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Hump Day Afternoon Open Thread

This video is dedicated to all the Obama worshippers justifying their love for Mr. Teleprompter Jesus.  Too bad Ireland’s not laughing.  Keep holding on to that Precious!

On a more serious note, watch this next one, from HBO’s miniseries John Adams.  Jefferson, the flawed, but brilliant founding father that he is, WAS RIGHT.

What would Thomas Jefferson think of the AIG Bonus giveaway bonanza?   Would Hamilton be passing blame to a crony senator who actually tried to block the bonuses?

Open thread-it!

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60 Responses

  1. no, mr. dodd did not try to block the bonuses. Mr. Greenwald is again full of malarky but that is chrissy dodd’s storyo and he is sticking with it!
    Sen. Dodd, Senator of CT, AIG’s home state of course, insurance capital of the world, AIG’s biggest political donee…..Nope,, not chrissy, no way no how…

    • But ainnj, Obama’s crew is not innocent as they claim.

      Either

      a) Obama, Geither and Treasury Dept look like incompetent fools because they didn’t catch this before.

      OR

      b) They are blaming Dodd as a CYA move, because they did have their hands in the cookie jar and got busted.

      • nope, obama and his buddies are full of soup as well. obama isn’t innocent and neither is dodd. But this whole thing is blowing up in their faces because of their ridiculous mock outrage at the whole thing.
        Mr. Transparency has become more than a bit murky

        • I said this below, but whatevs:

          They are playing the game of “who farted?”

        • Too bad doddy boy was so happy to do the bros over hos dance with unc teddy–it would be so much easier for obama to throw him under the bus successfully if he’d supported hillary.

  2. oh it just gets better and better for the obamaramas:

    http://www.startribune.com/politics/41399422.html?elr=KArks8c7PaP3E77K_3c::D3aDhUec7PaP3E77K_0c::D3aDhUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

    • LOL!!!!

      I liked this part:

      Why the sudden furor, just weeks after Barack Obama’s team paid out $30 billion in additional aid to the company? So far, the administration has been unable to match its actions to Obama’s tough rhetoric on executive compensation. And Congress has been unable or unwilling to restrict bonuses for bailout recipients, despite some lawmakers’ repeated efforts to do so.

      They are playing the game of “who farted?”

  3. I guess they played their rush limbaugh billboard card too early. Let’s see, maybe keithy olberman and jon stewart can come on and blame someother pundit on cnbc for the economic crisis, that worked real well for them….

    Read the rest of the story, there is a fabulous timeline going on that apparently will end with geithner taking the fall. when is dodd up for re-election? ms.nancy is sure to have had her little mitts in this whole thing as well.

    Let’s see what amazing thing will come out of the wh today to take our collective eyes off the bouncing ball?

  4. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/03/aig-retention-bonuses-paid-to-former-employees/

    “This story gets more and more interesting. Bloomberg is reporting that:

    ‘American International Group Inc., the insurer under fire for handing out bonuses after its $173 billion government bailout, budgeted $57 million in “retention” pay for employees who will be dismissed.’”

    • Seventy-three employees were paid more than $1 million in the newly minted bonuses at the insurance giant, American International Group, according to the New York attorney general Andrew M. Cuomo.

      They gave them money to run that thing to the ground.

      What I wouldn’t give for a job like that!

  5. uh oh, what kind of severance package do you think timmy will get?

    Analysis: White House, Dems backpedaling on AIG
    By DAVID ESPO – 1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since last fall’s election, Democrats and the Obama administration are backpedaling furiously on an issue easily understood by financially strapped taxpayers: $165 million in bonuses paid out at bailed-out AIG.

    Republicans, struggling to regain their political footing, are content to let Democrats try to dig their way out of this mess on their own.

    Professing shock at the bonus payments, Democrats have embarked on a hurry-up effort to impose what amounts to confiscatory taxes on the bonuses, a maneuver that almost surely will be tested in the courts.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner won a strong vote of confidence Wednesday from President Barack Obama, whose administration has been struggling with the controversy since the weekend.

    But the mood is less charitable among congressional Democrats. And Republicans have made Geithner their top target, not surprising given Obama’s continued high approval ratings.

    “It’s shocking that they would — the administration would come to us now and act surprised about these contracts,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate GOP leader. “This administration could have and should have … prevented this from happening. They had a lot of leverage two weeks ago.”

    That would be when the Treasury Department decided to make an additional $30 billion available to American International Group Inc., the huge insurance conglomerate deemed too big to fail by two administrations.

    Which goes to the crux of the Democrats’ current political problem.

    Gone are the days when they could merely bludgeon the Bush administration and promise to seek bipartisan solutions to the nation’s economic problems.

    Now, in control of the White House and Congress, they are struggling to come up with an explanation for what no one in either party seems moved to defend.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said AIG stands as a symbol of “greed and perhaps corruption.”

    Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., scoffed at AIG’s claim that the money represents retention pay. “There are enough bright people in this country that would do the job for an honest salary, and enough honest taxpayers demanding that we put an end to this stuff. You can bet I’ll make sure justice is served,” he said.

    But the bonus payments occurred on the Democrats’ watch, and for Republicans, AIG seems politically providential.

    Their overwhelming opposition to last month’s stimulus bill appeared to be gaining little traction as Democrats showcase every shovelful of dirt that is turned — all in the name of economic recovery.

    Criticism that Obama and Democrats are embarking on a new era of tax-and-spend is undercut by the lack of a budget alternative from Republicans — the party that presided over a historic run-up in the federal debt earlier this decade when it controlled both the White House and Congress.

    Less than 100 days into the Obama administration, polls have brought little good news to Republicans.

    While a recent Pew survey found some slippage in Obama’s support, it also registered only 28 percent approval for the job being done by GOP congressional leaders, the lowest in nearly 14 years. And a separate survey by CNN and Opinion Research Corp. put support for the president’s handling of the economy at nearly 60 percent.

    Against this backdrop, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sought to explain AIG.

    He told reporters that Geithner “last week engaged with the CEO of AIG to communicate what we thought were outrageous and unacceptable bonuses,” and “received a commitment to lessen some of the bonuses for senior executives.”

    Asked directly if Obama is satisfied that he found out about the bonuses in a timely fashion, Gibbs said: “Yes, the president is satisfied.”

    The president “has complete confidence” in his Treasury secretary, Gibbs added, although Geithner’s early tenure has been anything but smooth. The Cabinet official’s introduction of a new plan to bail out the financial industry was widely panned, and his confirmation was held up earlier when it was disclosed he had paid $34,000 in back taxes.

    Obama himself has been vocal on the need to do everything possible to recoup the money paid out in bonuses, and so far, no Democrats in Congress have tried to hold him to account.

    But the Treasury Department isn’t immune, even from Democrats.

    “I’m outraged by this,” said Baucus in a statement. “At one point the Treasury was in a position to stop these bonuses. Those were the terms of TARP, terms that I helped draft.”

    But talk of legislation only leads to more uncomfortable questions for Democrats.

    Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., won passage of a provision earlier this year that they said would have prevented the type of payments now at the center of a storm.

    It was dropped without explanation in the final compromise on the economic stimulus measure, replaced by a less restrictive set of conditions backed by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and accepted by the White House.

    “The president goes out and says this is not acceptable and then some backroom deal gets cut to let these things get paid out anyway,” said Wyden.

  6. Geithner never wanted the salary caps in the first place, and kept lobbying against them. Dodd snuck hard legislation in the stimulus that somehow got changed by the time Obi signed it. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s been off the reservation going after AIG bonuses since October. Geithner had to know the whole time ‘cuz he was NY Fed chair until almost February.

    • Geithner farted and wants to blame Chriss Dodd for the methane mess.

      (((( Cinie!!!!!!! )))))

    • and that is chrissy dodd’s story and he is sticking with it. what a guy!

      • Well, all the news stories at the time back Dodd up. His proposal was retroactive. Nobody mentioned an out clause until a couple of days ago.

        • yes, and most news stories out during the primary and the campaign backed up obama. notice a pattern here?

        • Dodd Under Fire For Legislation Behind AIG Bonuses
          By CHRISTOPHER KEATING | The Hartford Courant
          1:35 PM EDT, March 18, 2009
          A mini-firestorm exploded Wednesday over U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd’s role in legislation regarding the huge bonuses at AIG, the highly controversial insurance giant that is receiving about $170 billion in federal bailout money.

          Republicans and others are charging that Dodd was the main person behind the legislation that allowed the bonuses for the AIG employees.

          But Dodd says he was never a member of the conference committee that inserted the legislation into the final version of the bill.

          The bonuses have become a flashpoint over public anger regarding federal bailouts in general and AIG in particular. Everyone from President Barack Obama to Republican state legislators in Connecticut is decrying the bonuses.

          Video
          Related links
          Bonus Outrage Focuses Attention On AIG’s Wilton Headquarters
          House Financial Services hearing
          LIVE VIDEO: AIG chairman testifies on Capitol Hill
          AIG chairman in Capitol Hill hot seat for bonus plan Video
          AIG Bonus Controversy Video
          Stan Simpson: Something To Take From Madoff, AIG
          AIG Bonuses Required Under Connecticut Labor Law, Company Says
          AIG Employee Retention Plan
          Chairman of AIG tells Congress he’s asked executives to give back their bonuses
          Chris Fusaro Photo
          AIG sign Photo
          Letter To Sec. Geithner
          Stan Simpson’s blog: What To Do With AIG
          Splitting the money Graphic Dodd’s spokeswoman, Kate Szostak, is saying that the accusation that Dodd included the exemption for the bonuses is false, despite reports on Fox News, the Drudge Report, and the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

          “Senator Dodd’s original executive compensation amendment adopted by the Senate did not include an exemption for existing contracts that provided for these types of bonuses,” she said.

          The exemption that allowed the bonuses was crafted behind closed doors in a conference committee with top negotiators, including some of the most powerful members of Congress — but not Dodd.

          During the conference period, Dodd pushed for language that would require the U.S. Treasury Department to analyze any previous bonuses, according to Szostak.

          “At the same time, Senator Dodd supported legislation by Senator Wyden that would tax the bonuses so that taxpayers could recoup some of this money,” she said. “Unfortunately, that provision was removed from the stimulus bill in conference.”

          “Senator Dodd was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until he learned of them in the past few days; to suggest that the bonuses affecting AIG had any effect on Senator Dodd’s action is categorically false,” Szostak said.

          But Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, had a sharply different view of the issue Tuesday afternoon.

          “It is very disingenuous of Senator Dodd to suggest that he is now leading the fight to protect taxpayer money from going towards AIG bonuses when it was his own amendment to the stimulus bill last month that allowed AIG executives to receive these bonuses in the first place,” Walsh said.

          “It’s even more disingenuous when you consider that Senator Dodd has received more political contributions from AIG than any other member of Congress. His rhetoric this week, which is only coming in the wake of public outrage, is typical Washington doublespeak, and the citizens of Connecticut deserve better.”

          In Connecticut, Republican legislators are trying to change the state law that AIG is citing, saying that the company is legally bound to pay the bonuses. The Connecticut state law says that if a company withholds payments that are due to employees, then those employees can file a civil lawsuit and win twice as much money. As such, AIG says that it could be forced to pay $330 million in bonuses – double the original amount of $165 million.

  7. meanwhile, back at the ranch (if this doesn’t make you want to hold hands and sing kumbaya I just don’t know what will):

    Obama May Use Legislative Ploy to Jam Through Health, Tax Bills

    By Brian Faler

    March 18 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama may try to push through Congress a health-care overhaul, energy proposals and tax increases by using a partisan tactic that would thwart Republican efforts to block the measures.

    The administration and congressional Democrats are debating whether to use a parliamentary procedure called reconciliation to advance some of the biggest items on the president’s agenda. The move would allow Democrats to approve plans to raise taxes by $1 trillion, create a cap-and-trade system to rein in greenhouse-gas emissions, and overhaul health care without a single Republican vote.

    “You’re talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them into the Chicago River,” said Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican who stepped down last month as Obama’s pick for Commerce secretary. “It takes the minority completely out of the process.”

    Reconciliation reduces the number of votes needed to pass legislation in the 100-seat Senate to a simple majority rather than the 60 required to overcome resistance to major bills. The tactic also limits debate to no more than 20 hours and imposes restrictions on amendments.

    Senate Democrats have a majority with 58 votes, though Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who is struggling with brain cancer, is frequently absent. Several other Democrats often vote with Republicans.

    House Democrats

    House Democrats are pushing to use reconciliation because it would help ensure they don’t end up voting for tax increases and other legislation that can be blocked by Senate Republicans.

    “On those big issues, people are going to want some sense that there is a decent chance that the Senate will act,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat.

    White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told lawmakers last week the administration hasn’t decided how to proceed.

    “We’re not taking anything off the table,” Orszag told the Senate Budget Committee. An Office of Management and Budget spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, declined to say which way Democrats are leaning.

    “We’re having conversations,” he said.

    Democrats will have to decide soon because reconciliation, if it is to be used, would have to be included as part of the annual budget blueprint lawmakers hope to complete next month.

    Deficit-Cutting Measure

    The procedure was created 40 years ago as a way of making it easier for lawmakers to cut the federal budget deficit. It has been increasingly used in recent years to protect bills from partisan attacks. Former President George W. Bush employed the practice to muscle tax cuts through the Senate, while Democrats used it in 2007 to cut subsidies to student-loan providers such as Reston, Virginia-based Sallie Mae, officially SLM Corp.

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc., in a research note this month, called the reconciliation decision this year “extremely important” because of its impact on the odds of Obama’s initiatives becoming law. While Democrats won expanded majorities in Congress and control of the White House in last year’s elections, their grip on the Senate is tenuous.

    Last month, the party’s lawmakers were forced to cut tens of billions of dollars from Obama’s economic-stimulus package, over the objections of House Democrats, to win the support of the three Senate Republicans needed to get the 60 votes required for Senate passage.

    Weeks later, in another sign of Democrats’ fragile control of the Senate, Republicans blocked a $410 billion omnibus bill until they were given more time to offer amendments. No major bills have passed the Senate this year with more than eight Republican votes.

    Political Cost

    The maneuver may carry a steep political cost because it is likely to poison relations with Senate Republicans, who would be excluded from the deliberations over some of the most important bills of Obama’s presidency. Gregg and other party lawmakers said using the tactic would be a departure from Obama’s campaign pledge to bridge the partisan divide in Washington.

    Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, warned Obama to expect retaliation from his colleagues if the president chooses reconciliation.

    “There’s other things he’s going to need Republican support on,” Cornyn said.

    Republicans “invite” reconciliation “if they’re just going to be obstructionists,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat.

    Republican Retaliation

    Using reconciliation may also have consequences for Democratic lawmakers. Eight Senate Democrats signed a letter opposing using the tactic to approve climate-change legislation even if that would make it easier to get a bill onto Obama’s desk. Among them: swing votes such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska who usually enjoy outsized influence in the chamber. These senators may find themselves marginalized if Reid suddenly doesn’t need 60 votes to move bills.

    “Legislation so far-reaching should be fully vetted and given appropriate time for debate,” the letter said. “Using this procedure would circumvent normal Senate practice and would be inconsistent with the administration’s stated goals of bipartisanship, cooperation and openness.”

    • The move would allow Democrats to approve plans to raise taxes by $1 trillion

      Well, all that bank bailout money wasn’t going to pay for itself.

      I don’t care about raising taxes, in fact I welcome it. But if it’s to do the RIGHT THING, not bail out Bankers everytime they think they need a new Lear jet.

      What Bush 2.0 is to Oil, Obama is to Bankers.

      Alexander Hamilton would be so proud!

  8. What I’m wondering is when will the “news” about where Odrama’s campaign millions came from finally hit the fan.

  9. CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Natasha Richardson — Life Support Plug Pulled

    Posted Mar 18th 2009 2:03PM by TMZ Staff

    Natasha Richardson has been taken off life support, according to NYC legendary columnist, Liz Smith.

    Smith has extremely close ties to the whole Broadway scene and is certainly in a position to know. Smith says as of 1:30 PM ET today, Natasha was taken off life support.

    I loved loved loved Natasha Ricahrdson in the HandMaid’s Tale.

    😦

    • this is truly a heartbreaking story, I personally know how hard it is to make that decision although in my case it wasn’t for someone so young. She is a very good actress and a great humanitarian.

    • That is too bad. She was a good actress. She could do comedy as well as drama nicely.

    • Well, on the bright side — Liam Neeson is available.

      I’m going straight to h3ll for that one.

  10. “While everyone assails AIG for using less than 0.1% of the taxpayer-bailout money it received to meet contractual obligations in compensation through retention bonuses, another recipient of government largesse has its own bonus program in operation. According to their annual report, Freddie Mac has a generous retention bonus plan built into its operation for the next year. Eligibility includes all of the senior and executive VPs. It comes in four payouts, and only the last has any connection to company performance.
    Exhibit 10-4 on page 414-5 lays out the program:”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/03/18/hey-guess-who-else-has-an-executive-retention-bonus-plan/

  11. February 13, 2009

    “The biggest difference between Mr. Dodd’s provision and the Treasury rules is that the new stimulus provision would apply to any company that either has received money or will receive money in the future under the Treasury’s financial rescue program. By contrast, the plan announced by Mr. Geithner would apply only to companies that receive federal money in the future.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/business/economy/14pay.html?hp

    Somebody’s re-writing history, but it’s not clear that somebody is Dodd. Geithner’s the one on record objecting to the caps, and he’s the one who would have known the bonuses were coming up.

    • Precisely.

      In Obama’s administration, the buck stops here only when it’s good news.

  12. “A.I.G. Chief Asks Bonus Recipients To Give Back Half ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/business/19web-aig.html?_r=1

  13. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: how is it that the Obots think it is GOOD that Obama doesn’t know what the hell is going on? Really, that is there defense: HE DIDN’T KNOW!!! (Just like he didn’t know about what his advisor was telling the Canadians about NAFTA, just like he didn’t know what was going on in his church, just like he didn’t know about Ayers, etc., etc.). This is NO F*CKING DEFENSE YA MORONS!!

  14. Hey! I’m in moderation!

  15. Here comes’s the presidential power grab:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090318/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_aig

    “He said he and his economic team have begun discussions with leading congressional players to fast-track legislation creating another regulatory entity to govern the dissolution of large financial institutions such as AIG, which if merely liquidated could reverberate disastrously through the financial system.”

  16. Just got called for the “Presidential Tracking Poll.”

    Was hung up on when asked what party I belonged to. Guess “independent” need not apply. 😦

    • What state are you in?

    • Maybe they had their quota of independents for the poll.

    • I recommend saying that you’re a Democrat in a poll. The more disgruntled Democrats shown in the polls the better. Ideologically, most of us here fall under liberal and would usually vote for a Democrat. But then again, Obama isn’t a real Democrat so we’re justified in not supporting him. I was called once during the summer and I said I was a Democrat who didn’t support Obama, which is the truth.

  17. laughing at the Rush calling BO “TOTUS” all day
    Teleprompter of the United Sates”

  18. They are only asking the people who received a bonus of $100,000 or more to give half back. If they received $99,999, they get to keep it all.

  19. when is my bailout or retention bonus???
    oh yeah ~ the self employed can just suck it.

  20. new thread up!

  21. You’re out Angie, if you’re still here.

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