Will have a new whip count tonight.
• Democrats tried to highlight GOP obstructionism and the 88 nominees still awaiting confirmation with a bunch of floor speeches today. Al Franken’s was particularly fun. This is politics, but Franken’s pointed words “this is a perversion of the filibuster” was something of a warning shot, designed to send the message that reform, even embraced by the more moderate side of the caucus, is coming.
• The Senate GOP will try to throw out the entire reconciliation bill as a violation of the Byrd rule, not just the changes to the excise tax.
• It’s hard to miss the irony in the President threatening to veto an intelligence bill because of Congressional oversight concerns the same day that he praised his Administration as the most open and transparent ever, during “Sunshine Week.” Incidentally, the “most open and transparent”? No.
• Speaking of Sunshine Week, this Public Online Information Act introduced today is an important piece of legislation. It would force all federal agencies to publish material for public consumption online in a proper format and a timely fashion.
• The return of the public option! At least at the state level. At the national level, there’s still Alan Grayson’s Public Option Act. And it’s good to see primary challengers picking it up and forcing their opponent to sign on. Marcy Winograd just did so to Jane Harman, saying, “Unfortunately, my opponent Jane Harman has yet to co-sponsor this much-needed bill, despite her pledges to support a public option. In Congress, I will continue to champion efforts to make Medicare available to anyone who wants to participate.”
• Could the US have captured a major Taliban reconciliation figure right when he was holding secret talks with Hamid Karzai aimed at ending the conflict?
• The AFL-CIO’s Rich Trumka pushes a financial transaction tax in the Huffington Post, shows exactly where labor wants to go with financial reform.
• By the way, this is how you “reform” the financial industry: “A former Merrill Lynch proprietary trader has been banned from working in UK financial services for at least five years for ‘mismarking’ his trading positions amid the financial crisis.” Criminal penalties need to get involved.
• The Fed declined to raise interest rates once again, citing the sluggish economy. How many more times before the imagined green shoots start to wither?
• Tommy Thompson still a 50/50 shot to run for Senate, he says. It’s getting a little late to announce a credible run, and also my money (literally) would still be on Feingold. Thompson was a uniformly awful Presidential candidate.
• The only shot for Harry Reid, and Democrats generally, is the craven stupidity of Republicans. In this case, Senate candidate Sue Lowden flat-out made up a bill she claimed to have stopped in the state legislature.
• Waht Eugene Robinson said. Why are we allowing those formaldehyde-laden FEMA trailers to be SOLD?
• Whatever judges allowed a recall of a federal official to go forward, something not found anywhere in the Constitution, should be reprimanded at the very least for their wasting the time of the citizens of New Jersey.
• Erick Erickson to CNN. What can you even say?
• The first general election season debate of 2010 will happen before the end of the primary in Pennsylvania, with Joe Sestak against Pat Toomey.