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January 22, 2009 04:31 PM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“To lead the people, walk behind them.”

–Lao Tzu


27 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. Over at SLOG, one of the writers has a lawyer friend who enjoys perusing written law, so he went over the executive orders signed by the new President yesterday. He has this to say about what he found in the order titled, “Ethical Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel.”

    What caught my eye, what would never have been ordered by W, is the following Ethical Commitment:

    “6. Employment Qualification Commitment. I agree that any hiring or other employment decisions I make will be based on the candidate’s qualifications, competence, and experience.”

    This is huge. Understand that if an Executive Branch employee violates that rule, the Attorney General can go after the miscreant, including barring him or her from government service, barring him or her from lobbying the Federal government, enjoining him from the violation, and going after any cash or other things of value he or she got.

    How different would today’s Justice Department, for example, look if such an Order had been in place in 2001? How many Heritage Foundation lawyers would have been hired ahead of Top Ten grads from major law schools?

    Imagine! A requirement that public servants be selected based on their “qualifications, competence, and experience.” We are entering a mysterious, brave, new world, one based on, um, common sense and the public interest.

    Lest anyone be inclined to dismiss the sentiment our unnamed lawyer expresses at the end, one should be reminded that this is in response to a written and signed executive order, that is, a law.

    HT to SLOG.

  2. …from that liberal rag the NYT:

    January 22, 2009

    Kennedy Drops Bid for Clinton’s Senate Seat, Citing Personal Reasons


    Caroline Kennedy announced early Thursday that she was withdrawing from consideration for the vacant Senate seat in New York, startling the state’s political world after weeks in which she was considered a top contender for the post.

    Ms. Kennedy on Wednesday called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, to inform him that she was no longer interested.

    “I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate,” Ms. Kennedy said in a statement released by her public relations firm.

    Ms. Kennedy did not elaborate, but a person who spoke to her suggested that her concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who suffers from brain cancer and was hospitalized after a seizure on Tuesday, contributed to her decision.

    Ms. Kennedy believed that the job was hers if she would accept it, the person said, but aides to Mr. Paterson would not comment on whether that was true.

    Her decision appeared to catch the governor off guard, throwing the Paterson administration into confusion and setting off conflicting news media reports. After frantic talks between the governor’s operation and Ms. Kennedy’s camp Wednesday evening, Ms. Kennedy appeared to waver on whether to withdraw, and was preparing a statement reasserting her interest in the job. But just after midnight, she decided to make clear she was taking her name out of consideration and released the statement saying so.

    Ms. Kennedy declined to be interviewed.

    The Paterson administration scrambled to respond to the news, providing contradictory answers to reporters’ questions. Just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, Errol Cockfield, Mr. Paterson’s press secretary, said the governor had dismissed reports that Ms. Kennedy was withdrawing as “just the rumor of the day.”

    More than an hour later, Mr. Cockfield asked that that statement not be published, and suggested that more information would be provided by the governor’s office. But neither he nor the governor’s communications director, Risa B. Heller, would respond to further questions about Ms. Kennedy.

    1. By all accounts, Patterson was on the verge of picking her. The explanation of Ted Kennedy’s illness as her reason for not taking the seat was quite weird, and I don’t think it’s the real reason.

      If there’s dirt there, I’m sure someone will find it. I just have no idea why someone who campaigned so hard for something as important as a Senate seat would withdraw unexpectedly, citing only “personal reasons”.

        1. From the New York Times:

          Problems involving taxes and a household employee surfaced during the vetting of Caroline Kennedy and derailed her candidacy for the Senate, a person close to Gov. David A. Paterson said on Thursday, in an account at odds with Ms. Kennedy’s own description of her reasons for withdrawing.

          So her withdrawal wasn’t a DeGette-ian “I have no chance” ass covering.

            1. countdown to another Sirota diatribe in 3…2…1…

              and what’s going to piss off the kossacks more…that she’s a DINO or an aristocrat?  DINO, ARISTOCRAT, AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!  🙂

      1. why else would you jump to the weird conclusion that you’ve expressed?  There could be all manner of reasons why their camps were speaking, rather than them personally.  Including the possibility that the governor may have other shit to do and didn’t have time for all this drama.

          1. I’m a serial personality rather than a mass personality, and limited to what can be accomplished by anagrams. Be on the alert for posters named “Heaven Stervy,” “Artsy Heveve,” and “Hearts Veyve.”

          1. …instead of wishing/wondering whether the two “principals” spoke directly, you immediately threw all the fault on Caroline and accused her of being a cross between Marie Antoinette and Leona Helmsley.  SIROTA!

    2. Carolyn has no creds for the office.

      Paterson knew that, but wanted the Kennedy money and support.

      Many New Yorkers were onto the game.

      Paterson: “Please, Carolyn, withdraw your wish and I’ll make you ambassador to Alaska or something…..”

      She avoids the harsh light, he moves on.  

  3. “Three news agencies refused to distribute White House-provided photos of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Wednesday, arguing that access should have been provided to news photographers.

    “The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse said the White House was breaking with long-standing tradition in not allowing news photographers to capture the president at work in the Oval Office on his first day.”

    Because, you know, they might have Photoshopped the President into the picture, faking that he was signing the Executive Order.

  4. As the election results have fallen into place, as I’ve heard Obama’s speech, as I peruse the http://www.whitehouse.gove site, I am SO fucking impressed by this man.  Reading his energy plan, his economic plan, what he has done in two days, I confess that neither Edwards nor Hillary would have been so bold nor so competent.

    Sometimes it’s nice to be sort of wrong!  

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