Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 8, 2009

THURSDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Ugh: "The U.N. suspended aid shipments in the Gaza Strip on Thursday and the Red Cross restricted its convoys after their trucks came under Israeli fire. The threat of a wider conflict arose when militants in Lebanon fired two rockets into northern Israel."

* Muqtada al-Sadr wants "revenge operations" against U.S. forces in Iraq as punishment for U.S. support for Israel.

* This may be an encouraging development: "Senate leaders won the support of Citigroup, one of the nation's largest banks, for legislation allowing bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of troubled mortgages."

* Senate Democrats aren't thrilled with Obama's tax-cut plan.

* Tom Daschle's confirmation hearings seem to be off to a good start.

* Tim Kaine was officially introduced as the next chairman of the DNC this afternoon. (Obama, in case you're curious, said a number of nice things about Howard Dean at the event.)

* Congress officially tallied the votes from the Electoral College today, making Obama the president-elect.

* Former CIA official John Brennan will be the next White House director of counterterrorism.

* Cass Sunstein, a long-time legal scholar and Obama confidant, will head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

* Cool new subcommittee for Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass).

* Bush gave a speech on education policy today. No one cared.

* SEIU president Andy Stern makes an excellent point about Congress working quickly when it wants to.

* Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) thinks Eric Holder will be confirmed. So do I.

* Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is picking a fight with Obama over his likely Surgeon General nominee. Since the confirmation is up to the Senate, Conyers may have limited influence on this. (Unfortunately, Conyers' letter to his House colleagues spells Gupta's name wrong, misspelled the "Nobel" prize, gets the address of Conyers' website wrong, and mistakenly claims that Paul Krugman won a Nobel Peace Prize. Oops.)

* Former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) finally gave up his appeals today.

* Monsters.

* And I'm very glad Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter, eight years later, will finally get a chance to wear that dress.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Comments

Are Democrats in Washington suddenly voicing opposition or is the media just now paying attention to them?

Posted by: jen f on January 8, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) finally gave up his appeals today.

Obviously this wasn't going to just blow over. He said he was tired of being down on his knees and got choked up, but he swallowed his pride and said he was all tapped out. He knows he's already flushed away his integrity and exposed his deepest feelings, but wishes for a happy ending to this whole thing. It just sucks.

Posted by: doubtful on January 8, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

I nominate...

(Unfortunately, Conyers' letter to his House colleagues spells Gupta's name wrong, misspelled the "Nobel" prize, gets the address of Conyers' website wrong, and mistakenly claims that Paul Krugman won a Nobel Peace Prize. Oops.)

Hey how about we have a Sarah Palin award for 2009?

Posted by: koreyel on January 8, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

The US Senate passed a resolution today on the current Gaza war which completely supported Israel on every single point. It was unanimously passed. Talk about an ethically challenged Senate. They all should be thrown out. I won't vote for a single incumbent next year. For the text of the resolution, see:

Text of Senate Resolution on Gaza

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's a sad day when the U.S. Senate, under these circumstances, passes a resolution defending and praising Israel for its war in Gaza.

I don't get it. How atrocious does Israel's behavior have to be for the majority of our legislators to have the guts to refrain from a show of support?

I can only conclude that the average American has no clue that Israel has actually implemented apartheid in Gaza. There is no way the people of Gaza will ever accept living under those conditions.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2009 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

And note that the Senate resolution was conveniently passed by voice vote. Kinda cowardly I would say.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

little ole jim,

Hello! Who would have thunk we would have been so together on this one? I got beat up on Drum's thread a couple days after you vamoosed.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I meant to say 'a couple days ago.' I can hardly think straight, let alone compose sentences, I'm so outraged these days.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2009 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

For the open thread: In addition to the justified distaste and embarrassment Rachel Maddow in particular has expressed about the petty decision, for patently false reasons, not to let the Obamas stay at Blair House (among other things, it's easier to secure) until five days before Jan. 20, there is the sheer nastiness and indifference displayed toward the Obama girls. In the space of 15 days they not only leaving their familiar home in Chicago and starting a new school, but moving three times -- to the Hays Adams, to Blair House, and then to the White House. They seem able and adaptable kids, but how unkind.

Posted by: SF on January 8, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, to everyone. Perhaps part of the reason I'm 'so' outraged is that I registered at livestation.org for online access to Al Jazeera/English. It's live video-streaming, 24/7. Al Jazeera is the only TV coverage inside Gaza, so any photos you see in the US press of the situation inside Gaza come from Al Jazeera.
Besides Al Jazeera you get the same thing for BBC, two French networks, two German, one Russian and a couple international ones, plus a ton of user 'donated' feeds. It's definitely a window on the world and is completely free. If you're interested in downloading the stuff you need to enable you to watch, go to www.livestation.org.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Senate leaders won the support of Citigroup..."

won the support of Citigroup? WTF? if any of our representatives had any self respect they would shove a law allowing bankruptcy judges to alter mortgages down the throats of the arrogant bastards at Citigroup and the rest of the crooks who have our tax dollars. unbelievable

Posted by: rusty59 on January 8, 2009 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Senate Democrats aren't thrilled with Obama's tax-cut plan.

In his craving for bipartisan acceptance, Obama seems wedded to the supply-side foolishness that got us here in the first place. Sentators Conrad and Kerry seem to understand that. Let's hope they can teach Obama a thing or two.

--Larry

Posted by: Larry on January 8, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why did the Senate need to win the approval of some company?

Posted by: Jay on January 8, 2009 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Why did the Senate need to win the approval of some company? "

Hell with that... that's only money.

Why did the US Senate feel a compelling need to spontaneously offer support for Israel? (unanimously too).

Unanimous. Wow. Not a single nay vote on a single point.

Ponder for a moment the control the Israelis have over the US Congress. Unless the AIPAC is calling it, the US congress can't muster a unanimous vote on what day of the week it is.

Wake up americans.... wake up.

Posted by: Buford on January 8, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

"The U.N. suspended aid shipments in the Gaza Strip on Thursday and the Red Cross restricted its convoys after their trucks came under Israeli fire."

Actually, the IDF shot and KILLED one of the drivers of a CLEARLY MARKED truck carrying aid.

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 8, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

koeyel 5:46 PM

K. Ollbermann must be the one to choose who wins the Palin 2009 award.

Posted by: Ted76 on January 8, 2009 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Al Jazeera is the only TV coverage inside Gaza,[...] --nepeta, @18:08

That's because -- according to yesterday's NYT -- Israel -- is barring all Western journalists from entering Gaza. Usual, unconvincing, excuses, all very familiar. I still remember how, back in Poland, whenever there was trouble of any sort (student demonstrations, for example), the foreign journalists were th first ones escorted to the border and told to get lost. After their cameras had been taken away or, at the very least, the film destroyed, of course. It all fits in with their bombing schools and aid trucks; can't have the world see it...

Posted by: exlibra on January 8, 2009 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

NEW YORK - Three Staten Island men, riled by Barack Obama's victory, spent election night hunting down black people to beat up


That's disgusting! Fuck the South! Oh, wait . . .

Posted by: kc on January 8, 2009 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Remember when the split between Hamas and Fatah was being touted as the fault of the terrorist Hamas faction? Well, the real reason for the split and the confrontation between Hamas and Fatah has to do with the Bush administration, particularly in the person of Condoleeza Rice, arm-twisting Abbas and training a Fatah militia in the UAE (I think, one of the small Gulf States in any case). Really, folks, give this a read. It blew my mind. It's hard to believe just how much the US is a bad actor in the ME.

Bush Removes Obstacle to Gaza Invasion, Gareth Porter, Asia Times

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2009 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

exlibra,

But of course! I didn't mention why other news organizations weren't in Gaza because I assumed everyone understood they weren't allowed by Israel. Thanks for making the point though. Today I also heard that Israel is not allowing West Bank doctors who want very much to enter Gaza to treat the wounded, despite the risk to their own safety, to enter. The doctors in Gaza are becoming exhausted.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

After reading the Impeachment draft of Blagojevich it appears to be official looking but distorted and lame.

Totally the House of Representatives must be loaded with a personal hatred of the Governor. With that said and plenty of reference to any evidence is up to the personal decision of each member and their own consciousness. Sheesh that leaves evidence wide open to personal bias of any member.

Several pages of the impeachment draft refer to other state governors and also the Water gate impeachment, talking about this impeachment clearly does not have to be about any kind of criminal actions. What really jumps out to me is the direct impact and reference to the Tribune new paper and the Sun-times paper appear as though these entities have had a relatively large impact on Illinois governance or legislative direction. Earlier Republican control and collusion with the press and or the media could be a huge issue in public hearings.

The power of the Governor is very much wide open…


SECTION 11. GOVERNOR - AGENCY REORGANIZATION

The Governor, by Executive Order, may reassign functions
among or reorganize executive agencies which are directly
responsible to him. If such a reassignment or reorganization
would contravene a statute, the Executive Order shall be
delivered to the General Assembly… They have to deal with it, did they, or are they so upset they think they could cram an impeachment behind or in collusion with Fritz. And I do mean Fritz…his chess game is lame. Goggle fritz and fruit.

This section is huge in the powers of the executive. One considers that the comptroller comes under the supreme power of the executive branch. Here, one could merely receive an executive order in reorganization. Chances are this has been going on with the legislature body. It is obviously still organized to some Republican legal order which could include statutory issues directly underscored by Media corporate heads. It would not surprise me about anyone, if some of the long time Illinois representatives are linked to bribes. Like even Barbra Flynn Currie, she has been in this position as long as former Senator Ted Stevens.

This has got to be very interesting…

Posted by: Megalomania on January 8, 2009 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

nepata,
Rest assured that you are not the only one outraged.

Right-wingers in Israel are as crazy as they are anywhere and somehow they have managed to carry the day for many years with regard to the occupied territories. The United Nations (Resolution 242) called for Israeli withdrawal decades ago, but our western democracies have not seen fit to enforce resolutions dealing with Israel. They simply want the land, pure and simple.

The people of Gaza cannot blow their noses without permission from Israel. Israel controls every aspect of their economy, their businesses, their land, their agriculture, their lives. International aid is strictly administered and withheld by Israel and Israel alone. Israel interferes with every election and every sort of political process you can think of. It will always be easy for Israel to find an excuse for military action. It’s beyond pitiful that the rest of the world puts up with this.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2009 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

International aid is strictly administered and withheld by Israel and Israel alone. -- little ole jim, @ 19:26

I guess, tonight, I'm destined to spell out the obvious :) So, here goes:

Israel does that, so it can claim that *it* supplies the humanitarian aid to Gaza. Even though it may sound somewhat peculiar (give with one hand and take away with the other), it reduces the role of international organisations (and the international rebuke implied in the very need for such aid).

Again, this kind of tactic is eerily familiar from my childhood, teen and early twenties days spent in Poland, in close proximity to USSR. But, in order to be able to carry it off, you have to be able to control the message. Hence, the eviction of independent observers.

An interesting "wrinkle" has been floated on ThinkProgress today: that Israel plans to let up a bit and let the journos in -- while the world's eyes and attention are turned to Obama's inauguration and people won't care much about what they see (*if* they get to see anything).

Posted by: exlibra on January 8, 2009 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm REALLY TIRED of Rachel Maddow using

Ana Marie Cox as an interviewee.

Ana Marie is just okay. She's interesting, but she's got a LONG way to go to be used as a regular.

She is frankly not that lucid--indeed she's very wordy, and frankly, I'm often not quite sure what the heck she is saying half the time.

She seem like a very young twenty-something trying very hard to sound like she has the perspective and wisdom of a forty-something.

I know she is gay and beautiful with the high cheek bones and the red hair. And clearly Rachel digs her. But hey--sorry, not enough.

And those faded/fake silver chains Cox wears give her youth away like nothing else...my 12 year old niece wears those! They turn green if you don't keep them dry!

Sorry, but I'm really maxed out on this guest that Rachel uses more often than not. She's not that interesting or intelligent. Just sorta cute.

Posted by: Ana Marie Cox is wearing on me on January 8, 2009 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

exlibra,

Thanks for pointing out the 'obvious.' I don't think what is obvious to you and me is necessarily at all obvious to most Americans. Also, your experiences in Poland give you a special insight into how these actions are actually carried out. I certainly didn't mean to belittle your comment by saying it was obvious.
No offense I hope!

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2009 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

* Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is picking a fight with Obama over his likely Surgeon General nominee. Since the confirmation is up to the Senate, Conyers may have limited influence on this. (Unfortunately, Conyers' letter to his House colleagues spells Gupta's name wrong, misspelled the "Nobel" prize, gets the address of Conyers' website wrong, and mistakenly claims that Paul Krugman won a Nobel Peace Prize. Oops.)

this is a quote from the PNHP, Physician for a Nationsal Health Program about Dr. Sanjay Gupta as the nominee for Surgeon General. Do we really want another person in bed with Big Pharma?

"Among our concerns are these:

He has very little background in public health, preventive medicine or administration.

He has openly opposed progressive health reform, going so far as to cite false information to denigrate single payer (e.g. in his error-laden attack on Michael Moore's film "Sicko") and parroting the health insurance lobby's distortions of single payer.

As a media figure, he has been disturbingly cozy with Big Pharma. He co-hosts Turner Private Networks' monthly show "Accent Health," which airs in doctors' offices around the country and which serves as a major conduit for targeted ads from the drug companies. Another example: In 2003, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, he publicly downplayed concerns about the dangers of Vioxx. It was removed from the market a year later by its manufacturer, Merck.

In the 2008 election campaign, his reporting on John McCain's health proposals was misleading and implicitly positive, giving undeserved credence to McCain's claims that buying private health insurance on the open market is a financially viable option for most Americans."

Do we want anyone in healthcare that is in bed with Big Pharma or the Insurance Industry? I sure don't.

Sorry for the long post. couldn't help myself. Guess I just need more drugs.

Posted by: elouise on January 8, 2009 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

According to www.freegaza.org, ambulances have been targeted in Gaza from day 1.
But the MSM has not reported this. It really doesn't surprise me of what's going on here. There are talks of possible war crimes against Israel, not just on the Free Gaza website, but other sites as well.

It should also be noted, Libya has donated several Ambulances for Gaza. Libya has also donated generators, food....so there are some Arab countries trying to help.

Posted by: annjell on January 8, 2009 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Gaza is a tragedy that all americans should be ashamed of.

Our country will do nothing to help the oppressed of the world. We are so selfish. When will we understand that we are citizens of the world. And the Gazan people that are so oppressed are our brothers, sisters, children, family. . .

Posted by: elouise on January 8, 2009 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

No offense I hope! -- nepeta, @22:08

None taken; much to my parents' disgust I have always been easier to amuse than to offend. Also, I used to teach (though for a very short spell), so I'm used to explaining things which may seem obvious to me and some people but not to others.

And, yes, I do think that the lessons I learnt in Poland, years and years ago, do have some bearing on viewing the world as it is now, which is why I stick in those observations into my postings fairly frequently.

Posted by: exlibra on January 8, 2009 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

A good website to visit in re:Gaza
www.icrc.org/eng for the Int'l Red Cross

***there's also info about humanitarian law, treaties....that way you won't have to go to many different websites.

Posted by: annjell on January 8, 2009 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Cali and I.O.U's

It's interesting that Schwarzenegger wants to issue I.O.U's. The last time this was done, Republican Pete Wilson was governor. It should also be noted, Pete Wilson illegally raided the State's pension fund.

The court stated issuance of I.O.U's were illegal. The state had to pay retroactive interest to all that received I.O.U's, including all financial institutions that honored the I.O.U's. This will, in the end, cost the state more to issue an I.O.U.

Seems the Republicans either cannot govern or they use this as a tactic to raise taxes, or a cover-up to something else.

Posted by: annjell on January 9, 2009 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

The "poor Palestinians" chose Hamas, a total terror organization, to represent them. Hamas exists to destroy Israel, which makes them a little difficult to negotiate with, considering their aim.

What do you expect Israel to do?

Why won't 23 Arab states do anything to solve the problem? Why did Jordan kick out the "poor Palestinians"?

I wish I saw a solution to the situation there (I don't), and I certainly wish Obama luck with negotiations. But some situations may not be solvable.

Most of the states sharing a border with Mexico have complained about lack of resources, emergency rooms overrun, deterioration of neighborhoods, etc. OK, now think if they were rocketing us. We'd put up with that for like 5 seconds.

Posted by: Clem on January 9, 2009 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

And, yes, I do think that the lessons I learnt in Poland, years and years ago, do have some bearing on viewing the world as it is now, which is why I stick in those observations into my postings fairly frequently.

I'm glad that you do. They're always nicely rendered and thought-provoking.

I simply cannot believe Congress's behavior in this. It is so far out of bounds it's coming around the other side. Voice (coughing with utter revulsion) vote indeed.

Posted by: shortstop on January 9, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

OK, now think if they were rocketing us. We'd put up with that for like 5 seconds.
Posted by: Clem

Americans have never needed much of an excuse to kill brown people, though.

... So your claim of American exceptionalism allowing us to commit genocide against Mexicans, and the extension to allow Israelis to do the same to Palestinians, is not much of a surprise.

Posted by: Gonads on January 9, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

I know [Ana Marie Cox] is gay and beautiful with the high cheek bones and the red hair. And clearly Rachel digs her. But hey--sorry, not enough. -Ana Marie Cox is wearing on me on

I'm fairly certain her husband, Chris Lehmann, would disagree. And she's not a twenty something, she's 36, and was the founding editor of Wonkette and broke the Jessica 'Washingtonienne' Cutler sex scandal.

I think she's funny and enjoyable, and I rather enjoy her frequent appearances on TRMS.

Difference of opinion aside, perhaps you should google people before you assert what you 'know' about them and stop using bigotry to justify your taste.

Posted by: doubtful on January 9, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I just wish he or she would turn off the freaking TV for 10 minutes a day.

Posted by: shortstop on January 9, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK
The court stated issuance of I.O.U's were illegal.

This is not, AFAIK, entirely accurate.

IIRC, the court stated that issuance of IOUs to state employees protected by certain provisions of federal labor laws (which includes most, but not all, state employees) that require employees to be paid in cash or the equivalent was illegal.

Which is why the new discussion of IOUs specifically excludes those groups, and includes instead state contractors, elected officials and political staff, etc., and all other recipients of state funds that are not covered by those laws.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 9, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ana Marie Cox may not be "gay" but the haircut isn't helping. And who knows, her husband might agree.

Posted by: hiana on January 9, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Congress officially tallied the votes from the Electoral College today, making Obama the president-elect."

One day every four years Congress has to remind us that America is not really a democracy.

Thank you so very much.

Posted by: Lance on January 9, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK
* Cool new subcommittee for Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass).

Excellent!

Posted by: MarkH on January 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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