Are Earmarks Defensible?
As we were leaving, Mr. Obama asked, "How's Gibbs doing?"
"Great," came the reply. "Not too bad."
Mr. Obama's advice to the press: "Take whacks at him."
The current rule in the senate is that you must have 60 votes to pass a bill, but the Senate can also change that to require a simple majority of 50. Eight moderate Democrats have indicated that they won't support that change, as Steve Benen explains: "The Senate Democratic caucus may have 58 members, but finding Republicans willing to break filibusters is about as challenging as keeping Dems from breaking ranks and undermining the administration's agenda. Democrats want to pass EFCA, but Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) is a problem. They want to change U.S. policy towards Cuba, but Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is a problem. They want to expand Pell Grants, but Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is a problem. They want to finally produce a real progressive budget that changes the way the federal government works, but a wide variety of "centrist" Democrats are a problem.
When Speaker Pelosi quietly complains about the Senate caucus, this is what she's talking about."
Sarah Palin had campaigned against earmarks and promoted that she was a reformer. Back in Alaska, she has promoted a Democratic judge to the Alaskan Supreme Court. But what about the $143.9 million in earmarks for Alaska that were in the recently passed omnibus appropriations bill? Will she accept them? Of course she will, and none of them were singled out by John McCain on his recent pork list, among them: "$475,000 to construct a "heritage center" in the Chilkat Indian Village; $150,000 to support private industry participation in two international fishery groups; $200,000 for investigating and prosecuting bootlegging; $200,000 for researching the king crab; and $855,000 for building fairgrounds."
So, what's George W Bush up to these days? According to Politico, he's trying to raise $300 million for his presidential library: "Friends say that besides writing his memoirs and embarking on a lucrative international speaking tour, Bush plans to stay active in such signature issues as combating AIDS and malaria in Africa, and supporting the families of fallen soldiers.
Groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center is scheduled for the fall of 2010, with the grand opening expected in the spring of 2013. The center will have three parts — a library, where Bush’s papers will be stored; a museum of exhibits; and a policy institute, with plans for such novel programs as conversations with retired international leaders about their time in office. " This seems like he is copying what Leon Panetta did in Monterey, California...
"General Motors says they won't need the $2 billion bailout money after all. Apparently they're getting great returns with some guy named Madoff." -- Craig Ferguson
"The judge sent Madoff straight to jail. He said do not pass go, do not collect $200. Although Madoff said, 'I could turn that $200 into $400.'" -- Craig Ferguson
"Madoff's victims thought they were making nice, safe investments. Now I'm certainly not blaming them, but maybe they should've been tipped off by the guy's name. 'Made-off.' That's like giving your money to a guy called 'Steve Criminal.'" -- Craig Ferguson
"I got kind of a moral dilemma here. Do you think, and be honest about this, do you think it's too soon for me to hit on Bernie Madoff's wife?" -- David Letterman
"Bernie and his wife Ruth want to keep $69 million. They said that's not money they swindled. That's just money they had laying around. That's money they saved by switching to Geico." -- David Letterman
"New York state is considering a tax every time you go into a strip club. A $10 tax every time you go into a strip club. For example, in my case, it would be, well, like what's 365 times 10, what would that be?" -- David Letterman
"Bristol Palin and Levi Johnson have broken up. That's right. That's right. And apparently it was not that big a surprise. Even the Russians saw it coming." -- David Letterman
"I think secretly, Rush Limbaugh wanted them to fail." -- David Letterman
"But right about now, Sarah Palin is in a helicopter hunting for the boyfriend with her rifle." -- David Letterman
"Well, Bernard Madoff pled guilty today in court for running a Ponzi scheme, was immediately taken to jail. Get this, when he was taken to jail, he wasn't wearing a wedding ring. So, you know what that means, guys. In prison, he's available." -- Jay Leno
"President Obama said we have let our schools crumble and other nations are outpacing us in learning. But the good news, we're still No. 1 in the number of students sleeping with their teachers. So, yeah!" -- Jay Leno
"Another big bailout yesterday. Levi Johnson bailed out of his engagement to Sarah Palin's daughter. It's now officially confirmed that Bristol Palin has broken off her engagement to Levi Johnson, the father of her baby. Yeah. See, their relationship never evolved because they don't believe in evolution." -- Jay Leno
"Give you an idea of how bad the economy is. Rush Limbaugh down to just three meals a day. That's how bad it is." -- Jay Leno
"President Bush's first speech on the lecture circuit is June 17 in Pennsylvania. President Bush will discuss his eight years in office and the challenges facing us in the 21st century. Of course, the biggest challenge, getting over his eight years in office." -- Jay Leno
"Former presidential candidate John Edwards spoke to Brown University last night to a crowd of 600 people. I think the topic was 'From Hair to Paternity.'" -- Jay Leno
"He spoke to the students at Brown about poverty and morals. Yeah, and who better to lecture young people about poverty and morals than a rich personal injury attorney who knocked up his mistress?" -- Jay Leno
"Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to all charges and is now in jail. That's it. It's been a really busy day for him. He got an orange jumpsuit. He met his new cell mate. And he's converted to Islam." -- Jimmy Fallon
"Sarah Palin's teenage daughter, Bristol, she broke up with her fiance, Levi Johnston. Yeah. But today they announced they're recording a duet together." -- Jimmy Fallon
"The journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush was convicted on Thursday in an Iraqi court. He was sentenced to three years of non-stop high-fives." -- Jimmy Fallon