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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Back in April, when asked about her position on Social Security privatization, West Virginia Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R) told Knight-Ridder news service, "I'm glad I'm undecided. I don't want to react to something that's never going to come down the pike."

She seems ready to make a similar profile in courage on the president's Gulf Coast Wage Cut.

This morning one of our readers gave us the heads up that Capito's office was telling callers that she doesn't have a position on the Wage Cut but is "open to listening." One reader was told that it was okay to temporarily roll back wages since this would spur business to invest in rebuilding. I'm not sure whether that makes much sense since what we're talking about is rebuilding by federal contractors -- though I suppose you could argue that there'd be a ripple effect out into private sector efforts.

In any case, TPM just put in a call to Capito's office in Washington, DC. And sure enough, she's a finger in the wind. A Capito representative told us that Rep. Capito has "not taken a position [on the Wage Cut] but is in the process of formulating one."

Is your Rep. gettin' wiggly on the Wage Cut too? Let us know.

Weaselhood in the water?

We're getting in emails from readers who have contacted their members of Congress to find out whether they are supporting or opposing President Bush's Gulf Coast Wage Cut. And let's just say a lot of them seem to be getting some pretty wiggly answers.

One of the favorite answers from swing-district Republicans has them saying they're 'concerned' about it and want to make sure it's temporary.

That's some Grade A government-issue bamboozlement.

Sort of like, they want to make sure there isn't a permanent state of emergency in Mississip and Louisiana from now until the end of time.

Of course the suspension is temporary. It has to be temporary. It can last for a long time. And I'm sure the president wants it to. But he has no power to permanently overturn the law in the area. So the whole, 'we're going to try to make sure it's only temporary' line is just mumbojumbo.

As we announced last Friday, tell us where your member of Congress stands on President Bush's Gulf Coast Wage Cut, we're makin' a list.

Send us what you're hearing. Anybody have an update on Sherry Boehlert? How about Shelley Moore Capito? Heather Wilson?

Virgil Goode was an early member of the Social Security Conscience Caucus. But after he got outed as a prime recipient of cash from Duke Cunningham's sugar daddy, Mitchell Wade, it's all been downhill from there. He was actually one of the thirty-two members of the House who wrote President Bush begging for the Wage Cut back on September 7th.

TPM is looking for a new web intern who’ll be responsible for various aspects of on-going site design, site maintenance, assistance administering the TPM community site, TPMCafe, and work on our various projects like the TPM Document Collection, the Katrina Timeline, and our new tracking of which members of Congress are supporting President Bush’s Gulf Coast Wage Cut.

From past experience, the ideal candidate is likely a college student or recent college grad. But we’re interested in hearing from anyone who has ten to fifteen hours a week to work on the site, is an enthusiastic reader of TPM and/or TPMCafe and has at least a basic knowledge web site design and maintenance skills. Reliability and dependability are key.

This is an unpaid internship. But you’ll get lots of hands on experience working on one of the oldest and most-read political blogs in the country. If you’re interested and/or have questions, send us an email at the comments address on the upper left hand sidebar and include the subject line ‘TPM Web Intern’.

It's been light posting here over the weekend. But this week we're going to be digging in to the president's Gulf Coast Wage Cut and trying to find out where everyone stands on the issue.

We'll be bringing you more details on how we'll be running the project hopefully this evening and no later than tomorrow morning.

But if you've already been able to find out where your member of Congress stands on the Gulf Coast Wage Cut, send us a note at the regular comments email address on the left. Maybe you called their office and asked, or saw some mention in the paper or a press release on their website. Whatever, let us know what you've heard. We want to know who's for the Wage Cut and who was against it. We've already heard reports of some pretty squirrelly answers from some of the usual characters. So more on that later.

Wow! Old habits sure die hard for our man Duke Cunningham.

You remember how Duke got MZM, Inc. owner Mitchell Wade to pay (roughly) double the price for his old house. Then he took Wade's bribe and mixed it together with a few sweetheart loans from Thomas Kontogiannis to buy the new mansion in Rancho Santa Fe.

After Duke's career imploded this summer, the feds sued to take ownership of the new mansion since it was bought with the proceeds of Duke's bribes from various contractors. Presumably, that and the rest of Duke's so-so publicity over recent months has put something of a damper on his efforts to unload the mansion.

In any case, apparently the best offer Duke's gotten for the place is $2.5 million, $50,000 less than he bought it for 20 months ago. But Duke says it's real value is at least $3.3 million (a questionable level of appreciation in a decelerating real estate market).

Now, back in the old days when Duke was living large and he got into a jam like this, the standard procedure was to find a corrupt defense contractor to chip in a few hundred thousand dollars. But since that probably won't work out any more, Duke says the US Treasury should pay him $800,000 to make up for the money he should be getting for the house.

That's right. Duke says the feds should make him whole because he can't pocket the full Duke-appraised 'market' value.

Why is this guy stil in Congress?

Just the kind of guy you want to give a lot of power to.

We mentioned a few days ago a woman named Elizabeth Reyes who was an attorney in the elections division of the Texas Secretary of state. She answered a press question about a law that Karl Rove had broken -- though she wasn't told that Rove was the person involved. She was immediately fired.

Now it turns out that Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams decided to fire the woman after getting a call from Rove himself.

But for the morons among us, Williams would like to make clear that Rove's call had nothing to do with it.

(ed.note: Special thanks to TPM Reader J for the tip.)

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has just posted an update on the president's Gulf Coast Wage Cut over at TPMCafe. It seems the president was in such a rush to put through the cut that he may not even have followed the law.

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