Indicating the “depth of subprime losses and housing woes,” the “Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 300 points” today, “bringing its decline to 15 percent since its peak in October.” “Basically every day now, you have more and more investors leaning toward the camp that yes, this is going to be a recession, and it could be a severe one,” said David Kovacs, a quantitative investment strategist at Turner Investment Partners in Pennsylvania.
In a House Oversight Committee hearing today, it was revealed that retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks “was paid $100,000 to endorse a veterans charity that watchdog groups say is ripping off donors and wounded veterans by using only a small portion of the money raised for veterans services.” The charities were graded “F” by the American Institute of Philanthropy because so little of the money is used for actual charity projects or services.
Today, CREW and Media Matters sent a letter to CNN President Jonathan Klein requesting that former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, a central figure in the Jack Abramoff scandal “with a deep bias against one of the major Republican candidates,” no longer be part of CNN’s political coverage. The letter reads:
If asked, most people would probably agree that “the best political team on television” would not include a person with a tenuous relationship with the truth and a well-known enmity toward a particular candidate. As Mr. Reed is, indeed, just such a person, CNN has no business including Mr. Reed as part of its hyped political team in future presidential news coverage.
Here’s The Table on Mike Bloomberg’s inane quest for the presidency:
That’s it for this taping, but there’ll be more to come.
CTV in Canada reported yesterday that it had “obtained documents that put Guantanamo Bay on a torture watch list” created by the Canadian government. The list is part of a “torture awareness workshop” that tells diplomats where to watch for abuse:
The list includes Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. But surprisingly, it also included the United States, Guantanamo Bay, and Israel.
It notes specific “U.S. interrogation techniques,” which include “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.” The U.S. has repeatedly denied allegations by international groups that it tortures prisoners captured in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. However, U.S. officials have refused to comment on the Canadian list.
(HT: Andrew Sullivan)
The courts have ruled that the at-large caucus sites for shift workers in casinos on the Vegas strip are legal. The Clinton team’s nominal complaint that this procedure still makes it very difficult for other shift workers to vote is accurate, but of course their proposed remedy of making it harder for casino workers to vote is no remedy at all. Caucuses are, in general, an abomination but working to make them even less democratic doesn’t help anything.
According to George W. Bush, Egypt is making progress toward “greater political openness.” That’s, um, not true.
I’m not sure there’s very much the US government can or should do, in practice, to push Egypt into becoming a democracy. And, certainly, I grasp the pragmatic need to get along with governments willing to get along with us. But I don’t really understand why this need is pragmatically construed as the need to lie and pretend to believe that Hosni Mubarak is moving his country toward democracy when everyone knows that he’s cracking down on the opposition and trying to install his son as the next pharaoh. The schizophrenia of American policy — invading Iraq to spread the flame of democracy, and then spinning on Mubarak’s behalf in Cairo; between demonizing Hugo Chavez as a totalitarian menace and then hanging out with Saudi officials at the president’s vacation home — is really absurd.
The idea that these tin pot dictators would somehow turn on us if we didn’t kiss their assess doesn’t hold much water. We need Saudi oil, and the Saudis need our money. We have interests that can be advanced through collaboration with the government of Egypt and the government of Egypt has interests that can be advanced through cooperation with our government. The pretense that every country we have a dispute with is run by the New Hitler while every country we opportunistically ally with is run by a Bold Reformer is incredibly dumb and something a grownup country ought to be able to move past.
The White House is currently under fire for allegations that it violated the Presidential Records Act by failing to archive official e-mails. Facing a court order, the White House yesterday acknowledged that it recycled its “backup computer tapes of e-mail before October 2003,” raising the possibility that many messages “have been taped over and are gone forever.”
Yet when asked about the missing e-mails in today’s White House press briefing, spokesman Tony Fratto inexplicably tried to claim that the White House has “absolutely no reason to believe that any e-mails are missing.” He argued that these scurrilous charges of missing e-mails “came from outside the White House.” Watch it:
Perino’s substitute-for-the-day is in over his head. The White House itself has acknowledged the missing e-mails. As CREW executive director Melanie Sloan told ThinkProgress:
Tony Fratto is lying. There is considerable evidence demonstrating that millions of White House emails are missing from between 2003 and 2005; in fact, White House spokesperson Dana Perino confirmed this in a previous statement, televised on April 13, 2007.
As Sloan notes, on April 13, 2007, Perino explicitly told reporters, “I wouldn’t rule out that there were a potential 5 million e-mails lost. … We screwed up, and we’re trying to fix it.” Additionally, the White House officials admitted to the House Oversight Committee on May 29, 2007, that “an unknown number of e-mails may not have been preserved in the White House archive.”
When a reporter pointed out Perino’s April comment, Fratto simply replied that he was “not sure what was said on that.” After today’s stand-out performance before the cameras, Fratto may be back to desk duty tomorrow.
Transcript: Read more
– Provides that the right to register to vote or vote shall not be denied by election officials if the denial is based on voter caging and other questionable challenges not corroborated by independent evidence.
– Prohibits persons other than election officials from challenging a voter’s eligibility based on voter caging and other questionable challenges.
– Requires that any voter challenge by persons other than election officials be based on personal, first-hand knowledge.
– Designates voter-caging and other questionable challenges intended to disqualify eligible voters as felonies, crimes eligible for fines up to $250,000, five years imprisonment, or both.
I’ve been trying, desperately, to hold off on idle speculation about a brokered Republican convention. This is the kind of thing journalists love to speculate about, but it’s very, very, very unlikely. That said, I write a ton of blog posts. And with each day that passes without a clear shape emerging to the Republican race the temptation grows deeper. And now that Charles Babbington’s speculating for the AP, I say let’s let the gates slip.
My take is that the insider CW drastically overestimates the idea that such a convention would be a disaster for the party that held it. In general, I think the whole line of thought that’s led both parties to conclude in recent cycles that short primary campaigns are beneficial doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. To me, the longer the campaign continues, the longer the candidates get tons and tons of free media attention. Things like debates and cable networks showing clips of candidates speaking at rallies and pictures of supporters waving signs are all good for the candidate. The main form of negative media attention a candidate gets during a primary are process stories in the wake of a defeat (see, e.g., Dean after Iowa in 2004, Clinton after Iowa in 2008, McCain during his big collapse in national poll numbers in 2007) but that kind of thing is primarily a problem for whoever wins.
A GOP race that goes all the way to the convention would be a huge, fascinating, and dramatic story that would direct attention away from the star-studded Clinton-Obama race in a probably beneficial way. And it would still leave the eventual winner with plenty of time to make his case to the American people. One of the great ironies of the evolution of presidential politics is that the campaign seasons have been getting longer at the very same time that the rise of cable news and the internet has made it possible for candidates to rise and fall faster than ever. Obviously, the GOP is looking at a generally adverse political climate this year so the odds favor them losing no matter what happens, but I think an extended race could easily wind up helping.