbert Hoover's wife, Lou, in 1929 – has been photographed for the fashion bible, only Hillary Clinton was featured on the cover, in Dec. 1998, Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell tells PEOPLE.

In the March issue of the magazine, the cover of which will be released Wednesday, Obama is seen wearing a magenta dress by Jason Wu, who designed her inaugural gown, and also pictured in a black dress by designer Narciso Rodriguez, according to the Washington Post.

Future Plans
In the interview, Obama talks about getting used to Washington and her plans for being a first lady – and first mom. "I'm going to try to take [our two daughters] to school every morning – as much as I can," she says, according to the Post. "But there's also a measure of independence. And obviously there will be times I won't be able to drop them off at all. I like to be a presence in my kids' school. I want to know the teacher; I want to know the other parents."

As for why Vogue chose to feature Obama on the cover, the magazine's editor Anna Wintour writes, "Change was the clarion call of Barack Obama's election campaign, though I don't think any of us at Vogue initially realized that would include the difference that was going to be made by First Lady Michelle Obama's wardrobe ... It's inspiring to see our first lady so serene and secure in her personal style."

Source:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20258388,00.html


Thanks to winniechili</lj>   for the cover.
cookie monster
  • capthek

I now love Salma Hayek

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009 12:25 PST

Salma Hayek breast-feeds an African baby

While being filmed by a "Nightline" camera crew on a recent humanitarian mission in Sierra Leone, actress Salma Hayek came across the starving baby of a woman unable to breast-feed. What is an international sex symbol to do in such a situation? Why, pop out a breast on camera and nurse that baby, damn it. Top that, Angelina!
Of course, the footage has gone viral and parenting blogs are now asking mothers, "Would you do the same?" Hayek, who is still breast-feeding her 1-year-old daughter, explains her decision simply: "It's about women sticking together and we really need to help the children in any way we can." The trip was part of a Pampers' "One Pack = One Vaccine," which benefits UNICEF's fight against maternal and neonatal tetanus -- but, clearly, Hayek also managed to powerfully endorse the wonders of breast milk. "It is the best thing you can do for your child, not only the bonding, that's how you build the immune system, so in a [place] like Africa imagine how important it is for the mothers to do that," she said.

The video clip is so genuinely heartwarming, even the predictably sophomoric blog commentary ("I'd kill to be that baby!") fails to diminish it.

― Tracy Clark-Flory
&#39; jules
  • schmiss


Report: Fitzgerald To Stay On

When a new president comes in, he usually replaces all 93 US attorneys with his own nominees. But, in what could be bad news for Rod Blagojevich, at least one high-profile US Attorney won't be asked to step down, it looks like.

NBC News reports that Patrick Fitzgerald, the no-nonsense U.S. attorney for Chicago, will stay on under President Obama, despite being a Bush appointee.

Fitzgerald is preparing an indictment against the former Illinois governor. He also served as the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak case, in which Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury.

Collapse )

I believe my Blingee speaks for me.

Yay: The 3 Republicans

The 3 Republicans that voted Yay for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 aka the Stimulus Bill

Susan M. Collins (R-Maine)
Washington, D.C. Office: (202) 224-2523
Bangor Office: (207) 945-0417

Olympia J. Snowe  (R-Maine)
Washington, D.C. Office: (202) 224-2523
Bangor Office: (207) 945-0417

Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania)
Washington, D.C. Office: (202) 224-4254
Philadelphia Office: (215) 597-7200

Track your Senators' and Representative's votes by e-mail

Roll Call Votes, Source
Contact Info, Source
Zen Tree

Gates Orders Review of Policy on Soldiers’ Coffins

February 11, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested today that he was open to allowing the media to photograph the flag-draped coffins of fallen soldiers as their bodies and remains are returned to the United States.

"If the needs of the families can be met and the privacy concerns can be addressed, the more honor we can accord these fallen heroes, the better," Mr. Gates told reporters.

He said he was ordering a review of the military policy that bars photographers from taking pictures of the return of the coffins, most of which go through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and set a "short deadline" for a decision.

The military has said the policy is meant to protect the privacy of the families of the dead soldiers and maintain dignity. But skeptics, who include some families as well as opponents of the war in Iraq, say that the bodies in the returning coffins are not publicly identified, so privacy is not an issue, and that barring photographers is a political maneuver meant to sanitize the war.

Collapse )

Henrietta Hughes

Obama is asked for help; Remains awesome and gives a hug

Huffington Post:  Obama Is Asked For Help At Town Hall Meeting

President Obama went to Fort Myers, Florida Tuesday to highlight the desperate need for an economic recovery package. Unemployment in the area is up to 10 percent, from 2.3 percent this time in 2006, and the area's foreclosure rate of 12 percent is the highest in the nation.

One questioner in particular brought to life the dire situation. "I have an urgent need," she said, revealing that her family was homeless and needed a place to live. Obama asked for her name -- Henrietta Hughes -- and told her, "We're gonna do everything we can to help you ... I'll have my staff talk to you after the town hall."

There's embedded video on the source page

NOTE:  Beware the comments on the source page, as there be trolls thar!

Related story was published later on the Naples News site:

Homeless Woman Pleads to Obama for Help, Locals Step Up

A 61-year-old homeless woman found a little help at President Obama's town hall meeting on Tuesday.

Henrietta Hughes, 61, of Fort Myers, asked Obama for a home during the question-and-answer segment of the meeting. She and her son, Corey, 37, became homeless last spring after moving from New York City.

When they couldn't find a job, they lost their home and were forced to live out of a car.


Collapse )NOTE:  Beware the comments on the source page for this too, as there be even bigger trolls thar!

Btw, if you watch the video on the Huff Post, it's pretty tear-jerking.

&#39; jules
  • schmiss

The banks will look up and shout save us and I'll whisper... "k lol"

Administration Officials Met With Laughter At Bailout Briefing

Administration officials were greeted with sarcasm and laughter Monday night when they briefed lawmakers and congressional staff on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new financial-sector bailout project, according to people who were in the room.

The laughter was at its height when Obama officials explained that the White House planned to guarantee a wide swath of toxic assets -- which they referred to as "legacy assets" -- but wouldn't be asking Congress for money. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a bailout opponent in the fall, asked the officials to give Congress the total dollar figure for which they were on the hook. The officials said that they couldn't provide a number, a response met by chuckling that was bipartisan, but tilted toward the GOP side. By guaranteeing the assets, Geithner hopes he can persuade the private sector to purchase a portion of them.

Collapse )

The Rorschach plan (THIS ONE IS BY PAUL KRUGMAN, OK)

An old joke from my younger days: What do you get when you cross a Godfather with a deconstructionist? Someone who makes you an offer you can’t understand.

I found myself remembering that joke when trying to make sense of the Geithner financial rescue plan. It’s really not clear what the plan means; there’s an interpretation that makes it not too bad, but it’s not clear if that’s the right interpretation.

Collapse )
bartlet for america

Livni Ahead in Israeli Elections

Exit polls give Israel's Livni shock lead

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni led exit polls after Tuesday's parliamentary election but her Kadima party's two-seat lead over right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu left it too close to call who would be prime minister.

An overall rightward shift in parliament, however, is likely to dent the hopes of the Obama administration in Washington for a new Israeli coalition that can make major strides forward in making peace with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbors.

Whatever the final outcome, which could take until well into Wednesday to confirm, the poll findings suggested a dramatic triumph for the 50-year-old Livni, bidding to become Israel's first woman leader since Golda Meir in the 1970s, and a sharp rebuff to former premier Netanyahu, the long-time favorite.

His Likud party had seemed to be cruising to victory until Livni and her center-left coalition launched a three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip in late December that won popular support in Israel despite an international outcry over the 1,300 Palestinians killed in the Hamas-ruled enclave.

Exit polls on three Israeli television channels showed Kadima retaining around its present 29 seats in the 120-seat, single-chamber Knesset, with Likud two seats behind. At Kadima's campaign headquarters, Livni supporters cheered and danced.

However, some analysts noted that soldiers, whose votes could account for a couple of seats, had not been counted in exit polls and that could favor Netanyahu as tallying continues through into Wednesday.

One television station put the right-left split at 64 seats for the right to 56 for the left, which could deny Livni the premiership and persuade President Shimon Peres to ask Netanyahu to try to form a coalition government.


Overall, exit polls seemed to confirm a general rightward shift, including a surge for far-rightist Avigdor Lieberman, whose rise to 14 or 15 seats from his current 11 was seen by some analysts as a factor in Likud's poor showing.

Mark Heller, a strategic analyst at Tel Aviv University, said of Livni's strong performance: "It shows a lot of people were at the last minute frightened off by the idea of Netanyahu being prime minister.

"Netanyahu felt the right-wing parties nipping at his heels and he shifted his own focus to the right to head that off, and thereby lost some votes in the center."

As expected, no party secured more than a quarter of the 120 seats in parliament, ushering in several weeks of negotiations on forming a coalition government. About a dozen parties are expected to sit in the Knesset.

Peres, a former center-left prime minister who has largely symbolic powers, will nominate a legislator to try to form a government.

Traditionally, that has been the leader of parliament's largest party. It is possible, however, if smaller parties express a clear preference that Peres could nominate someone else.

moar at sauce (Reuters)

Woah, guys, this is huge! And my first post :) Whatever keeps the Avigdor Liebermann guy out of power is fine by me...