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I've now had the chance to read through the Franken campaign's rebuttal brief in Norm Coleman's appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and there are a few themes that run through it. (Check out Rick Hasen's take, as well.) Coleman's arguments are derided as internally sloppy, inconsistent between each other, and overall a cause of harm to the state for delaying the seating of the rightful winner of the election -- Al Franken -- a situation that should be remedied as soon as possible.

"Even if this Court were to take Appellants claims at face value, each fails as a matter of law. In most cases, Appellants' claims are also barred as a procedural matter, and, even more fundamentally, they fail for simple lack of proof," the brief argues. "On each of these grounds, Respondent respectfully requests that the Court affirm the trial court and make clear that Al Franken is entitled to receive the certificate of election."

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We tore through the first big Bear Stearns book this year, William Cohan's House of Cards, in hopes of some substantiation of reports that the bank's former CEO (and former billionaire; he's now a "mere eight figure-aire) Jimmy Cayne liked to smoke weed. But Cohan skipped the issue entirely, as he had in a Fortune interview with Cayne last year. We might say we read those 468 pages in vain, except that we are not convinced marijuana played a significant role in the financial crisis, especially since the Cayne depicted and quoted by Cohan sounds more like an angry drunk than a stoner. Here's an abridged version of his rant about then-New York Fed President Tim Geithner:

"The audacity of that prick in front of the American people announcing he was deciding whether or not a firm of this stature and this whatever was good enough to get a loan," he said. "Like he was the determining factor, and it's like a flea on his back, floating down underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, getting a hardon, saying, 'Raise the bridge.' This guy thinks he's got a big dick. He's got nothing, except maybe a boyfriend. I'm not a good enemy. I'm a very bad enemy.
But he is also a marijuana enthusiast, according to Street Fighters, the new book on Bear written by Kate Kelly (a "cunt...whose capability is zero" according to Cayne.)

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Sen. Jay Rockefeller's office has released a new statement on what he was and wasn't told by the CIA about torture.

Says Rockefeller, referring to the CIA document released last week:

We are not in a position to vouch for the accuracy of the document. We can tell you that in the particular entry stating that Senator Rockefeller was briefed on February 4th of 2003 with an asterisk also noting him as later individually briefed -- that is not correct, or at least is not being reported correctly by people reading the document. The Democratic staff director attended a briefing on Feb. 4, but Senator Rockefeller was not present and was not later briefed individually by anyone in the intelligence community. He was first personally briefed by the intelligence community on Sept 4th, 2003.

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It was one thing when the Philadelphia Inquirer gave a column to hard-core right-winger Rick Santorum. But that looks like a responsible decision compared to their latest hiring...

Will Bunch, of the Philadelphia Daily News (a unit of the Inquirer), reports that in late 2008, the Inquirer quietly signed a contract with John Yoo, giving a monthly column to the architect of Bush's torture program.

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Harold Koh has been reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a 12 to 5 vote, according to a committee spokesperson. Ranking member, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) voted with the committee's 11 Democrats to advance Koh's nomination to be the State Department's Legal Adviser to the Senate floor.

Koh's vote in committee had been scheduled for last week, but, without explanation, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) delayed that vote until today's hearing, and then opposed the former Yale Law School Dean. Republicans could potentially use similar tactics to delay a full vote, and a number of conservative activists are hoping to spike the nomination entirely.

  • Dollar Dominatrix and TIME 100 member Meredith Whitney on the recent stress test-inspired stock market rally: "Even though I said it was gonna happen, I couldn't believe it with my own eyes. Because the underlying core earnings power of these banks is negligible." Aren't you glad you didn't just plunk your billions into bank stocks? Oh wait. CNBC


And a new suspect in our favorite pension scandals, some new words from AIG and new intel on what/when Pelosi knew about waterboarding Al Zubaydah awaits after the jump...

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Yesterday, The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Robert Barnes teamed up to pass on anonymous criticism of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who President Obama may nominate to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. In what has become something of a sport in political media these days, the two wrote that "Some say...she has not distinguished herself on the appeals court."

Today, Barnes collaborates with the Post's Robert Shear to report that Sotomayor has "already has felt the glare that comes with being identified as a front-runner, with several unflattering profiles about her temperament and judicial accomplishments."

As we noted in our anatomy of the whisper campaign, these doubts, such as they are, have their roots in a New Republic article by the magazine's legal correspondent Jeffrey Rosen. That piece contains no concrete examples of Sotomayor's supposedly unsuitable temperament, and, if anything, implies a high level of judicial accomplishment. But it does contain several anonymous quotes, and oblique references to other unquoted criticisms of the second-circuit jurist. And, as such, it has served as the fountainhead for a spate of articles implying that the objection to her potential candidacy is legitimate and well-sourced, when, in fact, it isn't.

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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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