Ghosts Of Recessions And Cabinet Picks Past

Kathleen Sebelius might be back in Washington, and she'll be much more warmly received than any economic data or evidence that Republican Senators once voted for a stimulus larger than Obama's package.

Although Michael Steele — like Dubya before him — would like you to believe that the recession was kicked off by Bill Clinton before he left office 8 years ago, the truth is that the last recession started after Bush took office in 2001 and finished up not long thereafter. In fact, it appears that it might have been helped by Dubya's massive stimulus package, which was bigger than the Obama one that all the Republicans are whining about. Lest you think that said smaller stimulus might help, there are a bunch of economists who say that there's no way it will be big enough to help since the banks are refusing to lend money this time around to mitigate the crisis — and that's not even to talk about the massive unemployment that's dwarfing unemployment figures from earlier recessions. Speaking of the banks that took your tax dollars to jump-start the economy through increased lending and then didn't lend, on Tuesday, they'll find out what's to become of them and their TARP funds under the new Obama regime, other than that their execs might all have to start taking the subway and forgo armed drivers and $9 hot chocolates. Please feel free to pity them; I mean, we wouldn't want the rich to have to sacrifice anything in this economy!

Other people that don't wish to sacrifice? Michael Steele's sister, who reportedly got paid by his 2006 Senate campaign for work she never did, an allegation that Steele is denying. Also, Ann Coulter, who reportedly found that changing her voter registration to New York just too taxing and is now being investigated for — of all ironic things — voter fraud for voting where she doesn't really live.

Anyway, so, the Iraqi shoe-thrower is going to get a trial; German chancellor Angela Merkel wants — but probably won't get — an answer as to why the Pope un-excommunicated that British Holocaust-denying priest; and Joe Biden was hoping for more foreign policy success on his first foreign visit but didn't really get it ("and that's why you don't send a man to do a woman's job," said someone over in Foggy Bottom under her breath). But, the word is out that Howard Dean's possible competition for that empty Cabinet slot over at Health and Human Services might be Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. That's probably another contest that Dean should prepare to lose. The skiing is lovely in Vermont this time of year, though!