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2:45 PM ET, March 26, 2009


 Top Items: 
John Ward Anderson / The Politico:
Pot-related questions deluge W.H.  —  When the White House put out a call for town hall questions, it might not have been expecting this.  —  The more than 92,000 people who responded either have Cheech and Chong senses of humor or there is a deep concern in America — undetected by the media …
Michelle Malkin:
Obama's online townhall: What's really going on?  Updated: Megalomania-palooza!  —  Scroll down for updates...  At 11:30am Eastern, President Obama will conduct an “online townhall” on the economy.  —  At this moment, the White House website reports that “92,889 people have submitted 104,079 questions and cast 3,608,538 votes.”
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / The Caucus:
Obama's Interactive Town Hall Meeting  —  President Obama conducted an Internet version of the question and answer sessions he has been holding around the country on Thursday.  The event was the latest example of efforts by the Obama team to replicate its creative use of the Internet during the election campaign.
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Obama's online town hall: ‘Wisdom’
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Bachmann Introducing Bill to Ban Use of Made-Up Global Currency  —  The madness continues as Michelle Bachmann introduces legislation that “would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency.”  —  What the Chinese were proposing, of course, was to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
Dan Raviv / CBS News:
U.S. Accused Of Killing 39 In Sudan Strike  —  A government minister in Sudan is accusing the United States Air Force of killing dozens of people in that north African country this past January - but the semi-official American version of the story is very different.
Discussion: Haaretz, Israel Matzav and The Lede
Chicago Tribune:
Rahm Emanuel's profitable stint at mortgage giant  —  Short Freddie Mac stay made him at least $320,000  —  Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
MICHAEL STEELE'S MASTER PLAN.... Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele went into a temporary, self-imposed exile recently, after a series of humiliating mistakes that put his job in jeopardy.  After insulting, annoying, and frustrating nearly every member of the party establishment …
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
WSJ Says Bayh Wants to Shake Up Status Quo By Protecting Business Interests  —  Here's a curious report from The Wall Street Journal's Naftali Bendavid and Greg Hitt: … The presumption here being that over the past eight years, the political powerhouses in Washington were insufficiently solicitous …
Discussion: Open Left and MyDD
AIG London Execs: Returning Bonuses Is Blackmail  —  American International Group executives in Europe are adamant they should not have to return their controversial bonuses and some feel that pressure on them to do so may amount to blackmail, according to a company employee and internal emails.
Richard Pérez-Peña / New York Times:
The Times Plans Temporary Pay Cuts  —  Facing a steep drop in revenue, The New York Times Company plans to cut the pay of most employees by 5 percent for nine months, in return for 10 days' leave, and will lay off 100 people and make other budget cuts, executives said on Thursday.
The Politico:
GOP gloves off for budget brawl  —  House Republicans have begun unveiling detailed alternatives to President Barack Obama's policies — a concerted effort to push back against Democratic efforts to label them “the Party of No.”  —  On Wednesday, it was a housing plan.
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
Dems warn against first lady bill  —  House Republicans are pressing for a change in federal law that could force Michelle Obama and future first ladies to do more of their policy work in public.  But Democrats warn President Obama may take the attempt personally “as an attack on his wife.”
Discussion:, Emptywheel and Don Surber
Rep. Barney Frank / The Huffington Post:
Why I Called Justice Scalia A Homophobe  —  While responding to questions from journalists about my characterization of Justice Antonin Scalia as a homophobe, I realized that the fact that I made that comment in conjunction with a potential lawsuit about the Defense of Marriage Act created …
Discussion: JustOneMinute and DownWithTyranny!
Jeffrey Sachs / Financial Times:
Obama's bank plan could rob the taxpayer  —  The Geithner-Summers plan, officially called the public/private investment programme, is a thinly veiled attempt to transfer up to hundreds of billions of dollars of US taxpayer funds to the commercial banks, by buying toxic assets from the banks at far above their market value.
Rachel Gordon / San Francisco Chronicle:
DEA raids pot dispensary in SF  —  (03-25) 22:05 PDT San Francisco — Federal agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco Wednesday, a week after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled that the Obama administration would not prosecute distributors of pot used …
Discussion: The Agitator, Reason and BeltwayBlips
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin: XXVII  —  She said she'd turned down some of the federal stimulus money: … No, she didn't say she did. … But she did: … But she didn't:
E.J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Cutting Deficit Will Require Tax Increases  —  The debate on the budget is phony, the howling on deficits a charade.  Few politicians want to acknowledge that if you really are concerned about long-term deficits, you have to support tax increases.  —  That's why the most significant moment …
Wall Street Journal:
Democrats Bid Business Adieu  —  Barack Obama meets with a flock of nervous bankers at the White House tomorrow to reassure them he understands their interests.  Good luck.  There has always been tension between the Democratic Party and the private sector.  That tension is over.
Discussion: protein wisdom and neo-neocon
Richard A. Epstein / Wall Street Journal:
Is the Bonus Tax Unconstitutional?  —  The Supreme Court defers too much to Congress.  —  Bills now winding their way through Congress would tax between 70% and 90% of bonuses paid to any executive earning in excess of $250,000, if he or she is employed by a business that received more than $5 billion from U.S. bailout funds.
Discussion: Reason and Betsy's Page
Nicholas D. Kristof / New York Times:
Learning How to Think  —  Ever wonder how financial experts could lead the world over the economic cliff?  —  One explanation is that so-called experts turn out to be, in many situations, a stunningly poor source of expertise.  There's evidence that what matters in making a sound forecast …
Peter Foster / Telegraph:
US deploys warships as North Korea prepares to launch missile  —  The US has deployed two warships with anti-missile capabilities in the waters off Japan as tensions mount over North Korea's plans to test-fire a long-range ballistic missile capable of striking Alaska.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
AN EXCESSIVE PLAY BY PLAY.... There are plenty of circumstances in which a professional journalist is justified in not only reporting on a story, but exploring the work that went into the story.  Woodward and Bernstein, for example, not only broke Watergate, but went on to write at length about their legwork behind the scenes.
Discussion: Daily Kos and Greg's Opinion
Jindal Spurns Obama's Jobless Aid as Mayor Pleads ‘Help Me Now’  —  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, cited fiscal responsibility when he turned down about $98 million in unemployment aid that was part of President Barack Obama's $787 billion federal stimulus package.
Discussion: AMERICAblog News
Bartle Bull / Prospect Magazine:
No, he can't  —  157 » Features » No, he can't  —  The wheels are already coming off Obama's Trojan horse revolution.  Will he, like Jimmy Carter, be seen as a one-term disaster?  —  Discuss this article at First Drafts, Prospect's blog  —  Barack Obama was always going to disappoint.
New York Times:
Geithner Calls for Major Overhaul of Financial Rules  —  WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Thursday detailed its wide-ranging plan to overhaul financial regulation by subjecting hedge funds and traders of exotic financial instruments, now among the biggest and most freewheeling players on Wall Street …
The Hill:
Domino's ads delivering for Gov. contender  —  Corporate CEOs aren't the most popular people right now, but one of them wants to make it very clear that he had no part in this whole bailout thing.  —  Domino's Pizza Chairman and CEO David Brandon has been on national television for two weeks touting the …
Discussion: Democracy in America and MSNBC
Karl Rove / Wall Street Journal:
Obama Points Back to the GOP's Future  —  The president has made taxes and spending the big issues again.  —  Something powerful is stirring in the land, and it may not be good news for President Barack Obama, his agenda or the Democratic Party.  Mr. Obama said Tuesday night his budget moves America …
Eugene Volokh / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Kansas Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment: The Kansas House and Senate have just put on the November 2010 ballot a proposed Kansas right to bear arms constitutional amendment that would read, … The current text, “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security,” …
Discussion: Clayton Cramer's BLOG
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 More Items: 
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Obama Jokes About Pot-Brained Online Audience
Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Revives Oil-Industry Battle
Discussion: QandO and Political Machine
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Geithner Endorses Naked Credit Default Swaps
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Pelosi defiant on fast-tracking health care
Discussion: Politics Nation
Gordon Lubold / Christian Science Monitor:
Obama overhauls US Afghan strategy
Chris Johnson / Washington Blade:
McCain strategist endorses same-sex marriage
Discussion: Think Progress
Iran accepts US Afghan invitation
 Earlier Items: 
David Thompson:
Treatment  —  Via Critical Mass, here's a short follow-up film …
Discussion: pw and neo-neocon
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
Discussion: New York Times and Housing Wire
Brendan McGarry / Air Force Times HOME:
Death before this honor  —  Why have Iraq and Afghanistan produced …
Pat Doyle / Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Senate race is a broken record
Discussion: and NJDC Blog
Andrew Pergam / NBC Connecticut:
Threats to AIG: “We Will Get Your Children”
Discussion: Wake up America
Calvin Woodward / Associated Press:
Bold claims of stimulus jobs can't be measured