Responding To Pressure, Pentagon Will Release DADT Report One Day Early

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Responding to pressure from pro-repeal senators and gay groups, the Pentagon is releasing its study on how to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell before its Dec. 1 deadline — one day before.

The Washington Post reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered the report be released on Nov. 30.

“He wants to ensure members of the Armed Services Committee are able to read and consider the complex, lengthy report before holding hearings with its authors and the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement.

President Obama, the Log Cabin Republicans and other players agree that repeal, which is part of the massive defense spending bill, stands a much better chance of passing after the Pentagon releases its report.

The report is expected to say that DADT, which allows gay men and women to serve in the military as long as their sexuality remains hidden, can be repealed with minimal impact.

As such, pro-repeal senators including Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin have petitioned the Pentagon to release its study earlier than the Dec. 1 deadline. Both Levin and ranking member Sen. John McCain, who has become decidedly anti-repeal, want to hold hearings.

On-the-fence senators say they are waiting for the review before they make a decision.

After talk of stripping repeal from the defense spending bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised repeal advocates that repeal would be included in the spending bill.









TPMMuckraker

TRENDING: Trump under ‘pressure’ for 2012 run

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) – Donald Trump says he’s recently received more pressure than ever before to run for president, but he’d rather not throw his name in the ring.

“I love this country and I have had tremendous pressure over the years for me to run, but I’ve never had it like now,” Trump said on CNN’s “John King, USA.” “I’d rather not do it. I’d rather have somebody in there that’s gonna straighten out the country.”

Trump said he thinks people ask him to run because of his “instinct for business” and “instinct for people,” but would only say he’s thinking about a presidential run in 2012.

The real estate mogul is famous for his lavish lifestyle and reality show “The Apprentice,” and is often mentioned as a potential candidate for president.


CNN Political Ticker

TRENDING: Trump under ‘pressure’ for 2012 run

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) – Donald Trump says he’s recently received more pressure than ever before to run for president, but he’d rather not throw his name in the ring.

“I love this country and I have had tremendous pressure over the years for me to run, but I’ve never had it like now,” Trump said on CNN’s “John King, USA.” “I’d rather not do it. I’d rather have somebody in there that’s gonna straighten out the country.”

Trump said he thinks people ask him to run because of his “instinct for business” and “instinct for people,” but would only say he’s thinking about a presidential run in 2012.

The real estate mogul is famous for his lavish lifestyle and reality show “The Apprentice,” and is often mentioned as a potential candidate for president.


CNN Political Ticker

Peer pressure

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

thetorydiary

NYTs Touts Lobbyists, WH Adviser As Good Government Types To Pressure Oversight Committee

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Via an op-ed in the New York Times, Congressional Quarterly staff writer, Brian Friel, offers the incoming GOP-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee some suggestions as to what they perhaps should and should not consider investigating next year. What’s unclear is how Friel determined that two registered lobbyists who lobby the Oversight committee and an unpaid White House adviser should, without full disclosure, be portrayed as three of “14 good-government watchdogs — veterans of the oversight process, former public officials, and academics” for purposes of his presumably objective op-ed.

Brian Friel is a staff writer at Congressional Quarterly. The oversight experts consulted were: Joel Aberbach, Steven Aftergood, Ryan Alexander, Danielle Brian, Dan Donovan, Linda L. Fowler, Philip G. Joyce, Donald F. Kettl, David Marin, Conrad Martin, Patricia G. Mcginnis, David Osborne, Andrew Rudalevige, Gerry Sikorski.

David Marin and Gerry Sikorski, are registered lobbyists who actually lobby the Oversight Committee on behalf of their clients. Marin works at the lobbying firm the Podesta Group, which lobbies the Oversight Committee on behalf of General Motors. Sikorski works for the lobbying firm Holland & Knight, which has also lobbied the Oversight Committee. Their clients include the American Arbitration Association and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee and Minnesota.

Interestingly enough, neither the bailout of the automotive industry, nor the implementation of ObamaCare made the list of oversight priorities assembled by these “14 good-government watchdogs.” Given that lobbyists are already seen as a big enough problem in Washington, it’s unclear to me as to why they should now perhaps seem to be lobbying from the editorial pages of the New York Times, especially while being portrayed as good government watchdogs, not the lobbyists they appear to be.

Along with Marin and Sikorski, Friel also cites Patricia G. McGinnis. As an unpaid White House advisor to the administration on leadership programs for Presidential Appointees. Again, one would think McGinnis’ realtionship with the White House should have been disclosed under the circumstances. She was previously cited by NewsBusters given a similar issue involving the Washington Post:

According to a July 2 article posted on RawStory.com by Ron Brynaert, there is an undisclosed connection between the Obama White House and the Post. Brynaert notes in the Post’s July 2 report from Ed O’Keefe, the whopping $ 38.7-million payroll of the Obama administration reveals there are three people that aren’t taking a salary, which O’Keefe fails to name. One of those is Patricia G. McGinnis, “Advisor to the Obama White House on leadership programs for Presidential Appointees.” But there is more to McGinnis, which Brynaert pointed out. (h/t mattsheffield)

“McGinnis’ Georgetown biography notes that she “is the former President and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, where she created and led a number of innovative programs to improve the performance of government, during her 14 year tenure” and also ‘serves [as] a panelist and blogger for the Washington Post ‘On Leadership’ website.’”


Big Journalism

NYTs Touts Lobbyists, WH Adviser As Good Government Types To Pressure Oversight Committee

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Via an op-ed in the New York Times, Congressional Quarterly staff writer, Brian Friel, offers the incoming GOP-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee some suggestions as to what they perhaps should and should not consider investigating next year.

What’s unclear is how Friel determined that two registered lobbyists who lobby the Oversight committee and an unpaid White House adviser should, without full disclosure, be portrayed as 3 of “14 good-government watchdogs — veterans of the oversight process, former public officials, and academics” for purposes of his presumably objective op-ed.

Brian Friel is a staff writer at Congressional Quarterly. The oversight experts consulted were: Joel Aberbach, Steven Aftergood, Ryan Alexander, Danielle Brian, Dan Donovan, Linda L. Fowler, Philip G. Joyce, Donald F. Kettl, David Marin, Conrad Martin, Patricia G. Mcginnis, David Osborne, Andrew Rudalevige, Gerry Sikorski.

David Marin and Gerry Sikorski, are registered lobbyists who actually lobby the Oversight Committee on behalf of their clients. Marin works at the lobbying firm the Podesta Group, which lobbies the Oversight Committee on behalf of General Motors. Sikorski works for the lobbying firm Holland & Knight, which has also lobbied the Oversight Committee. Their clients include the American Arbitration Association and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee and Minnesota.

Interestingly enough, neither the bailout of the automotive industry, nor the implementation of ObamaCare made the list of oversight priorities assembled by these “14 good-government watchdogs.” Given that lobbyists are already seen as a big enough problem in Washington, it’s unclear to me as to why they should now perhaps seem to be lobbying from the editorial pages of the New York Times, especially while being portrayed as good government watchdogs, not the lobbyists they appear to be.

Along with Marin and Sikorski, Friel also cites Patricia G. McGinnis. As an unpaid White House advisor to the administration on leadership programs for Presidential Appointees. Again, one would think McGinnis’ realtionship with the White House should have been disclosed under the circumstances. She was previously cited by NewsBusters given a similar issue involving the Washington Post.

According to a July 2 article posted on RawStory.com by Ron Brynaert, there is an undisclosed connection between the Obama White House and the Post. Brynaert notes in the Post’s July 2 report from Ed O’Keefe, the whopping $ 38.7-million payroll of the Obama administration reveals there are three people that aren’t taking a salary, which O’Keefe fails to name. One of those is Patricia G. McGinnis, “Advisor to the Obama White House on leadership programs for Presidential Appointees.” But there is more to McGinnis, which Brynaert pointed out. (h/t mattsheffield)

“McGinnis’ Georgetown biography notes that she “is the former President and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, where she created and led a number of innovative programs to improve the performance of government, during her 14 year tenure” and also ‘serves [as] a panelist and blogger for the Washington Post ‘On Leadership’ website.’”


Big Government

Dems pressure GOP on gov’t health care

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

CBS News reports:

A group of House Democrats has released a letter to Republican congressional leaders calling on them to announce which of their members will be forgoing their congressional benefit health insurance (which is subsidized by the government) in light of their party’s opposition to health care reform overhaul legislation.

"If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk," four Democrats write in the letter, which is addressed to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican leader John Boehner. "You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don’t happen to be Members of Congress."





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Ben Smith’s Blog

Does shareholder pressure for profit lead to socially suboptimal risk taking?

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Diversified shareholders like risk. We all know this, right? (If not, read my book Corporation Law).

For the most part, risktaking by corporations is socially desirable. We want firms to profit and grow. Sometimes, however, the interests of society and shareholders differ. Consisder, for example, the case of financial institutions.

Deposit insurance creates a moral hazard. The presence of deposit insurance reduces the incentives of depositors to monitor the riskiness of the decisions bankers make. If the bank takes on risky trading for its own account, the depositors won’t care, because the taxpayer will step in via the FDIC and make them whole (up to a very generous cap). Shareholders won’t care because, if the deal is profitable, they reap the benefits, while if the deal fails, the taxpayer steps in to clean up the mess. When decision makers face only the consequences of a risk paying off and not those of the risk going south, they take too much risk.

But what about the managers of the bank who actually make day to day decisions? Because managers typically hold less well-diversified portfolios than shareholders, having significant investments of both human and financial capital in their employers, they tend to be much more averse to firm specific risk than diversified investors would prefer.

A recent paper suggests that bank managers’ risk preferences may be closer to those of taxpayers than those of shareholders:

We employ a natural experiment from the 1980s, before the ubiquitous clamor for independence influenced corporate governance structures. We find that thrifts whose CEO also chaired the firm’s board of directors were more likely to survive the thrift crisis. On average, chair-holding CEOs undertook less aggressive lending policies than their counterparts who did not chair their boards. Consequently, thrifts that bestowed both leadership posts to one person protected the interests of taxpayers, who become residual claimants when risky strategies adopted to exploit underpriced deposit insurance fail. This out-of-sample evidence corroborates recent evidence that manager-dominated firms resist shareholder pressure to adopt riskier investment strategies to exploit underpriced deposit insurance.

The lesson is that whatever the merits of shareholder empowerment in general, it may be a particularly bad idea when it comes to firms that have either an explicit (deposit insurance) or implicit (too big to fail) guarantee from the taxpayers.




ProfessorBainbridge.com

Powell: Advocates Should Not Pressure Congress To Repeal DADT Before It Is Ready, Study Completed

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

This evening, during an interview on CNN’s Larry King Live, Gen. Colin Powell reiterated his belief that repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell must “take into account the views of our military leaders,” but cautioned LGBT advocates against urging Congress to lift the ban before the Pentagon publishes its review of the policy.

Asked if he agreed with Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) evolving view on the issue, Powell said, “I share Senator McCain’s view that we ought to let the process unfold and not try to intercept it with court rulings or with people trying to get a vote out of the Congress when the Congress is not ready to vote on it”:

POWELL: My position has been, it has been 17 years since we put that policy in place. Lots of things have happened. Attitudes have changed within our society. But i always believe, as I believed in 1993, that we have to take into account the views of our military leaders who are responsible for the well-being of the armed forces.

KING: So you support the McCain’s view?

POWELL: Yes. But, you know, our military leaders have now spoken. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, there is some, some difference of opinion among the chiefs that will have to be resolved. But I wish that we would just let that study be finished, let it be published and let everybody read it and not leak parts of it. And so I share Senator McCain’s view that we ought to let the process unfold and not try to intercept it with court rulings or with people trying to get a vote out of the Congress when the Congress is not ready to vote on it.

Watch it:

Powell, who helped usher in Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, first announced his support for repeal in February of 2009, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen testified about their support for lifting the ban before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

His comments on King, however, place him to the right of Gates, who has recently called on the Senate to vote on repeal during the lame duck session. Recent leaks from the Pentagon’s study have found that repeal would not disrupt the military during a time of war, leading Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to call on the Pentagon to release the study ahead of the December 1 deadline.

Wonk Room

Europe Under Pressure

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Bad as the American economy is doing, the picture in Europe is really a good deal bleaker as this Rebecca Wilder chart indicates:

Germany is having more of a classic rebound recovery than we are (and their kurzarbeit plan worked pretty well to help people weather the storm), but it’s from a much sharper downturn. And much of the rest of the EU is looking disastrous. When the single currency area was formed, skeptics warned that it would prove unworkable amidst this kind of crisis to yoke very dissimilar economies together into one monetary system. And as Ryan Avent observes there’s little indication that the main Euro-area governments wants to take the steps that would be necessary to make the system work:

Something clearly has to give. Policy changes are pushing Europe toward a very long period of stagnation if not an outright return to recession. Workers are underemployed and furious. Core and periphery have seriously diverging views on the direction policy should take. And markets continue to pressure indebted nations to make cuts they may not actually be able to make.

Either the ECB must seriously soften its stance, or Germany and France must suddenly become much more generous to struggling euro zone economies, or the euro zone will face its toughest months yet. If no exit valve for the building pressure can be found, then pressured economies will begin heading for the exits.

It’s worth recalling that America’s recovery turn a turn for the worse starting with a period of concern around Greece and the Euro. We finally got a single decent month of jobs numbers, but people shouldn’t forget that there are still tons of problems lurking in the global economy.


Yglesias

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