I've posted an Open Thread for today's Off Times Square.
CW: James Surowiecki of the New Yorker has a very smart post on why the debt limit is so stupid. He incorporates economics, history AND psychology in one short post. Thanks to reader Kelly K. for the link.
** Elizabeth Drew in the New York Review of Books: "What were they thinking? Why, in the midst of a stalled recovery, with the economy fragile and job creation slowing to a trickle, did the nation’s leaders decide that the thing to do — in order to raise the debt limit, normally a routine matter — was to spend less money, making job creation all the more difficult? Many experts on the economy believe that the President has it backward: that focusing on growth and jobs is more urgent in the near term than cutting the deficit, even if such expenditures require borrowing. But that would go against Obama’s new self-portrait as a fiscally responsible centrist." Blame it on David Plouffe.
In a blogpost, Paul Krugman says means-testing Medicare is a bad idea: "... if you want the well-off to pay more, it’s just better to raise their taxes." ...
... In his regular column, Krugman elaborates on that theme and on why, in general, Obama's "Grand Bargain" was a bad bargain. ...
... From The Final Edition:
... By some accounts (see Krugman's post on Medicare means testing, linked above), Paul Krugman & David Brooks had a "duel to the death" on Charlie Rose's show Friday night. Rose hasn't put up the video yet & I can't find a pirated copy. Thanks to reader Bob M. for locating this clip from Heather at Crooks & Liars, who also has the transcript here:
... NEW. The full segment is (sort of) up on Charlie Rose's site, but it seems to have an intermittent loading problem. Worth watching if you can get it.
Louise Story & David Kocieniewski of the New York Times: "As Congress and President Obama failed yet again to break their stalemate over the worries in global markets, with the dollar losing ground to an index of currencies, United States stocks futures declining and gold, deemed a safe investment during times of uncertainty, rising.", Wall Street and Washington turned their attention to a critical question: How long will investors give them? ... Early reaction to the gridlock indicated
OFA Does Something Really Useful. AP: "President Barack Obama’s political arm at the Democratic National Committee is getting involved in the Wisconsin state Senate recall elections. Obama’s Organizing for America is pulling together volunteers in Madison this weekend to knock on doors and make phone calls in support of Democrats in eight recall elections." CW: this is encouraging. During the height of the demonstrations this past winter, OFA (which is now an arm of the Democratic National Committee) planned to bus demonstrators into Wisconsin from neighboring states and "somebody" at the White House evidently put the kibosh on the effort. Looks like "somebody" had a change of heart.
Paul Burka of Texas Monthly writes an open letter to "Yankee" journalists advising them of eight things they should know about Rick Perry before attempting to write about him. A really good read, and a bit scary.
CW: Abby Goodnough of the New York Times surveys Massachusetts Democrats, who are saying the same thing I've been saying about an Elizabeth Warren candidacy for Senate: she's untested, Scott Brown is popular & already has a big ole campaign war chest, AND Warren is a woman in a state that doesn't like to elect women to high public office. I even have a real-money bet going with an Off Times Square commenter on how Warren would fare if she chose to run.
Scott Shane of the New York Times on what Anders Behring Breivik, the accused Norwegian terrorist, learned from American anti-Muslim bloggers.
Stephen Marche, in a New York Times op-ed, sees the Murdoch scandal in terms of Shakespearean tragedy. CW: Personally, I think he's overblowing Rupert Murdoch, but he makes some interesting comparisons. If the government falls because of Murdoch, then you're into Shakespeare territory, but the protagonist would not be Murdoch; it would be David Cameron. ...
... David Carr of the New York Times: "... what [Rupert Murdoch's] sons and daughters could soon find out is that if Mr. Murdoch is forced to choose between the family and the company he has built, he will choose the News Corporation.... James Murdoch is done.... Rupert Murdoch, as we have long known him, is done as well."
... Don Van Natta, et al., of the New York Times: "After his testimony in Parliament was challenged by two former senior employees and referred by a lawmaker to Scotland Yard for investigation, James Murdoch has come under rising pressure in Britain’s phone hacking scandal that is likely to intensify this week. The board of British Sky Broadcasting ... convenes on Thursday for the first time since the scandal erupted, as regulators continue their inquiry into whether the hacking scandal means the broadcaster should continue to be considered 'fit and proper' to hold a broadcasting license. A day later, members of the parliamentary committee investigating the scandal are to meet to consider whether to ask for more information from Mr. Murdoch...."
Nafissatou Diallo, the Sofitel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of raping her, tells her side of the story to Newsweek reporters. ...
... Diallo speaks with ABC News' Robin Roberts. Print story here:
John Thorpe of Benzinga: IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore, a conservative Republican, gives sworn testimony that strongly suggests what liberals have suspected, and some have written about -- that Republicans falsified the 2004 Ohio presidential vote count, the state that gave the election to Bush over Kerry. BTW, I looked to see how the MSM covered this story; they didn't. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.
NEW. President Obama spoke about the need to reduce the deficit & the urgent need to raise the debt ceiling. Evidently Boehner is making a statement, too. I'm not listening, but I'll link a report when I find one. Update: here's the New York Times report.
Loonier & Loonier. The Hill: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), "the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, wasted little time announcing his opposition to the House GOP leadership's two-step plan to raise the debt ceiling. Jordan argued that his leadership team should stand behind a measure that the House approved on a party-line vote last week — the 'cut, cap and balance' bill that failed in the Senate."
Los Angeles Times: "Gov. Jerry Brown [D-Calif.] signed legislation Monday allowing undocumented college students to access private financial aid for college, calling the new law 'another piece of an investment in people.' But he said he was not yet ready to commit to signing a second piece of the Dream Act, which would provide public funding for those students."
Politico: "Construction projects at airports across the country have been halted because a bill to extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority is stuck in Congress, officials said on Monday." CW: this is what you get with a Tea Party Congress. Anybody who thinks this is helping the economy has another think coming.
Good News for Sports Fans. NECN: "The National Football League Players Association executive board, along with 32 team representatives, approved the terms of a new agreement to end the lockout. The players voted on a deal that owners approved last week; they unanimously agreed on a new CBA that will last for ten years."
New York Times: "The Democratic Senate and Republican House put themselves on a legislative collision course Monday as they moved forward with significantly different plans on how to raise the debt limit and avert a possible federal default next week." ...
... Politico, (updated): President Obama is broadly supportive of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s just-unveiled plan to cut $2.7 trillion from the budget – ditching his demand for significant revenue increases – in exchange for a debt ceiling extension through the end of 2012." Update: Washington Post story here.
New York Times: "The 32-year-old man accused of devastating twin attacks in now maintains that two cells of extremists collaborated with him, court officials said here Monday as they ordered solitary confinement for the suspect. The police also significantly reduced the confirmed death toll in the Friday attacks to 76 instead of 93 — still one of the worst mass killings in postwar Europe."
President Obama spoke at the National Council of La Raza early this afternoon. Update: Here's an AP post-speech report.
Politico: "Embattled Rep. David Wu will not seek reelection in 2012, but he won’t resign from office now despite allegations that the Oregon Democrat had an 'unwanted sexual encounter' with the teenage daughter of a close friend last Thanksgiving."
Road to Perdition. AP: "House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, planned to meet with his chamber's Republicans on Monday to discuss the GOP's clash with President Barack Obama.... There were widespread expectations on Capitol Hill that Boehner would unveil debt ceiling legislation by that session, if not earlier. After meeting at the White House on Sunday with Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said bipartisan talks on a solution had collapsed because Republicans were insisting on only extending the debt limit for a short period. He said he was crafting a $2.7 trillion package of spending cuts that would also push the government's borrowing authority through next year, a timeline that Obama and top Democrats are demanding." ...
... Update: TPM has Reid's statement here.
Reuters: "Anders Behring Breivik wants to tell Norway and the world why he killed at least 93 people in a bomb attack and shooting rampage, but a judge ruled that Monday's custody hearing would be closed to the public."
AP: "Moody's downgraded Greece's bond ratings by a further three notches Monday and warned that it is almost inevitable the country will be considered to be in default following last week's new bailout package. The agency said the new EU package of measures implies "substantial" losses for private creditors. As a result, it cut its rating on Greece by three notches to Ca — one above what it considers a default rating."
Irish Times: "Private equity investors have committed to buy up to €1.1 billion of the State's shares in Bank of Ireland.... Following the deal the Government will own a maximum of 32 per cent in the bank meaning the institution will avoid falling under State control as had been expected. The move also reduces the State's obligation to capitalise Bank of Ireland as part of stress tests announced in March."
Irish Times: "The Vatican has recalled its envoy to Ireland following Taoiseach Enda Kenny's trenchant criticism of the Holy See’s role in covering up cases of clerical child sex abuse. Deputy Vatican spokesman Father Ciro Benedettini said Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, the Apostolic Nuncio of Ireland, had been recalled from Dublin for consultations in the wake of the Cloyne report."
AP: "The cost of prescription medicines used by millions of people every day is about to plummet. The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix. The magnitude of this wave of expiring drugs patents is unprecedented."