LIGHTNING ROUND: DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

  • President Obama concluded his overseas trip this morning with an unannounced visit to Camp Victory, Iraq, just outside Baghdad International Airport. Although Obama had planned to go into the Green Zone to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, bad weather forced the president to stay at the base, greeting U.S. soldiers stationed there, and meeting with the Iraqi PM who arrived later via motorcade.
  • The Vermont state legislature voted today to overrule Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of legislation legalizing gay marriage. The District of Columbia City Council also voted today to recognize any out-of-state gay marriages although Congress still needs to approve under Home Rule.
  • The battle to pass the Employee Free Choice Act has probably been dealt a fatal blow, with both Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) coming out against the legislation "in its current form." For what it's worth, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) has indicated that he will vote for cloture on EFCA.
  • Al Franken's lead over Norm Coleman in the Minnesota Senate race has expanded to 312 votes as the result of a recount of 351 rejected ballots. The Coleman team reiterated their intention to appeal the case to the MN Supreme Court.
  • It's better late than never, but The Washington Post has finally decided their reputation as a newspaper that deals in facts is more important than coddling conservatives who write false information in their columns. Significantly, the Post article in question called out George Will by name and rebuked his claims that arctic sea ice has not significantly declined in thirty years.
  • Brian Beutler has noticed an odd media meme developing regarding Robert Gates' Defense budget released yesterday, namely the inability to report the fact that despite the budget cutting certain programs, it is in total larger than the previous Defense budget. Meanwhile, Spencer Ackerman wonders why one high-profile member of Congress hasn't uttered so much as a peep about the budget: Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin.
  • Dave Weigel continues to dig into the militia set, pairing his article on the Kentucky gun show he recently visited with some nifty photo galleries of pamphlets for starting militias and a flyer questioning whether Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States.
  • Remainders: Obama Justice Department again invokes "state secrets" to protect Bush-era wiretapping program; ABC News and Joe Scarborough find it irresistible to make up stuff about the president; and Politico looks at the fraternity hazing party that is Eric Cantor's House GOP.

--Mori Dinauer

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