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The Rundown

4 p.m. ET: Well, that was fast. Barely a day after Democratic leaders were warning that Congress might have to work right through next week on the economic stimulus package, they announced this afternoon that they have a deal on a $789.5 billion package. No need to put off your recess week vacation plans any longer.

So, how's it playing? To use a cliche we'll be hearing quite a bit in the next day or so, the devil is in the details. But Ben Smith suggests "it's hard not to see this as a pretty clean win for the president," in that both the size and timing of the package are basically what President Obama wanted. TPM reflects a similar view, quoting a reader saying, "A Win Is a Win."

The larger question is whether Obama will be happy with a "lonely victory" -- i.e. a measure whose backers are 99 percent Democrats. It is possible he will swing a few more Republican votes his way before final passage, but the bottom line is that this is the president's baby, for better or for worse.

8 a.m. ET: The markets were not a fan of the bank rescue plan unveiled by the Obama administration Tuesday, but President Obama's own stock still appears to be doing quite well.

Obama's approval rating is at 63 percent, according to Gallup, down only slightly from when he was sworn into office. More importantly, he is far more popular than either party in Congress, and certainly better-liked by the public than the Wall Street community that reacted tepidly to his financial resuce plan. And Obama will certainly need that political capital, as he works to sell that bailout and convince the House and Senate to agree on a compromise stimulus package that neither chamber will necessarily love.

Miracle of miracles, that stimulus deal might actually be done sooner rather than later. Max Baucus even called it "very possible" an agreement could be reached today. Key lawmakers worked into the wee hours Tuesday night, along with Rahm Emanuel and Peter Orszag, and Harry Reid said "a significant amount of progress" was made.

Selling the bailout plan will likely be a more difficult and longer-term proposition, as the proposal got mostly negative coverage Tuesday in addition to that sour verdict from the stock market. Tim Geithner himself also didn't get very good reviews for his performance, though it's hard to imagine the administation could possibly have unveiled a plan that really pleased all the stakeholders -- Wall Street, Congress and the public -- at the same time. At the moment, it seems that none of those three constituencies is happy, but there is time for Obama to work on them.

In the House, there was much attention Tuesday on three of the chamber's most senior Democrats -- some of it positive, some of it not so much. John Dingell was feted by Nancy Pelosi, with whom he has repeatedly clashed in recent years, as well as Bill Clinton and other luminaries for his reaching the milestone of being the longest-serving House member in history. John Murtha, another party titan, faces a potentially troubling spate of press coverage stemming from the revelation that a second lobbying firm with close ties to him has been raided by the FBI. (Pete Visclosky and Jim Moran could also be under scrutiny.) And Charles Rangel faced yet another unsuccessful GOP effort to strip him of his chairmanship as he is the subject an ethics investigation over multiple allegations.

Hard as it might be to govern in Washington right now, perhaps politicians here should be thankful they don't have to run state governments, nearly all of which require balanced budgets. In California, for example, the state is set to lay off thousands of workers unless the Legislature agrees on a budget plan that drastically cuts spending and raises taxes (the exact opposite of what Congress is about to do). Makes you wonder why Meg Whitman really wants to be governor of the Golden State.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 11, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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While the President and Congress are distracted by what looks like a "socially engineered" economic crisis, is democracy being stolen out from under us?



Team Obama, this is no "State Secret." You MUST immediately join with GOP defenders of the Constitution to dismantle the nationwide extrajudicial punishment network...

...authoritarian bureaucrats and security/intel officers and their nationwide network of citizen vigilantes fronted by federally-funded volunteer programs.

This nationwide, Gestapo-like operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many unjustly "targeted" victims from all strata of society.

Crimes against humanity are being committed across the nation via the use of so-called "directed energy (radiation) weapons" which the Bush D.O.J. recently confirmed are being widely deployed to police forces nationwide.

These RADIATION weapons emit silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end as well as their operators.

This weaponry has NO PLACE in civilized society -- much less in the hands of security personnel who interact with the public.

The widespread deployment of this weaponry virtually assures its misuse.

Imagine if rogue actors tried to use its silent, deadly force to induce illness or to disorient, prematurely age, sicken or disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods expropriated and destroyed by coordinated "multi-agency action" "programs of personal destruction" that deny them due process of law while degrading their lives and destroying their families.

The IRS, under Bush-Cheney, has been transmogrified into an ideological weapon of social control and recrimination by these covert "multi-agency actions."

Obama administration officials must address these abuses IMMEDIATELY, before these affronts to the Constitution destroy more American families -- and subvert the Obama presidency.






OR (if links are corrupted):

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 11, 2009 9:34 AM

President Obama fulfilled his promise and did the right thing in seeking bipartisan support. But now the Republicans have shown us that they are going to inist on behaving like spoiled brats, so the time for bipartisanship is OVER. Let them live out their term in the shadow of the Democrats, since the Repubs have forfeited ANY claim to represent their constituents.

Posted by: Syllogizer | February 11, 2009 9:04 PM

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