CNN reports that adult film star Stormy Daniels may be considering a Senate run against Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). Vitter, who was involved in the D.C. Madam prostitution ring, prides himself as being conservative on social issues. When asked about a possible senate run against Vitter, Daniels took a swipe at Vitter:
“I don’t see how I can possibly embarrass him more than he already embarrassed himself…Honestly, I?m not sure I?m willing to take the pay cut that comes with being a senator.”
This year, an ad appeared on Craigslist seeking “a female in some aspect of the adult-entertainment industry” to run against Vitter, reports Max Blumenthal.
I thought this exchange at today's town-hall session in Elkhart with President Obama signified another real change he brings to the presidency. It was revealed not so much in its content but in that it occurred at all:
Q Thank you. My question is, you have -- my name is Tara. You have come to our county and asked us to trust you, but those that you have appointed to your Cabinet are not trustworthy and can't handle their own budget and taxes.
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, this is a legitimate -- this is a legitimate question.
Q So I'm one of those that thinks you need to have a beer with Sean Hannity. So tell me why, from my side, we can understand --
THE PRESIDENT: No, that's okay. That's okay. No, no, look, I think it was a perfectly legitimate question.
First of all, I appoint -- I've appointed hundreds of people, all of whom are outstanding Americans who are doing a great job. There are a couple who had problems before they came into my administration in terms of -- in terms of their taxes. Look -- and I think this is a legitimate criticism that people have made, because you can't expect one set of folks to not pay their taxes when everybody else is paying theirs. So I think that's a legitimate concern. (Applause.)
I will tell you that the individuals at issue here, I know them personally, and I think these were honest mistakes. And I made sure they were honest mistakes beforehand. And one of the things I discovered is if you're not going to appoint anybody whose ever made a mistake in your [sic] life, then you're not going to have anybody taking your job. So -- (applause) --
But having said that, what I did acknowledge -- and I said it publicly on just about every TV station -- is something that you probably sometimes don't hear from politicians, which is: I made a mistake. (Applause.) And that, because I don't want to send the signal that they're two sets of rules.
Now, understand, though, I think something that should also be mentioned is that we've set up an unprecedented set of ethics rules in my White House where we are not -- we are not -- everybody will acknowledge that we have set up the highest standard ever for lobbyists not working in the administration; people who work in my administration aren't going to be able to go out the revolving door and start working for some lobbying firm and lobbying the White House. Republicans and Democrats have acknowledged that there's a very high bar that we've set for ourselves. We have not been perfect, but we are changing the culture in Washington and it's going to take some time.
Now, with respect to Sean Hannity, I didn't know that he had invited me for a beer. (Laughter.) But I will take that under advisement. (Laughter.) Generally, his opinion of me does not seem to be very high -- (laughter) -- but I'm always good for a beer, so -- (laughter and applause.)
Anyone remember the Potemkin Village quality of George W. Bush's "town hall" appearances? How everyone was prescreened, and uncomfortable or difficult questions -- let alone questions posed by someone from the other side of the political aisle -- were never ever EVER asked?
I think there are good reasons to question a lot of what Obama's done so far. But it's clear he's not going to be living in the little bubble conservatives built around George W. Bush for his tenure.
Hannity, FWIW, hopped on the phone and told his Fox colleagues he'd be buying:
Ali Frick at Think Progress has more.
This is an open thread for President Obama's first prime-time press conference.In addition to[...]
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Via Grits for Breakfast:
You're a lot more likely to wind up in a federal prison if you're arrested on a drug charge, according to the US Sentencing Commission, than you are for engaging in larceny, fraud, or white collar crime. According to a new report by the USSC titled "Alternative Sentencing in the Federal Criminal Justice System" (pdf), a whopping 92% of drug convictions resulted in a prison sentence, compared to 39% of convictions for larceny, 60% of convictions for fraud, and just 57% of convictions for white collar crime.
There should be more alternative sentences for everyone, whether convicted of theft or drugs, since by themselves, both are non-violent crimes. (If violence is involved, jail is always available as an option.) The point is, as Law Prof Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy notes, there's hope in the Sentencing Commission's final paragraph:
Effective alternative sanctions are important options for federal, state, and local criminal justice systems. For the appropriate offenders, alternatives to incarceration can provide a substitute for costly incarceration. Ideally, alternatives also provide those offenders opportunities by diverting them from prison (or reducing time spent in prison) and into programs providing the life skills and treatment necessary to become law-abiding and productive members of society.
Opening Remarks of President Barack Obama-As Prepared For Delivery
First Presidential Press Conference
The White House
Monday, February 9th, 2009
Good evening. Before I take your questions tonight, I’d like to speak briefly about the state of our economy and why I believe we need to put this recovery plan in motion as soon as possible.
I took a trip to Elkhart, Indiana today. Elkhart is a place that has lost jobs faster than anywhere else in America. In one year, the unemployment rate went from 4.7% to 15.3%. Companies that have sustained this community for years are shedding jobs at an alarming speed, and the people who’ve lost them have no idea what to do or who to turn to. They can’t pay their bills and they’ve stopped spending money. And because they’ve stopped spending money, more businesses have been forced to lay off more workers. Local TV stations have started running public service announcements that tell people where to find food banks, even as the food banks don’t have enough to meet the demand.
As we speak, similar scenes are playing out in cities and towns across the country. Last Monday, more than 1,000 men and women stood in line for 35 firefighter jobs in Miami. Last month, our economy lost 598,000 jobs, which is nearly the equivalent of losing every single job in the state of Maine. And if there’s anyone out there who still doesn’t believe this constitutes a full-blown crisis, I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside down because they don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from.
That is why the single most important part of this Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is the fact that it will save or create up to 4 million jobs. Because that is what America needs most right now.
It is absolutely true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth. That is and must be the role of the private sector. But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life. It is only government that can break the vicious cycle where lost jobs lead to people spending less money which leads to even more layoffs. And breaking that cycle is exactly what the plan that’s moving through Congress is designed to do.
When passed, this plan will ensure that Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own can receive greater unemployment benefits and continue their health care coverage. We will also provide a $2,500 tax credit to folks who are struggling to pay the cost of their college tuition, and $1000 worth of badly-needed tax relief to working and middle-class families. These steps will put more money in the pockets of those Americans who are most likely to spend it, and that will help break the cycle and get our economy moving.
But as we learned very clearly and conclusively over the last eight years, tax cuts alone cannot solve all our economic problems – especially tax cuts that are targeted to the wealthiest few Americans. We have tried that strategy time and time again, and it has only helped lead us to the crisis we face right now.
That is why we have come together around a plan that combines hundreds of billions in tax cuts for the middle-class with direct investments in areas like health care, energy, education, and infrastructure – investments that will save jobs, create new jobs and new businesses, and help our economy grow again – now and in the future.
More than 90% of the jobs created by this plan will be in the private sector. These will not be make-work jobs, but jobs doing the work that America desperately needs done. Jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, and repairing our dangerously deficient dams and levees so that we don’t face another Katrina. They will be jobs building the wind turbines and solar panels and fuel-efficient cars that will lower our dependence on foreign oil, and modernizing a costly health care system that will save us billions of dollars and countless lives. They’ll be jobs creating 21st century classrooms, libraries, and labs for millions of children across America. And they’ll be the jobs of firefighters, teachers, and police officers that would otherwise be eliminated if we do not provide states with some relief.
After many weeks of debate and discussion, the plan that ultimately emerges from Congress must be big enough and bold enough to meet the size of the economic challenge we face right now. It is a plan that is already supported by businesses representing almost every industry in America; by both the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. It contains input, ideas, and compromises from both Democrats and Republicans. It also contains an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability, so that every American will be able to go online and see where and how we’re spending every dime. What it does not contain, however, is a single pet project, and it has been stripped of the projects members of both parties found most objectionable.
Despite all of this, the plan is not perfect. No plan is. I can’t tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans. My administration inherited a deficit of over $1 trillion, but because we also inherited the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression, doing too little or nothing at all will result in an even greater deficit of jobs, incomes; and confidence. That is a deficit that could turn a crisis into a catastrophe. And I refuse to let that happen. As long as I hold this office, I will do whatever it takes to put this country back to work.
I want to thank the members of Congress who’ve worked so hard to move this plan forward, but I also want to urge all members of Congress to act without delay in the coming week to resolve their differences and pass this plan.
We find ourselves in a rare moment where the citizens of our country and all countries are watching and waiting for us to lead. It is a responsibility that this generation did not ask for, but one that we must accept for the sake of our future and our children’s. The strongest democracies flourish from frequent and lively debate, but they endure when people of every background and belief find a way to set aside smaller differences in service of a greater purpose. That is the test facing the United States of America in this winter of our hardship, and it is our duty as leaders and citizens to stay true to that purpose in the weeks and months ahead. After a day of speaking with and listening to the fundamentally decent men and women who call this nation home, I have full faith and confidence that we can. And with that, I’ll take your questions.
The Iraqi National List in Wasit Province has announced that it "rejects" the preliminary vote tallies announced by the Iraqi Higher Elections Commission and has demanded an "immediate investigation" with international participation into the results of the local elections.
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Yankees star Alex Rodriguez admitted to ESPN today he used steroids from 2001 to 2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers.
The news tonight reports this is very sad and will adversely impact his career forever. It's not deterring the University of Miami from naming a baseball complex after him: [More...]
Rodriguez is still expected to attend an event Friday at the University of Miami, which is renaming its baseball field in his honor. He gave $3.9 million to the school in 2003, the largest gift ever to the Hurricanes' baseball program and money that provided much of the resources needed for renovating the existing on-campus stadium. In return, the baseball complex will be called Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park.
Despite the scandal, the facility will continue to bear Rodriguez's name, a university official told AP on Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitive nature.
Derek Jeter says the team is standing behind Alex.
We first created FOX Attacks Black America two years ago in an effort to illustrate FOX’s penchant for airing bigoted views. Not only do they bring on racist guests, but some of the most inflammatory remarks come from African Americans guests like Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson–FOX’s insidious attempt to lend credence to their racial [...]
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Hays lost a great soul last week, and I lost a dear friend. Donald ?Duck? Smith died at home with[...]
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Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability — resoundingly and disgracefully — Two weeks ago, I interviewed the ACLU's Ben Wizner, counsel to 5 individuals suing the subsidiary of Boeing (Jeppesen) which had arranged the Bush administration's rendition program …