links for 2009-03-20

  • How great is the JournoList, that off-the-record electronic salon where liberal journalists and policy gurus can exchange views, and which is emphatically *not* an echo chamber?
  • It’s telling that for the Clintons, JFK defined politics, but for Obama, Ronald Reagan is the role model. Last year, Obama admitted to admiring the Gipper’s “transformative” leadership (though not his policies). Indeed, not only did Reagan restore confidence in the nation while reducing confidence in government, he put a stake in the heart of the “Vietnam syndrome” and the blame-America-first ethos of the Democratic Party. The Reagan Revolution moved the country durably to the right — so much so that even Democrats saw the writing on the wall. Obama wants to erase that writing.
    (tags: barack_obama)
  • Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner confirmed Thursday that the department did talk to Sen. Chris Dodd about a clause he put forth in the stimulus legislation that would have strictly limited executive bonuses.
  • Gov. Sarah Palin just told reporters that she’s accepting only 55 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska. The governor said that she will accept only about $514 million of the $930 million headed to the state.

    “We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government. We are not requesting more money for normal day-to-day operations of government as part of this economic stimulus package. In essence we say no to operating funds for more positions in government,” Palin said.

    The biggest single chunk of stimulus money that Palin is turning down is $160 million for education. There’s also $17 million in Department of Labor funds (vocational rehabilitation services, unemployment services, etc.), about $9 million for Health and Social Services and about $7 million for Public Safety. The full list and the specifics aren’t available from the governor’s budget department yet.

  • "We are all here today to make it really clear we are partners in the fight to put people back to work."

    Also thanks Obama for the "courageous leadership" he has shown in the past few months.

  • Well, how d’ya like that rebranded GOP now? The Taxinator, Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, welcomed Barack Obama to southern California with open arms this afternoon — praising his courage and extolling the porkulus package.

    Schwarzenegger has been busy taxing everything in sight in the once-Golden State, pouring fuel on the anti-Prop. 8 fire, and preparing to come begging for a federal handout. Is he angling for a job in the Obama administration or what?

    You want to know what “rebranding” the GOP looks like? Take a look at the basket case state of California and its Obama sycophant governor.

    “I’ll be back?”

    Let’s hope not.

  • There is no brand in Republican politics as powerful — or as tenuous — as that of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

    She is simultaneously the hottest commodity on the Republican fundraising circuit and a figure of ridicule among Democrats (and even many Independents) who believe that her status as a national figure is entirely undeserved.

    (tags: sarah_palin)
  • The Bean Walker confirmed that Iowa campaign operative Gentry Collins has been named political director of the Republican National Committee, in an announcement set for later today.

    Collins, who most recently served as the Midwest regional campaign manager for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 general election campaign, is viewed as a solid choice by Republican insiders.

    “Gentry Collins is a rising star, not just in Iowa, but in our party nationally,” said Iowa Republican strategist David Kochel. “His leadership skills, strategic insight and his commitment to Republican principles will help lead a resurgence of the Republican National Committee.”

  • Two senior U.S. commanders said Thursday that the military is ready if called upon to shoot down North Korea's planned rocket launch next month.

    The top U.S. commander in the Pacific, Adm. Timothy Keating, told senators at a hearing that there was a "high probability" that the United States could knock down a North Korean missile. Gen. Walter Sharp, the U.S. commander in South Korea, said the threat "is real."

    The comments come as North Korea reportedly prepares for what many believe will be a long-range missile test in early April. North Korea says it will launch a communications satellite, and defends the launch by saying other countries have been pursuing peaceful space programs.

  • Some top employees of American International Group Inc.'s disgraced Financial Products group have agreed to return hefty retention bonuses under mounting public outrage over $165 million in payouts to a unit that brought the insurer to its knees.
    (tags: AIG)
  • Did Dodd lie to CNN? Maybe. Or maybe he just didn't understand the question. Look, it's hard to have any sympathy for Dodd — the sweetheart mortgage deals, the Irish cottage, the self-righteous grandstanding, etc. And as for the policy at hand, I agree more with Geithner and Summers than Dodd. But as for the politics, this AIG thing is blowing up in Obama's face, and it looks an awful lot like his administration is trying to make Dodd the fall guy. I'm not so sure Republicans (or conservatives) should help.
  • On Hugh Hewitt's program Tuesday night, I was debating whether to make a splash and declare that former GOP Congressman Rob Simmons, who has declared that he's challenging Senator Chris Dodd, will be the next senator from the state of Connecticut. I declared Dodd to be "almost toast."
    (tags: Chris_Dodd AIG)
  • It took respected media analyst Rich Greenfield of Pali Research to uncover this staggering scheme (registration required). He found out that Bank of America was helping families to see Monsters vs Aliens in 3-D rather than 2-D at no additional cost when it starts playing in theaters on Friday, March 27th. And at the same time helping out the box office grosses of Katzenberg's DreamWorks Animation, a publicly traded company.
  • As he empathized with recession-weary Americans, President Obama arranged in the days just before he took office to secure a $500,000 advance for a children's book project, a disclosure report shows.

    The terms of the book deal were disclosed in a Senate financial disclosure report filed Tuesday.

    Analysts say there don't appear to be any rules that would bar such transactions after a president takes office, but it's unclear whether an incoming or sitting president has ever signed a book deal upon entering the White House.

    (tags: barack_obama)
  • President Barack Obama and his West Wing lieutenants are playing on the world's largest stage, yet act as if no one is watching them when they contradict their campaign promises. That behavior is unwittingly giving the Republicans an opening.

    For example, Team Obama thinks the president, having spent a good portion of the campaign decrying the $2.9 trillion in deficits during the Bush years, can now double the national debt held by the public in 10 years. Having condemned earmarks during the campaign, the Obama administration now believes it can wave through 8,500 of them in the omnibus-spending bill, part of the biggest spending increase since World War II.

  • Some of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners could be released into the United States while others could be put on trial in the American court system, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday.

    Holder, who was chosen by President Barack Obama to lead the administration's efforts to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba within a year, said the review of what to do with each of the prisoners had begun.