TPM News

Eagle-eyed reader B.K. passes along this tidbit which we missed from late last week.

As we told you, former New York GOP congressman -- and Jack Abramoff buddy -- John Sweeney last week was charged with a felony DUI after he told officers who stopped his car that he was in "big trouble" and refused to take a roadside sobriety test. But later in the week, a local New York news channel reported that Sweeney's court appearance, scheduled for last Friday, had been postponed.

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I see via Politico that House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) has put together an online "Solutions Center," which purports to answer the four big questions Americans are asking. Patrick O'Connor and Mike Allen see this as the GOP scrambling "to show it has ideas," which suggests, perhaps, that they didn't spend too much time on the site. Because in all their scrambling, House Republicans didn't come up with much that hasn't already cost them the last two elections.

Here's an abbreviated version of the problems Americans face, and the solutions the GOP is positing.

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The RNC has (finally) released a statement in support of Norm Coleman's (predictable) decision to appeal last night's court ruling in Minnesota. We were wondering whether behind the scenes the RNC might be on the verge of throwing in the towel...but no. It's the Michael Steele Show now. It's just very, very slow.

Full statement below the jump.

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Bloggers of the world: It's quite possible that you can blame me for the fact that the Virginia GOP took down that lesbian soft-core pornography that was linked from their YouTube page. (And how exactly did it get there, anyway?)

Earlier today, it was discovered that the Virginia Republican Party's YouTube account had selected as a favorite video to link to a soft-core porno video of what appeared to be two women speaking to each other in Russian, having a conversation over some marital aids and then making out. (Obviously, this is not safe for the workplace.)

After I contacted Virginia GOP chairman Gerry Scimeca and asked him who put this there, he looked into it for a bit and then got back to me a little while later. "The video has been taken down," said Scimeca. "Apparently it was some kind of internet prank. So it's down now."

When I asked him how exactly this happened, or whether he knew who did it, he said that "from what I understand you would need a password. So whoever posted it somehow got ahold of a password."

"This happens on occasions," he added. "You see candidates' Web sites or party Web sites will get pranked. I've seen it before. It's unfortunate but there are enough depraved people out there who will do this."

We've saved a screenshot of the old page.

A young participant makes his way toward the finish line at the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 13.

White House/Samantha Appleton

President Obama is joined by his daughters Sasha and Malia to help start things off.

White House/Chuck Kennedy

President Obama greets children preparing to participate in the Easter Egg on the South Lawn of the White House.

White House/Chuck Kennedy

President Obama watches a youngster shooting hoops on the White House basketball court.

White House/Chuck Kennedy

A young girl is welcomed to the Roll by President Obama.

White House/Pete Souza

President Obama uses Rabbit Ears as a microphone while technicians try to fix the microphones on stage.

White House/Chuck Kennedy


A young child rolls her egg toward the finish line.
White House/Pete Souza

Families pose for photos.

White House/Samantha Appleton

The President and the First Lady watch as children participate in rolling eggs across the South Lawn.

White House/Chuck Kennedy

Jump rope performers draw a big crowd on the South Lawn of the White House.

White House/Samantha Appleton

President Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, prepares to read "Where The Wild Things Are" to a group of children.

White House/Lawrence Jackson

The Obama family waves from the South Portico of the White House to guests attending the White House Easter Egg Roll.

White House/Lawrence Jackson

On a conference call with reporters just now, lead Franken attorney Marc Elias went over the election court's ruling last night that Al Franken was the winner of this race.

"We are thrilled by the results," said Elias. "The court showed the great care that it has shown throughout the trial in considering all of the evidence, in weighing all of the arguments made by both sides, considering the testimony of all the witnesses it had, and rendering what can only be described as a through and thoughtful final order and judgement."

For obvious reasons, Elias has a different opinion of this ruling than Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg, who has panned the ruling and announced that Coleman will appeal it.

So what happens next?

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Since it appeared near the top of the list of AIG's investment bank counterparties, investors -- and bloggers, and politicians, and anyone with an interest in the bailout -- have been eagerly awaiting the first quarter results of Goldman Sachs. Would the unwind, as rumored, be wholly responsible for a profitable quarter at the investment bank?

It's hard to say: the nature of accounting doesn't make it easy to determine these things. But what was interesting about the earnings numbers was the separate set of numbers for December 2008, which the bank dubbed an orphan month. Goldman changed its reporting schedule this year to follow a calendar year from a fiscal year that started in December. While this was initially reported as a sneaky losses-hiding tactic, Morgan Stanley did it too -- it's part of the emergency classification switch that changed the two investment banks into "bank holding companies" and enabled them to borrow cheaply from the Fed last September.

It looks like Goldman booked its big AIG payday during the "orphan month." This would dovetail with the chief financial officer's playing down of the AIG impact on its conference call this morning:

First of all, virtually all of those cash flows, which as you know were just cash flows, they had nothing to do with the P/L and in fact, most of them were value-for-value cash flows, most of those took place before the end of the year. The mane [sic: think this means Maiden Lane] lane transactions were unwound before the end of the year. I would say our P/L related to AIG in the first quarter rounded to zero.

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Et tu, Joe?

Last year, while trying to win the Democratic nomination for president, Joe Biden co-sponsored a bill to restrict the use of the "state secrets privilege" by the Department of Justice. But today, asked by the Huffington Post for Biden's current stance on the legislation, a spokesman for the vice president replied: "No comment on this from here." That "no comment" follows a similar tight-lipped stance from the White House itself.

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