Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Private Accounts Probabilism from the White House's Al Hubbard: "The president has made it clear that the personal retirement accounts won't solve the problem -- they are a part of the solution The rest of the solution lies in making other changes."

Interestingly enough, Hubbard's answer was in response to a high school student, eighteen-year-old Karl Kirsch. Hubbard went on to tell Kirsh that the options for the "other changes" include raising the retirement age and switching from wage- to price-indexing, which of course would leave our man Karl with radically reduced benefits fifty or so years from now.

When another questioner asked why AARP is opposing the plan if it's so great for seniors, Hubbard quoted the phony push-poll put together by the White House's pro-phase-out astroturf group, Compass. "We've seen polls that indicate two-thirds of the members in AARP support the president's plan. For whatever reason, they've determined this is a political battle that must be won."

A TPM 'Privatize This!' T-Shirt to the first guy or gal who can get Al Hubbard wired up to a lie detector and ask him whether he thinks 2/3rds of AARP members really support the president's plan.

Forget the T-Shirt, we'll whip up a special 'Privatize This!' tuxedo. With spats ...

Almost parody. From a 1999 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ...

A Virginia jury last night awarded the wife of Sen. Rick Santorum $350,000 in damages after she charged in a lawsuit that a Virginia chiropracter's negligence caused her permanent back pain.

Deliberating more then six hours after a four-day trial in which Santorum, R-Pa., testified, the Fairfax County Circuit Court jury unanimously ruled for Karen Santorum. She had sought $500,000 against Dr. David Dolberg of Virginia, because of pain from his 1996 treatment of her.

"Mrs. Santorum has been vindicated," said her Pittsburgh attorney Heather Heidelbaugh. "She was injured permanently through the actions of a chiropractor who acted negligently."

Heidelbaugh, with the Pittsburgh law firm of Burns, White & Hickton, said Mrs. Santorum has "permanent back pain" and "permanent numbness" in one leg.

Throughout the trial, Santorum aides declined to provide details. Yesterday, they issued a brief statement from the senator saying: "The court proceedings are a personal family matter. I will not be offering any further public comments, other than that I am not a party to the suit. But I am fully supportive of my wife."

But Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, reported that Santorum testified Monday that his wife might not be able to actively campaign for his re-election next year because of her pain. "She has always been intricately involved in my campaigns," he testified.

This I found out about<$NoAd$> from MKV.

Eagle-eyed TPM Reader AA sends us the news: Bamboozlepalooza swirls into Iowa on Wednesday. The president will be holding "A Conversation on Strengthening Social Security" at 12:15 p.m. at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

Examples of what's considered standard-operating-procedure in the DC lobbying culture?

Take Brad Card, brother of White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and brother-in-law of another Bush family retainer, Ron Kaufman.

Not too long ago, Card was making an honest wage as a New Hampshire state trooper. Most of the ten years he put in with the force in the Granite State, he was an undercover narcotics officer. Not long after he got his badge, a September 1989 Union Leader article chronicled his bust of a two kids from New Jersey bringing a couple thousand dollars of weed into the state where they want to live free or die.

But the last few years have opened up all sorts of new opportunities for Card.

Just about the time George W. was shifting into high gear in the 2000 presidential race, for instance, Rep. John Sweeney (R) of New York tapped Brad to be his new Chief of Staff. But just after President Bush's inauguration and brother Andy's appointment as White House Chief of Staff, the folks at The Dutko Group, a DC lobbying shop, could see Brad's unique talents and they hired him away from Sweeney.

Perhaps they reached out to him through his brother-in-law, Ron Kauffman, since he works at Dutko too. Who knows?

In any case, it was a good thing that Card got a few months experience in the luxe lobbying business before 9/11. Because about six weeks after the towers fell, New York real estate developer Larry Silverstein needed a man in Washington to tell his story to powers-that-be in the nation's capital. And he had quite a story to tell, seeing as he'd taken out the lease on the World Trade Center not long before they were destroyed.

Silverstein, being the shrewd man that he is, hired Card to be that man in Washington in his titanic struggle to see how many billions in insurance money he would be able to collect from the towers' destruction.

Perhaps it was Card's law enforcement background that made him so valuable to Silverstein. But then, terrorism isn't a law enforcement matter. So it's hard to know what to think.

I just noticed this update at the MSNBC website, predicting rough-sledding for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan because his son made several hundred thousand dollars consulting for a company angling Iraq oil-for-food contracts. The fact is supposed to be made public tomorrow in an interim report issued by Paul Volcker, the man Annan appointed to investigate the program.

The piece also quotes copiously from administration officials who argue that Annan must have knowingly ignored that his son was trading on his name. "How do you not know that your son is making all this money? How do you not know that your son is pushing Cotecna [the company in question] in meetings."

Perhaps I'm the only one. But when I was reading this I couldn't help but notice that what the administration officials appear to be describing is considered to be standard acceptable practice in Washington lobbying culture.

What am I missing?

Combining environmental ethics and public entertainment, the Center for American Progress's ThinkProgress blog recycles noxious RNC pro-phase-out lies into usable, productive humor.

More material on the never-ending-decline of CNN. This is the text from the front page of the site, as of 12:11 AM on the east coast ...

A representative of the parents of Terri Schiavo said Sunday last-ditch appeals will be made in Washington to get the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reinserted. After a news conference announcing the plan, a woman, saying she was from the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigades, grabbed the microphone to say Terri Schiavo should be allowed to die in peace.

Nope. Not The Onion, CNN.

I'm not sure I can stay up late enough to see their report on sword-swallowing privatizers or the preview of the new CNN Presents documentary on the man raised from infancy by a pack of lizards and his brave struggle to adjust to life among humans.

Reader mail ...

I am a public employee in California. For 16 years I worked at UCLA, and for nearly 17 years I have worked for LA Superior Court. Not only is Arnold trying to change the State pension system, his proposals include every pension system covering public employees, from the State to cities and counties, to school districts, to water districts, etc. We are all under attack. Information from my Union shows that LACERA, Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, gets 75% of its funding from dividends, about 12% from the County, and the rest from employees. My University of California pension is coordinated with Social Security. So basically, both my pensions and Social Security are being held hostage by the Republican party. This is a horror story for my family. What we thought would be a good retirement for us may collapse as Arnold wants the end of all funding for public employee pensions by 2006. I have money invested for retirement, that is my deferred compensation which could tank any time. I really am glad to see you put this on your blog for the rest of the country to see. And if Arnold wins in California, no state will be safe from the Republican plan to repeal the 20th century and promises made to employees. I would love to move out of the country now. Thank you for publicizing this.


Posted without <$NoAd$>comment.