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9:20 AM ET, March 20, 2009


 Top Items: 
Michael James / Political Punch:
President Obama Jokes About Being a Bad Bowler: 'It's Like the Special Olympics'  —  The first appearance by a sitting president on “The Tonight Show” may well end up being the last.  —  President Obama, in his taping with Jay Leno Thursday afternoon, attempted to yuk it up with the funnyman, and ended up insulting the disabled.
Michelle Malkin:
Obama's “Special Olympics” joke: The teleprompter made him do it!  —  Jake Tapper reports that Barack Obama pulled a Joe Biden (or a Barack Obama, for that matter) and ended up mocking the Special Olympics in a lame attempt to make fun of his weak bowling skills.
Marian Burros / New York Times:
Obamas to Plant White House Vegetable Garden  —  WASHINGTON — On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden in World War II.  There will be no beets (the president doesn't like them) but arugula will make the cut.
John / Power Line:
THEY COULDN'T BE THAT DUMB.  COULD THEY?  —  This is absolutely unbelievable.  You recall the embarrassment over the Obama administration's incompetent treatment of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during his state visit to the U.S. The last link in that chain of ineptitude …
New York Times:
President Barack Obama on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’  —  The following is a transcript of President Obama's interview on NBC's “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” as provided by the White House.  —  JAY LENO The 44th President of the United States, please welcome President Barack Obama.
Todd Venezia / New York Post:
Discussion: JammieWearingFool
Mark Steyn / The Corner:
Regional Power  —  Mark (Hemingway), re that Gordon Brown box set …
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Obama to Leno: Dog ‘campaign promise’
Discussion: The Politico and Gawker
William M. Welch / USA Today:   Presidential chat is late-night coup for Leno
Helene Cooper / New York Times:
For Obama, Talk About Economy Goes Into Late Night
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Obama White House bars press from press award ceremony  —  We are not making this up:  —  Barack Obama was elected commander-in-chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history.  —  This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused …
Discussion: But As For Me
New York Times:
Scorn Trails A.I.G. Executives, Even in Their Driveways  —  The A.I.G. executive who was nicknamed “Jackpot Jimmy” by a New York tabloid walked up the driveway toward his bay-windowed house in Fairfield, Conn., on Thursday afternoon.  “How do I feel?” said the executive, James Haas, repeating the question he had just been asked.
Lynnley Browning / New York Times:
A.I.G. Sues U.S. for Return of $306 Million in Tax Payments  —  While the American International Group comes under fire from Congress over executive bonuses, it is quietly fighting the federal government for the return of $306 million in tax payments, some related to deals that were conducted through offshore tax havens.
Alan Cowell / New York Times:
In an Unusual Video, Obama Offers Iran a ‘New Day’  —  Invoking art, history and “the common humanity that binds us,” President Obama offered a “new day” in America's relationship with Iran, using an unusual videotaped message to appeal directly to Iranians for a shift away from decades of confrontation.
Geithner: Treasury pushed for bonus loophole  —  (CNN) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN Thursday his department asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill that allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.
Alaska_Politics / Anchorage Daily News:
Palin rejecting federal stimulus money  —  From Sean Cockerham in Juneau -  —  Gov. Sarah Palin just told reporters that she's accepting only 55 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska.  The governor said that she will accept only about $514 million of the $930 million headed to the state.
Andrew Miga / Associated Press:
Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  WASHINGTON - Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.
Discussion: The Politico
New York Times:   Connecticut Senator Draws Voters' Ire for His Bonus Role
Associated Press:
Former AIG head denies he started exec bonuses  —  WASHINGTON - Former AIG chief executive officer Hank Greenberg said the company under his leadership never had the kind of retention bonus system that has subjected it to withering criticism.  —  “When I was there, nobody had a contract with the company …
Discussion: Associated Press and USA Today
Mike Soraghan / The Hill:
Democrats' blame game
Discussion: The Politico
New York Times:
Off With the Bankers  —  A.I.G. can hardly claim that its generous bonuses attract the best and the brightest.  So instead, it defends the payments by arguing they're needed to retain employees who are crucial for winding down transactions that are “difficult to understand and manage.”
Jean H. Lee / Associated Press:
NKorea reportedly detains 2 US journalists  —  SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Two American journalists were missing Friday after they reportedly were detained by North Korea for ignoring warnings to stop shooting footage of the reclusive country.  —  Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee …
The Politico:   Journalists detained in North Korea Politico - 32 minutes ago
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Bonfire of the Trivialities  —  A $14 trillion economy hangs by a thread composed of (a) a comically cynical, pitchfork-wielding Congress, (b) a hopelessly understaffed, stumbling Obama administration, and (c) $165 million.  —  That's $165 million in bonus money handed out to AIG debt manipulators …
Lynn Sweet:
Michelle Obama in candid conversation with kids, talks about being told, “you talk like a white girl”  —  First Lady Michelle Obama with Alicia Keyes (AP)  —  UPDATED WITH TRANSCRIPT AT 2:26 P.M. EASTERN TIME  —  WASHINGTON—First Lady Michelle Obama visited a high school here Thursday …
Discussion: Betsy's Page and
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 More Items: 
Agence France Presse:
African Union mulls Madagascar suspension
Richard Boudreaux / Los Angeles Times:
Israeli soldiers report abuses in Gaza
Discussion: Haaretz and normblog
Jane Black / Washington Post:
Vegetable Garden Will Be Installed on White House Grounds
Discussion: and The Sleuth
Philip Elliott / Associated Press:
Obama returns to campaign-style tactics for budget
Discussion: But As For Me
Dina Cappiello / Associated Press:
Report: Energy contributing to birds' decline
 Earlier Items: 
David Ingram / The BLT:
Kagan Confirmed as First Female Solicitor General
Discussion: Overruled and SCOTUSblog
Lucinda Franks / Blogs and Stories:
Madoff Employee Breaks Silence
Discussion: Clusterstock
Megan McArdle:
Helicopter Ben fires up the engine
Discussion: New York Times and The Bellows
Why President Obama skipped ‘Meet the Press’
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Carol Baum: Welfare CEOs are Just Like John Galt
Discussion: Bloomberg and American Power