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The Morning Plum

* Another jobs report, another spin war: It's due out this morning, and economists forecast some 87,000 lost last month and an unemployment rate ticking up from 9.5 percent to 9.6 percent.

"Nonsense": Senator George Voinovich on the GOP claim that tax cuts for the rich aren't a cost: "You don't need to pay for them? To me, that's nonsense."

Most of the division over whether to extend the Bush tax cuts has been among Dems, but Voinovich's broadside is the first hint of GOP opposition to the extension.

* Indys giving up on government? At the start of the Obama presidency independents were very receptive to an expansive role for the Federal government in our lives. Now the conventional wisdom is that indys are giving up on Big Government. This seems like a dynamic worth digging into a bit more deeply. Paging Nate...

* Dems keep milking that state aid: The DNC goes after John Boehner's suggestion that cops and teachers are "special interests" with a web video featuring teachers hitting back, another sign of how intent Dems are on milking their successful passage of billions in state aid -- over GOP opposition -- for maximum political gain.

* But: No end to the skittishness as some vulnerable Dems grumble that the vote for state aid could be a political loser that reminds voters of Dem overspending.

* The alternate reality known as the U.S. Senate: Mitch McConnell congratulates himself for successfully filibustering the Senate to a halt, but when Al Franken makes a few funny faces in his direction, McConnell erupts in fury at this unacceptable breach of Senatorial decorum.

* But: In fairness, Franken did apologize and does seem to think he stepped over the line.

* Didn't some folks predict this would happen? The DSCC prepares to slash the amount of campaign cash it's giving to Blanche Lincoln, as it becomes clearer that she's likely a goner.

* But...but...Obama is Spock! Now that the Gulf spill has been halted, Peter Baker notes that it may not have destroyed Obama's presidency after all, and points out that (unlike other major crises) Obama has been able to continue moving forward with his agenda.

* Also in the above link: Many will dismiss this as spin, but Rahm Emanuel argues that the public, in retrospect, may decide it isn't a big deal that Obama didn't respond to the spill by pounding the podium with rage or by weeping hot tears into the Gulf.

* Never again: Joe Klein lashes himself mercilessly for his passing support of the Iraq invasion and doesn't hide behind the phony-baloney argument that it wasn't clear at the time that the war rationale was transparent BS.

Klein writes: "The issue then was as clear as it is now." Refreshing.

* Toomey on the fringe? The Joe Sestak campaign is out with a new Web video that hits Pat Toomey for his ties to Angle, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. Fun stuff, though it's unclear who the audience is here or what kind of resonance this has for Pennsylvania voters worried about the economy.

* And Sharron Angle's holy war continues: Now it emerges that she believes clergy should be allowed to endorse political candidates and that gays shouldn't be allowed to adopt children.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 6, 2010; 8:36 AM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: GOP: Bad jobs numbers prove Dems have lost control of the wheel


Let the spinning begin...

"Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 131,000 in July, and the unem-
ployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statis-
tics reported today. Federal government employment fell, as 143,000 temporary
workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector
payroll employment edged up by 71,000."

Posted by: Andy94 | August 6, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Indys giving up on government? OR are more republicans calling themselves indys?

Posted by: Andy94 | August 6, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

This is from reuters. Apparently there's a rumor spreading that Obama is going to order Fannie and Freddie to cram down mortgages. Wow, after all the harping I've been doing on HAMP, I sure hope it's true.

"Main Street may be about to get its own gigantic bailout. Rumors are running wild from Washington to Wall Street that the Obama administration is about to order government-controlled lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forgive a portion of the mortgage debt of millions of Americans who owe more than what their homes are worth. An estimated 15 million U.S. mortgages – one in five – are underwater with negative equity of some $800 billion. Recall that on Christmas Eve 2009, the Treasury Department waived a $400 billion limit on financial assistance to Fannie and Freddie, pledging unlimited help. The actual vehicle for the bailout could be the Bush-era Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, a sister program to Obama’s loan modification effort. HARP was just extended through June 30, 2011.

The move, if it happens, would be a stunning political and economic bombshell less than 100 days before a midterm election in which Democrats are currently expected to suffer massive, if not historic losses. The key date to watch is August 17 when the Treasury Department holds a much-hyped meeting on the future of Fannie and Freddie."

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Digg conservative group manipulates site to suppress liberal viewpoints:

"The popular link-sharing website Digg is investigating claims that a group of the site's "influential conservative" members are systematically downgrading thousands of stories deemed to be "liberal".

Online magazine AlterNet claimed to have uncovered a group of Digg members – dubbed "Digg Patriots" – who have "censored hundreds of users, dozens of websites, and thousands of stories" from the site. Alternet alleged that the Digg Patriots, thought to number nearly 100 members, are "able to bury over 90% of articles by certain users and websites submitted within 1-3 hours"...

An AlterNet investigation alleged that the Digg Patriots discussed censorship strategies at a Yahoo group which has since been removed. A posting said to be by one of the group's senior strategists, said:

"To all of our new group members: We are really happy you have joined us at DiggPatriots! Please remember this is a group that we are trying to keep below the radar. Please do not disclose this group's existence to anyone outside the group on Digg or elsewhere. The longer we can keep this group on the down low, the better. I know you probably already knew that, but I wanted to make sure we are all on the same page as far as the keeping this group from being exposed to the public.""

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Krugman takes on both the Washington Post and Paul Ryan in one article.

"The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has, however, stepped into the breach. Its numbers indicate that the Ryan plan would reduce revenue by almost $4 trillion over the next decade. If you add these revenue losses to the numbers The Post cites, you get a much larger deficit in 2020, roughly $1.3 trillion.

And that’s about the same as the budget office’s estimate of the 2020 deficit under the Obama administration’s plans. That is, Mr. Ryan may speak about the deficit in apocalyptic terms, but even if you believe that his proposed spending cuts are feasible — which you shouldn’t — the Roadmap wouldn’t reduce the deficit. All it would do is cut benefits for the middle class while slashing taxes on the rich.

And I do mean slash. The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population."

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell is a dissembling pos who'd rather see America suffer so that his party has a chance of retaking power than do the right thing.

And I won't apologize for stating the facts.

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 6, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"An AlterNet investigation alleged that the Digg Patriots discussed censorship strategies at a Yahoo group which has since been removed."

I'm sure all the "Journolist" critics will be out in force today to condemn this, right?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 6, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Soon to be appearing at the National Review as a respected regular contributor...

"Saddam Hussein deputy Tariq Aziz calls for US forces to stay in Iraq
Exclusive: In his first interview since the fall of Baghdad, Tariq Aziz accuses Barack Obama of 'leaving Iraq to the wolves'"

But he's big in Japan.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

By the by, heard two instances yesterday (one on NPR and another on Matthews) where spokespersons from a conservative anti-gay marriage group (Gallagher's group, perhaps) who were asked the same question..."How does gay marriage damage or have negative consequences for my heterosexual marriage?" with the same tactic - avoid that question with this response..."Oh yes, there are consequences as where in Massachusetts a photographer was sued for refusing to photograph a gay marriage".

The argument, such as it is, which followed from these two individuals was that it is a direct suppression of their liberties when they are no longer free to be bigots. Neither interviewer followed up with the obvious precedent example, legal restrictions against whites marrying african americans.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Greg, after reading the Klein piece and then comparing it to the cover last week of the Afghan woman's face with the question it raised, I'm wondering how Klein feels about the Afghanistan war. I'll have to do some research unless you know off hand. I don't very often read his stuff.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

The Sheriff of Mayberry hates Real America

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

ps...Tomasky has a very nice piece on the Andy Griffith ad

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham - I heard a lady make the same case on Hardball last night.

If that is the best they have they should just stay home.

According to them we shouldn't let gays marry because if we do someone might get sued for something.

By that logic we shouldn't let people drive, buy gasoline, go outside, talk, walk, eat, sing or do pretty much anything at all.

Anyone can sue anyone for anything; this is America! We are a litigious society.

Posted by: nisleib | August 6, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

lmisnca, Klein has written a fair amount on the Afghan war but I confess I haven't paid close enough attention to summarize his position.

And welcome back, Bernie, if indeed you're back for good...

Posted by: sargegreg | August 6, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Republican senators - still doing what they can to keep the darkies and indins down:

Posted by: akaoddjob | August 6, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Franken may have been naughty but at least he had the smarts to keep it off camera--unlike, say, Alito or the "you lie" guy.

Posted by: joeff | August 6, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@nislieb - Yes, the Hardball instance was one of the two. Interesting performance, wasn't it? Did you notice how she tried to keep a smile on her face (Liz Cheney does this too, as does Coulter and many others) throughout. I suppose the notion is to not appeared flustered, to portray the situation as one where the interviewee is always on top of the issues, holding absolute and happy certainty and under no pressure or self-doubt. I gather that they are trained to behave in this manner.

@Greg - not yet...but time slowly becoming more available.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Greg, I'll have to look into it, unless someone beats me to it. That Time cover raised a lot of issues for me. They are obviously using the plight of Afghan women to justify our being there while there is absolutely no evidence I've found that the women are better off with us there. When interviewed the young woman had no idea if this cover would help or hurt other women, she just wants her nose back, poor thing.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham - Yeah, I caught that.

Did you see all the defensive laughing? She knew she didn't have a leg to stand on, and she kept laughing every time that was pointed out to her.

Posted by: nisleib | August 6, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"In attacking President Obama's economic policies yesterday, Cantor asked, "So as President Obama prepares to take another victory lap, who exactly is [he] celebrating with?"

The answer: auto manufacturers. Whoops!

Predictably, Democrats are pouncing:

"To answer Mr. Cantor's question - the President was celebrating with American auto workers whose industry is on the rise and whose jobs are being saved thanks to the bold action he and his Administration took after coming into office - and no thanks to Republicans who have been rooting for failure for the President and the economy for their own political gain," reads a statement from DNC Communication's Director Brad Woodhouse.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 6, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I was waiting to see the National Review's response to the Prop 8 ruling. Lowry does the predictable..."activist judge!" (with some San Francisco allusions for good measure, of course).

Neoconservatism has no particular beef with gay marriage in its ideology. The problem for people like Lowry is that the conservative movement in America has been the means to power for neoconservatives and this necessitates the pretense of solidarity with the religious right. Lowry has no option here. Any serious breach between neoconservatives and the religious right would deny future access to power.

The 'activist judge' attack is another matter, of course. It is, in the modern situation, an incoherent notion if merely because it is applied so inconsistently by people like Lowry (a conservative judge like Scalia or Roberts could not possibly be 'activist').

Aside from that, look at his first graph as a study in fallacy and smear...

"It’s safe to assume that Judge Vaughn Walker voted against Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California back in 2008. Throughout the trial on the measure in his courtroom, he proved himself as zealously in favor of gay marriage as the plaintiffs petitioning to have it declared unconstitutional — if not more so."

Note the "in favor of it", even passionately in favor (thus, equivalent to those passionately opposed...nothing rational or constitutional here...just warring biases).

Lowry is being deceitful and surely knows it. Nothing unusual for him. For all the talk of 'liberty' and freedom from governmental intrusions into peoples' lives or tyranny of the majority and fundamental freedoms instantiated in the constitution and bill of rights that comes out of Lowry and his corner of the political world, it is this judge and this finding that is out of line for Lowry's polemic purposes.

Again, in was as late as 1967 when laws forbidding interracial marriage were found (by the SC) as unconstitutional. Had Lowry been around then, with the same political agenda and affiliations as now, he would have bemoaned the activist judges that redefined marriage.

Here's the link if you want to study a bit of what this guy gets up to most every day

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

All, check out the Republican response to the bad jobs numbers:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 6, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Cute. Breitbart's site disappears past contributor sex doctor/sex wizard Kevin Pezzi...

Still, the fellow can likely pick up a job at Glenn Beck Upstairs University

Posted by: bernielatham | August 6, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Points out that there is already a Mosque in the Pentagon.

"Why did no one object to the "Pentagon mosque"?"

" Navy imam Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam lifted his voice to God as he called to prayer more than 100 Department of Defense employees Monday at a celebration of Ramadan at the Pentagon.

God is most great, sang the lieutenant commander and Islamic leader, in Arabic, as iftar — the end of the daily fast began.

Uniformed military personnel, civilians and family members faced Mecca and knelt on adorned prayer rugs chanting their prayers in quiet invocation to Allah.

The "ground zero mosque" story seems to be dying down, but nothing lays bare the absurdity of what we've just lived through quite so much as this Washington Times story, quoted above, from 2007.

Yes, Muslims have infiltrated the Pentagon for their nefarious, prayerful purposes -- daring to practice their religion inside the building where 184 people died on Sept. 11, 2001. They haven't even had the sensitivity to move two blocks, let alone a mile, away from that sacred site."

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Didn't some folks predict this would happen? The DSCC prepares to slash the amount of campaign cash it's giving to Blanche Lincoln, as it becomes clearer that she's likely a goner."

Before or after out-of-state interests spent tens of millions of dollars -- probably as much as both sides combined will spend on the general election -- trashing the old girl in the primary? Anyway, the Hill article you linked to didn't actually say they that the DSCC was taking back any money that it had previously earmarked for Lincoln, as your rather furious spin that they're preparing to "slash" the amount of cash they're budgeting for her would imply.

Last I heard though, Lincoln had actually raised about twice as much money as Boozman and had a rather sizable advantage in the cash on hand. So whatever her problem may be at this point, it doesn't seem to be money as such. And since I'm not a complete idiot, I'd sincerely have to doubt that in Arkansas in 2010, it's that she isn't liberal enough -- as much as I may personally wish that it were.

Posted by: CalD | August 6, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

In other news, from the I-never-thought-I'd-miss-Evan-Bayh-but... desk, a new poll in Indiana gives carpetbagger Dan Coats a solid double-digit lead on Brad Ellsworth. Yikes.

(h/t The Fix)

Posted by: CalD | August 6, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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