Archive for September 28th, 2008

Open Thread…

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:00 PM MST

And we mocked Sarah Palin when she said, “as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border”…


I love this photo of Joe Biden:

More photos from the Virginia Rally HERE

(h/t Daily Kos)

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McCain Aides Complaining That Palin Is “Clueless”

By- Suzie-Q @ 7:00 PM MST

Report: McCain Aides Complain That Palin Is “Clueless”

The Huffington Post |  Rachel Weiner   |   September 26, 2008 12:40 PM

Radio talk show host Ed Schultz reports:

Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin. The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as “disastrous.” One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, “What are we going to do?” The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is “clueless.”

On Friday, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said that after seeing Palin in interviews, she thinks the vice presidential nominee should drop out.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 6:30 PM MST

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, responds to questions from reporters about the tentative agreement on legislation to fix the financial crisis Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, responds to questions from reporters about the tentative agreement on legislation to fix the financial crisis Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

House GOP leaders endorse $700B financial bailout

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS | September 28, 2008 09:07 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders and the White House agreed Sunday to a $700 billion rescue of the ailing financial industry after lawmakers insisted on sharing spending controls with the Bush administration. The biggest U.S. bailout in history won the tentative support of both presidential candidates and goes to the House for a vote Monday.

The plan, bollixed up for days by election-year politics, would give the administration broad power to use billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars to purchase devalued mortgage-related assets held by cash-starved financial firms.

President Bush called the vote a difficult one for lawmakers but said he is confident Congress will pass it. “Without this rescue plan, the costs to the American economy could be disastrous,” Bush said in a written statement released by the White House. He was to speak publicly about the plan early Monday morning, before U.S. markets open.

Flexing its political muscle, Congress insisted on a stronger hand in controlling the money than the White House had wanted. Lawmakers had to navigate between angry voters with little regard for Wall Street and administration officials who warned that inaction would cause the economy to seize up and spiral into recession.

A deal in hand, Capitol Hill leaders scrambled to sell it to colleagues in both parties and acknowledged they were not certain it would pass. “Now we have to get the votes,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the majority leader.

Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the House minority leader, said he was urging “every member whose conscience will allow them to support this” to back it, but officials in both parties expected the vote to be a nail-biter.

The final legislation was released Sunday evening, and Republicans and Democrats huddled for hours in private meetings to learn its details and voice their concerns.

Many said they left undecided, and leaders were scrambling to put the most positive face on a deeply unpopular plan.


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By- Suzie-Q @ 5:00 PM MST

Obama turns tide of Record endorsements

For the first time in 72 years, The Record is endorsing a Democrat for president.

Franklin D. Roosevelt got our nod in 1936.

The reasons for the endorsement of Barack Obama over John McCain are articulated in the editorial on this page.

The unanimous decision was made by our editorial board, which consists of Publisher Roger W. Coover, Managing Editor Donald W. Blount, Opinion Page Editor Eric Grunder, Human Resources Director Sandi Johnson and me.

There are many who will question – with some validity – the power or value of such an endorsement. Our decision is hardly going to tip the balance in a competitive presidential election.

But endorsements of elected officials are an important part of a newspaper’s public service duty.

This is the third time I’ve been involved in the presidential endorsement process.

Our presidential endorsements over the years have involved decisions by many different publishers, editors and editorial board members. The Record has changed ownership several times.

Delailah Little, The Record’s librarian, diligently combed our archives when I sought to find out our endorsement history. I was stunned to discover the newspaper has endorsed 17 consecutive Republicans – the anomaly being 1992, when The Record chose not to endorse either George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton.

For historical perspective, here are excerpts of past Record presidential endorsements.


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26,000 Virginians Go To See Obama And Biden IN THE RAIN!

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:45 PM MST

26,000 Virginians go to see Obama/Biden IN THE RAIN!

Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 07:48:27 AM PDT

The Obama Blog has the following from the Virginia Rally:

“I’m going to take off my jacket here, hope you don’t mind.” – Barack

Normally when Barack takes off his coat it’s on account of the heat, but this evening in Fredricksburg it was because of the heavy rain that fell on the enormous crowd that gathered to watch Barack and Joe Biden at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Over 25,000 folks (according to Police Chief Jay Snipes) felt the mud churn under their feet as they listen to Joe and Barack explain their plans for changing this country.

“Try and take your partisan hats off and pretend you are in a political science class at this great university,” Joe advised them before Barack spoke.

It was a heavy day of campaigning, from the J. Douglas Gaylon Depot, a beautiful old train station in Greensboro, North Carolina to the Congressional Black Caucus Awards dinner in the heart of Washington, DC. On the heels of his superb campaign performance in last night’s debate, Barack has been eager to bring his message to supporters and undecideds wherever they may be. And from the looks of the sopping wet crowds that formed today, people are eager to hear it in all kinds of weather.


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SNL: The McCain/Obama Debate And More (9/27/98- VIDEOS)

By- Suzie-Q @ 11:45 AM MST

“SNL” Anna Faris Sketches: The McCain/Obama Debate, Bill Clinton, Judy Grimes & More (VIDEO)

Huffington Post |   September 28, 2008 08:30 AM

On this week’s “Saturday Night Live” with host Anna Faris, the show went full political. In addition to an opening sketch with Tina Fey knocking Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, there was a sketch of the Obama/McCain debate and a Bill Clinton appearance during Weekend Update.

See Obama and McCain go head to head, with former cast member Chris Parnell making a special appearance:


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By- Suzie-Q @ 11:00 AM MST

As Negotiators Struck Bailout Deal, McCain Dined At Opulent DC Hotel

Huffington Post- Jed Lewison

September 28, 2008 08:55 AM

Update (10:40AM): It turns out Politico got the wrong restaurant (but right hotel) in its original post. They had initially said McCain dined at CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Instead, McCain dined at Cafe Mozu, another restaurant inside the hotel. The Washingtonian describes it as “sophisticated pan-Asian at the opulent Mandarin Oriental Hotel.”

Original post (see update): So lawmakers struck a deal on the bailout last night, but where was John McCain?

Was he part of the negotiations that he rushed back to Washington, DC to rescue? Was he valiantly battling the forces of the status quo to get something done for Main Street?

Well, it turns out that he wasn’t. Instead, he indulged in a luxury dining experience at CityZen, an icon of haute cuisine in Washington, DC.

Politico reports (update: Politico has updated the article and removed the reference to McCain’s dinner, but as you can see in this Google search, the reference was there in the original article):

As his colleagues worked on the deal at the Capitol Saturday night, McCain and his wife, Cindy, dined with Sen. Joe Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, at CityZen, one of Washington’s best restaurants.

No word on exactly what McCain ate at CityZen (which boasts an 800-bottle wine selection), but there’s a limited range of possibilities, according to the establishment’s menu.

Three menus are offered: a three-course prix fixe menu, a six-course chef’s tasting menu or a vegetarian tasting menu.

The six course meal costs $110, with an optional “Sommelier’s Pairing” for $75.

The restaurant serves treats such as Monterey Bay Squid Ratatouille; Shaved Sashimi of Geoduck Clam; Basic Infused Lettuce; Fricassee of Summer Beans, Flageolets, and CityZen Chorizo; Fromage Blanc Soufle Glace with AN Almond Biscuit Navel Orange Salad and Orange-Licorice Emulsion.

In it’s 4-star review of the restaurant, Frommer’s wrote:

You choose among three prix-fixe menus: three courses for $75, a six-course vegetarian tasting menu for $90, or a six-course $105 tasting menu. Starting with an amuse bouche of fried mushroom with truffle butter; moving on to a grilled pork jowl with marinated French green lentils, micro watercress, and shaved foie gras confit; and further on to the crispy skin filet of Atlantic black bass served with Rancho Gordo shelling beans, CityZen chorizo, and baby leeks — every taste is exquisite and out of the ordinary. Waitstaff bring intermission refreshments, such as olive oil custard topped with infused butter or ginger sorbet in homemade root beer. Only a food artist would think to create sensations like the cardamom-dusted orange cruller with kumquat marmalade and African amber tea sorbet. The restaurant’s 800-bottle wine selection concentrates on bordeaux, burgundy, and California cabernet.

Washingtonian Magazine hailed the restaurant’s “chili consommé with an oval of chili-powder mousse.”

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Congress to America: Screw “The People” Save Wall Street!

GEF @ 12:28 PM ET

Monopoly Man

Bailout Agreement Reached

Brian Wingfield and Joshua Zumbrun 09.28.08, 2:02 AM ET

Washington, D.C. – Key lawmakers in Congress have reached a tentative agreement on a bailout proposal that they expect to roll out to their colleagues for final approval Sunday morning.

“We’ve made great progress toward a deal which will work and be effective in the marketplace,” Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, flanked by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, told reporters at 12:30 a.m. Sunday–after nine hours of negotiations that included numerous phone calls with the White House and the input of several top economic minds, including billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

“We’ve still got more to do to finalize it, but I think we’re there,” Paulson added. “So far, so good.”

The “agreement in principle,” as Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., described it, is a $700 billion plan that will allow the Treasury Department to buy troubled mortgage-backed securities from firms that are having difficulty selling these assets in the marketplace.

The bailout, to be financed by government bonds, includes provisions to limit executive compensation for the firms that are being bailed out, an equity stake in those firms for taxpayers, an oversight board to account for the bailout process, and a measure to help prevent mortgage foreclosures. The $700 billion will be doled out in tranches of $250 billion immediately, $100 billion upon the approval of the president and $350 billion upon the approval of Congress.

Lawmakers also said there is language in the plan to allow the government to recover some of the money it is spending to buy troubled assets, as well as a provision that allows firms to buy insurance for toxic securities–something House Republicans had requested.

Is it a formal deal? As close to one as lawmakers could hash out, following marathon negotiations. Congressional staff members are working through the night to put the agreement on paper so other members of Congress can examine it before giving it final approval Sunday.A deal had appeared within grasp Thursday afternoon but fell apart that night when a group of House Republicans issued a rival plan. Under their proposal, companies would pay premiums to insure their frozen mortgage-backed securities, instead of having the Treasury use taxpayer dollars to buy them. In addition, the plan–the fine details of which are still vague at this point–would provide some companies with tax relief, remove unspecified banking regulations and allow them to temporarily suspend dividend payments to free up capital.

Asked after the meeting if the expanded mortgage insurance program needed to be in a compromise, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said “Our goal here in attempting to come to an agreement is to do our best to protect the American taxpayer.”

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the respective chairmen of the House and Senate committees for banking, are continuing to support a modified version of the original $700 billion “Paulson Plan,” as the administration’s proposal has become known. Blunt participated in negotiations Friday and Saturday for House Republicans. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he’s “very, very optimistic” that a deal will be worked out, and he’s hopeful it will happen over the weekend.

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., says he believes distressed credit markets Friday morning may have shown lawmakers that there is not much time for discussion. “They’re telling us we better do something,” says Gregg, who will represent Senate Republicans in the negotiations.

The message that Paulson’s plan is aimed at restoring liquidity is getting through to lawmakers. “We don’t have a solvency problem, what we’re trying to do is to restore liquidity,” says Scott Talbott, senior vice president for government affairs at The Financial Services Roundtable, a banking-industry trade association that supports the basic idea of the Paulson Plan.

“I think the chances of it happening are excellent,” Talbott says. “The goal is to try to get it done by Sunday, but it could easily slip a little into next week.”

When President Bush said Friday morning that “the legislative process is sometimes not very pretty,” it was the understatement of the year. And on the eve of the election, there’s plenty of political gamesmanship, and even brinksmanship, on display.

Democrats want to stay as far away from being held responsible for the bailout as possible, and may not vote on the bill unless a majority of Republicans will also support. House Republicans can now say that at least they tried an alternative. It was likely that something akin to the Paulson plan–with a few add-ons to soothe reluctant Republicans and Democrats–would emerge over the weekend as the final bailout bill.

White House talks with lawmakers last night erupted into a “shouting match,” according to one report. The top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, emerged from the discussions to tell reporters that there was no deal, contrary to what some members of Congress said earlier in the day.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain also became a central element in the debate. House Democrats have accused the Republican senator of slowing down the discussions by arriving in Washington to break the deadlock within his party, but not actually doing so. Both McCain and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama met with Congressional leaders at the White House Thursday evening. The meeting ended without any agreement from the different people at the table.

McCain had said he might not attend the debate but reversed course Friday morning and announced he would leave Washington to fly to Oxford, Miss., for the debate. A statement from the McCain campaign accused Obama of political posturing in last night’s meeting at the White House. Obama said that he did not think injecting presidential politics into the negotiations was going to be helpful and did not think the debate should be postponed.

“Any time you have a plan this big that is moving this quickly, that requires legislative approval, it creates challenges,” Bush said. He said members of Congress “should be allowed to express their opinions,” but emphasized that “there is no disagreement that something substantial must be done.”

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USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: Obama Did Better Than McCain

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:15 AM MST

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shake hands after their presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., on Friday night.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shake hands after their presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., on Friday night.

Poll: Obama outperformed McCain in debate

Updated 10m ago

By Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Democrat Barack Obama’s debate performance Friday night reinforced voter views of him as a candidate of change and appears to have had little impact on Republican John McCain’s standing in the presidential race, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

The poll, taken Saturday, found 63% of those surveyed watched the first debate in Oxford, Miss. By 46%-34%, those who watched said Obama did a better job than McCain. Obama led McCain, 52%-35%, when they were asked which candidate offered the best proposals for change to solve the country’s problems.

In the area of national defense and foreign policy, McCain’s strong suit, the debate appeared to have little impact. About a third of viewers said it gave them more confidence in each man on that front; slightly less in each case said it gave them less confidence.

Obama’s margin in the poll is not as large as the advantage Democrat John Kerry had after the first debate in 2004. Then, the poll showed Kerry to have done better than President Bush by 57%-25%. Kerry went into the debates behind in national polls, while Obama had a slim lead.


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