The President's Weekly Address:
... The transcript is here. Reuters: "President Barack Obama on Saturday called on the U.S. Congress to back his efforts for tough new financial industry oversight, saying a $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan underscored the need for such regulation."
Former First Lady Laura Bush in a Washington Post op-ed: "Many of the vital gains that Afghan women have achieved over the past decade were made because of the sacrifice and support of the United States and the broader NATO alliance.... As the U.S. and NATO mission in Afghanistan changes, the world must remember the women of Afghanistan."
Adam Serwer of Mother Jones: "At least it's on the record: Most House Republicans support the indefinite detention without trial of American citizens.... If nothing else..., it's illuminating to watch 'small-government' Republicans -- who have spent the last three years lamenting the loss of freedom caused by a higher marginal tax rate or the regulation of derivatives -- defend the most arbitrary big government power imaginable." ...
New York Times Editors: "On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down a law allowing the indefinite detention of anyone suspected of terrorism on American soil as a violation of free speech and due process. Two days later, the House made it clear it considered those to be petty concerns, voting to keep the repellent practice of indefinite detention on the books.... The overall defense bill was approved by the House, and President Obama has threatened to veto it -- not because it fails to prohibit detention, but because it violates an agreement on the military budget and tries to prohibit same-sex marriages on military property, among other flaws. The Senate has an opportunity to fix this bill to restore the due-process rights found in the Constitution."
Paul Krugman: "Since former President Bush is going to favor us with a book on How to Succeed in Economic Policy Without Really Trying -- and since Mitt Romney is essentially planning a return to Bushonomics -- it might be worth looking at Bush's job record compared with that of Obama so far." CW: Ha!
Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post: "... our national conversation about contraceptives isn’t over -- and that groups on the both sides intend to keep the discussion very much alive." ...
... Irin Carmon of Salon on House Subcommittee to Oppress Women (Especially Women of Color) Chairman Trent Franks' [RTP-Ariz.] refusal to allow Washington, D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to speak before his committee on his plan to ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District. Norton would have said "the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act 'is the first bill ever introduced in Congress that would deny constitutional rights to the citizens of only one jurisdiction in the United States....'" Carmon notes, "The National Right to Life Committee has called the bill its 'top congressional priority for 2012,' and will score members based on their votes, even though it likely has no chance of getting past the Senate -- or the president." CW Note: Carmon didn't designate the official name of the subcommittee, so I was just guessing there.
Tom Friedman, You're an Idiot. Brendan Nyhan in the Columbia Journalism Review: "What’s so frustrating about pundits' hype of Americans Elect is that its failure was so predictable."
Matt Gutman of ABC News: "A closer look at the witness statements and audio testimony taken in the immediate aftermath Trayvon Martin's death provides the first insight into George Zimmerman's behavior after he shot the unarmed teen." ...
... Serge Kovaleski of the New York Times: "A girl who talked on the phone with Trayvon Martin on the night of Feb. 26 has told a state prosecutor [under oath] that she heard rising fear in Mr. Martin's voice that peaked with words like 'get off, get off,' right before she lost contact with him and he was shot to death." ...
... Judd Legum of Think Progress: "Among the evidence in the Trayvon Martin case released by the Florida state prosecutor yesterday was a 15-minute interview with a former work colleague of George Zimmerman. The man, who is not identified by name, says that Zimmerman relentlessly bullied him at work. Zimmerman, according to the witness, targeted him because he was Middle Eastern." Includes audio of interview.
Benedict Carey of the New York Times: Prominent psychiatrist Robert Spitzer is sorry for his "sexual orientation disturbance." He apologizes to the LGBT community.
Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times: Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, earmarks $17,000 drip pans for Black Hawk helicopters. Comparable pans cost $2,500.
The Excellence in Journalism Prize Goes to Runner-up Is ... the National Review. Alex Pareene of Salon: "The National Review says Elizabeth Warren is guilty of the gravest crime a writer can commit: Plagiarism. Katrina Trinko compares passages from 'All Your Worth: The Ultimate Money Lifetime Plan,' Warren's book with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, with passages from 'Getting on the Money Track,' a book by Rob Black. The passages line up perfectly. The wording and even the punctuation are identical. It’s plagiarism all right. Except it looks very much like Warren is actually the victim." Later, editor Rich Lowry acknowledged the mistake & took down the story. CW: wouldn't it have been clever to fact-check the story before publishing it? Pareene found it awfully easy to debunk the National Review's claim. ...
... The Excellence in Journalism Prize Goes to the Washington Times. Mariah Blake of Salon: "...in a handful of columns over the last year [Washington Times columnist & former editor Arnaud de Borchgrave] has lifted passages verbatim, or nearly verbatim, from the Internet and other sources, without attribution -- a fact the Washington Times' leadership tried to sweep under the rug, according to insiders at the paper." CW: read the story; it's pretty amazing.
Willard's Whoppers. Steve Benen: the Mittster racked up 19 lies this week. "I'm curious," he writes, "is Romney also allowed a certain number of falsehoods before people begin to doubt his character? And if so, what is that number?"
What Would Willard Do? Greg Sargent notes that Thursday, Romney said, "America's economy runs on freedom. And he has been attacking economic freedom from the first day he came into office." Sargent responds, "What's missing from this narrative is what, if anything, Romney would have done if he had been president in January of 2009, when the economy was on the brink of global meltdown. The implication of Romney's remarks above is that doing nothing at all would have been preferable to what Obama did." C[mon, reporters, if Willard ever lets you ask him a question (and he's trying hard not to), that's a good one to ask.
CW: I think Krugman is onto something: "My take has always been that [Romney is] a smart guy who also happens to be both ambitious and completely amoral.... More and more, however, he has been coming out with statements suggesting that he is, in fact, a dangerous fool.... I'm beginning to suspect that ... outside of whatever he did at Bain, Romney really is ignorant as well as uncaring."
Andrew Leonard of Salon: "When Meg Whitman ran for governor of California in 2010, the former eBay CEO told voters that her business background made her the right choice to boost job creation in a state troubled by high unemployment.... It’s the same spiel we hear from Mitt Romney every single day." As the new CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she "is planning to cut its workforce by around 30,000 jobs." HP is probably more likely to take the money saved via a tax break and spend it on a new R&D center in Shanghai than it is to staff up in Silicon Valley." CW: also, as I noted in yesterday's News Ledes, Whitman promised as governor she would create 500,000 jobs a year in California. Right.
Gail Collins looks forward to the party conventions, for which "you, the taxpayer, are paying." So enjoy!
Right Wing World *
Remington Shepard of Media Matters: Joe Ricketts & Mitt Romney drop the Jeremiah Wright hoohah, but Hannity & Friends can't let go.
In yesterday's comments, contributor James Singer obliquely suggested that Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett was beyond description. Ever curious, I wanted to know why. Well, here ya go: Catalina Carnia of USA Today: "... Ken Bennett, a Republican exploring a 2014 race for governor, issued a statement insisting he is not a 'birther....'" [But] "Bennett told a radio interviewer yesterday it was 'possible' he would keep Obama off the ballot if the" State of Hawaii doesn't provide him with verification of little Barry's birth certificate. CW: if you are an Arizona resident (& not a damned foreigner) & are looking for a sinecure, you might think of running for secretary of state. Apparently, it is a job that leaves plenty of time to do whatever the hell you feel like.
* Where undermining the government is the primary function of the government.
New York Times: "For the second straight race, the Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another ran down Bodemeister in deep stretch, winning the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore."
Reuters: "World leaders backed keeping Greece in the euro zone on Saturday and vowed to take all steps necessary to combat financial turmoil while revitalizing a global economy increasingly threatened by Europe's debt crisis. A summit of the G8 leading industrialized nations came down solidly in favor of a push to balance European austerity -- an approach long driven by German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- with a dose of U.S.-style stimulus seen as vital to healing ailing euro-zone economies."
Chicago Tribune: "Three out-of-state men arrested in a Bridgeport [Illinois?] apartment raid days before the NATO summit considered hitting President Obama's campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's house and police stations with 'incendiary devices,' according to court documents. The trio, who are being held on $1.5 million bond apiece, are charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive or incendiary device."
Reuters: "Around 500 demonstrators gathered outside the home of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Saturday to protest the recent closure of mental health clinics as part of a series of rallies and marches timed to coincide with a NATO summit here. But the protest was much smaller than one attended by an estimated 2,500 people at a downtown plaza on Friday. The biggest rally is expected to be on Sunday near the convention center where world leaders will gather."
New York Times: "Walter Wink, an influential liberal theologian whose views on homosexuality, nonviolence and the nature of Jesus challenged orthodox interpretations, died on May 10 at his home in Sandisfield, Mass. He was 76."
AP: "A blind Chinese activist was hurriedly taken from a hospital Saturday and boarded a plane that took off for the United States, closing a nearly monthlong diplomatic tussle that had tested U.S.-China relations. Chen Guangcheng, his wife and their two children were on United Airlines Flight 88, which took off late Saturday afternoon from the Beijing airport. The flight was scheduled to arrive in Newark, N.J., Saturday evening. ...
... New York Times Update: 'Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal advocate who made an improbable escape from virtual house arrest and sought refuge in the American Embassy here, arrived in Newark on Saturday, ending a fraught diplomatic drama that threatened to disrupt relations between China and the United States."
NEW. Los Angeles Times: "The Obama administration ordered tariffs of 31% and higher on solar panels imported from China, escalating a simmering trade dispute with China over a case that has sharply divided American interests in the growing clean-energy industry. The Commerce Department announced the stiff duties Thursday after making a preliminary finding that Chinese solar panel manufacturers 'dumped' their goods -- that is, sold them at below fair-market value."
NBC News: "A key witness to the Trayvon Martin shooting changed the story he had given Sanford, Fla., police, telling state authorities he was not sure who was screaming during the altercation with George Zimmerman. The man known as Witness #6 originally told Sanford police Zimmerman cried for help.... On March 20, according to the Orlando Sentinel, while sitting for a follow-up interview by a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigator the witness said that he was no longer sure who was calling for help."