Do you approve of the way Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing his job?
Do you approve of the way President Barack Obama is doing his job?
On the heels of today?s reports that Delta and United lost a combined $1 billion, the airline industry is renewing its call for better management of the sky.
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Glenn Beck was able to keep a dry eye earlier today when he offered up a new-to-me conspiracy theory about gay marriage, that it’s really about ?going into churches and attacking churches… Then you also have to go into the schools.? His guest for the segment was Megyn ?I love to hate people of color? [...]
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Like many progressives, I’ve been laughing a lot about the GOP’s tea-bagging antitaxation demonstrations planned for tomorrow. But childish jokes aside, here’s why these protests are so insidious. They will provide a staged, corporate lobbyist-sponsored moment for Republicans and Fox News personalities to amplify their specious objections to President Obama’s tax increase for [...]
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I guess at some point it was possible to think that Dick Cheney only 'lied' about things that his paranoid fantasies convinced him were true. Or that he only 'lied' about things that the higher Orwellian calling of the state convinced him needed to be[...]
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Too often a tedious standoff between the somnolent/dry and the grandstanding/gratuitous, Congressional hearings about the financial crisis have nevertheless produced a few moments of existential clarity. (We refer, obviously, to the time in December when Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings asked Neel Kashkari if he was a "chump", which was surely a question on the lips of anyone who had glimpsed the then-TARP overseer's high school yearbook photos.)
But Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's appearance before a the TARP oversight panel this morning yielded a similarly exchange when AFL-CIO General Counsel Damon Silvers dared to accuse Geithner of being a "banker":
video details and more
Partial transcript after the jump.
"I'm a lawyer and you're a banker," Silvers said at one point during a disagreement over the way the public's exposure to risk was being presented in a chart.A large part of Geithner's ineffectiveness, as New York magazine explained last month, seems rooted in the fact that both Wall Street and Main Street seem to think he's playing for the other team:
Geithner interrupted: "I've always been in public service," he said. Silvers went on, "But you were a banker."
"I've never been a banker," Geithner said. The secretary has worked in the public sector for just about all of his career, serving in the Treasury Department across three administrations, working for the IMF and his most recent job as head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Perhaps Silvers meant that Geithner had been a central banker?
Silvers' time for questioning had run out as the issue was being resolved. But former Sen. John Sununu took it up as his time began. "I'd never confuse you for an investment banker," Sununu said.
Geithner responded: "I don't think you meant that as a compliment, but I'll take it that way."
To some in the White House, the sight of the financial world turning hard against Geithner is curious, even baffling. What the Obamans thought they were getting in him was Wall Street's guy. "They don't get it," says one name-brand Democratic banker. "Geithner was a $500,000-a-year guy. He was the regulator. People knew him, liked him fine, but he was never a member of the club."Former Bear Stearns chairman, of course, Jimmy Cayne is slightly less diplomatic on the subject of the Treasury Secretary, who oversaw the failure of his bank:
"The audacity of that prick in front of the American people announcing he was deciding whether or not a firm of this stature and this whatever was good enough to get a loan," he said. "Like he was the determining factor, and it's like a flea on his back, floating down underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, getting a hard-on, saying, 'Raise the bridge.' This guy thinks he's got a big dick. He's got nothing, except maybe a boyfriend. I'm not a good enemy. I'm a very bad enemy. But certain things really--that bothered me plenty. It's just that for some clerk to make a decision based on what, your own personal feeling about whether or not they're a good credit? Who the fuck asked you? You're not an elected officer. You're a clerk. Believe me, you're a clerk. I want to open up on this fucker, that's all I can tell you."But if Geithner can create common ground between Jimmy Cayne and Liz Warren, maybe they're just keeping him around to dispatch to southern Afghanistan.
The Administration is coming up to that magical 100-day mark, at which point measures are taken of how a new president is doing. As a university professor I'm accustomed to giving grades. So here's my report card on Obamanomics so far:
The 10-year budget gets an A. It's an extraordinary vision of what America can and should become, including universal health insurance and environmental protections against climate change. And the budget takes a little bit more from the rich and gives a little bit more back to the poor and lower middle class, which seems appropriate given that the income gap is wider than it's been since the 1920s. I'd give the budget an A plus except for its far-too-rosy economic projections.
The stimulus package gets a B. Good as far as it goes but doesn't go nearly far enough. $787 billion over two years sounds like a lot of stimulus. But the economy is operating at about a trillion and a half dollars below its capacity this year alone. And considering that the states are cutting services and increasing taxes to the tune of $350 billion over this year and next, the stimulus is even smaller.
The last grade is for the bank bailouts. I give them an F. I'm a big fan of this administration, but I've got to be honest. The bailouts are failing. So far American taxpayers have shoveled out almost $600 billion. Yet the banks are lending less money than they did five months ago. Bank executives are still taking home princely sums, their toxic assets and non-performing loans are growing, and the banks are still cooking their books. And now the Treasury is talking about converting taxpayer dollars into bank equity, which exposes taxpayers to even greater losses.
So that's the report card. An A on the budget, B on the stimulus, and F on the bailout. On the whole (given how I weigh grades) that gives Obamanomics a C-plus. Not bad given the magnitude of the problems Obama inherited. But by the same token, not nearly good enough.
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President Obama today:
On the one hand, we have very real enemies out there. And we rely on some very courageous people -- not just in our military, but also in the Central Intelligence Agency -- to help protect the American people. And they have to make some very difficult decisions because, as I mentioned yesterday, they are confronted with an enemy that doesn't have scruples, isn't constrained by Constitutions, is not constrained by legal niceties.
Having said that, the OLC memos that were released reflected, in my view, us losing our moral bearings. That's why I've discontinued those enhanced-interrogation programs. For those who carried out these operations within the four corners of legal opinions, or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it's appropriate for them to be prosecuted. With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General, within the parameters of various laws. And I don't want to prejudge that.
As the New York Times notes, he went on to seemingly encourage Congress to get involved:
Mr. Obama, who has been saying that the nation should look ahead rather than focusing on the past, said he is ?not suggesting? that a commission be established.
But in response to questions from reporters in the Oval Office, he said, ?if and when there needs to be a further accounting,? he hoped that Congress would examine ways to obtain one ?in a bipartisan fashion,? from people who are independent and therefore can build credibility with the public.
Obviously, Obama's not keen about this because he's focused on moving forward with his political agenda, and he's afraid a partisan fight over holding Republicans accountable for their lawbreaking during the Bush years will derail that.
In other words, it will take courage. We'll be watching to see how much he actually possesses.
Miss California is now hitting the TV circuit, trying to blame "the gays" for her loss at the all-important Miss USA competition. You see, she was one of the top five finalists, and she was asked a question about gay marriage. She said she's against it. She ended up not wining. And now, she's all over TV whining about how her bigotry cost her the crown.
Okay, first off, it's a stupid beauty pageant. Nobody cares.
Second, clearly no one lectured Miss Bull Connor about the importance of losing gracefully. Whining on national TV, on show after show, about how your crown was stolen, is real poor form.
And finally, she may be the only one who thinks she was destined to win. Here's Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times:
[W]e saw headlines on Monday such as, "Miss California Sparks Furor With Gay Marriage Comments on Miss USA Telecast," and, "Miss California Sparks Outrage over Gay Marriage Remarks."Rest assured that Miss California will become the next religious right spokesman for hate. And that's the day she will truly be mocked mercilessly. (It's no longer safe in America for blonde bimbos to be bigots!)
Really? We're getting worked up over this? Because that hot blond woman in the white bikini didn't issue an articulate, passionate defense of gay marriage? (Not that hot blond girls in white bikinis aren't issuing passionate statements on all the major issues of the day even as we speak.)
It's great fun and column fodder to dissect these videos, but not for a moment should anyone seriously give a flying tiara about what a pageant contestant believes about the pressing issues of the day.
As far as wacky answers go, the winner for the night wasn't Miss California. Hands down, it was Miss Arizona.