"ThinkFast: February 2, 2009"
Washington, DC’s only progressive talk radio station is going out of business. OBAMA 1260 — which features syndicated hosts such as Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and Bill Press — will be switching to financial news starting next week. The program director said he “thought the station could work because of enthusiasm over Obama, but that ratings collapsed to a level that could not be measured after the election.”
HHS Secretary nominee Tom Daschle wrote to Senate leaders yesterday regarding his income tax returns. “I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed by the errors that required me to amend my tax returns. I apologize for the errors,” Daschle said. The Senate Finance Committee will meet at 5 p.m. today with Daschle.
“Businesses are faring much better” in the Senate version of the economic recovery package, the AP reports today. The Senate bill, which is being debated this week, “has billions of dollars in business tax credits not included in the House plan” that passed last week. For instance, the Senate package offers $15.5 billion more than the House for “money-losing companies to get refunds of taxes paid on profits in previous years.”
The Justice Department is “bracing for a broad doctrinal shift in policies from those of the Bush administration, department lawyers and Obama administration officials say.” Under Eric Holder — who is expected to be confirmed as Attorney General today — the Department transition is “expected to be more stark than that of a transition from one party to another.”
The New York Times editorial board writes that “Americans deserve a full accounting” of the politically-motivated hiring and firings of U.S. Attorneys in the Bush administration. “The scandals of the Bush Justice Department will not be put to rest until all of Mr. Bush’s aides who have been subpoenaed provide Congress with the information it needs, in public and under oath.”
“Some relief for homeowners facing foreclosure is in the pipeline,” CBS News reports, after the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill last week to “allow bankruptcy judges to order banks to reduce mortgage payments,” a process known as a “cram down.” “The idea got a big boost last week when major lender Citigroup did an about face and announced it supports the legislation.”
In an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) writes, “I am dismayed that legislation has again been introduced in Congress to prohibit forever oil and gas development in the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America — the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in Alaska.”
The New York Times reports that “[d]espite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years.” Michigan “cut its welfare rolls 13 percent, though it was one of two states whose October unemployment rate topped 9 percent.”
Congressionally mandated Iraq reconstruction auditor Stuart W. Bowen Jr. has said the U.S. effort to rebuild Iraq — largely done by private contractors — “was full of wasted funds, fraud and a lack of accountability” under what Bowen calls an “ad hoc-racy” of lax or nonexistent government planning and supervision. Bowen now says that the U.S. “is making many of the same mistakes again in Afghanistan.”
And finally: In November, a Craiglist ad popped up looking for a Republican “with a history in some aspect of the adult entertainment industry” to run against Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who admitted to frequenting a DC escort service. It appears that someone has now taken up the challenge: porn star Stormy Daniels. The “Draft Stormy” website says that she is a “champion of entrepreneurism, a fighter for decency and the embodiment of pure libertarianism.”