links for 2009-06-02

  • If President Obama ever calls Joe Sestak with a request to exit the 2010 Senate race in Pennsylvania, the congressman already has an answer: no.

    In an interview on Fox News Radio this morning, the Democrat, who's a more-than-likely primary challenger to newly minted Democrat Arlen Specter, said his final decision hinges on Pennsylvanians, not the leader of the free world.

    "So I will have to defer to the president's desire and say, I think that Mr. President, I have great respect for you, but . . . don't preclude any opportunities for us Pennsylvanians," Sestak said. "And I need to do this."

  • A group called says it will publicize the names of people signing petitions for Referendum 71, which seeks a public vote to overturn a new expansion of Washington's same-sex partnerships. says it's partnering with the gay rights group to put the names online.

    In a statement Monday, says it expects people who see the names online to contact the signers for what may be uncomfortable talks about gay rights.

    Sponsors of Referendum 71 have until July 25 to collect about 121,000 signatures to make the fall ballot. The referendum seeks to overturn the latest expansion of the domestic partner law, which would give partners the same state rights as married couples.

    (tags: gay_politics)
  • ESSENCE.COM: What do you think of Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court nominee?
    ANITA HILL: I think it's an excellent choice, just on the face of the selection. Here's a person who has years of experience on the bench, and has distinguished herself in private practice as well, and has been a prosecutor. I think she's got an incredible breadth of experience. Clearly she's an exceptional mind, having done very well at her undergraduate school, Princeton, and law school at Yale. But that's just the beginning. There are other things that I think make her a great choice.
  • Occasionally, we try to prove or disprove the trope that men read Playboy for the incisive articles. Today, having read Guy Cimbalo's epic work on the 10 conservative women he'd like to hate-fuck, we're guessing not too many men even care.

    Because it's not as if Cimbalo does anything in his piece but slag on these women for having the audacity to be attractive, conservative, opinionated and loud about those opinions. In other words, if he didn't agree with us mouthy liberal broads, he wouldn't want to fuck us either, and apparently prefers his women quiet and agreeable. And that – no matter what your politics are – is just gross.

    For instance, on Michelle Malkin, he opines:

    Worse than fucking Eva Braun.

    (tags: PlayBoy)
  • Playboy has concocted a list of GOP women they "hate to love."

    "So Right, It's Wrong," they say.

    And the list is:

    1. Michelle Malkin

    2. Megyn Kelly

    3. Mary Katharine Ham

    4. Amanda Carpenter

    5. Elisabeth Hasselbeck

    6. Dana Perino

    7. Laura Ingraham

    8. Pamela Geller

    9. Michele Bachmann

    10. Peggy Noonan

    (tags: PlayBoy)
  • White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is declining to say what it cost for President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to eat dinner and take in a play in New York over the weekend.

    Asked if he would outline the costs, Gibbs said Monday the Obamas would have preferred using a commercial airline shuttle to New York and back but the Secret Service would not allow such unprotected travel.

  • Nancy Reagan told Vanity Fair that Obama missed an opportunity when she wasn't invited to a March ceremony where Obama said he'd allow comprehensive stem-cell research — but that the commander in chief later apologized for the oversight.

    “I would have gone, and you know I don’t like to travel,” said Reagan, 87, a well-known stem-cell advocate. “Politically it would have been a good thing for him to do.

    "Oh, well, nobody’s perfect," she said.

    It isn't the first time Obama's insulted the former first lady — he cracked a joke in November 2008 about Reagan's reported consultations with astrologers during her time in the White House.

    "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances," Obama joked on November 7 at a press conference. Obama later apologized for his "careless and off-handed remark."

  • New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) insisted over the weekend that he has no plans to challenge Gov. David Paterson (D) in a primary, reports the New York Daily News.

    Cuomo said his "plan" is to run for reelection next year even though most analysts assume he wants to be governor.

    Perhaps Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) knew something about this?

    Update: Politicker NY reports Cuomo promised Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) that he would not run against Paterson.

  • Katie Couric, in her commencement speech today at Princeton, made a few jokes at the expense of Rush Limbaugh, Donald Rumsfeld and Sarah Palin.
    – When Princeton called to invite me, I was thrilled. It also gave me a perfect excuse for turning down Harvard and Yale — my safety schools! And since I’ve been called a cougar lately in the tabloid press — today I’m very happy to be an honorary tiger! Coming here was a real no-brainer! After all, I can see New Jersey from my house!

    – There may be some opportunities in the Republican Party. They’re still looking for an effective spokesman, and the only person they can find so far is Rush Limbaugh … and he won’t take the job because he doesn’t want to give up his prescription plan.

  • Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s comments last month to RNC state chairmen calling for the party to turn the corner “on regret, recrimination, self-pity and self-doubt” and to declare “an end to the era of Republicans looking backward” weren’t ill-advised or inappropriate. They were just irrelevant.
    That’s because the chairman of the RNC simply doesn’t have the authority or power to dictate to Republican Congressional leaders or to the Club for Growth how to behave. Nor can he tell talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former Secretary of State Colin Powell or former Vice President Dick Cheney what they can say and how they can say it.
    Republicans are a mess right now for one reason: They are focused on what divides them from each other rather than on what unites them in their opposition to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
  • Senate Democrats are pressing ahead with ambitious plans to bring health care reform to the floor in July, vowing not to allow President Barack Obama’s push to quickly confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court to steer them off course.

    Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) are both committed to marking up separate health care bills in their committees this month. Both veteran Democrats have planned a series of hearings and Senator-only meetings to settle on the policies that will comprise the legislation.

  • Ensign’s trip to Iowa on Monday continues to stoke speculation that the rising conservative leader is testing for a presidential run in 2012.

    Ensign will speak before a conservative organization in Republican-friendly Sioux City, and make a few other stops. He admits he has thought about being president — what politician hasn’t? — he recently suggested to an interviewer.

    Republicans are desperately in search of new leaders as they work to rebuild the party. Ensign offers conservative credentials and a TV-ready fresh face. He has been a regular presence this year on the political news shows.

    (tags: john_ensign)
  • While 99 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds have profiles on social networks, only 22 percent use Twitter, according to a new survey from Pace University and the Participatory Media Network.

    This is consistent with what some observers have said about Twitter's recent push from early-adopter territory into the mainstream: that it's catching on with a slightly older demographic than the teenagers and college students who formed Facebook's initial core.
    But of those young people using Twitter, the survey found that 85 percent of them follow friends, 54 percent follow celebrities, 29 percent follow family members, and 29 percent follow companies–not stellar news for the brands and marketers that have flocked to Twitter as the latest "conversational" destination.

    (tags: Twitter)
  • For Air America Radio, Evan Montvel-Cohen is the story that just won't go away. As co-founder of the liberal talk radio network, his tenure was marked by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club Scandal, where $875,000 in taxpayer funds were diverted from the Bronx-based children's charity in order to pay the salaries of Al Franken and others inside the fledgling firm.
    Though there's no indication Franken took part in the scheme, he clearly benefitted from it, but expressed no remorse, much less any desire to repay the money.
  • When his show airs tomorrow, Bill O'Reilly will most certainly decry the death of Kansas doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday while attending church services with his wife. Tiller, O'Reilly will say, was a man who was guilty of barbaric acts, but a civilized society does not resort to lawless murder, even against its worst members. And O'Reilly, we can assume, will genuinely mean this.

    But there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

  • As it happened, plenty of people in the Senate were begging Obama to offer Clinton the job. Obama's aides believed that many Senate Democrats thought Clinton had extended her presidential campaign far beyond the point where she had lost the election. Her negative advertising wasted Democratic money, threatened to undermine the party's nominee, and suggested that she was disloyal to the party. They were unwilling to offer the junior New York senator a position ahead of her lowly rank, and she stood little chance of becoming majority leader. 'There was a lot of encouragement from inside the Senate to get her into this job,' said one senior Obama aide. 'They wanted her out of there.'"