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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

So back to the phase-out rally at the Capitol on Sunday.

A new phase-out group is holding what they're calling a "Storm for Reform" rally in support of phasing-out Social Security and replacing it with private accounts.

And to symbolize their rage against Social Security as we know it, these Storm Troopers will be hauling a bunch of paper shredders to Taft Memorial Park on Capitol Hill so that rally participants can shred their Social Security statements. (Sort of the wingnut equivalent of burning your bra, I guess.)

(And, no, I'm actually not making this stuff up.)

So who will show up to support Social Security in the face of this onslaught of anti-Social Security weasels?

More to come ...

Storm troopers for phase-out to rally for dismantling Social Security at the Capitol this Sunday, to shred Social Security statements in bizarre phase-out ritual.

More soon ...

Leni, where are you when they need you?

Names, places and dates to follow ...

One of my main goals when I started TPMCafe was to provide a bigger forum for the sort of information gathering and investigative journalism we did here at TPM in recent months on Social Security, the DeLay Rule, et al.

Now that we've got the site up-and-running, a staffer hired and a battery of volunteer researcher-writers in the process of being picked, we're going to dig into it.

First up, catching up on Social Security.

As you can see here, our Conscience Caucus list hasn't been updated since way back on March 3rd. A lot has happened in the last six months. Most of them good, certainly. But just recently the phase-out crew has begun making some initials forays out of their cave with the new plan to blow the entire Social Security surplus and the Trust Fund on those prized private accounts.

So we're going to dive back into that. We'll be moving the list over to a new library section of TPMCafe, updating it, adding new materials, and more.

If you'd like to be involved in helping us pull new information together, let us know.

Next up after that, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, Karl Rove and more.

For all you landlubbers out there, TPM Reader SC sends us word that Duke's boat, the Duke Stir (type identified here) is actually not something you'd likely see in some old Jackie O home movie. SC sends us this link to an ad for a similar model going for $130,000 -- picture included.

Let's note this officially as a story that the gatekeepers say isn't a story.

You know about the three Denver residents who were physically ejected from the Bamboozlepalooza event in their town back in March. They got the heave-ho from a guy in a black suit and an earpiece impersonating a Secret Service officer. Later they learned it was because they'd arrived in a car with a 'No Blood for Oil' sticker on it.

Various inquiries have now made it clear that the man in question was not a Secret Service agent, but a political working for the White House, acting on orders that have been in force for such events across the country.

But the White House refuses to identify the person in question or drop the policy. The White House says all the questions tied to the incident have been "asked and answered" and the folks in the White House press corps are apparently satisfied with that answer. So the story ends there apparently.

Hungry or overfed?

The North County Times on Aqua-Duke ...

What's more, Cunningham since April 2004 has been living on Wade's yacht in Washington. The congressman said that in lieu of rent, he paid more than $8,000 in dock fees and $5,000 for upkeep on Wade's boat.

We can set aside the dock fees, because Cunningham rented space for his own boat at the Potomac River marina for years before he moved into Wade's boat. According to Cunningham's accounting, that $5,000 over the last 14 months amounts to $357 a month.

Unless we are missing something, this looks like a sweetheart deal, with Cunningham paying far less than market rent, to say nothing of the true maintenance and depreciation costs of a fancy boat.


$357. At least it's fair market <$NoAd$> value.

You can live nextdoor to Duke!

The house at 7150 Via Del Charro is on sale for a mere $5 million.

(As always in real estate there's fine print. The listing actually reads: "Seller will entertain offers between $4,650,000 and $5,400,876.")

To compare and contrast, here's the satellite view of Duke's place and here's the view of the place you can buy.

For the true Duke aficionados, the Duke Stir was built in 1987 by Carver Boat Corp.

Length is 42.2 ft. Fiberglass hull. Gross Tonnage 34, Net Tonnage 27.

You can look up the same info here.

Hmmm. Hard to know quite what these numbers mean. But let's see if anyone out there knows more.

Back in December 2003 Duke paid Douglas Powanda $2.55 million for the new manse in Rancho Santa Fe at 7094 Via Del Charro. Powanda is Duke's big campaign contributor from Peregrine Systems who's now waiting to go on trial for multibillion dollar securities fraud. They paid cash. And the new place comes in at 7,628 sq.ft.

Now, TPM Reader JS sent in these links to me which show that a couple weeks later someone else paid $2.25 million for the place down the road at 6849 Via Del Charro. But the records say that place only has 2936 sq.ft. (Satelite view of this location.)

A couple months earlier the place at 7002 Via Del Charro went for $3.45 million. And that place had only 5290 sq.ft. That's more than 2000 sq.ft. less than Duke's place. (Satellite view of this location.)

Now, maybe the Duke's place is a dump, though these photos would suggest otherwise. Or perhaps one part of the street has a to-die-for ocean view and the others don't. Who knows? In all honesty, it really is impossible to know what the different values mean having never seen individual homes or the lay of the land. And maybe I'm misinterpreting what these documents mean. (Here's a satellite view of Duke's place.) But given Duke's reputation for good luck on real estate deals, I'd say this deserves a look. Who knows? His judgment may have failed him on this one too.

If you're from the area or know it, drop me a line and tell me what you think.

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