Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

From this morning's <$NoAd$>gaggle ...

QUESTION: Just getting back to the earlier topic about Secretary Rumsfeld. Last night Bill Kristol, of the Weekly Standard, was telling everyone within earshot, the White House really is encouraging him in writing these editorials, and wants the Secretary of Defense --

MR. McCLELLAN: I was within earshot; I didn't hear him say that.

QUESTION: I did. I'm sure you've heard him say things like that. What's your reaction to it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know what he's referring to. The President believes that Secretary Rumsfeld is the right person for the challenges that we face going forward in the war on terrorism. And he remains firmly supportive of the actions that he has taken to win the war on terrorism and to defeat those who seek to do harm to America.

QUESTION: So there's no question whatsoever he'll stay on as Secretary?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President made that very clear recently when we said that he had -- the President asked him to continue serving, and he's pleased that Secretary Rumsfeld agreed to continue serving. These are very challenging times that we face as new threats have emerged in the 21st century. And Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job leading the Department of Defense forward to confront the threats that we face and to transform the military so that we're better prepared to confront the threats of the future.

So was the reporter bluffing? No idea.

Bill, can you help us out on this?

If only it were so!

TPM reader LE sends word that the Social Security page on Sen. Sununu's website is "under construction."

The page maybe. But as the co-sponsor of the Sununu-Ryan partial Social Security phase-out bill, we figure he's pretty much made up his mind about eliminating the program.

Viacom: Lobbyist Wanted. Must be Republican and have penis. (And no, they don't mean it metaphorically). Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility has the details.

And just a little note on the DeLay Rule too. Many of you had representatives who were 'letter-writers' -- to use the lingo from a few weeks back. And now many of you, it seems, have actually gotten your letters. If your little piece of DeLay Rule history has come in the mail, can you let us know that too? We're eager to hear from you.

On checking where your Reps. and Senators stand on Social Security, if you drop us a line, tell us how you know. Did you see a press account? If so, drop us a link to the article in your email. If you called their office, let us know that. On their website? Send us the page.

And let me add that each of these emails gets read and noted. And your help with this is truly appreciated.

As I write this, I'm looking at an email from a moderate Republican congressman sent in response to a TPM reader query on Social Security. This guy's clearly right on the fence, or rather, he's keeping all his options open.

Finding out where people stand now matters.

Now that's more like it. Edmund Andrews in the Times today ...

Introduced as a "single mom" from Iowa, Sandra Jaques was cool and confident as she praised President Bush's plan to partly replace Social Security with private savings accounts.

"I have a daughter at home. Her name is Wynter," said Ms. Jaques, sitting a few feet from President Bush at the White House economic conference on Thursday. "I want to make sure that she has Social Security when she retires as well."

Mr. Bush chimed in a moment later. "One of my visions of personal savings accounts is that Sandy will be able to pass her account on to Wynter as part of Wynter's capacity to retire as well."

The exchange was an example of how Mr. Bush promotes his agenda with testimonials from "regular folks," in the words of Joshua B. Bolten, the White House budget director, who introduced Ms. Jaques.

But Ms. Jaques is not any random single mother. She is the Iowa state director of a conservative advocacy group, FreedomWorks, whose founders are Jack F. Kemp, the former vice-presidential nominee, and Dick Armey, the former House Republican leader.

Ms. Jaques also spent much of the past two years as a spokeswoman in Iowa for a group called For Our Grandchildren, which is mounting a nationwide campaign for private savings accounts.

'turf galore! <$NoAd$> Read the whole piece.

A (non-political) question for readers: If you've had experience, good or bad, using a Tablet PC, I'd very much like to hear from you. I need to get one for note-taking and for marking up .pdf documents for display on TPM. Unfortunately, few places stock more than one or two, if any. So it's hard to get any hands-on experience on which are user-friendly, simple-to-use or even reasonably functional. And I've heard that many of them are just hopeless and not worth the price of purchase. So if you have any tips, pointers or advice, I'd greatly appreciate hearing them.

Next month, a former high-ranking New York <$NoAd$> City jails chief, Anthony Serra, who was promoted again and again by Bernard Kerik, finally goes on trial.

We pick up the story in progress from Dan Janison in Newsday ...

One former Correction Department official told Newsday: "This is about the integrity issues and questioning of whether you were 'on the team' that came up when Bernie ran the agency."

Kerik -- who remains under scrutiny because he abruptly withdrew his nomination last Friday for the nation's top security post -- once warned correction subordinates he was a "hunter of men" and demanded loyalty.

The trial of former three-star correction chief Serra is scheduled next month in State Supreme Court in the Bronx on dozens of counts, including grand larceny. The allegations are related to Serra's paid role in running Republican campaigns and the rebuilding of his suburban house using labor and materials that belonged to city taxpayers.

Another high-ranking department retiree who declined to be identified said that depending upon how testimony is elicited, new questions could arise about Kerik's command of the agency.

And some of the water laps at Rudy's feet ...

More recently, a retired correction officer, who the Bronx DA says was ordered to work on Serra's house while being paid by the city, was hired for a joint venture involving Giuliani's consulting in Florida, private sources confirmed. "Giuliani-Kerik cannot comment on questions related to a private contract," said Chris Rising, a spokesman for the consulting business.

A hunter of men, mumbo meets jumbo.

A word from the <$NoAd$>opposition:

Do you hear any proponents of this mandatory Ponzi scheme, dare to admit that it`s not a constitutional function of the central government?

Does anyone speak to violating 10th Amendment rights, especially politicians who swear to support the Constitution? Hah!

It wouldn`t be anyone who supports mandatory Socialist Insecurity, but do you know of anyone who celebrated Bill of Rights Day, on Wednesday?

A great day to discuss Socialist Insecurity.

Do you hear of anyone addressing the fraud of this scam, that bilks FICA payers out of their contributions, if not living to collect any benefits, or having no eligible survivors?

We know politicians depend on Socialist Insecurity to keep their jobs, but it`s a national disgrace to defraud FICA payers out of their hard-earned pay.

Would the same politicians embrace private sector Ponzi schemes? I think not.

So many questions, so few answers.

Harry T. Tucson, AZ

Maybe too much fluoride in the water out there ...

Brief note: In today's Times piece on whether the Kerik nanny even exists, the authors report, apparently on Kerik lawyer Joe Tacopina's say-so, that "news reports that she was Mexican ... were mistakenly attributed to [Tacopina]."

On the contrary, says Tacopina, he has no idea where the woman came from or where she went.

As near as I can tell, the first published account to source this apparently false claim to Tacopina was the Sunday piece in the Post by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen.

So did they get it wrong?

I dropped a line to Mike Allen. And he says, no way (my phrasing, not his). According to him, Tacopina did tell them that the woman returned to Mexico six weeks ago, just as they reported on Sunday.