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Boxer, Snowe Ask For Female SCOTUS Appointee Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama, asking him to appoint a woman to David Souter's seat on the Supreme Court. "Women make up more than half of our population, but right now hold only one seat out of nine on the United States Supreme Court," they wrote. "This is out of balance. In order for the court to be relevant, it needs to be diverse and better reflect America."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will be hosting a roundtable with business leaders at 11:30 a.m. ET in the Roosevelt Room, to discuss cutting employer health care costs. At 2:25 p.m. ET, he and Vice President Biden will deliver remarks at a Rose Garden ceremony honoring Top Cops award winners. At 3:30 p.m. ET, Obama and Biden will meet with Gen. Ray Odierno and Christopher Hill, the new Ambassador to Iraq, in the Situation Room. At 4:30 p.m. ET, Obama and Biden will meet with Sec. of Defense Robert Gates. At 7:45 p.m. ET, Obama and the First Lady will attend an evening of poetry, music and spoken word in the East Room.

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Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal was named the new U.S. commander in Afganistan on May 1,, 2009, replacing Gen. David McKiernan, who was asked to resign.

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March 31, 2003: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke, right, and Major General Stanley A. McChrystal speak at a Pentagon press briefing about the war in Iraq.

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March 31, 2003: Clarke and McChrystal at a Pentagon press briefing.

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March 2003: McChrystal speaks about the war in Iraq.

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July 23, 2003: Acting Army Chief of Staff Gen. John M. Keane (left) and Vice Director for Operations, J-3, Joint Staff Maj. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (right) brief reporters on how the U.S. Army is organizing to rotate forces supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom during a Pentagon press briefing.

Department of Defense (defenselink.mil)

January 17, 2008: Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal presents Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall with the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal Jan. 17 as Hall's wife Brenda looks on.

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The cause of Employee Free Choice been dealt a number of difficult blows in the last several weeks, but perhaps the hardest came from Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) in early April when she came out against EFCA. At the time she said, "[I] cannot support that bill in its current form. Cannot support and will not support moving it forward in its current form."

Deliberations are underway between labor groups and key legislators who seek a compromise bill with enough support to overcome a Republican filibuster. But Lincoln, whose constituents include Wal-Mart, is situated to drive a hard bargain.

That is, of course, unless she thinks her job might be at stake. And it could be--or, at least, some influential people want her to think it could be. One senior labor official close to the situation told TPMDC that a general election challenge could be in the works. "I think that's a line people are preparing to cross."

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Today was a surreal day in the surreal case of accused (though not yet criminally-charged) Texas ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, even by the standards of Stanford. First came a credulity-straining BBC report that Stanford somehow bought himself 10 years of amnesty from SEC scrutiny by serving as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Then Fox Business News piped in, excerpting a strange paragraph from a letter it had received as part of a Freedom of Information Act request from someone claiming that two of Stanford's clients were part of the Venezuelan mafia. CNBC replayed the segment of its interview with Stanford in which reporter Scott Cohn asks if the disgraced financier had ever assisted "federal authorities" -- to which Stanford blurts out "You mean the CIA?" before declining to comment further. (It's embedded after the jump.)

But not everyone in the Stanford family cooperates, and tomorrow we may finally get some clarity on this bizarre scam in the form of a "global indictment," if reports from Fox Business News are accurate. Stanford himself still isn't getting charged, though; the feds are coming down again on his glamorous chief investment officer Laura Pendergest-Holt, who was already arrested and charged with obstruction of justice in the scheme -- and last week denied every allegation against her. The Fox clip, also after the jump.

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I know what you're all thinking. You're thinking that if the Minnesota Supreme Court next month determines that Al Franken should be seated, the national Republican Party will graciously accept their decision, and Norm Colemen will offer up a kind and thoughtful concession speech.

"[N]o, hell no. Whatever the outcome, it's going to get bumped to the next level," said RNC chairman Michael Steele.

So you were all wrong. "This does not end until there's a final ruling that speaks to whether or not those votes that have not been counted should be counted, Steele added. "And Norm Coleman will not, will not jump out of this race before that."

Somewhat implicit in that last sentence is the assumption that Coleman will ultimately lose. And implicit in that implication is the idea that the Republicans are doing this to keep another Democrat out of the Senate for as long as possible, and depriving Minnesotans of dual representation in the process.

Assuming the Minnesota Supreme Court sides with Franken, the question of whether to seat him, even if provisionally, will fall to Gov. Tim Pawlenty--a presidential hopeful who, as we've noted before, will face tons of pressure from his party not to certify the victory at all. If this is any indication, the GOP is already turning up the heat.

Earlier today, Ben Smith reported that McCain research director-cum-press secretary Brian Rogers will begin working as the research director for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. On the campaign trail, Rogers worked alongside deputy communications director Michael Goldfarb, who responded to today's announcement with poise and professional courtesy. "Everybody knew Rogers was a tree-hugger," Goldfarb noted by email, "but I didn't think he'd take it this far. He's dead to me."

This has been today's edition of "fun quotes from people who wanted to run the country." But thinking critically for a moment it's not clear how accurate Goldfarb's charges are. Notwithstanding all the 'Drill Here, Drill Now' strangeness, McCain--though nowhere near Al Gore territory--has generally been more progressive on the climate change issue than has the rest of his party. So on the one hand it's not all that surprising that he'd have an environmentalist on his staff.

On the other hand, though, this is the same Brian Rogers who, in an earlier edition of "fun quotes from people who wanted to run the country" once said of Barack Obama, "In terms of who's an elitist, I think people have made a judgment that John McCain is not an arugula-eating, pointy headed professor-type based on his life story." Tree-huggers are traditionally believed to enjoy arugula as much as pointy-headed professors, and there is, of course, significant overlap between the two groups. Perhaps he's super green after all.

Bob Graham, the Democratic former Florida senator, has said he has no memory of being told in a briefing about waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques, as a recently released CIA document indicates.

Graham told Greg Sargent this afternoon: "I do not have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them."

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On Saturday night, May 9th, President Obama took the stage at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. "Tonight, I'm going to speak from the heart, and speak off the cuff ..." Obama said, as a teleprompter rose into place.

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Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless Michael Kors shift dress. From Obama's opening remarks: "[Michelle] has helped to bridge the differences that have divided us for so long because no matter which party you belong to, we can all agree that Michelle has the right to bare arms." (h/t NY Mag)

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"Michael Steele is in the house tonight," the president said in his opening remarks, "Or as he would say, 'In the heezy.'"

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The black tie dinner was attended by a mix of politicians, journalists and celebrities. Pictured here: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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Michelle Obama gives a congratulatory fist bump to a scholarship award winner.

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President Obama with Jennifer Loven, President of the White House Correspondents Association.

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Comedian Wanda Sykes gave the keynote address.

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Bill O'Reilly.

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Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

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From left to right: CNN's Ed Henry, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, President Obama, and NBC's Brian Williams.

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Gov. Sarah Palin withdrew from the dinner at the last minute, and her husband Todd "First Dude" Palin went in her place (with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News). During the keynote address, Wanda joked: "You know, somebody should tell her [Palin] that's not how you really practice abstinence."

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

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Colin Powell.

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Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

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The New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier (left) and Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council.

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Meghan McCain.

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Will Arnett and Amy Poehler.

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Alan Greenspan and wife Andrea Mitchell.

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Michael Bloomberg.

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Steve Forbes.

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Paul Volcker.

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James Franco

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Joe Klein and Colin Powell.

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Barbara Walters.

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George Lucas and Samuel L. Jackson.

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David Axelrod (left) and Wolf Blitzer (right).

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Al Sharpton.

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Kyle MacLachlan and Dana Delany of "Desperate Housewives."

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Newt and Callista Gingrich.

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Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, and Wolf Blitzer.

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It looks Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the man taking over as the new top commander in Afghanistan, was a key player in one of the more shameful episodes of the Bush administration's war on terror -- though it's unclear exactly how much blame, if any, he himself deserves.

In 2007, the Associated Press reported that McChrystal suspected when he approved a Silver Star citation for Pat Tillman that the former NFL star killed in Afghanistan may have been felled by friendly fire. McChrystal told military investigators that that suspicion had led him to send a memo to top generals, urging them not to say publicly that Tillman was killed under "devastating enemy fire."

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Last Friday Citigroup email-blasted borrowers of its student loans entreating them to write Congress and sign online petitions saying they opposed Barack Obama's plan to do away with the private student loan business in the name of "consumer choice."

We thought the email was funny because, sort of like AIG's bailout-funded legal battle to reclaim $329 million penalties it paid the IRS, it was a case of a company transparently working to undermine the agenda of its parent company the U.S. Treasury. But it gets better!

As it turns out, Citigroup's biggest competitor in private student loans, Sallie Mae, sold out the rest of the industry last month by agreeing to go along with the Obama Administration's plan. Two weeks ago the company told analysts that while it did not intend to be a "Thanksgiving turkey for the government" it was content shifting its strategy from the lucrative government-subsidized lending business that made its CEO Al Lord a centimillionaire many times over to being a fee-for-service government contractor. It circulated some suggested changes to the Obama proposal and left its smaller competitors, like Citigroup's Student Loan Corporation and First Marblehead Corporation to fend for themselves.

In a conference call with analysts last month, Lord said his reasoning for the change of heart was simple: student loans were not as profitable as they once had been, following a string of conflict-of-interest scandals in 2006 and 2007 that galvanized support around a series of cuts in the federal subsidies bankers received for extending such loans -- so charging the government to service the loans was a better business to be in. "I don't think there's anyone in this building...that's not a capitalist," Lord told an analyst. The trade group representing Citi and other private lenders, however, the Consumer Bankers Association, had some harsh words for this rationale in a Washington Post story this morning.

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