Politics and Media Headlines 3/17/09
by Caro, Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 02:33:38 PM EDT
And a Happy St. Paddy's Day to ya!
President Obama: Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen and He "May Be Cousins" (by Jake O'Tapper at Political Punch, ABC News)
President Obama welcomed Irish Ambassador Michael Collins to the Oval Office today with some interesting news. "My mother's family can be traced back to Ireland," President Obama said, "and it turns out that our first Irish ancestor came from the same county that Taoiseach once represented. So we may be cousins. We haven't sorted that through yet. But even if blood we're not related by culture and affinity ... by friendship we are certainly related." Collins was joined by Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin (pronounced MEE-hull Martin, according to some helpful Irish reporters who have clearly already been celebrating). All three were sporting green ties and shamrock "bouquets" on their lapels.
I think the prez must have kissed the Blarney Stone today.--Caro
MORE MORE MORE
WH Names Ambassador to Ireland (by Alegre)
In keeping with today's holiday, I thought I'd introduce you to our new Ambassador to Ireland, Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Dan Rooney. He's a lifelong Republican who endorsed and stumped for BHO during the Pennsylvania primaries and GE last year. I've gotta give him credit for naming someone who formed an organization that promotes peace and education in Ireland to this post, but still... a Republican?
NY atty gen says 73 AIG execs got $1M bonuses (AP)
Troubled insurance giant American International Group paid bonuses of $1 million or more to 73 employees, including 11 who no longer work for the company, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
Limbaugh on Cuomo's letter asking for names of AIG bonus recipients, negotiators: "Is [Cuomo] working out of the Reichstag or what?" (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
House Republicans Planning To Try To Force Treasury To Recoup AIG Bonuses (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
Looks like House Republicans are about to make a big political move on the AIG issue by trying to compel the Treasury Department to try to recoup those AIG bonuses, A senior GOP aide familiar with ongoing discussions tells me that two freshman Republicans -- at the direction of Eric Cantor and other House GOP leaders -- will introduce a bill to "direct" Treasury to recoup the bonuses. The two Republicans are Rep. Paulsen of Minnesota and Rep. Lance of New Jersey.
A 100% tax rate? I like it! I like it! (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
A few Dems in Congress are talking about slapping AIG fatcats and their feline brethren with an excessive pay surtax. The sponsor of the bill wants to tax the bonuses at 100 percent. This move puts Obi in a place where he can't negotiate. He must support (and possibly sign) this bill or he must act against it. If he does not support it, then we know that his recent denunciation of the AIG bonuses amounted to "just words."
On CNBC, Business Week's Farzad says of Obama's directive to pursue every "legal avenue" to block AIG bonuses "What would Hugo Chavez do?" (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Santelli on AIG bonus rage: "You know, $165 million is like worrying about 16.5 cents, while $165 maybe necessitates a little more outrage" (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
And how did you feel about the small percentage of money dedicated to earmarks in the budget package, Rick?--Caro
Morris' crystal ball: "Socialist" Obama "going to be at 30 percent [approval] in a year" (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Bonus Quote of the Day (Political Wire)
"Follow the Japanese model... resign, or go commit suicide." -- Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), quoted by the Washington Post, on AIG executives who took bonuses despite a massive government bailout. An aide later explained the senator does not actually want executives to kill themselves.
Conservatives Suggest Torture Tactics For AIG Execs: `Exemplary Hanging,' Guillotine Party, `Boiling In Oil' (Think Progress)
[O]n Fox News, far right pundit Charles Krauthammer and his milder counterpart Mort Kondracke argued that some should be put to death: "KRAUTHAMMER:... I would be for an exemplary hanging or two. Have it in Times Square, invite Madame DuFarge. You borrow a guillotine from the French and we could have a party... KONDRACKE: I was going to recommend boiling in oil in Times Square."
Click through to watch the video.--Caro
Republicans Who Opposed Wall Street Salary Caps Last Month Now Condemning `Outrageous' AIG Bonuses (Think Progress)
As outrage mounts over the $165 million in executive bonuses paid to AIG staffers, many Republicans are trying to tap into the widespread public anger by striking uncharacteristically populist tones... However, when Congress debated limiting executive pay last month, these same key Republican lawmakers stood firm in opposing such caps.
Flashback: Dem Leaders Scuttled Proposal to Rescind Big Exec Bonuses (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
Elana Schor reminds us of a rather pertinent detail involving this AIG mess: Last month, Democratic Congressional leaders stripped from the stim bill a stringent proposal to force bailed-out companies to rescind bonuses to executives. That proposal, by GOP Senator Olympia Snowe and Dem Senator Ron Wyden, would have retroactively recovered "all cash bonuses to bailout recipients that exceeded $25,000," Schor reminds us, and "could have prevented much of the current AIG flap." In the wake of the current AIG mess, Snowe and Wyden are pushing to reintroduce their legislation, and many others from both parties are jockeying for political advantage.
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