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The Morning Plum

* The Sue Lowden campaign continued to lay eggs last night, with the candidate refusing to answer when Nevada journalist Jon Ralston pressed her to say whether she agrees with Rand Paul's criticism of the Civil Rights Act.

When he asked her if the act should apply to private businesses, she dismissed it as a "gotcha question," according to Ralston's blast email.

"Nobody's asking that question, Jon," Lowden said. Asked again whether she'd answer it, Lowden replied flatly: "No." I'll have video shortly.

Her campaign subsequently released a statement saying she fully supports the Civil Rights Act. Sorry: There's no unscrambling this egg.

* What 'Nam scandal? A Quinnipiac poll finds that Richard Blumenthal is leading GOP challenger Linda McMahon by 25 points. While that's a slip from his 33 point lead in March, Blumenthal's approval rating is holding rather steady at 76 percent.

* Obama will announce a six-month moratorium on drilling deepwater oil wells and will cancel leases off Alaska and Virgina at his Gulf spill presser today.

* Karen Tumulty previews five questions that should be asked of Obama at the presser.

* Adding my own: Your chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has said that we should seize on crisis to create opportunity. Why haven't you been more forceful in linking this major environmental calamity to the need for real energy reform? Hasn't this been a failure of leadership? Was your ability to do this compromised by your previous decision to support expanded offshore drilling?

* Funny how the Gulf spill has made anti-government diehard Bobby Jindal suddenly pine for a stronger Federal government.

* The price of patriotism: Ben Smith reports that the hotly-sought endorsement of Minutemen founder and anti-immigration warrior JIm Gilchrist may cost you a small fee of several thousand dollars.

* The White House ally Americans United for Change goes up with a new spot on national cable pressuring Senate Republicans to support energy reform, but an equally pressing problem is that climate change won't have a prayer in the Senate until Obama drops expanded offshore drilling,

* Ali Frick wonders why Obama keeps extending his hand to the right when by his own admission he knows it's just going to get slapped away.

* What else to watch: Dems say they have the votes to pass the amendment repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell out of the Senate Armed Services committee today, a major step forward.

* Random interesting fact of the day: A new CNN poll finds that pessimism about the economy remains highest in the west, which could partly explain why Dem hopes of making serious expansions there are foundering.

* It's becoming all the rage these days for media figures to point out that Sarah Palin simply has no idea what she's talking about.

* So, again, is there an absurdity threshold she can reach where we stop treating everything she says as news?

And what else is happening?

UPDATE, 8:47 a.m.: Amazing: BP is asking for every pre-trial issue involving Gulf spill lawsuits to be placed in the hands of one Federal judge who gives ethics lectures (and has travel expenses paid) by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which works with BP and other oil companies.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 8:31 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: Maybe Palin doesn't mind being 'stalked' by McGinniss


Bernie, added that McClatchy link. Thanks for that.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 27, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Ali Frick wonders why Obama keeps extending his hand to the right when by his own admission he knows it's just going to get slapped away."

Small arrghh from me on this one.

Because it is the way it ought to be. Because it is sane. Because unless someone models this behavior or this process (or this ideal, if you like) of governance, we're in danger of going crazier than at present.

Why would King and others continue to get up in the morning and march, knowing they were going to get truncheons slammed into their noggins?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 27, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

That McClatchy link about the The BP Gulf Spill™ judge is mind boggling.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 27, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@Greg Agree 100% about wasting this emergency. And it's not just Rahm Emmanuel who talks about taking advantages of emergenices, people like the late Milton Friedman and others have long been aware of the utilization of emergencies. This is pretty much what wbgonne and I have been ranting about for the past few days.

The link to the NYT opinion piece by Egan pretty well encapsulates the conundrum that is Sister Sarah. I don't believe her 15 minutes of fame are up, but I think she has exhausted credibility with all but that 25% hardcore who like children stick their fingers in their ears and say "I'm not na na na na na na.

One of my most conservative friends, a regular Rush Limbaugh fan has developed a huge dislike for Palin because he views her as a complete intellectual embarrassment and therefore a tool for liberals to turn against conservatives.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Rachel Maddow had an extraordinary segment last night on a precedent spill in the Gulf and Think Progress has linked it this morning. It's really a do not miss item...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 27, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I am 62 and based on his short time in office and therefore incomplete scorecard my opinion of Obama is far from completely formed. Having said that...I believe he is still on track to become the greatest President of my lifetime. Still I am not an Obamabot.

Here is what I would love to see in a leader!
Obama is the ONLY one with enough public opinion capital, gravitas, and class to pull it off.

I want to hear a LEADER say.."I made a mistake" Everybody with the exception of politicians makes mistakes. I hope Obama moves from politician to leader. He can answer Tumulty's first question by simply saying "I made a mistake and I'm reevaluating my position on offshore drilling."

Eventually he can do the same thing about Afghanistan. He can temper it somewhat by saying "I gave the hawks a chance with a surge to show their stuff, it has failed, and so now I am pulling out our troops. Actually it is a lot easier to fight the terrorists on our shores than in their native lands. That is simply a fact. It's ALWAYS easier to defend your own country than fight in a hostile foreign nation.

I wish leaders of both parties in this country were able to make course adjustments without the opposition immediately jumping on that change as a sign of weakness or a point to drive home at the polls. If airliners and ships were forced to hold their original course with no correction for wind and currents they'd never reach their destination!

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Having barely escaped indictment and a potential jail term, Karl Rove continues to pretend he's actually some species of good human...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 27, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Bernie I saw TRMS last night and the old archival video of the NBC anchor reporting that spill was amazing! Time for that old cliche eh...the more things change the more they stay the same.

There was one humorous part...all the capping methods attempted were pretty much the same except in Mexico the top hat became the big sombrero. If the spill was off France would it be called Les grande beret?

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@ru - I like your post #2 above and share your notion in graph one. Of course, he isn't quite the fellow that Pierre Trudeau was but lumberjackland often carves out a unique and superior sort of personness.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 27, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Geraghty at National Review appears to be alerted to the dangers coming from the Dick Armey/Roger Ailes pitchfork and torches brigades...

Hard not to sympathize. After a few decades of tossing raw meat into the cages, that cute pet's brain is going to be re-wired. Then what the hell do you do?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 27, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what's up. At TPM notes, there was a report that Top Kill worked but doubts remain and live feed appears stopped.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 27, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully, things continue along this vein today. And I see I missed out on actuators questions last night. Too bad, we could have had a nice discussion about balancing our personal responsibility with civic pride and responsibility. Does every conservative/libertarian think liberals are welfare recipients?

"Reporting from Houma, La.
Engineers have succeeded in stopping the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a gushing BP well, the federal government's top oil spill commander, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said Thursday morning."

"The "top kill" effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, has pumped enough drilling fluid to block all oil and gas from the well, Allen said. The pressure from the well is very low, but persists, he said."

"Once engineers have reduced the well pressure to zero, they will begin to pump cement into the hole to entomb the well. To help that effort, he said, engineers are also pumping some debris into the blowout preventer at the top of the well.",0,4282960.story

Posted by: lmsinca | May 27, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Later, bosomcommiebuddies.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 27, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie Thanks again for taking one for the team and suffering through NRO. I think in an earlier post on this subject you confessed your wife might ID you as a masochist. Now can we get you to peruse redstate and drudge?

@lmsinca I'm with you. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this morning. It's too soon to celebrate but it appears as if this top kill thing might work. Let's hope so.

Front page on the St. Pete Times.

"Oil fears on northern gulf coast put chill on tourism here"

The results reflect the problem facing Florida hotel operators: phone calls and internet inquiries have dropped off though no oil has touched a Florida beach. They assume travelers either don't understand or don't want to risk a trip to an oil-stained beach.

Tourism businesses in the Panhandle are taking the hardest hit. Everyone has empty rooms for Memorial Day weekend, almost always a sellout, "The Panhandle is hitting 9-1-1,'' says Dover. "The phones aren't ringing, and they're getting very, very nervous.''

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Here's a beautifully written diary from a man in LA and what has happened to his fishing industry and way of life. I wonder if Ayn Rand would have a solution for a situation when one man's personal responsibility and pride in accomplishments runs smack dab into another person's (corporations are people too, dontcha know?)greed and lack of civic responsibility?

"The scene was one of horror to me. There was thick red oil on the entire stretch of beach, with oil continuing to wash ashore. The water looked to be infused with red oil, with billions of, what appeared to be, red pebbles of oil washing up on the beach with every wave. The red oil pebbles, at the high tide mark on the beach were melting into pools of red goo in the hot Louisiana sun. The damage was overwhelming. There was nobody there to clean it up. It would take an army to do it. Like so much of coastal Louisiana, it was accessible only by boat. Will it ever be cleaned up? I don’t know. Tears again. We soon left that beach and started to head home."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 27, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

More than 113 census takers have been the victims of assaults or attacks this month, the U.S. Census Bureau said late Wednesday.

Bureau officials said the overall pattern and types of incidents are similar to the 2000 census, but cautioned this year's figures are already much higher than ten years ago and include a mix of news accounts and formal reports to the bureau's safety office.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm on the live feed now, CNN:

It's just the robot checking different parts of the BOP. Haven't seen any sign of the leak in the last 10 mins, but I'm not sure it would be visible from this angle. Btw, how COOL is it that there's all these little thingys swimming around in the dark freezing cold under nearly 1 mile of water.

Ah, feed just switched to the leak, it definitely seems reduced from yesterday. And that yellow/orange stuff, zero black/brown. Fingers still crossed!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Via Andrew Sullivan:

"If Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page tomorrow and posted a note that said, "well, whaddya know, I's'a jus' out trawling' for catfish with my ol' hubby Todd, and a neighbor tol' me that he saw Rahm Emanuel crushing an endangered tropical frog to death while saluting a portrait of Mao, and also the sky is green," you can bet that the next day's "Fox & Friends" would treat the greenness of the sky as a self-evident fact, and Glenn Beck would ask Sarah why Rahm threatened Willow like that," - Alex Pareene.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 27, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, I'm so easily entertained that I watched the cute little Rov's hand off a screw driver, untangle a buoy line, and spend 10 minutes unscrewing one little bolt on Tuesday night. I think I'm in love.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 27, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"@Bernie Thanks again for taking one for the team and suffering through NRO."

People like ruk, a typical Plumline liberal, can't bear to venture out from the cozy leftwing blogosphere, where they spend their days drinking the koolaid, claiming to be informed and critical thinkers, and denouncing conservatives, who supposedly get all their information from Fox News.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 27, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

All, more fun with Sarah Palin:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 27, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

lms, hahaha. How can you not want one?! If I were a D.C. scientist/bureaucrat I'd be like, "How can I get me one-a those!" :)

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

@Q.B. Coming from a poster with your history of intellectual gravitas...that really hurts. LMAO!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I know it does. It should. I read leftwing drivel like the stuff here all the time. In fact, I probably read more leftwing opinion now than conservative.

That's why you are so predictable to me. I'm not afraid of conflicting opinions and perspectives and don't feel the need to shelter myself from leftwing nonsense -- even the fetid garbage you spew. Not afraid and unthinking like you.

I'm glad you admit that you don't actually read the kind of people you daily trash here. It tells us a lot.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 27, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Sue Lowden is so Sarah Palin: just another vacuous, aging debutante. Her only real contribution, so far, is the "Chickenomics" plank in the new, upcoming Republican "Contract for America."

Posted by: dozas | May 27, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Ali Frick wonders why Obama keeps extending his hand to the right when by his own admission he knows it's just going to get slapped away."

The audacity of hope?

Seriously though, the president campaigned on changing the tone in Washington. No one ever said that would be easy. I know a lot of people may have *thought* it but I doubt Mr. Obama was ever one of them. I did say as far back as the primary campaign that if he tried to keep that promise, a lot of us would very much *not* like what that actually looked like. But even it doesn't work, even if there's no shred of any possible reason to think it would ever work, it still makes good TV and serves to undercut Republicans' claims that they're being stiff-armed by Democrats and the administration.

Posted by: CalD | May 27, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Its funny (sad, not funny-funny) how they hate the Feds-except when they love them.

Louisiana doesn't have the money to rebuild after Katrina or after this.

Those anti-gummint folks have serious cognitive dissonance issues.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | May 27, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This photo is for the "blame Obama" crowd:

I count approximately 40 individuals at today's morning meeting on the spill -- Coast Guard officials, members of government agencies and BP employees... To suggest that this disaster is not being handled appropriately is simply bulldung.

The article:

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't remember Obama's campaign being about doing everything with bipartisanship. I remember "we can disagree without being disagreeable" but I thought that meant that "we'd disagree" quite a bit.

At this point it should be more of a, "if you extend your hand to me, I'll extend mine to yours." And in the meantime, we'll get as much done with the Dem majorities as we possibly can.

Posted by: matt_ahrens | May 27, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Matt, I don't know what exact words Obama used, but he definitely implied he wanted to be bipartisan. I think it's clearly one of his goals for his presidential legacy, as a guy who brought democrats and republicans together for the common good, the way politics should be, and that if it didn't work, it wouldn't be for his lack of effort.

We can debate whether it's misguided, and I think it is, because everyone else sees it's not working, but I guess he's not ready to give up yet.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 27, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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