TPM News

Obama Seeks To Reassure Country On Flu In this weekend's Presidential YouTube address, President Obama discussed the action that the government has taken to deal with the swine flu, including distributing antiviral treatments from the country's strategic stockpile, and also discusses the precautions that schools and businesses should take:



"It is my greatest hope and prayer that all of these precautions and preparations prove unnecessary," said Obama. "But because we have it within our power to limit the potential damage of this virus, we have a solemn and urgent responsibility to take the necessary steps."

GOP Address Criticizes Democrats For Stimulus, Other Spending In this weekend's Republican YouTube, freshman Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) criticized President Obama and Congressional Democrats for the stimulus bill and other spending programs:



"This week, we marked the President's 100th day in office," said Jenkins. "And while, like most of you, I like the President personally, I think the Democrats' first 100 days running Washington can be summed up in three words: spending, taxing, and borrowing."

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What did we tell you? The New York state pension fund scandal is starting to look pretty national. New York AG Andrew Cuomo just issued 100 subpoenas to investment firms in his expanding investigation of pay-to-play schemes that defraud public employee retirement funds, and announced the participation of 100 officials in 36 states' attorney general offices in the probe.

Who are the 14 holdouts? We suspect they're states that already regulate placement agents or ban them altogether, as New York did last week.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT); Richard Besser, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sec. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; and Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA); Richard Besser, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sec. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; and Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Richard Besser, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sec. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; and Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

• Fox News Sunday: Richard Besser, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sec. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; and Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA); Richard Besser, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sec. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; and Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; MSNBC host and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL), and former RNC chair Ed Gillespie.

Three weeks ago we told you about accusations that the New Mexico State Investment Council had been under political pressure to invest teachers' retirement funds in risky investments like a $90 million "toxic waste" CDO backed by subprime mortgages -- and wondered if any of the other intensifying corruption investigations across the country might involve some of the same pay-for-players.

Sure enough, a few names emerged last week to link the New Mexico pension fund scandal to the alleged conspiracy to defraud the New York general pension fund under investigation by the state attorney general's office. One was Obama car czar Steve Rattner, who paid alleged ringleader Hank Morris more than a million dollars for securing investments in both states' pension funds. Morris was indicted in March for collecting $30 million in fraudulent "finder's fees" as a top adviser to the former state comptroller Alan Hevesi, in collusion with the pension fund's manager David Loglisci. But the indictment didn't address Morris's "placement" services in other states; his name turned up on a list of placement agents released by the New Mexico State Investment Council as the broker of a $20 million investment in Rattner's private equity firm Quadrangle.

The other thread running through both the New York and New Mexico pension funds was the advisory firm Aldus Equity, whose founder Saul Meyer was charged yesterday with participating in the New York conspiracy and which also until this week advised similar investments in New Mexico.

The further we looked, the wider and farther-back the suspicions of public pension fund pay-to-play seemed to extend, as Cuomo noted himself at yesterday's press conference:

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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has released a statement on the news of the retirement of Supreme Court David Souter. In it, he urges In exercising their important roles in the confirmation of the next Supreme Court Justice senators to "unify around the shared constitutional values that will define Justice Souter's legacy on the Court" when they consider Barack Obama's eventual nominee.

Leahy's full statement below the jump. Other than the President himself, he is the person who, most and earliest, will have to deal with any Republican attempts to block Obama's pick.

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In recent days, speculation about who leaked to CQ the news about Jane Harman's wiretapped conversation with a suspected Israel agent has seemed to focus on former CIA director Porter Goss -- or, more precisely, the group of Goss aides known as the Gosslings.

So we thought it was worth taking a closer look at this crew. And it looks like they have quite a reputation...

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Well that took about 10 minutes.

A group of more than 50 conservative groups held a conference call early Friday to begin plotting strategy, sources on the call said.

"You're already having chatter between conservatives on who is going to be the nominee, what type of nominee is going to be put forward by President Obama," said Brian Darling, the Heritage Foundation's Senate director and a former top Judiciary Committee staffer.


Detail oriented readers will remember Darling as the one-time legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) forced off the Hill after writing the infamous "Schiavo Memo," advising Republicans that the lifeless Teri Schiavo could be a great political issue for the GOP.

But I digress. The article also contains this interesting tidbit: "Republican members of the Judiciary panel will meet next week to pick a new ranking member from amongst themselves. Senate aides say Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the fourth-ranking member on the panel, has the inside edge." As I reported earlier this week, Sessions has always been a strong contender, but the Republicans also face a number of incentives to give the slot to Sen. Chuck Grassley.

David Souter and Anthony Kennedy are greeted by Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC), prior to testifying May 2 at a Senate Judiciary Committee appropriations hearing, 1996.

Newscom/UPI

The complete Supreme Court as of September, 2005 walking down the steps of the Supreme Court.

Newscom/UPI

Souter is honored by the dedication of a conference room at the New Hampshire Supreme Court, where he served for seven years. After serving on the First Circuit Court of Appeals for five months, Souter was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by George H.W. Bush in 1990.

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Souter was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Havard University. He later received an A.B. in Jurisprudence from Oxford University.

Time Magazine

Souter pictured with his mentor former Sen. Warren Rudman, at the dedication of a new federal court building in Concord named for Rudman, 1997.

NH Bar News



NH Bar News

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer earlier this year, is widely considered as another possible retirement during President Obama's first term.

Newscom/PDI

Souter and Mary Susan Leahy, president of the NH Supreme Court Society, listen as former Sen. Warren Rudman dedicates a room named for Souter.

courts.state.nh.us

Souter observes the plaque with his name with Loretta Kenison, whose late husband Frank Rowe Kenison served on the state Supreme Court for 31 years, including 25 years as Chief Justice.

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Souter at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, January, 2009.

Newscom/UPI

Souter at an event honoring ACLU President Nadine Strossen.

Newscom/Wenn

The complete Supreme Court as of December, 1993.

Newscom/Zuma

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