1.) Journalism orgs ding Obama on transparency, allege Bush was better — “The day after his inauguration, President Obama promised a new era of ‘openness in government,'” write Pro Publica’s Charles Ornstein and the Society for Professional Journalists’ Hagit Limor. “But the reality has not matched the president’s rhetoric. We, presidents of two of the nation’s largest journalism organizations, and many of our thousands of members, have found little openness since Obama took office. If anything, the administration has gone in the opposite direction: imposing restrictions on reporters’ newsgathering that exceed even the constraints put in place by President George W. Bush.” White House reporters made the same point two weeks ago to Hack-turned-flack Jay Carney, who decided to lie his ass off rather than admit the president had failed to make good on a campaign promise. “This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past,” Carney said. Ornstein and Limor aren’t the only journalists who disagree with Carney. The NYT’s Bill Keller points out that Obama administration is prosecuting leakers “far more vigorously than its predecessors,” having gone after more people in the last two years than four decades of his predecessors, combined.
2.) Scott Brown thought “tea partying” meant crafting doilies and making nice — “Sen. Scott Brown called Republican efforts to cut government spending ‘irresponsible’ and urged party leaders to get over their ideology and find an agreement on a final resolution to the government through the fiscal year,” reports The Daily Caller’s Chris Moody. “[R]ather than reaching a workable, bi-partisan solution to responsibly address our staggering deficit, we are repeatedly given a false choice between CR proposals that either don’t go far enough to reduce federal spending and proposals that set the wrong priorities that would disproportionately affect low-income families and seniors, while doing little to address critical, long-term issues,” Brown wrote in the letter read round the world. “We must also be mindful that many of the proposed spending reductions would disproportionately affect the neediest among us, including housing and heating assistance.” Turns out Brown was the perfect replacement for Sen. Kennedy.
3.) Louis Farrakhan wishes his ‘brothers’ would stop fighting — Louis Farrakhan wants Obama to leave Gaddafi alone. “It is a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can’t recognize him as that,” Farrakhan said at a Nation of Islam event on Thursday. “What kind of brother would I be if a man has been that way to me and us, and when he is in trouble I refuse to raise my voice in his defense?” According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Farrakhan owes Gaddafi a debt of gratitude for the $8 million the Libyan dictator has given the Nation of Islam, in exchange for Farrakhan saying heinously stupid nonsense.
4.) Arizona to charge poor fat people for being fat, poor smokers for smoking — In Arizona, a bizarre marriage of public health philosophy and anti-welfare sentiments could lead to “a $50 fee on some enrollees in the state’s cash-starved Medicaid program, including obese people who don’t follow a doctor-supervised slimming regimen and smokers,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Brewer’s surcharge would apply only to only certain childless adults: Those who are obese or chronically ill, and those who smoke. They would need to work with a primary-care physician to develop a plan to help them lose weight and otherwise improve their health. Patients who don’t meet specified goals would be required to pay the $50, under terms of the proposal.” Someone call the CDC, because Mayor Bloomberg’s influence has spread to Arizona.
5.) Newt Gingrich quarantined with Foot In Mouth disease — “So far, Newt has angered the conservative intelligentsia with an ostentatious defense of ethanol subsidies, botched the announcement of his exploratory committee, bombed on explanations for his repeated adultery and three marriages, been seen as flip-flopping three times on Libya within a month and awkwardly warned about a future atheist America dominated by Islamic radicals,” writes TheDC’s Jonathan Strong. Has Newt lost it? Did he never actually have it? What explains his unusual behavior? According to one GOP campaign strategist, Newt’s “team doesn’t seem to realize campaigning has changed a lot since he was last running for office”–which must have been at the turn of the last century, apparently.
6.) Largest federal workforce in American history anxious about not having everything they could possibly need — “Rank-and-file federal workers have a thousand and one questions,” reports WaPo. “Parents fret over whether the day-care center at headquarters will stay open. (Yes.) Employees who have planned business trips want to know how — and whether — they’ll get home. (It depends.) Everyone asks: If I’m told I’m not essential, will I be able to get into my office? (Definitely not.) And everywhere workers wonder whether they will be paid. (There’s no guarantee.)” As if the threat of losing their cush paychecks was not enough, federal workers are also angry that the White House has instructed their superiors to keep them in the dark. According to WaPo, “The White House has ordered agencies to withhold from rank-and-file workers decisions on who would report to work and who wouldn’t.”