Morning Must Reads: Follow The Bouncing Ball

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–Republicans picked up a House seat in Hawaii Saturday, even though 60 percent of the vote went to two other Democratic candidates. It’s the first special election win for the GOP since May of 2008, 11 special elections ago. But it may not mean much, since everything about the race is odd, including the fact that the DCCC pulled out weeks ago.

–The Democratic line is momentum, based on a few distant data points: Kagan nomination going smoothly, financial reform apparently going smoothly, and PA-12 staying donkey. (The first data point is predictable, the second demonstrates that Obama can play populist, and the third is cause for celebration, if your idea of a Democrat is pro-gun, pro-life, pro-pork and anti-health care reform.)

–A gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico don’t care much for momentum. Sarah Palin wants to know why it is taking “so doggone long” for the Obama Administration to stop the leak. But the syntax of Mrs. Drill on Fox News Sunday, where she gets paid to appear, is worth repeating in full.

If there’s any connection there to President Obama taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there, and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico — now, if this was President Bush or if this were a Republican in office who hadn’t received as much support even as President Obama has from B.P. and other oil companies, you know the mainstream media would be all over his case in terms of asking questions why the administration didn’t get in there, didn’t get in there and make sure that the regulatory agencies were doing what they were doing with the oversight to make sure that things like this don’t happen.

–She is right that the mainstream media would treat a Republican differently. (Though the statistics behind oil company donations to Obama are open to interpretation.) More importantly, however, there is no evidence (so far) that the boot-on-the-neck White House has been going soft on BP, even as everyone collectively fails to stop the oil from spouting. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will try to make it look like the White House is on top of this unsolvable problem at 3 p.m. today, when Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen joins him in the briefing room. Set your DVRs.

–Geek Candy: The number crunchers at OMB have come up with a new way to reduce wasteful spending in Congress, without a line-item-veto: “Under this new expedited procedure, the President would submit a package of rescissions shortly after a spending bill is passed. Congress would be required to consider these recommendations as a package, without amendment, and with a guaranteed up-or-down vote within a specified timeframe. This new, expedited rescission authority will empower the President and the Congress to eliminate unnecessary spending while discouraging waste in the first place.” Big booted Peter Orszag will brief reporters at 11 a.m. But Congress will have to agree to the plan for it to work. Washington holds it’s breath for Tom Coburn‘s judgment.

The New York Post blares: “Fergie’s Bribe A Prince’s Ransom,” and leads the story, “Flame-haired royal flake Sarah Ferguson. . . ” She is on camera accepting about $40 k in cash for, as the Post puts it, “shamelessly shilling access to her ex,” Britain’s special representative for international trade and investment.

–South Korea halts all trade with Dear Leader‘s North, after ship attack.

–The unsexiest word in English, Flibanserin, may soon make sex a whole lot more fun for women. Called a viagra for women, the drug, which is now seeking FDA approval, does some “fiddling with her brain chemicals” to make her more aroused.

–An apparently hungover Christopher Hitchens, with his new memoir on store shelves, gets smacked around a bit by Decca Altkenhead in the Guardian.

I’m not sure what a legend should look like exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s not this. The paunchy, middle-aged figure who opens the door at 10am has a crust of dried toothpaste around his mouth, an air of bleary dishevelment and the stooped shuffle of a man just out of bed and wishing he’d postponed the appointment to a less ungodly hour. Expecting to meet a sort of rakish Russell Crowe, I appear to have found a hungover Timothy Spall.

–Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama, who came into office promising a more balanced relationship with the U.S., caves to Obama demands to keep marines on Okinawa. “I apologize to people in Okinawa as I could not keep to my word,” the prime minister said.

–Exile on Main Street is again topping the charts, demonstrating either how good the Rolling Stones once were or how bad music today is. As Mick taught back in the day, “Give me a little drink from your loving cup/Just one drink and I’ll fall down drunk.”

What did I miss that Adam would never have missed?

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