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Mike Riggs
Mike Riggs
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      Mike Riggs

      Mike Riggs is a staff writer at The Daily Caller. He has written and reported for Reason magazine and reason.com, GQ, the Awl, Decibel, Culture 11, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Washington City Paper, where he served as an arts and entertainment editor.

DNC coordinates with Former White House staffer on response to Pawlenty

A rapid response from the DNC attacking an op-ed by Tim Pawlenty published by The Daily Caller this morning may have been a little too rapid: The press release that the DNC sent to reporters appears to feature an email exchange between the DNC’s Devan Barber and Obama’s incoming 2012 campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt who currently works for Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.

TheDC Morning: Obama owes Bush a cold one, says WaPo

10:16 AM 05/05/2011

1.) Obama resumes coddling the fragile psyches of Islamic extremists -- Decider in Chief Obama has decided: The American people do not need to see a picture of a dead Osama bin Laden, for which they have paid roughly $1 trillion over the last decade. "It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool," Pres. Obama says in an upcoming 60 Minutes interview. (The White House has propaganda locked down, what with allowing the world to believe for an entire day that bin Laden used his own wife as a human shield.) Conversely, the only people who would want to see said picture (according to the White House, a gutless Beltway press corps, and God knows who else) are conspiracy theorists who need proof of Osama's death. Those who believe that bin Laden is dead, and still feel entitled to see the fruits of a ten-year war on terror--for closure, to gloat, as compensation for countless TSA pat-downs, suspicious package alerts, and the anxiety that comes with flying anywhere nowadays--apparently do not exist. Even House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers is opposed to the idea, saying, "Imagine how the American people would react if al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders and put photos of the body on the Internet." You mean like they did with the bodies of those poor Blackwater contractors?

TheDC Morning: Leon Panetta promises the release of bin Laden pics, possibly on Facebook

9:56 AM 05/04/2011

1.) Should Pakistan lose its allowance? -- What ever shall we do about Pakistan? Our barely governed ally-cum-parasite (we give it roughly $1 billion per annum) likely could have given us Osama bin Laden ages ago, but didn't. We are engaged in a delicate dance with them. "In the last two days, top officials have repeatedly complimented Pakistan’s government for helping arrest and kill jihadis," writes TheDC's Neil Munro. But those same officials "have also repeatedly said that Pakistan has to explain why Osama bin Laden was comfortably tucked away in a villa, nestled in a city that is Pakistan’s combination of the West Point military academy and the Hamptons." Certain members of Congress seem ready to put the screws to Pakistan: "Democratic Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut are among the growing number of legislators who are eager to question the Pakistan government’s trustworthiness." The House GOP, on the other hand, is divided on the issue. "I think it is quite clear that unless we get a clear explanation of what the Government of Pakistan knew about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, all foreign aid from American taxpayers to this nation needs to cease," Rep. Allen West wrote in a letter to Rep. Kay Granger. Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner told the AP that "having a robust partnership with Pakistan is critical to breaking the back of al-Qaida and the rest of them." The question is: Which Pakistan?

TheDC Morning: White House retracts claim that Osama bin Laden used wife as human shield

10:12 AM 05/03/2011

1.) White House modifies bin Laden capture story after one day -- Not 24 hours after journalists across the country accepted some rather salacious details regarding Osama bin Laden's death at face value, the Obama White House has changed the official narrative. "The White House backed away Monday evening from key details in its narrative about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, including claims by senior U.S. officials that the Al Qaeda leader had a weapon and may have fired it during a gun battle with U.S. forces," Josh Gerstein reported. "Officials also retreated from claims that one of bin Laden’s wives was killed in the raid and that bin Laden was using her as a human shield before she was shot by U.S. forces." How did journalists from the New York Times to ABC to National Journal end up running stories containing--to put it charitably--culturally and politically significant fictions? The finger-wagging Poynter Institute put it best in a headline this morning: "Journalists mostly suspend skepticism about sourcing with news of Osama bin Laden’s death, await photos, video."

2.) Pakistan needs some time to clear its head, think about where this is going
-- What else could explain the Pakistani government's refusal/failure/inability (depending on how charitable you're feeling) to help the U.S. Government capture Osama bin Laden in the fair country of Pakistan? Pundits are done asking if Pakistan screwed America and are now asking why. Writing in Foreign Affairs, Shuja Nawaz suggests that "the Pakistani military is galled by the general sense that it has been reduced to an army for hire, and many of the generals now argue that the United States is treating the country as a client state, not as an ally." This could explain why Pakistan reportedly scrambled its fighter jets after receiving reports of U.S. choppers in Abbottabad. At Outside the Beltway, James Joyner writes that "even if Zardari is a true ally, he doesn’t truly run his own government. Even the Pakistani military and intelligence elites are divided, with double games being run inside double games." In short: We've been fooled a dozen times. That's shame on us.

TheDC Morning: Pakistan proves about as useful as tits on a bull

9:42 AM 05/02/2011

1.) Ding dong, Osama's dead -- Navy Seals shot and killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden 60 miles northeast of Pakistan's capitol last night after bin Laden refused to surrender, according to ABC News. U.S. Intelligence officials discovered the man who would be their link to OBL four years ago, reports the Washington Examiner's Phil Klein. The man, who officials learned about during interrogations at Gitmo, is “one of the few Al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin laden.” Three other residents of the compound were killed during the raid, one of them a woman, who "a bin Laden aide used as a human shield." According to the White House, bin Laden was "buried at sea" at 2 a.m. In a nearly unprecedented act of awareness, the New York Times' "dropped the honorific for Bin Laden," and will not refer to him in its post-death coverage as "Mr. bin Laden."

San Francisco Chronicle accuses White House of lying about banned pool reporter

6:44 AM 05/02/2011

The San Francisco Chronicle has accused the White House of lying about a recent spat with one of its reporters. Last week, the Chronicle reported that the White House had threatened to ban Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci from participating in the White House pool after Marinucci, a member of the print pool, used her cell phone to record a group of Bradley Manning supporters heckling Pres. Obama at a recent San Francisco fundraiser.

TheDC Morning: TSA agent groped the wrong hot chick

10:33 AM 04/29/2011

1.) Ryan and Boehner talk two different lines on oil subsidies -- House GOP leadership is borrowing a page from Grover Norquist's playbook in its defense of oil subsidies. When asked about ending oil subsidies, Speaker Boehner's office told The Daily Caller that “the Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy to lower gas prices and create millions of American jobs. Raising taxes will not do that.” If you've been following the ethanol debate, you've heard the same line: While corporate welfare is bad, doing away with it would be worse, because that would be raising taxes. It's possible that Rep. Paul Ryan may be a thorn in Boehner's side. Ryan wants to eliminate all energy subsidies. "We’re talking about reforming the safety net, the welfare system. We also want to get rid corporate welfare. And corporate welfare goes to agribusiness companies, to energy companies, financial services companies. So we propose to repeal all of that" Ryan said at a Wisconsin Town hall. His spokesperson echoed that sentiment in a statement to The Hill: "[T]ax loopholes and deductions for all corporations should be scaled back or eliminated entirely." We'll believe it when we see it.

Beltway residents can’t escape Royal Wedding coverage

1:55 PM 04/28/2011

If you live inside the Beltway, and want a break from coverage of the Royal Wedding, too bad. D.C.’s local press are committed to giving you a crash course on Great Britain, whether you care about the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, or not. Surveys from Neilsen and Pew suggest you probably don’t, but that hasn’t stopped the Washington Post Style section and TV stations WJLA (the ABC affiliate owned by POLITICO publisher Robert Allbritton) and NBC4 from sending local reporters to London to double up on the coverage already being provided by all three company’s foreign and national desks, as well as 8,000 other journalists from across the U.S. and around the globe.

TheDC Morning: After battering bankers, Obama tries to woo back Wall Street

10:11 AM 04/28/2011

1.) Ex-Bushie compares GOP to al Qaeda-- "The people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling are our version of al Qaeda terrorists. Really," said former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "They're really putting our whole society at risk by threatening to round up 50 percent of the members of the Congress, who are loony, who would put our credit at risk," said O'Neill, who served as secretary during Bush's first term. He added that the "whole conversation" about whether to take on even more potentially crippling debt "is irresponsible."

TheDC Morning: The Donald demanded a gig in Obama’s WH, likes to write checks to the DNC

9:49 AM 04/27/2011

1.) Bolton talks bullets, birthers, and despots with TheDC -- Former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton doesn't "believe in bumper sticker characterizations of foreign policy,” but he does believe in smacking down hacks, birthers, and people who value democracy above stability. You can find all that and more in Bolton's extensive interview with TheDC's Jamie Weinstein. Here's The Mustache on the kind of regime he'd like to see in Afghanistan: “I’d favor a pro-American government with Taliban and Al-Qaeda eliminated and not subverting the government of Pakistan. If it were a democratic government in Afghanistan, I’d say ‘great.’ And if it were a non-democratic government, I’d say ‘great.’” Here's Bolton on Herman Cain saying he wouldn't hire any Muslims if, by a direct and blatant act of God, Cain were to become president: “There’s no religious test under the constitution. That’s what it says. Period. Close quote. You pick the best people who are philosophically consistent with the president. That’s the only test.” Here is on political assassinations: "Who can doubt that assassinating Adolf Hitler in 1935 would have saved the world from enormous tragedy or assassinating Stalin in 1930? People say you favor assassination, what do you think war is? Except that it’s assassination on a much larger scale, a much more horrific scale.” Heavy stuff. Read it all.

TheDC Morning: Obama’s State Department doesn’t want you to leave America, ever again

9:26 AM 04/26/2011

1.) New passport rules will keep you grounded (forever) -- Don't believe me? Check out the proposed new passport requirements: "Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any 'religious ceremony' around the time of birth; and a variety of other information," reports Consumer Traveler, which adds that only "some" citizens will have to fill out the questionnaire. Who of us counts as "some" is a complete and total mystery, as the State Department's proposed rule does not include a handy chart for determining which level of hell applicants must travel to in order to be able to go to Cancun for spring break. Consumer Traveler also reports that "the State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes."

TheDC Morning: Tom Coburn caught between a rock and a Norquist

8:50 AM 04/25/2011

1.) Democrats ditch civility, deploy d-d-d-dangerous rhetoric to describe Paul Ryan's budget plan -- Democrats have apparently forgotten about the harsh rhetoric that they claim sparked the Tucson shooting in January during which Rep. Gabrielle Gifford and more than a dozen others were shot. What else could explain Democrats' efforts to enrage sensitive walker-reliant and wheelchair-bound Americans with the following "harsh" and "vitriolic" rhetoric: "Make no mistake about it, the Ryan budget is a war on seniors"; "Republicans are literally trying to kill Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid"; "This Republican path to poverty passes like a tornado through seniors' nursing homes." That's called "new tone," folks. How it differs from "old tone," we haven't the slightest.

TheDC Morning: Paul Ryan’s ‘Path to Prosperity’ fails to inspire fist fights at town halls

9:47 AM 04/22/2011

1.) Boehner back in the hot seat -- We hope the Speaker remembered to line his britches with asbestos, because the debt ceiling debate is only going to get hotter. The Club for Growth and Sen. Rand Paul will support raising the debt ceiling only in exchange for an all-but-impossible Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Americans for Prosperity, which has people in both the Tea Party freshmen's "Hell no" caucus as well as GOP leadership's "Well, OK" caucus, is "confident that the debt ceiling will not be raised unless there is something meaningful attached to it.” While Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips said, “I don’t know that there’s any conditions out there that they can create to get us to support [a debt ceiling increase].” Cantor's office attempted to please all-comers in a statement released Thursday: “Republicans will not agree to raise the debt limit without binding budget reforms and immediate spending cuts that will guarantee we don’t continue these bad spending practices in the future." And if GOP leadership caves? Michael Needham of the Heritage Foundation says, “There’s going to be a lot of disappointed people.”

TheDC Morning: Haley Barbour could begin scrambling for the White House any day now

9:17 AM 04/21/2011

1.) Opening a factory in a right-to-work state is illegal, says NLRB -- The National Labor Relations Board has told Boeing that the airline giant must stop expanding its operations in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, and build more factories in Washington, where the strikes flow like wine and union organizers instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. "In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing’s decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes," reports the New York Times. As evidence, the NLRB pointed to internal Boeing communications in which company executives discussed their desire to build planes, and also, the frequency with which their Washington plane builders refused to do that. "Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region,” a Boeing rep told the Times. To which the NLRB responded, "We...recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law.”

Obama crafts an executive order to get around the Citizens United ruling

1:12 PM 04/20/2011

Pres. Obama wanted a campaign finance bill that would take the teeth out of the Citizens United ruling before the 2010 election. Congressional Democrats wrote such a bill, and then watched it slip into a coma. But that wasn't the end of it. According to a leaked White House memo, Obama plans to create new campaign finance rules via fiat by signing an executive order.

TheDC Morning: Robert Gibbs unfriends Mark Zuckerberg

9:49 AM 04/20/2011

1.) Where have all the IGs gone? -- Congressional Republicans continue to school Pres. Obama on the basics of good government. This time it's not Rep. Darrell Issa at the chalkboard, but Sen. Chuck Grassley, who wants to know why Obama has fewer Inspectors General now than he did in 2009. And why the number of cases successfully prosecuted by IGs has fallen 14 percentage points since 2008. "During George W. Bush’s terms, these IG offices were high-profile positions," writes The Daily Caller's Neil Munro. "Democratic legislators and affiliated groups used the IGs’ reports to attack the Republican administration. Media outlets also were eager uses of the reports, which ensured a series of politically debilitating media scandals. For example, Glenn Fine, the Justice Department’s IG, was lauded by many Democratic advocates for his investigations into the department’s management during Bush’s terms." Gassley told TheDC that “independent inspectors general are needed to hold the federal bureaucracy accountable.” Perhaps this is why Obama employs so few of them.