I have to go meet with 17 hedge fund managers before I can give you my opinions on the rest of today’s stories. But here they are:
• Some discrepancies today in the generic ballot tests. Gallup has the Republicans ahead for the third month in a row; CNN has the Democrats in front. Keep in mind that there are so many deep-blue districts that Democrats have to have a 2-point lead or so on the generic ballot just to break even.
• Despite the better news on the deficit front, official Washington is just dying to do something to “deal with” the budget woes, even during a jobs crisis. Alice Rivlin floats Social Security changes as some kind of confidence-building maneuver that Congress can get something done. She’s on the President’s deficit commission, so that’s not nothing. Meanwhile, the talk of a regressive VAT tax, basically a national sales tax, is growing.
• The Washington Post gets around to discussing something I’ve highlighted for a while: the Obama Administration leveraging public money to make preferred education policy changes, not just in the Race to the Top program but with Title I funding from the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind. This is just the wrong time to turn the Education Department into a venture capital firm. Kids are being failed by underfunded schools, and right now that’s much more important.
• Bob Herbert gets Nancy Pelosi to say the right things about needing to kickstart real job growth, but she cannot mandate it by herself, and elsewhere in Washington there’s absolutely no sense of urgency to help the millions of jobless.
• Barney Frank expresses his disappointment with the Administration over their reticence to help to move a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t tell through Congress. Even if you understand why the White House is dragging their feet, why in the world would they vow to repeal DADT this year in the first place, setting everyone up for a fall?
• I see nothing really new in this story about campaign finance disclosure for corporate groups in the wake of Citizens United. Where’s the legislation already? The policies discussed here have been out there for months.
• Joe Sestak doubles down on the revelation that Arlen Specter secured Rick Santorum’s endorsement in 2004 by vowing to move any of George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. He released a video on the subject today.
• Good Marc Ambinder post about sexual identity, whisper campaigns, and the Supreme Court.
• While I’m praising The Atlantic, let me also praise this outstanding piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Lost Cause and conservative’s still-troubled relationship with slavery.
• At least business is booming for one area of our economy, even here in California: the prison industry.
• The Eric Massa story is getting really ugly and salacious, with too much on-the-record smoke to deny it. I find it sad more than anything.
• Blanche Lincoln has moved on from lying about unions to lying about Social Security. There’s a lot of desperation in this.
• Welcome back, industrial policy. We hope to see you in the United States real soon.
• A shareholder revolt against murderous CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship.
• Endgame in Kyrgyzstan as the former President resigns himself to his fate.
• “Thank God” we only have a couple more years of Joseph I. Lieberman.