Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs could soon join the team at Facebook.com in a senior role, unnamed sources told Dealbook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on Sunday. We don’t know if or when it will happen, as both parties are playing coy, or for how much. What we do know is that snagging Gibbs would make Facebook’s D.C. team one of the best in the tech industry.
Mike Riggs | All Articles
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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.
1.) U.S. environmentalists reside inside a sustainably harvested, ecologically processed bamboo barrel of contradictions -- "The Obama administration has set a target of having 80 percent of America’s electricity come from 'clean energy sources' by 2035, but ironically one of the biggest obstacles to this goal could come from within the environmental movement itself," reports The Daily Caller's John Rossomando. The Chamber of Commerce and the pro-plant Vermont Journal of Environmental Law have both noted increasing resistance by renewable energy advocates to renewable energy projects. "NIMBY activism has blocked more renewable projects than coal-fired power plants by organizing local opposition, changing zoning laws, opposing permits, filing lawsuits, and using other long delay mechanisms, effectively bleeding projects dry of their financing,” writes the Chamber in a new report. "Recent examples," notes Rossomando, "include environmentalist lawsuits seeking to block construction of a solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert due to threats to the endangered desert tortoise and environmentalists suing to block the construction of a 75-wind turbine project in Nevada due to threats to local wildlife."
1.) Chuck Schumer hell-bent on 'turning' John Boehner -- Schumer may not be trying to destroy Boehner's credibility by suggesting that he yearns to make a handful of cuts and call it a day, but doesn't it seem like he is? "The Speaker has said all along that he wants to avoid a shutdown at all costs, and I believe him. He is a good man. The problem is, a large percentage of those in his party don’t feel the same way," Sen. Chuck Schumer writes in The Hill. "They think 'compromise' is a dirty word. They think taking any steps to avert a shutdown would mean being the first to blink." Weird, right? It gets weirder: "It’s clear that there is no path to compromise that goes through the Tea Party. We urge Speaker Boehner to push ahead without them. We are ready to work with him if he is willing to buck the extreme element of his party." It's almost like Chuck Schumer wants people to think that Boehner is just dying to burst out of the austerity closet, throw on a feather boa, and spend, spend, spend!
Amidst the outcry over the TSA’s new screening procedures -- an X-ray machine that depicts passengers’ genitals with precision, a full-body pat down that goes up every crevice and around every curve -- one man has dared to go against the grain. Former DHS Assistant Secretary Stewart Baker appeared before the House subcommittee on National Security Wednesday, where he testified that critics of the TSA’s scanning equipment are “making a privacy mountain out of a mole hill.”
1.) Schumer invites Boehner to the dark orange side -- Sen. Chuck Schumer wants Speaker John Boehner to come over to the Democrat side of the Force, reports The Daily Caller's Chris Moody. “Speaker Boehner wouldn’t have been able to pass this short-term measure without Democratic votes, and he won’t be able to pass a long-term one without Democratic votes either,” Schumer said in reference to the fact that 54 House Republicans, many of them Tea Party-backed freshman, voted against a stopgap measure Tuesday. “It’s time for him to abandon the Tea Party, and forge a bipartisan compromise.” Schumer previously said that Boehner “should consider leaving the Tea Party behind." And that's if the Tea Party doesn't ditch Boehner first.
1.) NRA says 'No way' to a meeting with anti-gun crusaders -- "More than two months after the Tucson shootings, the Obama administration is calling together both the gun lobby and gun safety groups to find common ground," reports the New York Times. The National Rifle Association's response was short and simple: No. “Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?” asked NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre. According to the NYT, LaPierre sounds a lot like Obama at times. For instance, in his op-ed in The Arizona Daily Star, Obama suggested that law enforcement and legislators "focus on the people, not the guns.” This is basically the imperative form of "Guns don't kill people, Jared Loughner kills people." Obama knew the NRA would say no to a sit-down: “Some will say nothing short of the most sweeping antigun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby,” he wrote in his op-ed. “Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody’s guns.” Replace "gun lobby" with "Bill of Rights," and "opening salvo" with "umpteenth volley," and you've nailed it, Mr. President.
1.) Obama ditches transparency, opts for telling people to get lost as politely as possible -- "Two years into its pledge to improve government transparency, the Obama administration handled fewer requests for federal records from citizens, journalists, companies and others last year even as significantly more people asked for information," reports the AP. "The administration refused to release any sought-after materials in more than 1-in-3 information requests, including cases when it couldn't find records, a person refused to pay for copies or the request was determined to be improper under the law. It refused more often to quickly consider information requests about subjects described as urgent or especially newsworthy. And nearly half the agencies that AP examined took longer--weeks more, in some cases--to give out records last year than during the previous year." As Obama has earned a number of comparisons to Pres. George W. Bush with regards to his foreign policy about-face, it's worth noting that federal agencies cited the "deliberative process" exemption less in 2010 than they did in 2009, but are still using it more now than they did under Bush.
1.) Congressional Dems: Where's Obama? -- With Robert Gibbs gone, Washington is safe again for Democrats in Congress to complain that Pres. Obama isn't doing his fair share in the budget battle. “The message to the White House is we need to ramp this up, we need to get going,” an anonymous Senate Democrat told The Hill, which reports that "Democratic officials on Capitol Hill say they are uncertain about what the president’s endgame plan is for the budget standoff" and that "some congressional Democrats are losing patience with the president, saying they want to move on to other priorities, such as their jobs agenda." Oh, yes. The jobs agenda.
TheDC Morning: It’s time for Wisconsin teachers to take off their psycho hats and go back to the chalkboard
1.) Wisconsin Dems, teachers, can get back to work now -- Public school teachers and Democratic Party fundraisers in Madison shouted ugly things last night at the top of their lungs, but they couldn't stop the simple procedural move that allowed Wisconsin Republicans to pass a bill that "stripped" public sector unions of some of their "rights." The Senate "requires a quorum to take up any measure that spends money," reports the AP. With 14 Wisconsin Democrats hiding in Illinois, quorum was impossible. So Republicans simply removed the spending portion from the bill. The response from Democrats in Illinois was sort of incoherent. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people,” said Wisconsin Senate minority leader Mark Miller. "Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten.”
Sen. Rand Paul is the only member of Congress who has entertained not just one, but every single one of the following ideas: Requiring a $2,000 deductible for Medicare plans, raising the age at which Americans can receive Social Security, drastically cutting military spending, eliminating foreign aid to Israel and the rest of the Middle East, and weaning poor Americans off “intergenerational welfare,” more commonly known as Medicaid.
1.) Ray LaHood imitates a fish out of water when asked about $328 billion highway provision in Obama's budget -- It's been four weeks since Pres. Obama sent his budget to Congress, and yet no one in the White House can explain the five W's of a $328 billion provision for highway projects. In the Senate, the irritation is bipartisan. "We have to know where the money is going to come from," Democrat Sen. Jay Rockefeller said yesterday, according to Cox Media's Jamie Dupree. "A sustainable source of funding is the real question here," added Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was the target of these questions, which he failed, with little panache or style, to answer. But at least he was emphatic about where the money would not come from. Obama "is not in favor of raising the gas tax when unemployment is at 8.9%," LaHood told the Senate committee. "There are some people in this country that can little afford to buy a gallon of gasoline, let alone one that's been increased by an increase in the gas tax." Other places the money will not come from: Bernie Madoff's mattress, a magician's hat, the moon.
1.) Mitt Romney would like you to bear with him for a second -- "Having spent my career in the private sector, I know a thing or two about how jobs are created and how they are lost," writes Mitt Homney in a Boston Herald op-ed. "The most important lesson I learned is that there are three rules of every successful turnaround: focus, focus, and focus." Instead of employing Romney's three-rule system, Pres. Obama "delegated the jobs crisis to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and he went to work on his own priorities, like cap and trade and government-run health care." Government-run health care? OMG WHERE DID OBAMA GET THAT IDEA? Romney has a plan to fix the problem he helped create. We can reduce the tax burden for businesses, and then "offset the lost revenue by ruthlessly eliminating corporate loopholes and the special deals that reward political influence and punish productivity." Also: "We need to establish an iron-clad ceiling on federal spending, setting it at a fixed percent of the GDP." Unlike Romneycare, these are actually not horrible ideas!
TheDC Morning: Chuck Schumer is not going to just stand around while TSA facilitates drug trafficking
1.) NYT advises Dems to shut down the government and blame it on Republicans -- "After letting a highly destructive budget fight fester far too long, the White House finally stepped in late last week to negotiate with the House, which wants to eviscerate nondefense spending," bemoan the editors of the NYT. "Republicans claim they will not agree on a penny less than $61 billion, which is too little for some more aggressive freshmen. If the Democrats try to compromise on even half that amount, they will be still be doing enormous damage to many programs and threatening a recovery that is starting to show signs of real life." The paper goes on to call the White House's pathetic counter-offer of $6.5 billion "more sensible," and adds, "Democrats are under no obligation to cut more." If Republicans insist on making meaningful cuts, the paper suggests that Vice Pres. Joe Biden and Senate Democrats should facilitate a government shutdown themselves, and "then let the freshmen explain to an angry public why they closed the government’s doors to score ideological points." Note to NYT editors: Next time, trying keeping your secret evil plans secret.
1.) Entitlement cuts cometh -- House Speaker John Boehner is ready to lay it on the line. On Thursday, he told the Wall Street Journal that "he's determined to offer a budget this spring that curbs Social Security and Medicare, despite the political risks, and that Republicans will try to persuade voters that sacrifices are needed." Boehner may be feeling bold, but like a lot of pols, he's still lumping Medicare and Social Security together, despite the fact that one of those things is easier to fix than the other. (Hint: It ain't Medicare, which outlays are growing faster and which will be insolvent much sooner.) Pres. Obama is apparently on board with entitlement reform, despite the fact that he countered Republicans' request for $61 billion in budget cuts with an offer of $6.5 billion. "I offered to the president we could lock arms and walk out and begin the conversation about the size of the problem," Boehner told the WSJ, adding that Mr. Obama responded "positively." In the words of the philosopher Toby Keith, it's time for "a little less talk and a lot more action."
Even Rep. Ron Paul is aware of Charlie Sheen's new gig as a walking PSA. Here's what he told TheDC's Chris Moody earlier today:
1.) Obama: Tea Partiers are angry that I'm black and they're broke -- Pres. Obama has successfully avoided reducing the complex populist outrage of the Tea Party to racial anxiety--in public, that is. Behind closed doors, however, he allegedly has no problem distorting the motivations of anti-government types. According to a new book by Kenneth T. Walsh, Obama expressed to guests at a private White House dinner party his belief that "many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn't helping them nearly enough." When one of his dinner guests said that Tea Partiers were attempting to "stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president," Obama responded that the Tea Party did indeed have a racist "subterranean agenda."
1.) Sheila Jackson Lee will eat your soul -- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, Texas, regularly refers to the people who work for her as "stupid motherf*ckers," according to an expose by The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong. Believe it or not, Lee's staffers wish that were the worst of the congresswoman's abuses. Lee caused one of her drivers to wreck her car by screaming into her ear, and threatened to call the police and report a kidnapping when a different driver told the congresswoman to either stop yelling, or walk. Another staffer had a phone thrown at him. Yet another was insulted by Lee in front of the staffer's parents. A third was forced to write a memo in full view of her colleagues explaining why she was, in Lee's view, incompetent. Perhaps even more impressive is Lee's ability to fling crap upwards just as competently as she drops it on her underlings. She once kept Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood waiting for several hours in her office foyer for several hours while she likely watched TV. Another time, she threatened a secret service agent, but only after she instructed her driver to ignore the secret service vehicle that was attempting to pull them over. And while she may be an apparent insomniac who sucks the life out of her staff, it's not likely that she's a vampire, as Lee often asks staffers to bring her garlic supplements as late as 2 a.m.
1.) DOJ asks Florida judge for permission to continue enacting Obamacare -- "For reasons that confound legal experts, the Justice Department has asked Florida Judge Roger Vinson to clarify his ruling, which some feel could lead to an adverse ruling for the federal government and even embolden states to put work on the health law on hold," reports Cox Media's Jamie Dupree. In January, Vinson ruled that Congress had run roughshod over the Commerce Clause. What he didn't say, at least not explicitly, is whether the Feds had to halt the implementation of Obamacare pending an appeal of his ruling. This is why the DOJ apparently felt it necessary to file a brief with Vinson asking whether or not the federal government can continue implementing the Affordable Care Act: "Defendants respectfully request that the Court clarify that its January 31, 2011, declaratory judgment was not expected to have the immediate and self-executing effect of relieving the parties of their rights and obligations under the Affordable Care Act while the declaratory judgment is the subject of appellate review." AWK-WARD.
1.) Senate Dems will likely agree to cut a whopping $4 billion from CR -- The House GOP has sorta kinda won its round of chicken against Senate Democrats, reports the Wall Street Journal. "House Republicans plan to begin debate Tuesday on a bill that would keep the government open for two additional weeks while cutting $4 billion in spending. Senate Democrats are signaling they will accept the GOP proposal, or something similar, by week's end." But let's not call it a more, er, muscular GOP just yet: "In crafting the plan to fund government operations for two additional weeks, GOP leaders are calling only for cuts that many Democrats find palatable. This will make it more difficult to reach a bipartisan agreement on additional cuts when the two sides begin negotiations on a spending measure to fund the government until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year." As for the tens of billions in serious cuts that GOP freshmen are lobbying for: "Comments by both sides Sunday suggested they were no closer to an agreement on that measure."
1.) Q: What does Gabrielle Giffords have to do with the Wisconsin budget debate? -- A: Absolutely nothing! Nevertheless, last night marked the second time in a week that Giffords' name was dropped for emphasis. The scene was Wisconsin's lower house, where Assembly Republicans decided to hold a late-night vote on the budget repair bill that's currently stalled in the Wisconsin Senate. Assembly Democrats attempted to block the vote with "a motion to remove Republican Rep. Bill Kramer as speaker pro tem," reports Dave Weigel, but the motion failed. Democratic Rep. Gordon Hintz then suggested that if the budget repair bill passed, protestors might get violent. "Never underestimate the will of someone when their back is against the wall," he said. Democratic Rep. Terese Berceau took the threat a step further, "I think tonight we had a Gabrielle Giffords moment. I don't know if you heard that outside, but it shook me up." The Washington Post's Chuck Lane started the Giffords' name-dropping trend when he wrote, "If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me: This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country." Keep it classy, folks!