… from Jonathan Cohn at the New Republic’s “The Plank” blog.
Here’s his scoop and take:
By late Monday night, a rescue for the nation’s ailing automakers was looking a lot more likely. Democratic House leaders released the draft of a new plan and White House officials, though raising some objections, indicated that agreement on a package was close. Senate Democrats remained nervous that they might not yet have the votes in their chamber, where it would take 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster. But Wall Street signalled its optimism by jumping on stocks for Ford (up 24 percent) and General Motors (up 21 percent).
I had a chance read through a draft of the proposal and then talk it over with a few people involved with the discussions. There’s still a fair amount of confusion out there–apologies if anything I am about to say turns out to be inaccurate–but the essential elements seem to be pretty straightforward.
The government will make up to $15 billion in loans available to the industry right away–enough, presumably, to keep Chrysler and General Motors from shutting their doors in the next few months. (Ford, which is in better shape financially, may not need loans at all.) By March 31, the companies would have to submit detailed restructuring plans that follow up on the outlines their executives offered in their testimony last week.
If they met that deadline and provided satisfactory plans, they could perhaps get more loans as necessary–although it’s not clear (to me or to my sources) whether that would require Congress to authorize the money. If the companies failed to submit satisfactory plans, then they couldn’t get more money and would have to pay back what they could, a move that would presumably trigger bankruptcy.
And who would decide whether the plans were “satisfactory?” Ah, that’s where it gets interesting. The Democrats had originally proposed to create an oversight board, perhaps composed of officials from various cabinet agencies including Commerce and Energy. The Bush Administration preferred to appoint a single overseer–that is, an auto “czar.”
And the New Republic calls them on it.
From the link:
And it’s hardly just the conservatives on the Journal editorial page noticing these moves. Witness the ever-excitable Glenn Greenwald throwing hissy-fits. Markos Moulitsas announces that he’s holding off on giving money. Arianna Huffington huffs ‘n puffs. By rejecting these people and their radicalism, Barack Obama isn’t just showing that he wants to win, but that he wants to govern the country responsibly.
Not sure which of these three tiny rants is the most embarrassing, but Markos came off as particularly whiny. I don’t think the far left understands that any candidate who meets all their criteria would be basically unelectable. And after the Bush 43 years, the same goes for the far right. My guess is the electorate is going to be very wary of any candidates with extreme ideas on either fringe.
… from the New Republic’s Christopher Orr channeling Detroit Piston GM, Joe Dumars. Especially funny here on the last day of primary voting.
From the link:
It’s no great surprise that some are trying to push us out of this series. From the beginning, it’s been clear that the media and league elites have been looking for an exciting new face, instead of a team, like ours, that has proven its mettle by making it to the Conference Finals six* years in a row. We saw it in the Western Conference as well, where officials and news outlets made clear they were sick to death of the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs and behaved like cheerleaders for the media-darling Lakers. Heck, they almost managed to persuade fans that a hokey, small-town act like the New Orleans Hornets was a legitimate contender. It is safe to say that this has been the most rigged coverage in modern sports history.
But back to the series in question. Yes, Boston has won four games and Detroit only two. But it’s hard to imagine a more arbitrary and undemocratic way to determine this series’s outcome than “games won.” It is, after all, a bedrock value of the game of basketball that all points must be counted. But how can that be the case when every point beyond the winning point is ignored? There are literally dozens of layups, jumpers, free throws, and (yes, even) dunks that our opponents want to say don’t count for anything at all. We call on the NBA to do the right thing and fully count all of the baskets that were made throughout the course of this series.
Once you abandon the artificial four-games-to-two framework that the media has tried to impose on the series, a very different picture emerges, with the Celtics leading by a mere 549 points to 539. Yes that’s right, the margin between the two teams is less than one percent—a tie, for all intents and purposes. This is probably the closest Conference Finals in NBA history, though I will thank you not to check on that.
Take the time to read the whole thing. It’s worth it.
(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)
… one of the more pernicious anti-Obama emails making the rounds. Anyone who’s received the “Celeste & Loren Davis” anti-Obama email and doesn’t realize it’s utter bullshit needs to head to the Snopes page and do a bit of catching up. (In fact, if you regularly receive crazy emailed claims, bookmark the snopes.com home page and check in often for the latest hoaxes making the rounds. It’ll do both you and your email circle a world of good.)
Now for the good stuff on this mail — over at the New Republic, Douglas Wolk put together a hilarious deconstruction of that bit of lunatic hate prose cast over the land by Celeste and Loren.
From the TNR (second) link:
Keep that in mind, and the message’s apparent errors and inconsistencies start to fall into place. In the seemingly counterfactual, hateful sentence “Obama IS a muslim and he IS a racist and this is a fulfillment of the 911 threat that was just the beginning,” the slashless “911″ isn’t a reference to September 11, 2001; it isn’t even slang for “emergency.” It’s a reference to the total number of parallel dimensions. The “Obama” they’re talking about here isn’t, of course, the Christian politician from our world who gave the “A More Perfect Union” speech in March; it’s the alternate-universe version, who is naturally our Obama’s opposite in every way–sort of like Ultraman, the evil Clark Kent of Earth-3. He also comes from a universe in which “Muslims” are some sort of bloodthirsty invaders who support the dimension-resequencing scheme, a bit of meaning-reassigning linguistic play along the lines of Tom Stoppard’s Dogg’s Hamlet.
Clinton’s March fundraising numbers have not been officially released, but it looks like Obama at least doubled her take.
From the link:
Forget Barack Obama’s $40 million fundraising haul in March. This looks to me to be the bigger story:
Clinton communications director Howard Wolfsonrefused to release Clinton’s specific fundraising take…. Wolfson said Clinton’s fundraising figures would not be made public until the Federal Election Commission required it be done in the middle of this month.
For those keeping track at home, the Clinton campaign released her disappointing but not disastrous $13+ million January total a couple of days into February and her impressive $35 million February take before the month was even over. So I think it’s safe to assume the March numbers hold some pretty dismal news. The only question is whether it’d be better to get it out of the way now or have it come out a few days before the Pennsylvania primary. The Clinton campaign has evidently concluded the latter.
Update: CNN reports, “Six hours after senior advisers to Hillary Clinton told reporters her March fundraising total would not be released until later this month, campaign sources tell CNN her campaign raised $20 million during that time period — about half of what rival Barack Obama took in for the month.”
Not good news, obviously, but less disastrous than it might have been. Perhaps the campaign decided it was better to get it out of the way three weeks before Pennsylvania after all.