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TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

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Good morning and welcome to a hopefully swine flu free version of your Sunday Morning LiveBlog. My name is Jason. First things first, a sentence diagram, from last week, by Steven Thurston:

"You will see in a systematic and coordinated way the transparency of determining and showing all involved some of the results of these stress tests."

I decided to take your Gibbs diagram challenge. (Hat-Tip to Mrs. James, my sixth-grade English teacher who made diagramming a fun blackboard game!) The e-mail format won't let me do the formal diagram with writing on diagonal lines and such, so I'll provide the essentials of my solution in a text-based format. The root grammatical structure of the sentence is:

You [S] will see [V] (the) transparency [O].

((Right away, we know we're headed for serious trouble: How can a person 'see' 'transparency'?))

The phrase "in a systematic and coordinated way" modifies the verb 'will see'.

All the junk at the end--"of determining and showing all involved some of the results of these stress tests"--modifies the object 'transparency'.

To parse the junk more finely:

"of determining" and "[of] showing all involved" are equivalent verb phrases (both applied to 'transparency'). The object of both verb phrases is "some of the results" ... which is itself modified by "of these stress tests."

Excellent work! But how to reward?

My favorite part was your closing Drama of the MTP roundtable, especially the Cast. And that leads me to the bizarre subject line of this e-mail....

I first came to the DC area (Fairfax) as a graduate student in GMU's MFA-Fiction program. After a workshop session, four or five writers liked to go pubbing together and talk ship, then retire to Mark's place for some sweet smoke . In the wee hours, sitting in Mark's kitchen, the conversation turned to short-story endings and we hit upon an All-Purpose Sure-Fire Works-Every-Time Surprise Ending:

"And then he was run over by a Mack Truck. The End."

Or if there were lots of characters: "And then they were all run over by Mack Trucks. The End."

Done! The next Meet The Press drama will end with everyone getting killed by Mack Trucks.

Today, we have an almost 100 days of Obama set of shows to discuss/ridicule. Please feel free to leave comments about how you'd grade the various White House efforts. Or, send emails about whether you are enjoying watching Dark Victory on Turner Classic Movies. And you may always follow me on Twitter. Pour on out for Bea Arthur, and gird thine loins for the beginning of...

Fox News Sunday

Oh, man. Lawrence Summers on a Sunday Morning. Can't keep doing this! But, all the banks had to take their stress tests, and WOW! GUESS WHAT? They are all, somehow, well-capitalized! Awesome! Man, you remember the last time there was a banking crisis? Like, a few months ago? It's nice to know that had nothing to do with anyone's insolvency or anything!

Wallace asks, "Do you have a sense that...you have an economic freefall under control?" Summers says, basically, now there are "some positive indicators." The turd omelette has been marked to market!

What about Chrysler? Will they be heading for Chapter 11? Summers says "you never know until the very end." At the end of some stories, the DEUS EX MACHINA arrives on the scene to save the day. Summers is hopeful that the DEUS EX MACHINA will arrive Wednesday, in need to buy a few thousand Chryslers, at sticker price.

How is it that Larry Summers isn't falling asleep? It's so early in the morning, and that dude is always falling asleep. I want to fall asleep! Summers makes me want to sleep forever.

Wallace says, "You sound like you really want to avoid a bankruptcy?" Summers doesn't say very much to that, except offer some bromides. A chyron runs at the bottom that says, "Exclusive," but this is not exclusive, he says this stuff to everybody.

Wallace points out that unemployment rate is high and increasing. How long before it turns around. Summers says that it was clear that "sharp declines" in employment were in the offing for a long time. But strong plans take time to work. Of course, the stimulus could have been a lot stronger! Summers insists that this is a stresst test we'll pass by the end of the year, because of the inventory cycle - we'll literall need someone to make some stuff. What if we decide, more or less, that we don't need as much stuff, because we realize we can't all buy three cars and spend money on credit to buy things we don't need?

"Confidence" will play a part in "containment" and "building a foundation."

LIGHTNING ROUND! Will Obama put a freeze on retroactive interest rate increases? Summers says they are working on legislation in which "relief comes fast," like swift and furious divine justice. What did Summers do with a hedge fund? He gave it advice. And the government said it was cool the Summers did this. I can't believe that this is the picayune "conflict of interest" question we get asked. What about, "How come you all come from Goldman Sachs? And does that have anything to do with this:"

Goldman principal program trading is now well over 5x compared to its customer and agency trades and a 150 million share pick up compared to last week. For yet another week, Goldman's principal trading represents more than half of all NYSE member firm principal transactions.

Why is Summers always falling asleep? Is Obama boring? "We're all working very hard, and are slowly turning into sleepless zombies, shambling endlessly into an uncertain future, with swine flu."

Torture memos and prosecution time, with Carl Levin and Kit Bond. Let's argue!

Lots of photos of people up to some no-good Abu Ghraib shenanigans. Bond says, we shouldn't release the photos, it will help with terrorist recruitment. Levin says, we shouldn't do things that get thuslyB captured in such photographs, because they help with terrorist recruitment. Bond suggests that there was committee dissent on Levin's report on these matters, but Levin points out that the report received unanimous bipartisan support in committee. He had to work to get that in.

Levin says investigations/prosecutions should be prompted by special prosecutors, outside of the justice department, appointed to those roles. Levin expresses concern that in situations like Abu Ghraib, low level soldiers have borne the brunt of blame, and that no one higher up the food chain has had to answer for those matters. And they absolutely should.

Bond complains that this concern over torture has put the CIA in a "cover your ass" mode. One has to imagine that the CIA is in "cover your ass" mode on everything. And, RECYCLED CANARD ALERT: Bond says now we've tipped off terrorists to our torture techniques. They're already aware of them, Kit, if that is your REAL NAME.

Bond is worried that we're going to be criminalizing past policy decisions, but I have a good feeling that we should only criminalize the decisions that involve criminal activity.

Meanwhile, sectarian violence in Iraq has ticked up! Doesn't this mean that we have to stay, forever? Levin says that it's the Iraqis show now! We're hewing to the Status of Forces Agreement. Bond says these decisions should be made by "commanders on the ground," and even suggests that military decisions should not be made at "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." When did venerating the "Commander in Chief" end, Senator Bond? Anyway, the "commanders on the ground" are hewing to the Status of Forces agreement.

And now, the Fox Zombie Panel is here to piss and moan over the torture memos. Brit Hume says that the Obama White House really let the torture memos get away from them. "The base was not placated," Hume says. And also, Brit, MAINSTREAM AMERICA WAS NOT PLACATED. In February, long before the memos were relased, nearly 60% of Americans favored SOME FORM OF INVESTIGATION, criminal or no. That's not "the base" or "the left" talking. That's America, reaffirming some American values.

How much is this adding to the "poison of the Washington atmosphere?" Kristol says the release of the memos is an implicit "embrace of the narrative" that the Bush administration committed crimes. Basically, Kristol suggests that if we prosecute crimes and investigate, how does that help us, doesn't that damage our national security. Juan Williams doesn't understand how it damages our national security. Williams points out that subjecting a person to over a hundred sessions of waterboarding is just "beyond the pale in terms of human behavior." Way beyond the pale. The pale is like a dot on the horizon.

Liasson: What they did was "morally repugnant...but that doesn't mean that they committed a crime." BELTWAY JOURNAMALISM, ladies and gentlemen!

Hume: "Can anyone identify a benefit" to prosecutions? UHM, CRIMINALS ARE PUNISHED?

Kristol is straight sputtering! Let's have everyone testify! Let's have Dick Cheney take on everyone! GOD, THE SALTY TEARS OF THE WEEKLY STANDARD MUST BE FLOWING, at the thought that someone would challenge their version of American exceptionalism, where moral repugnance in the service of their own quasi-concept of America cannot possibly be questioned, ever.

Meanwhile, 100 days! Make way for some media tropes!

Hume says the White House has been "exceedingly ambitious," and "broad, deep, and huge." "Cap and trade" may stall, but the Obama administration is off to a "good start" legislatively. Ultimately, however, it's policy efficacy that matters, Hume says.

Wallace thinks the Obama budget and policy goals were surprising, because apparently Wallace didn't listen to a single fracking thing Obama said whilst campaigning. "Is he a radical figure in American politics?" he asks. Liasson says, UHM, NO.

Obama's poll numbers are high, though! Kristol harrumphs that it's all about the "HONEYMOON." OH, FOR REAL GUYS? Surely this show has previously declared the honeymoon to be over! You know, you can't just TURN THE HONEYMOON ON AND OFF AGAIN.

Obama's talked about building a more "constructive relationship" with Venezuela. He yammers, "What makes him think we got into a destructive relationship with Venezuela?" Uhm, Brit, for what its worth, FOMENTING FAILED COUP ATTEMPTS generally puts you into a destructive relationship with people. ALLEGEDLY!

THIS WEEK, with George Stephanopoulos

I wish THIS WEEK was more like this:

Instead it will be whatever it is, today.

GS says, "Obama has spiked a SURGE of optimism." And the SURGE of the sue of the word SURGE continues.

Meanwhile, GS interviewed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! He towers over Mahmoud!

GS asks MA if he's going to be straight up huggin' Obama and handing him books? MA says that peace makes him happy, outside of the whole DEATH TO ISRAEL/AMERICA/GAY IRANIANS.

Are you prepared to talk without preconditions? MA says his "congratulatory" message to Obama was a major decision! He was criticized! He did that! And no one gives him props for that! I have no idea what any of this has to do with anything, by the way. MA is just cheesed that no one sent him a reply card.

GS says, "It sound like Iran has got preconditions! Why not sit down and talk with America and Europe?" MA says they sent a package, and now they need to send a new package. But they're always ready to talk. The ground must be prepared! Global friendship! BLAH. Ahmadinejad is maybe the most vapid person on earth.

GS keeps asking the same question, and MA is like, "YAH! THE NEWSPAPERS. Why didn't Obama talk about the Geneva conference on racism? SURELY OBAMA DOES NOT SUPPORT RACISM?" GS is like, BISH PLS. You gave nonsense speeches, and angered everyone. You totally ruined that conference. You ruin ALL CONFERENCES ON RACISM. MA says, "The Zionist regime is the manifestation of all racism!"

"I have posed two questions over the Holocaust," MA says. He says that Holocaust amends should have been made in Europe. Of course, he doesn't believe in it. And doesn't understand why a historical event should be venerated. Why are we venerating a historical event he doesn't believe in, and why can't we amend the wrongs he doesn't believe in in a way that he will dictate. The guy makes no sense.

Will Iran support a two-state solution? MA says, "You and us should not determine the Palestinian course." GS asks again, support a two-state solution? MA stonewalls, asking if America would support Israel withdrawing from the Palestinian territories. GS says, that he'll have to ask some Americans about that. he asks again, MA hedges his answer, saying Iran will support whatever is determined, but it's clear that he'd rather that no determination ever gets made.

GS thanks MA, which means he is a dictator hugging monster. GIVE US BACK ROXANA SABERIA.

Crash to the roundtable. What does the panel make of all that nonsense? George Will lapses into one of historical reveries. Iran has long pursued the nuke, and we'll never stop them. Sanger points out that the Obama plan is to arrest their nuclear ambitions short of weaponized uranium enrichment. Chrystia Freeland points out that we're at an uncertain moment, really, as far as wants and needs and possibilities, because it's like the Obama administration has opened a new chess game, with a new gambit. Dowd says that the public wants Obama to succeed, and that the public will support talking with Iran.

Will criticizes Obama on the whole "doing too many things at once" trope, which is I guess a one-size fits all critique.

Honestly, though, this panel discussion is hash because of Ahmadinejad's practiced obtuseness. It's hard to react to paragraphs of translated, subtance-free bilge from a crackpot.

GS says MA is "open to the idea" of reducing Roxana Saberi's sentence, but that it's "up to the Iranian judiciary."

More panelling! Torture memo edition!

Will 's position is that crimes should not be investigated for the sake of preserving "comity." Sanger thinks that the real story here is that the White House lost the message. Brazile says that no one is above the law, and that we should prosecute no matter if it's Republicans or Democrats, "let's get it on." Freeland says that it's an issue of "right and wrong," not "right and left." Dowd presents it as an issue of the "base." THE BASE WANTS TO PUNISH PEOPLE. Well, good for the base! Hooray base! And, as I've said before, that February Gallup Poll on this matter seems to indicate that 60% of American now forms the "liberal base."

Will seems to think that we should learn more about who's alive because KSM was waterboarded 183 times, and he's confident that someone did because two torture enthusiasts gave statements, for his index cards.

George Will is worried that Americans might learn more about the Office of Legal Counsel. And he's worried that going forward, the OLC will worry about the American people's opinions about their legal advice. My thought is maybe the OLC can give good legal advice? Maybe they can do things like, not provide legal justifications for atrocities, and stuff? Appoint Dawn Johnsen to the OLC, and I'd bet the American people would be down with OLC, yeah, you know me?

What about the first 100 days? Remember, Bill Kristol has declared that the honeymoon is still on, and IS HE EVER WRONG ABOUT ANYTHING? Somebody gave him $250,000 this week, as a prize, this week, for Excellence in the Field Of Being Continually Not Excellent About Everything.

George Will basically predicts that in 2012, we'll be talking about the first 100 days of President Romney or President Sanford, who as far as possible Republican successors, make dying of swine flu look appealing.

Chrystia Freeland makes the "Animal Spirits" argument about the Obama approach to the economy, disputing Dowd's premise that there have been no hopeful economic signs.

What are everyone's impressions of Obama so far? Brazile says Obama is calm. Sanger says he's moderate. Dowd says his style and tone make people less anxious, but hasn't reversed the divided public. Freeland says Obama has a welcome, long term approach to policy making. Will says he's a socialist monster, "Supervisory liberalism of the most nagging sort." I decry Obama, for not making American Sunday morning panel discussions better.

MEET THE PRESS

Today, we get HOT HISTORIAN ON HISTORIAN action, with Doris Kearns Goodwin and John Meacham. God, do you remember when all we talked about was TEAM OF RIVALS? We played TEAM OF RIVALS drinking games, and got blitzed out of our domes? That was a black time in our history. We should have never talked about TEAM OF RIVALS so much, and certainly, we should have never played that drinking game! Now, as I understand it, the whole "economy" is FUBAR, and all our auto companies are going out of business? Doris Kearns Goodwin is obviously some sort of MONSTER.

But first, Robert Gibbs is here. He's going to calm us all down about swine flu. Why do we call them pigs, until the flu gets involved, and forces us to call them swine? Why not PIG FLU. Why not the GALLOPING OINK OINK CONSUMPTION? Why not PROJECTILE PORK SQUIRTS? All of this is great to think about, at lunchtime this Sunday!

Gibbs says that Homeland Security will fight the flu, by making it take it's shoes off at the airport, and by issuing memos. He points out that a lot of vaccines were sold back when we were all crazy about Avian Flu, so STIMULUS! Consumer confidence in TamiFlu is way up. Mexican pigs, still not the most toxic asset in America. I'm having SARS flashbacks! Mainly because I treated my SARS with heavy doses of LSD.

Now it's time to discuss torture memos. Here's a memo, for America:

MEMORANDUM:

To: America

IN RE: Torture

OH HAI. You still have 57 minutes of David Gregory left. Pray for fact acting swine flu, why not?

Signed,

Deux Ex Machina

PS: Sorry I couldn't help! Buying lots of Chryslers, today. Is it just me, or do these automobiles sort of suck canal water? Just wondering. MORE SEBRINGS MY GOOD MAN!

David Gregory's straight up, REPEATING STATEMENTS, like a BOSS. Everyone is looking forward. Looking forward. Looking forward. And then, BAM! Suddenly it's about the Attorney General. Just like the law outlines. What's with the position shift? Gibbs says, no position shift: "Those who followed the legal advice will not be prosecuted." That reverses the Rahm from last week, by reopening the door to prosecuting some people, mainly the "architects" - as they say - of the torture regime. BUT! Fun fact! Would those who waterboarded people 183 times in a month be said to have been operating according to the legal advice? Hmmmm!

"But this is about accountability," says David Gregory, suddenly interested in accountability. "Why is the president opening the door for prosecution?" Gibbs points out that the President doesn't make those determination. I think that the President, maybe, could lean in one direction. Maybe send Eric Holder a sign. Point to his nose or something. Find a "let's prosecute some criminals" emoticon on his super-secure Blackberry or something.

"Is the president playing politics on this issue?" Gregory asks. What a relief! I'm sort of used to Gregory being all about "playing politics." That sudden veer into "accountability" SADDENED and CONFUSED me. "Does Obama want to appease his LIBERAL ACTIVIST BASE?" he asks. LE SIGH.

Let's break out the numbers, again.

And this:

Now, if it were true that only the "liberal activist base" were interested in law and order, insterested in seeing criminals punished, interested in preserving the fabric of decent society, surely we'd have people on the air all the time WONDERING WHAT THE FRACK WAS WRONG EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD. But Gregory's not using this term to hold the people who want law and order, who want criminals punished, who want decent values preserved, out for praise. HE'S BELITTLING THESE OPINIONS. HE'S MARGINALIZING THESE OPINIONS. HE'S EMPHASIZING TO GIBBS: "What is the president going to do...how is he going to respond to this COVEN OF FRINGE WEIRDOS who dare to imagine that wrongdoing should be punished?"

The fact is, support for investigating these crimes is WIDESPREAD, it's MAINSTREAM. As. It. Should. Be. Because AMERICANS ARE NOT MONSTROUSLY CORRUPT PEOPLE, by and large. But you have to understand, IT WOULD KILL PEOPLE like David Gregory to admit this. They would sooner GAG TO DEATH ON THEIR OWN IDIOT PHLEGM than simply state the obvious, which is that NORMAL, MAINSTREAM, MOM AND POP, ORDINARY AMERICA wants some answers.

Oh, yeah. And given this, if Obama and Gibbs and Holder and Rahm all believe that some sort of investigation shouldn't happen, then they are, all, to a man, asses of the highest order.

Gibbs says that a closed hearing for the intelligence committee is going to be enough, and Gregory is now asking, "Shouldn't there be moral accountability out in the open?" Because David Gregory and NBC News think the idea is the province of FRINGE WEIRDOS, but hell, they'd sure like to cover it. Would make for some good teevee, in these troubles times.

Gibbs also captures the issue as one that's being guided by extremes. Pathetic. When he talks about how awesomely bipartisan the investigation could be in that committee, he's really praising the toothlessness in advance.

Gregory gives the straight up GOP reading of the Dennis Blair memo as well, specifically excising Blair's considered opinion on torture. So, for everyone's edification, here's Greg Sargent, accurately reporting out Dennis Blair:

There seems to be some confusion about whether Obama intel chief Dennis Blair's private memo saying torture has yielded "high value information" is in contradiction with his public statement saying that torture has done us far more harm than good.

So let's go over this again. I've got a copy of the full memo right here.

Down below is a screen capture of the relevant part (click...to enlarge).

In his private memo, Blair said that in some cases, torture yielded "high value information" that has "provided a deeper understanding" of Al Qaeda. He said he couldn't promise he wouldn't have approved such tactics in the wake of 9/11.

In his public statement, he said that despite those facts, torture still does more harm than good and is not essential to our national security.

Sorry -- these two statements are not mutually exclusive. Many will disagree with Blair's initial statement. Many will believe that his real views skew in the direction of the private memo. All fine. But the simple fact is that his public statement deserves to be part of this discussion, and it isn't contradicted by what's in the private memo.

Now, I wish I could be specific in outlining what makes Greg Sargent so different from David Gregory, in terms of their ability to report, the quality of what they include, and why, in this case, at least, Gregory very specifically and knowingly omits some critical details. I am guessing that is has something to do with the fact that Sargent doesn't have contempt for his readers. Maybe?

Gibbs points this out, to Gregory. And at length, discusses how these techniques have served as a rallying cry to terrorist recruitment.

Gregory responds, "So you can't determine the efficacy of these programs." NO, DUMBASS. There are COMPETING viewpoints on that matter. You're just not interested in hearing about one of them. To Gregory, the rumor he's heard that there are other memos, disputing this, allows him to form the basis of this conclusion. But he's never laid eyes on them. Dennis Blair has, however, considered the pros and cons, and has opined that the cons outweigh the pros - but Gregory doesn't want you to know that! This is just stunningly insipid reasoning here. The guy is asserting the strength of stuff he hasn't seen, while denying you the right to fully view a countering, expert opinion that is publicly available, by straight up bowdlerizing it!

Gibbs repeats that choosing between keeping America safe and indulging in morally abhorrent behavior is a false choice.

On to the requisite inquiries about the first 100 days. STUNNING CREATIVITY by everyone. Gibbs says that it's worth a few seconds of reflection, but that it's appropriate to judge the presidency on a daily basis, and if they'd keep it to themselves for a while longer, that would be okay.

Gregory brings up Rick Santelli, and the way Gibbs "called him out," saying that it's his unique style. "Pugnaicious!" Gibbs says it's the "funnest job he's ever had." I am FINE with the use of "funnest," by the way. All y'all grammar policemen need to put your warrants away.

Gibbs waves to somebody, for some reason. And now America knows Gibbs is having fun. Let that be a succor to you, as you waste away from swine flu.

King Abdullah of Jordan is in the hizzy, now. Or he was. What are his impressions of Obama's first 100 days? Are you satisfied that he was born in Hawaii? The King says Obama's great. President Bush was great. Everyone's great. Was Abdullah impatient with Bush? No, he was frustrated with Bush's team.

Is the Middle East freer and more hopeful? Abdullah says "Yes," with a subtext of "Sorta" and that lots of more work needs to be done at the core. Abudullah believe that Israel/Palestine is the unified field theory of Middle East strife. Gregory wonders if that's really what al Qaeda believes? Abdullah says it's the foremost issue in the minds of Arabs and Muslims.

ABDULLAH: "The message of outreach from Obama has resonated extremely well in the Arab world, but, again, that's only delaying the confrontation or the conflict, unless we solve the whole issue. Every time you come up and show me an example of a problem, I'm going to point you back to the Palestinians and Jerusalem."

Gregory asks what the Middle East's opinion of the United States, circa now:

ABDULLAH: Fantastic

GREGORY: Really?

[...]

ABDULLAH: All the leaders that I've spoken to in the Middle East, this president provides hope. Now, there was tremendous sympathy internationally for the United States, and anger, after 9/11. But today, there's a collective hope that there's a new America, and a new America means new values for the world...But how long is that goodwill going to last? And that's some of the challenges that you have.

Let's extend the goodwill, by investigating torture, like a moral people, who help to provide a moral example! Just spitballing.

That's where Gregory goes next. And he uses this weird formulation: discussing the treatment of "September 11th prisoners." What, pray tell, is a "September 11th prisoner?" Someone else, somewhere, can't remember where, asked about this peculiar concept of a "September 11th Prisoner." I mean, this is a term I think that people should more clearly define.

"You actually believe the US engaged in torture," Gregory asks. "Does torture work? Does it produce valuable intelligence?" Abdullah says there are "more intelligent ways" of obtaining information. "Did Jordan engage in torture, along with the United States?" Abdullah says no, and Gregory throws Human Rights Watch's report to the contrary on the screen. Abdullah issues categoricaly denials. This would be really impressive journalism if it was consistent. But Gregory just bamboozled his way through similar questions, directed at the United States. Straight up Pravdaism.

Abdullah is pressed on Israel-Iran relations, and, just like he said he'd do, he walks in back to the Israel-Palestine issue at the core. "What's the best course of action for the US?" Adbullah says: solve the Israel-Palestine issue.

Sort of a semi-touching moment. Gregory plays Abdullah a clip of his father, talking about the peace process and the hope for a durable peace back in 1969. When it cuts back to Abdullah, there's the smile of recognition - flush with a universally recognized subtext, a son remembering his dead father. There truly are things that bind the entire human race.

Abdullah thinks that only America can bring the solution, that, left to their own devices, the Israelis and the Palestinians won't do it.

Pakistan "should be a tremendous concern to all of us," Abdullah says. He goes on to suggest that movement toward a serious Israel-Palestine solution would see the Arab world reciprocating by offering assistance in Pakistan in fighting off the Taliban. But the Arab Street is waiting for a signal, after Obama's meeting with Netanyahu. If it's followed by clear indications of a road ahead to solving the core issue of Israel-Palestine, there will be coordinated diplomatic dividends. If not everyone will be "cutting their own deals."

Now it's time for Goodwin and Meacham, and a splitting headache that's flared up on me like Armageddon. Kearns says it's great that Obama has breakfast in the morning, like Reagan. It sustains the spirit, with the recommended daily allowance of niacin. Meacham is all about the calmness. So calm. So what if Tim Geithner's plan may not work? IT WILL NOT WORK VERY CALMLY, IF IT NOT WORKS AT ALL.

Gregory says, but Obama! He's so INTO GOVERNMENT DOING THINGS about EVERYTHING. It's dangerous! Goodwin points out that Obama repeatedly announced these intentions to voters while campaigning, and that people voted for that stuff. Gregory next unpacks the right-track/wrong-track polling, and you'd think a guy could connect the dots between the past two questions.

Meacham expounds, "Do people even listen, during campaigns?" Makes you wonder. And it makes you wonder if NOT listening to campaigns is a prerequisite for hosting Sunday political chat shows.

Meanwhile, headache like an angry laser. Going to take a billion ibuprofen.

Gregory once again suggests the torture memo issue is about "the left wing of his party looking for accountability from the Bush administration." It never occurs to Gregory, that tradiitionally, it was journalists who guarded over accountability. Now, journalists stare in goggle eyed wonderment at the people who want accountability, devising new ways of marginalizing them. This sort of eludes our two historians entirely. Meacham extols pragmatism - WISDOM LIES IN BEING ABLE TO IGNORE THE PEOPLE WHO WANT ACCOUNTABILITY LONG ENOUGH. Goodwin suggests that torture is "not what we should be talking about today." We could have been talking about a generic speech, on taxes. OH THE OPPORTUNITY COSTS OF THE TORTURE MEMOS! Why does no one lament the opportunity costs of the TORTURE?

Screw this. This is inane. I am not going to recap this. I'll let you know if anyone says anything worthwhile.

Yeah, no. Nobody does.

They are going to "continue this discussion online." Sounds like the apotheosis of the internet.

All right. I am going to get rid of this headache. Remember, FIRST 100 DAYS are over! Onto the next arbitrarily decided milestone! Enjoy your Sunday, and wash your hands often. SWINE FLU IS COMING.