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Let me mention a

Let me mention a few more details about the new site we're getting ready to launch.

It has a few different components. But the main one is a new group blog with a few more than a dozen individual contributors. The group blog will be a forum both for posts on topics and questions of interest to the individual contributors and also, we hope, for debate and discussion amongst them.

As you might expect, the focus of conversation will be politics and current affairs, but neither narrowly nor exclusively. We're also hoping for lively exchanges about the arts, literature, religion and the sciences.

We're still putting together the list of contributors. And we'll be bringing you more on that in the coming days. But the list of those who've already signed on includes Todd Gitlin, Ed Kilgore, Mike Lind and Judith Shulevitz, among others.

More on this soon.

The Moose sees it

The Moose sees it too. Marshall Wittman says that the sourcing of those DeLay hit articles makes it look a lot like Rove may be pulling the trap door lever on the bug man.

Meanwhile, the Mallet got his House caucus to line up in support and got Rep. Roy Blunt (R) of Missouri, their #3 man, to sign up as chief spear-catcher: "I don't see any wavering of the support for the leader. I think a lot of members think he's taking arrows for all of us."

(Can someone out there translate that line into Italian for us?)

Finally, a conservative pal sent me a form letter from the ACU's David Keene calling on all conservatives to line up behind Tom DeLay and defend him with every measure of their strength.

So it would seem that to small government, strong national defense and traditional values has been added a fourth pillar of the conservative movement: defending Tom DeLay no matter what new ethics infractions, crimes or generalized corruption might show up in tomorrow's papers.

Okay at just after

Okay, at just after 2 PM, CNN rolled out their DeLay story. It's prominently linked ... Actually I can't find it linked anywhere. But a bunch of TPM Readers sent me the link so it must be linked somewhere on their page.

Late Update: TPM Reader MF sends in a handy guide to finding the DeLay story on the CNN site ...


main page:
click on 'politics':
go down to "Other News" and click on the tiny 'more stories' button which leads to
and it's the fourth story down.

Sheesh, how could I have missed it?

As we told you

As we told you earlier, an article in the Boston Globe this morning suggests that Sen. Chafee (R) or Rhode Island was sending signals he might vote against the nomination of John Bolton as UN ambassador.

(Steve Clemons has some good commentary on this latest development.)

But I hear from a senate source that Chafee aides are busily trying to walk back the Globe story, telling reporters and fellow Republicans that he's actually leaning toward casting a vote in Bolton's favor.

So hard to strike the right balance when you're a senator from a blue state trying to carry the water of tomato-red administration.

White supremacist Matthew Hale

White supremacist Matthew Hale sentenced to 40 years for attempting to pay an undercover FBI informant to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow. No word on whether judicial activism was one of his beefs.

Can someone drop me

Can someone drop me a line when something, anything on the new DeLay revelations shows up on the CNN website? Thanks ...

Stuff you just cant

Stuff you just can't make up ...

Rep. Tom Cole (R) of Oklahoma on being a Social Security phase-out supporter: "This is like being for the Civil Rights Bill in 1960. You may not win but it makes you feel good and you're on the right side."

So how much debt

So how much debt has President Bush run up on his watch?

This page on the Bureau of Public Debt website gives some month by month and year by year benchmarks.

If I'm reading the data right (and math isn't my forte, so don't assume that's a throwaway line), at the end of September 2001, the total debt of the United States government stood at just over $5.8 trillion dollars.

At the end of last month it stood at just under $7.8 trillion.

($7,776,939,047,670, to be precise.)

So, a bit less than $2 trillion of debt piled up on President Bush's watch.

(Note: these numbers do also include interest on previous debt. But for the purposes of this discussion, I'll set that aside.)

Needless to say, that is much more than the entire Social Security Trust Fund, which President Bush says there is no way to make good on.

(According to the recently released Trustees' report, the Trust Fund currently has just under $1.7 trillion in it.)

Now, federal debt is divided into "public debt" and "intragovernmental holdings", which means debt held in various government Trust Funds. Social Security and Medicare are the big trust funds. But there are several smaller ones too.

Over that same period I mentioned above, the total of these 'Intragovernmental Holdings' went from just under $2.5 trillion to just over $3.2 trillion. Now, remember, that's not all the Social Security Trust Fund. It's all the trust funds combined. But if the Social Security Trust Fund is worthless then the other trust funds must be worthless too.

So that means that President Bush (his administration) has borrowed some $700 billion of your payroll taxes that he now says will never be paid back. In fact, just last year (2004), on the president's watch, $156 billion (and change) of your Social Security payroll tax dollars went for what he calls worthless pieces of paper.

Now, one more batch of numbers. As you remember, the federal debt is divided into public debt and trust fund debt. Or, to put it into the president's terms, debt that actually gets paid back and suckers' debt that just amounts to worthless paper.

So now let's look at the public debt, the stuff even President Bush admits will be paid back. Over the same time period noted above (September 2001 to last month), public debt went from about $3.3 trillion to just under $4.6 trillion (the exact numbers are $3,339,310,176,094 and $4,572,715,640,119.) So let's call that around $1.2 trillion.

I know I'm tossing around a lot of numbers here. But just bear with me. We're almost to the end.

The Social Security Trust Fund is now at about $1.7 trillion. And President Bush says there's no way that can or will be paid back. But just in his first term he's racked up about two-thirds that much money in new debt. And he'll easily exceed that number in his second term. And that'll amount to maybe a couple trillion dollars that even President Bush concedes will be paid back to all those bond purchasors here and abroad.

If we hadn't gone on President Bush's red ink binge, that would be more than enough cash to pay back all the money owed to the Social Security Administration.

Do you understand what Al Gore was talking about now with the 'lockbox'?

Yeah, exactly.

Instead we got President Bush who's run up a ton of debt that he just wants to walk away from. And he keeps borrowing more and more every day.

Isn't the bankruptcy bill supposed to deal with folks like him?