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1:55 PM ET, March 25, 2009


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Dear A.I.G., I Quit!  —  The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group's financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.  —  DEAR Mr. Liddy,  —  It is with deep regret that I submit …
Mark Murray / MSNBC:
FIRST THOUGHTS: THE OBAMA OCEAN-LINER  —  From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro  —  *** The Obama ocean-liner: More than anything else, Obama's news conference last night resembled a campaign TV ad — one in which the serious candidate talks directly to the camera …
Quinnipiac University:
Little-Known GOP Challenger Tops Specter In Primary, Quinnipiac University Pennsylvania Poll Finds; Support For Obama Plan Helps Among Democrats  —  Apparently paying a political price for his support of President Barack Obama's Stimulus Plan, longtime Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter …
Mark Steyn / The Corner:
Resigned  —  This resignation letter from an AIG exec is worth reading: … I wonder if Senator Grassley (Republican, of course) is pleased that AIG honchos are now doing as instructed and falling on their swords.  As I said a few days ago, if you own even modest assets (a small house …
Discussion: The Swamp, Salon and Commentary
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Specter's Defection On EFCA Fails To Win Over Right Wing
Mark Preston / CNN:
Jindal defends those who want Obama to fail  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) — It's OK for Republicans to want President Obama to fail if they think he's jeopardizing the country, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told members of his political party Tuesday night.  —  Jindal described the premise of the question …
Alex Isenstadt / The Politico:
GOP faithful still loves Jindal
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Jindal: Obama's failure a ‘gotcha game’
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
Democrats Take Knife To Obama's Budget  —  Key Democratic leaders were performing major surgery yesterday on President Obama's first budget plan in an effort to bring skyrocketing annual deficits under control, while preserving the option of enacting some of the president's most significant and costly domestic priorities.
New York Times:
E.U. President Calls U.S. Stimulus the ‘Way to Hell’  —  BRUSSELS — Transatlantic tension over the handling of the global economic crisis intensified on Wednesday when the prime minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the European Union presidency, described the U. S. stimulus measures as the “way to hell.”
Washington Post:
‘Global War On Terror’ Is Given New Name  —  The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase “global war on terror,” a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.  —  In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department's office of security review noted that …
Obama testing pundits' patience  —  Barack Obama's second televised presidential news conference saw him in combative mood, pundits and bloggers judged after his prime-time White House performance.  —  Online reaction was dominated by the president's minor spat with a TV reporter …
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Geithner ‘open’ to China proposal  —  Geithner, at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. is “open” to a headline-grabbing proposal by the governor of the China's central bank, which was widely reported as being a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar …
Washington Post:
Transcript: President Obama's Press Conference  —  [*] OBAMA: Hello, everybody.  Please have a seat.  —  Good evening.  Now, before I take questions from the correspondents, I want to give everyone who's watching tonight an update on the steps we're taking to move this economy from recession to recovery …
The Huffington Post:
Obama Flexes Political Muscle, Enters NY Congressional Race  —  For the first time since his inauguration, President Barack Obama is flexing his electoral muscle, urging supporters to organize and vote for New York Democratic congressional candidate Scott Murphy.
John Bresnahan / The Politico:
Obama, DNC AWOL in New York race
Discussion: The Campaign Spot and The In Box
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Sacrifice  —  Apparently Chuck Todd asked President Obama why he isn't asking people to “sacrifice” more amidst the recession.  —  The standard progressive answer to this starts by observing that the hundreds of thousands of people who are losing their jobs each week are, presumably, sacrificing.
Jennifer Reese / Slate:
Of all the reasons to plant a garden, free food may be the worst.  —  The much-discussed Obama kitchen garden seems very noble and well-intentioned (despite Michelle Obama's controversial outfit), and as an avid gardener, I was loving the whole project until I came across the following quote from an ecstatic Alice Waters:
Carrie Johnson / Washington Post:
Obama's Approach to Protecting ‘State Secrets’ at Issue  —  Like Predecessor, New Justice Dept. Claiming Privilege  —  Civil liberties advocates are accusing the Obama administration of forsaking campaign rhetoric and adopting the same expansive arguments that his predecessor used to cloak …
New York Times:
Netanyahu Promises Peace Effort  —  JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister-designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Wednesday that the coalition he is forming would be a “partner for peace,” offering a pledge that seemed designed to reshape his reputation as a foe of the peace process with the Palestinians.
Foreign Policy:
FM 3-XX: Revolutionary Operations  —  I've been looking over the Army's new manual for stability operations, which the University of Michigan just reprinted with an all-star lineup of introductions by Michele Flournoy, Shawn Brimley, and Janine Davidson.  —  I'm all for the idea.
Discussion: MoJo Blog Posts
Pejman Yousefzadeh / The New Ledger:
Obama v. The Media: President Superman And The Kryptonite Presser  —  I sometimes wonder why President Obama bothers giving press conferences.  It's not that he is bad at them, but his speeches are much better and the press conferences tend to be ordinary.  Robbed of a teleprompter and unable …
Discussion: New York Times and Commentary
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Barack Obama's delivery of no news is quite smooth  —  Tuesday morning The Ticket examined the White House's current political strategy and asked the question of who would show up at Barack Obama's second nationally televised news conference that evening: the president or the senator?
Discussion: and Commentary
Rasmussen Reports:
Most Americans Support Government Control of Executive Pay Only If Taxpayer Money Is Involved  —  American attitudes about regulating executive compensation are very clear: If taxpayers help a company stay in business, the government should regulate executive pay and bonuses.
Discussion: Power Line
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Howard Dean To Announce Major New Campaign On Health Care Reform  —  Looks like Howard Dean is well on his way to finding a post-DNC niche, and he won't be needing the Obama administration to find it for him.  —  On a conference call with supporters later today, Dean will make a surprise announcement …
Washington Times:
ROMNEY: Cautionary tale of card check  —  ANALYSIS/OPINION:  —  In 2006, my last year as governor of Massachusetts, I vetoed a card-check bill that allowed public workers to organize if a majority signed union authorization cards as opposed to casting a traditional secret ballot.
Discussion: Hot Air and GOP 12
George Packer In / New Yorker:
POPULISM AND PARANOIA  —  Step out of the A.I.G. bonus frenzy, the bailout conundrum, and other matters of the moment to think a bit about American history.  It's all related.  —  Last year, Vintage reissued Richard Hofstadter's classic 1965 essay collection “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.”
Discussion: The Corner, pw and The Daily Dish
Louise Story / New York Times:
Top Hedge Fund Managers Do Well in a Down Year  —  The financial crisis may have turned much of Wall Street's wealth into dross, but a select group of hedge fund managers has managed to maintain a golden touch that might make King Midas blush.  —  As major markets and economies careened downward last year …
Discussion: The Big Picture and Clusterstock
John Authers / Financial Times:
Is it back to the Fifties?  —  “My mother is 75,” said Jon Stewart, the US late-night comedian, at the end of his already famous interview with Jim Cramer, the television stock market pundit.  “And she bought into the idea that long-term investing is the way to go.  And guess what?”
Discussion: Portfolio
Robert D. Kaplan / The Atlantic Online:
Saving Afghanistan  —  KANDAHAR—Afghanistan is about to spike in the news this summer, as 17,000 more marines and soldiers arrive from the United States and pour into the southern Kandahar region.  They will advance down roads and river valleys where American troops have never ventured …
Discussion: Jules Crittenden
City Room:
M.T.A. Increases Fares and Cuts Services  —  The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted Wednesday morning to enact a series of fare hikes and service cutbacks needed to keep the transit system from going broke.  —  The vote was broken largely into three parts: fare hikes, toll increases and service cutbacks.
E. Scott Reckard / Los Angeles Times:
BofA chief Ken Lewis says he plans to repay bailout funds soon  —  The Bank of America CEO, in Times interviews, says he expects the company to pass the government's ‘stress test’ and start reimbursing the U.S. next month.  —  Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis said Tuesday …
Discussion: Clusterstock and MoJo Blog Posts
Hamza Hendawi / Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: It's fear that keeps Baghdad's peace  —  BAGHDAD - The streets are calmer now.  The fighting between Shiites and Sunnis has largely ceased.  But this is not a sign of normalcy in the Iraqi capital.  It's fear that keeps the peace.  —  Only an estimated 16 percent …
Discussion: GINA COBB
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 More Items: 
Ed Barnes / Fox News:
Obama Years Ago Helped Fund Carbon Program He Is Now Pushing Through Congress
Discussion: protein wisdom and Hot Air
Todd Gitlin / TPMCafe:
“Enervating”  —  The president was “not...fiery and inspirational …
Discussion: New York Times
Winnie Hu / New York Times:
Report Cards Give Up A's and B's for 4s and 3s
Discussion: City Room
Euro MPs in move to block Le Pen
Paul Begala / CNN:
Begala: GOP means ‘Got 0 Plans’
 Earlier Items: 
David Leonhardt / New York Times:
The Start of a Crisis, Through the Lens of Avis
Discussion: EconLog
Martin Feldstein / Washington Post:
An Anti-Charity Tax, at the Worst Time
Discussion: Reason and Commentary
Kim-Mai Cutler / Bloomberg:
U.K. Bond Auction Fails for First Time Since 2002
Discussion: Fausta's Blog
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Apocalypse alert: Barney Frank tells Code Pink to “grow up”
Discussion: Moe Lane
Julia Werdigier / New York Times:
Vandals Hit Home of Ex-Chief of Bank
Discussion: Guardian and Global Guerrillas
Michael Barone:
The Geithner Paradox: Unregulated Institutions Bailing Out Regulated Ones