Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

A tip for the folks in the White House press corps or other enterprising reporters.

We know now from the Post that David Safavian had some awkward connections with certain people later accused and/or convicted of ties to Islamic terrorism.

But I hear the Secret Service had serious concerns about Safavian's ties too and did not want to give him a badge to work at the White House. And I hear these concerns came up not just with the OMB job but in the earlier one at GSA as well.

Needless to say they were overruled and Safavian got his clearances.

AP: "When Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist asked a trustee to sell all his stock in his family's hospital corporation, a large-scale sell-off by HCA Inc. insiders was under way."

WaPo:"Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush's nominee to be deputy attorney general."

(ed.note: As of about 5 PM on Friday afternoon, we're no longer accepting requests for tickets to the movie below. -- jmm)

Do you live in the New York City <$NoAd$>area?

Do you like TPM?

Next Wednesday night, September 28th, at 7:30 PM TPM is hosting a special advance screening of Serenity at the Union Square Stadium theater.

Serenity is the new film by Joss Whedon, the guy behind the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. This showing is only for TPM Readers. And it's free.

If you'd like to join us. Send in an email to movie@talkingpointsmemo.com with the subject line Serenity. Include your name and how many seats you'd like to reserve. (Two tickets per person; if you have other friends or family who want to attend too, have them email in as well).

Now, a bit of disclosure and transparency. Studios do advance screenings like this to generate buzz for a new movie. And that's what they're doing here. We're not getting paid anything for doing this. They get some publicity and some word of mouth buzz. We get to host a couple hundred readers at a movie in New York. And our readers get to meet fellow readers and see a free movie. I'll get to meet a bunch of you in person too; and that will be a treat for me.

So that's the score. And we were happy to give it a try on that basis.

And one last thing: If you don't live in the New York City area, don't fret. The studio has a bunch of preview screenings of Serenity around the country next week. And they've set aside seats for TPM Readers at each venue. Click here to find out how to request tickets.

News tomorrow in the Post on the Abramoff-Rove connection.

Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) on why she supports the President's Gulf Coast Wage Cut (note distinction between 'permitting' and 'requiring') ...

Thank you for contacting me about the suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act in the Hurricane Katrina disaster area. I appreciate hearing from you.

The Davis-Bacon Act, which dates back to 1931, requires every construction contract in excess of two thousand dollars to which the federal government is a party to pay all laborers and mechanics not less than the locally prevailing wage. Under Section 6 of the Act, the President may suspend the requirements of the Act during a "national emergency." Over its long history, the Act has been suspended several times for various types of national emergencies including war, economic emergency, and natural disaster. Suspension of the Act permits, but does not require, that less than the prevailing wage be paid on the covered contracts.

Now that we have entered the cleanup and rebuilding phase following Hurricane Katrina, the evacuees wish to be able to return home as expeditiously as possible. I would like to see this happen and this will require a lot of rebuilding.

The Davis-Bacon act can add weeks to federally financed construction projects and it increases costs to the taxpayers - also producing delays in construction since the available funds will be limited. President George H. W. Bush temporarily suspended the Davis-Bacon Act during the recovery from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to help rebuild that area of Florida in an expeditious and affordable fashion.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please continue to contact me about issues that are important to you. While I commute from my home in Albuquerque to Washington D.C. , for voting and committee hearings, you can always check my web site for upcoming community events to find where you can catch me around town.

More soon<$NoAd$>.

Sen. Evan Bayh: "On the Gulf Coast, we aren’t just rebuilding cities - we’re rebuilding lives. The workers whose wages would be cut are the same women and men struggling to support their families and find new homes to replace the ones they lost in the hurricane. They deserve all the support we can give them, not a cut in pay when they can least afford one."

I knew the House Republicans couldn't be trusted managing the federal budget. But I had no idea it was this bad.

To great fanfare a group of House Republicans has announced what they call Operation Offset, an effort to make up for new Katrina spending and save the president's tax cuts by proposing a whole slew of new cuts in the federal budget. As we noted below, a huge amount of the cuts come out of Medicare. And there's also a very timely cut in CDC funding.

But if you go to page 17 of the 'Operation Offset' budget plan they're circulating, you'll see they propose to "eliminate attache positions in the Foreign Agricultural Service." And by this they claim they'll get more than $37 billion of savings just next year. $347 billion over ten years.

Who knew attaches made such high salaries!

If you look down into the explanation section, it notes that the savings are in millions, not billions, on this and the item below on cuts at the Department of Education. Yet, they push this transcription error through the whole document. So about half a trillion dollars worth of savings they claim doesn't even exist.

(ed.note: Special thanks to sharp-eyed TPM Reader TW.)

I was looking over the list of budget cuts proposed by House Republicans to save the president's tax cuts. And the big thing that sticks out is just how much comes out of Medicare. But a bit down further into the document which they put out there's a $1.8 billion annual cut in funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That's great thinking, seeing as though we don't need to worry about Avian Flu from South Asia or other contagious diseases any more.

Scott McClellan responded yesterday, though that may be a generous characterization, to press questions about the president's Gulf Coast Wage Cut. I've posted the transcript here.