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The Morning Plum

* What to watch today: During David Petraeus's confirmation hearing, GOP Senators will press him to signal that the Afghanistan drawdown deadline is "flexible." Will Dems push for specificity?

* Hissy fit of the month? The White House is holding a bipartisan meeting with Senators to discuss the way foward on energy reform, and Lindsey Graham says he's skipping it because of the Petraeus hearings.

But we suspect he's a no-show it because the oil continues to gush. After all, what's the point in discussing energy reform until the spill is stopped?

* Shocker of the day: Susan Collins pulls back the football, says she may not support financial reform after backing it in the spring.

* And: The White House may have erred by investing so much in securing the support of Scott Brown for FinReg. He's now wavering, and the concessions made to win Brown have Russell Feingold now saying he'll vote No.

* Here's a good overview of the suddenly precarious position of FinReg.

* Thurgood Marshall watch: After Republicans went on a tear against Thurgood at yesterday's Elena Kagan confirmation hearing, the Salt Lake Tribune asks Orrin Hatch if he would have voted to confirm the first African American to the Supreme Court.

Hatch's answer: "Well, it's hard to say." Expect more GOP Senators to be asked the same.

* Bonus Thurgood Marshall watch: The snark o' the day, from Dana Milbank, on the GOP's Thurgood obsession...

With Kagan's confirmation hearings expected to last most of the week, Republicans may still have time to make cases against Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Gandhi.

* Speaking of activist judges, there is nothing whatsoever that's activist about the Supreme Court's decision yesterday to strike down Chicago's decades-old handgun ban.

* Experiment of the day: The DNC today launches, a place where regular citizens across the country can post audo and video they capture of Republicans at public events, in hopes of catching the next "Macaca moment."

* Eugene Robinson tells you everything you need to know about Robert Byrd's KKK past.

* Maybe there's a problem here? Sharron Angle scores a prominent article in The New York Times -- that's entirely focused on her strategy of evading the press.

And, natch, neither Angle nor her spox commented for the story.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 29, 2010; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Financial reform , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Next: Don't write off Karl Rove's group just yet!


I still don't understand why the conferees can't just go back and change the bill. Neither the House nor the Senate have voted on it.

Just go back in there and change the bill so that Feingold and Cantwell can support it.

Posted by: maritza1 | June 29, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Here's a good interview by Chris Hayes with Dean Baker regarding Krugman's dire warnings. It's worth listening to. He wishes Krugman hadn't used the word depression but he's right nevertheless.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 29, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

* Theory of the day, from Glenn Reynolds, on the sex complaint against Al Gore:

"Anybody else notice that this came out right after Gore started criticizing the White House over the oil spill?"

Now, that is what I would call:

Framing The Massage!

Posted by: Liam-still | June 29, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Five Right Wing Activist Supreme Court Justices Declare:

To Hell With That "Well Regulated Miltia" nonsense. What the founding fathers really meant to say was, that ever individual has a right to own a gun, because the founding fathers were afraid that people would not be able to defend their-selves from drive by shootings.

Next up: From The Gang Of Five Right Wing Actives Supremes.

An Embryo Is A Person, and It is Murder To Abort One.

Therefore: Each Embryo Must Be Issued A Gun, To Protect Itself From Abortionists.

The NRA will complaint that the ruling does not go far enough; and will file a new suit, demanding that the right to own a gun, for it's personal defense, be extended to cover embryonic stem cells.


Buy your child a handgun, or a motorcycle, for it's birthday. It is your patriotic duty to support the organ donor supply chain.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 29, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr of Mrs or Ms Liam

We have received your application requesting a change in your status to "retired".

After a full review of the application we are very sorry to inform you that it cannot be processed at this time.

Re-application is permitted after a period of one full year.

The Man

Posted by: bernielatham | June 29, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that after spending weeks rehashing the 1964 Civil Rights Act because of Rand Paul, we're now going to spend the next few days re-debating Marshall's confirmation.

It's a good thing we don't have anything more important going on this country right now.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 29, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

(tossing this up)

The chances that we would see an American major daily carry such a story as this one on its front page are approximately zero. We really ought to ask why this is so.

Every wonder what a future America might look like if the Tea Party took over? Try today's Israel.

SILWAN, East Jerusalem – Ever wonder what a future America might look like if the Tea Party took over? Try today's Israel.

That distinctive brew of left-baiting, Obama-hating, poorly veiled racism, clergy-driven jingoism, clergy-fanned derision of the Supreme Court, the Luddite insertion of anti-government bile where an ideology should go, a majority which feels victimized and discriminated against and threatened by minorities of indeterminate legal status – it's all here. It just speaks Hebrew.

In fact, for a far-right segment of U.S. Jewry which, since the rise of Barack Obama, has mushroomed in volume and impact if not in numbers, anti-government animus has taken what may have been an inevitable next step: finding ways to betray in one stroke the policies and, in fact, the national interests of both the United States and Israel..."

Posted by: bernielatham | June 29, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that after spending weeks rehashing the 1964 Civil Rights Act because of Rand Paul, we're now going to spend the next few days re-debating Marshall's confirmation.

It's a good thing we don't have anything more important going on this country right now.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 29, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

schrodinger - Pathetic, isn't it?

The GOP with their "government is always awful" axiom are like some drunken husband in a wife-beater t-shirt, approaching the wife with fists raising and insisting he now has to prove his contention that men really are abusive.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 29, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

heh, very funny Bernie :)

Good to see you back here, Liam. We'd missed you already.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 29, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"With Kagan's confirmation hearings expected to last most of the week, Republicans may still have time to make cases against Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Gandhi."

These people have entirely lost their moral/ethical moorings.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 29, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

There was some discussion here over the weekend that Obama needs to find his inner FDR, but Kuttner makes the case that he really needs to channel Truman.

"In the summer and fall of 1948, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, and Truman was widely given up as a goner, Truman responded by deliberately sending "the do-nothing 80th Congress" legislation on housing and jobs that he knew they would defeat -- to dramatize the difference between his own program and the Republican one.

Truman not only won re-election in November 1948 in American history's greatest electoral upset; his coattails were so attractive that 75 House seats went from Republican to Democrat, and the Democrats took back both houses of Congress.

If today's Republicans are blocking aid to spare 300,000 school teacher pink slips, and over a million unemployed workers who are losing their unemployment insurance and Cobra health coverage, Obama should be hanging that callous behavior around their necks, Truman style."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 29, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Republicans Senators Make A Strong Case For Why Justice Thurgood Marshall Should Be Impeached Now:

We can not seatJustices on The Supreme Court, who do not have an overwhelming feeling of empathy for the Over Dogs.

Republicans Are Roadrunners.


Posted by: Liam-still | June 29, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The Right Wing Gang Of Five Supreme Court Activists:

Have Defined Money As Free Speech, therefore making those without money, Speechless.

In other words:

The Right Wing Activist Supreme Court Has:

Restored The Poll Tax.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 29, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Sharron "Right" Angle is nuts (well, duh) if she thinks she can play hide the ball until November.

Sorry, nutbag, not gonna work.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 29, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Liam is leaving ? Why ?

Posted by: amkeew | June 29, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

During the past forty years, more than a million Americans were killed with handguns.

Hundreds of thousands of those, were children, fifteen and under.

America's never ending genocide, has now been put on steroids by The Right Wing Activist Supreme Court.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 29, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

amkeew, I'm hoping that Liam reconsidered.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 29, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I am stuck on the economy. Here's a good recap from Dean Baker of the weekend's big America Speaks tour and a little more on the deficit commission. We need to push back on this SS is our enemy propaganda, and no, it's not just coming from the right.

"The opponents of Social Security and Medicare are getting in high gear. After all, it makes perfect sense that after the collapse of a housing bubble has just destroyed the life savings of near retirees that we would cut their Social Security and Medicare. Okay, at least in Washington that makes perfect sense."

"President Obama’s deficit commission is moving forward with Social Security and Medicare explicitly in their sights. They got a dry run for how this effort is likely to sell with the public on Saturday as the Peter Peterson funded group America Speaks sponsored a series of 19 "21st Century Town Meetings." It seems that events didn’t quite go as planned."

"The exercise was intended to convince people that there were no options other than large cuts to Social Security and Medicare to hit their deficit targets. To ensure this result, the America Speaks crew put together a booklet that exaggerated future budget problems (the exercise was for the year 2025) by assuming a worse budget path than the country is currently facing."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 29, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

So, let me ask you this;

Right Wing Gang Of Five Activist Supreme Court Justices;

Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito:

Now that you have ruled that I have the same right to use a gun as I have to free speech, can I just shoot of my gun, in the same way that I can freely shoot off my mouth?

How do I go about defending myself with my gun.

Do I shoot preemptively, like The Iraq Invasion, because some one just might have a concealed gun, or be a looming threat, who might purchase a gun, within the next few years?

What are the comparative statistics on how many people actually killed the bad guy, after he had fired first, compared to how many innocent people have been killed by handguns in the home?

How many children have been killed by guns, compared to how many gun wielding criminals have been killed by gun owners defending their-selves?

Can a gun owner shoot an unarmed criminal to death, even in the back, if the gun owner feels scared. A policeman can not, but in Texas, a man was acquitted, after he went out and shot a burglar in the back, as the guy was leaving another house. This happened after the gun owner was told, by the police dispatcher not to go outside his home, and to let the police handle it.

What about my sense of safety and security. Until you made your insane gun ownership ruling, all I had to fear was the rare dangerous criminal. Now I have to be more scared of the far more common gun nuts.

Anthony Kennedy, I know what the other four Activist Right Wing idealogs are about; so nothing those extremists do to the constitution, surprises me, but I had expected more from you.

Shame on you. You know better, but you have become a profile in Jello.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 29, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Steve Forbes, the publisher and one-time presidential candidate, demonstrated the perils of writing a eulogy in 140 characters or less.

"Good news," he Tweeted on Monday, about 10 hours after Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member of the Senate in history, was pronounced dead. "Financial reform bill may still fail b/c of loss of Byrd vote & 2nd thoughts from Sen Brown."

That one definitely put the "twit" in Twitter.

As if we needed any more evidence that Republicans are SHAMEFUL and DISGUSTING.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 29, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Steve Forbes is another one of those arrogant rich twits, who was "born on third base, and thinks that he hit a triple".

Posted by: Liam-still | June 29, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Here's one more on the "austerity program" looming in the headlights.

"The G-20 summit is over, and the big news is that "fiscal austerity" is the new global watchword: The official summit declaration announces that "advanced economies have committed to fiscal plans that will at least halve deficits by 2013."

"And everyone gets a new pony, too. The leaders of the United Kingdom and Germany believe that the new austerity drive will somehow result in renewed economic growth. Students of history, mindful of the lessons of the 1930s, worry that a "Third Depression" is in the offing. But all the pundits seem to agree on one thing: The G-20's declaration represents a failure for President Obama, whose warning that what the world needs now is more government-stimulated demand, rather than fiscal retrenchment in the face of a very shaky global economy, was rudely ignored."

"Even worse, the president has opened himself up to accusations of hypocrisy, since the U.S. is rapidly hurtling toward its own austerity regime. If Obama really believed that it is not yet time to start cutting government spending, then why hasn't he made a more forceful push for increased stimulus spending in the U.S.? Why does he keep talking about his call for a three-year freeze on non-defense-related domestic appropriations?"

Posted by: lmsinca | June 29, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Matt Taibbi on why Lara Logan sucks. And she does suck. Yes she does.

Geez, I'm gonna have to subscribe to RS if this keeps up.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 29, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

OK, seriously, read the Taibbi piece.

Here's just one snippet:

"Let me just say one thing quickly: I don't know Michael Hastings. I've never met him and he's not a friend of mine. If he cut me off in a line in an airport, I'd probably claw his eyes out like I would with anyone else. And if you think I'm being loyal to him because he works for Rolling Stone, well – let's just say my co-workers at the Stone would laugh pretty hard at that idea.

But when I read this diatribe from Logan, I felt like I'd known Hastings my whole life. Because brother, I have been there, when some would-be "reputable" journalist who's just been severely ass-whipped by a relative no-name freelancer on an enormous story fights back by going on television and, without any evidence at all, accusing the guy who beat him of cheating. That's happened to me so often, I've come to expect it. If there's a lower form of life on the planet earth than a "reputable" journalist protecting his territory, I haven't seen it."

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 29, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

On Lara Logan from wikipedia:

"Logan's husband is a U.S. Federal Government defense contractor from Texas, whom she met in Iraq."

Well, at least she's blonde and beautiful.

And Greg, that's what passes for "objective journalist/reporter" in this day and age.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 29, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

All, see the new ad from Karl Rove's group attacking Harry Reid:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 29, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Can we stop using the Kos/FDL frame of how going after Brown was a mistake? Trouble is that these Senate vote coalitions are fragile and Byrd's loss started to make things unravel. Feingold's fit was irresponsible in light of how precarious negotiations are, but understandable when you realize he's being cheered on by the same people feeding the Kos frame. There are wings of the party who think that it's better to have lost a bill but gained an issue for the elections. Agree or disagree, but that premise is driving how they approach FinReg negotiations.

Posted by: fbacon2 | June 29, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Come on people we know why Kagan's blood is on the senate floor. Those R's are getting their stab in because having liberal blood (especially when it could be gay) is like finding a bottle of 1957 Merlot. And jeff sessions got busy right away, now everyone knows he hates foreplay. Not even a good morning. But this should be a shoe-in check it out

Posted by: republicanblack | June 29, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"The White House may have erred by investing so much in securing the support of Scott Brown for FinReg. He's now wavering, and the concessions made to win Brown have Russell Feingold now saying he'll vote No."

From what I've read, the concessions to Brown have nothing to do with Feingold's refusal to vote for financial regulation. In fact, I can't find anybody who's particularly clear about what he wants. Seems to me it's just typical Feingold: "My rules or I take my vote and go home."

Posted by: converse | June 29, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I would like to think that the DNC would have ads cued up in Maine saying "Susan Collins thinks it's a bad idea for the financial industry to pay for the next meltdown; she wants *you* to pay for it again."


Posted by: jimeh | June 29, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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