Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 20, 2009

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

* Iranian officials weren't moved by President Obama's Nowruz greeting. But what did the Iranian people think?

* On a related note, the right-wing response to the president's message was so embarrassingly predictable.

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn) is very unhappy.

* Some bailed out companies aren't paying their taxes, either?

* Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is getting slammed for her opposition to economic recovery. Apparently, screwing over one's constituents is controversial in some circles.

* On a related note, Palin waited until 20 hours had passed after Obama apologized before condemning the president's Special Olympics comments. Her press release neglected to mention the fact that Obama had already apologized.

* Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), ignoring the requests of military leaders, is planning to do everything he can to block Christopher Hill's nomination as U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

* Krugman isn't impressed with the AIG tax bill. Neither is Kevin Drum. Josh Marshall doesn't like it, either.

* The recent Israeli offensive into Gaza continues to draw scrutiny.

* Despite complaints from far-right activists, the Senate confirmed Elena Kagan as the solicitor general of the United States.

* The unemployment rate is bad. The unemployment rate for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is even worse.

* Marriage equality is making progress in Vermont.

* First Lady Michelle Obama broke ground today on the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt tended to a victory garden during World War II. Obama's will include 55 varieties of organically grown vegetables and two honey hives.

* John Holdren can finally get to work as President Obama's top adviser on science and technology policy.

* Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) believes "the Middle Eastern mentality" is "a little worse" than Nazism.

* Every Friday, I look forward to Steve M.'s take on Peggy Noonan's column.

* Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidelines yesterday on making more public records available through the Freedom of Information Act.

* You know what the Obama White House is really bad at? Gift giving.

* And finally, Bernard Goldberg believes, "The dictionary is written by some liberal person." I know reality has a well-known liberal bias, but this is just silly.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

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Comments

I went to the dictionary story expecting something else, especially after the Vermont item. I'm surprised it wasn't this story making the rounds yesterday, late though it is:

Gay marriage gets recognition - in the dictionary

Posted by: Michael W on March 20, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

I chuckle to myself when I see how obsessed with Sarah Palin you all continue to be.

The election's over. You won. America lost. When are you going to move on?

Posted by: Myke K on March 20, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

I am soo over the AIG thing, I mean where was the OUTRAGE over $9B missing in Iraq? But the tax thingy...That says more about the masters of the universe and their world versus mine.

And which Sarah Palin obsession are we talking about? Her misundersestimating of the American Public, or her babe-ishness, or is it her hypocrisy? I will move on when she does.

Posted by: pokeybob on March 20, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

I know the White House vegetable garden is only symbolic but I'm glad to see the Obamas do that. It's a great example of the "bully pulpit" and it is very important.

During World War II, home and community Victory Gardens produced 40 percent of the nation's produce. When Cuba was cut off from cheap, Soviet-subsidized fuel and fertilizer, suburban and urban gardeners stepped in and now produce a large portion of that nation's food supply.

When times get tough, and they are going to get a lot tougher in the not too distant future, it's good to be able to grow at least some of our own food.

For the same time, money and effort -- and with far less energy and toxic chemical inputs -- that many suburban Americans put into maintaining ornamental lawns, we could be growing vast amounts of fresh, organic, delicious food that wouldn't have to be hauled thousands of miles in refrigerated diesel trucks.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 20, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

...Palin waited until 20 hours had passed after Obama apologized before condemning the president's Special Olympics comments.

Well, she was busy rejecting federal stimulus money for educating disabled children.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 20, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly, can those fuckers over at RedState be any more ridiculous?

Posted by: MsJoanne on March 20, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I can think of a way for the US to save 800 million dollars. That is the amount that the US has pledged for repairs and aid to Gaza. We should subtract that amount from the 3 billion dollars foreign aid to be given to Israel this year. We keep paying to repair the damage done by the IDF like it was a natural disaster. The author that wrote Haaretz expose: IDF testimony paints grim picture of IDF actions in Gaza. Posted today on Haaretz, this article gives a view on the mindset of Israeli snipers. Look closely at the picture with the article. It shows a shirt ordered by IDF soldiers with an image of cross-hairs on a rifle scope aimed at a pregnant woman with the words, "One shot, two kills". If we are going to be allied with this type of mentality, we should make it clear that we are not going to pay to clean up their messes as if it were a natural disaster.

Posted by: tko on March 20, 2009 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

as if we had a hundred or fifty hardcore Nazi rotten…SS prisoners, says Liddy to Inhofe, and Inhofe agrees . . .

You know, it's a funny thing, but my recollection is that we had a great many more than 50 or 100 hardcore Nazi prisoners in 1945. Some of them we treated as POWs and released them at the end of the war; some of them we prosecuted for war crimes, giving them fair trials (and in many instances, fair sentences).

Not a one of them did we torture. Not a one of them did we detain indefinitely without trial whiel claiming they were not entited to POW status.

Posted by: rea on March 20, 2009 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Myke K 5:49

Don't you recognize entertainment at a politician's expense?

Posted by: DEXR on March 20, 2009 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the Leno interview Obama did was fantastic--he's a great teacher and explained the need for regulation like a pro.

I'm really sick of everyone honing in on the one minor gaffe--he apologized straight away, no less.

Did we EVER hear Bush apologize or even come close to the same?????????????????

Palin exploiting this is so predictable--she's right on cue--I think her choice to chime in actually makes Obama look better overall.

Also loved the comment he made about many of us suffering from 'Simon Cowell disease'.

Posted by: Insanity on March 20, 2009 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

"I chuckle to myself when I see how obsessed with Sarah Palin you all continue to be."

Republicans are easy to please! There's bound to be more where this one came from, Myke K.

Visit us again soon.

Posted by: SRW1 on March 20, 2009 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Here's the dirty little secret" Obama said after Leno suggests folks all be jailed).."Most of this stuff is legal"

Good for him--we need to know this and remember this!

Posted by: Dirty Little Secret Revealed by Obama on March 20, 2009 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Bernard Goldberg believes,"The dictionary is written by some liberal person."

It was inevitable. "Only liberals believe up is only up. Sometimes, up is down. The dictionary should have both opinions in there. We need to pressure American Heritage, Oxford, and dictionary.com to hire conservative lexicographers."

Posted by: John Henry on March 20, 2009 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

But what did the Iranian people think?

Exactly the question to ask.

The Iranian youth, and there is a numerical preponderance of them, are the near future of that country. They are an irresistible force, and they are clearly open to courtship. The foreign affairs game played at its highest level would seek to woo them to join the league of nations.

At last, we have a president that understands the root-core basics of foreign policy...



Posted by: koreyel on March 20, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's good to see James Inhofe back in his groove. The competition for "Craziest Republican of the Year" is quite fierce and Jim Bunning got off to a really great start. I thought Bunning would run away with the prize this year and the competition would be boring. But it seems Inhofe wants to put up a real challenge. I still think Bunning is the favorite, but who knows, Inhofe is capable of giving Bunning a run for his money.

Posted by: fostert on March 20, 2009 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Historical obituary of the week: Claude S. Brinegar

His first crisis came in 1973 when the Penn Central Railroad threatened to shut down if it did not receive government aid. In the face of Congressional efforts to nationalize Penn Central and six other Northeastern railways, Mr. Brinegar led a task force in producing a plan to change their freight lines into a streamlined system known as Conrail.

Conrail steadily gained financial strength under federal control until 1987, when Washington transferred ownership to private hands in what was then the largest initial public stock offering in United States history.

As gasoline prices surged after the Arab oil embargo of October 1973, Mr. Brinegar used his oil industry expertise to help the Nixon administration develop polices on gasoline refining and marketing. He also led the way in formulating legislation for the nationwide 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, which President Nixon signed into law on Jan. 2, 1974. A 1995 law ended the federal speed limit, giving states the authority to regulate speed limits.

In December 1973, Mr. Brinegar signaled that the Nixon administration was willing to consider subsidies for mass transit from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, a reversal of policy. In December 1974, President Gerald R. Ford, who had succeeded Nixon that August, signed an $11.8 billion bill to aid mass transit. The 35-cent New York City subway fare was temporarily preserved.

Amazing, eh? On so many different levels...

Not so long Republicans actually believed in mass transit. But they've gone so far right into loon land, one hardly recognizes the grand old party anymore.

Posted by: koreyel on March 20, 2009 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK
First Lady Michelle Obama broke ground today on the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt tended to a victory garden during World War II.

Cue conservative web sites to post predictable joke about growing watermelons in 3...2...1...

Posted by: Unca Paul on March 20, 2009 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

"the Middle Eastern mentality" is "a little worse" than Nazism.
Sure, just include the Israeli mentality ...

Posted by: red reptile on March 20, 2009 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Not to linger too much on AIG, but this article points out the real dangers:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover

What do we do to stop this nonsense? Force all failed banks and AIG into bankruptcy NOW!

Posted by: Glen on March 20, 2009 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Oh let up on Obama about the gift to Gordon Brown already! So yes, he was probably embarrassed when Brown's gift outshone his, and yes, it was a rookie mistake. But how many of you knew about the DVD formats for different regions? I didn't, until I learned it the hard way with a hard-to-find movie that I bought off Amazon. I certainly hope that the White House replaces them pronto with a UK-compatible set, and am sure they will, and I also hope Obama's protocol officers are more on the ball for the next state visit.

Posted by: T-Rex on March 20, 2009 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and if Tim Geithner gets the axe at Treasury, I nominate Paul Volcker. I know he's old, but he isn't owned by Goldman Sachs/Rubin/Summers.

Posted by: Glen on March 20, 2009 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

From the Krugman article cited by Steve Benen: At every stage, Geithner et al have made it clear that they still have faith in the people who created the financial crisis — that they believe that all we have is a liquidity crisis that can be undone with a bit of financial engineering, that “governments do a bad job of running banks” (as opposed, presumably, to the wonderful job the private bankers have done), that financial bailouts and guarantees should come with no strings attached.

Is it true that the people who ran the banks into near bankruptcy still all have jobs? The claim at AIG was that the incompetents were gone and the (now taxed) bonuses received by the more competent of the employees.

Tim Geithner was president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank during the financial meltdown, and the Congress includes the people who gave us the impenetrable tax code. Even if you grant that a lot of those bank managers were foolhardy or incompetent, does the federal team really look like they can do better?

Incidentally, although I called the tax code "impenetrable" and think it's a mess, I was recently impressed, as I am every year at tax time, by the quantity and quality of the work done by the IRS itself.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on March 20, 2009 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

I used to like Paul Krugman, but it seems like ever since he was a Hillary supporter, he has an axe to grind with Obama, which is too bad for Krugman because he just sounds like sour grapes. Obama has been president for 3 whole months, so I think he deserves a little more time to clean up the mess he inherited. And all of the blogs that don't like Geithner or are wringing their hands about every little thing Obama does should just STFU and see whay happens. God, that's the WORST thing about democrats, everybody's a freakin' genius who knows about everything. I didn't notice that YOU won the presidential election.

Posted by: James G on March 20, 2009 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

[...] Bernard Goldberg believes, "The dictionary is written by some liberal person." -- Steve Benen

Well, and wasn't the first dictionary written by that flaming revolutionary Voltaire? With the help of another commie-prototype -- Diderot? Even Dr Sam Johnson had some very peculiar ideas, despite coming from a more phlegmatic, Albion, race...

Posted by: exlibra on March 20, 2009 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

@rea,

yes, but those Nazis were white, and had white sounding names...

These here muslums in captivity, they look funny, have funny sounding names, and they ain't Christians! How can you trust them?

/snark off...let me repeat, those were sarcastically rhetorical questions.

Posted by: JWK on March 20, 2009 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Know what Obama's really bad at? Cabinet appointments. Robert Reich wrote an article shortly after the inauguration that divided economists into two classes: those who think there are only a couple problems and as soon as those are fixed we'll be fine, and those who see systemic corruption dating back thirty years. Geithner, Summers and their friends are in the first class. It shoulda been Reich....

Posted by: ericfree on March 20, 2009 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hey folks, there's a new ReRush-lickin!
From http://dccc.org/blog/archives/tedisco_to_rush_limbaugh_im_sorry/

I can't get multi-paragraph HTML to work here, so:

"
Tedisco to Rush Limbaugh: I’m sorry!

Looks like Jim Tedisco's tried out our ImSorryRush.com apology generator...

DCCC Press:

Add career Albany politician Jim Tedisco to the list of spineless Republicans who can't stand up to their leader - Rush Limbaugh. Just hours after it was reported that Tedisco said, "Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me," Tedisco quickly apologized to the de facto Republican leader. Tedisco follows in a long line of Washington Republicans who are too afraid to stand up to Rush Limbaugh.
...

Background:

* In an interview with the Oneonta Daily Star newspaper, Tedisco claimed that "Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me." [Oneonta Daily Star, 3/20/09]

* Just hours later, the Tedisco campaign issued a press release apologizing. [The Hill, 3/20/09]
"

Posted by: Neil B. ♣ on March 20, 2009 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

"The election's over. You won. America lost. When are you going to move on?"

When you unpatriotic America-haters are raptured and we real Americans no longer have to worry about you sabotaging our country. Until then, we remain eternally vigilant.

"I used to like Paul Krugman, but it seems like ever since he was a Hillary supporter, he has an axe to grind with Obama, which is too bad for Krugman because he just sounds like sour grapes."

This attitude is just stupid. Aside from the fact that Krugman has had plenty of good things to say about Obama, he really *does* know what he's talking about when it comes to economics. That's why he recently won a Nobel prize for it. Perhaps you should actually pay attention to him rather than dismiss him for knee-jerk political reasons.

Posted by: Shade Tail on March 20, 2009 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

All I know is that according to google, there are many people named Schvartzer; I know that doesn't mean much, as people are still named Dick and Harry, but...

Sheesh. Not even Fox could keep their line straight about whether it was an insult or not.

Posted by: Crissa on March 20, 2009 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

So the Brits can't buy afford to buy a region-free DVD player for their PM? Or their PM's assistants cannot find a dvd-hack for their DVD player? And it's Obama's fault? Sheesh!

Posted by: ydobon on March 20, 2009 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

On the gifts to Brown - the Telegraph is the Tories' house organ. They beat on Brown whenever they can with whatever stick is handy. If that stick is named Obama that's just fine with them. Linking to story in the Telegraph is like linking to the Washington Times.

Posted by: Bloix on March 20, 2009 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

* The unemployment rate is bad. The unemployment rate for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is even worse. -- Steve Benen

Nobody is willing to bite the bullet, so I will. It goes back all the way to Kerry's botched joke about the relationship between education and military service -- study hard, or else. There was a lot of outrage about it at he time but I always thought he had a point; for a lot of people, military service is the only option to better themselves. And the military made it easier, what with the various waivers for highschool dropouts, minor criminals, etc. Which may be fine *theoretically* but, in practice...

In an environment where jobs are scarce and an employer can pick and choose and dictate terms, would you hire a highschool dropout or a college grad? Add to that the high level of possibility that the repeated tours have severely messed up whatever brains those guys had to start with and their chances of being employed in civilian life recede even further. In fact, I'm surprised that the unemployment rates for vets are only 11+%.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A change of subject, in the open thread vein.

A little bit of amusement for the lovers of language and other arts (it's the weekend, afterall):

http://www.sackwear.com/product_info.php?products_id=34

Posted by: exlibra on March 21, 2009 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

I used to like Paul Krugman, but it seems like ever since he was a Hillary supporter, he has an axe to grind with Obama... -James G

I think Krugman has more of an ax to grind with Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, and Obama indirectly for picking them. We have to face the music; those two are not only Wall Street to the core, but are partially responsible for the problems and shouldn't be anywhere near fixing them. Summers shuts Robert Reich out of as much as he possibly can, when really Krugman and Reich and a handful of others should be the people Obama is relying on to fix the economy.

A lot of us have been opposed to Geithner from the beginning; this latest incident just adds fuel to the fire.

Posted by: doubtful on March 21, 2009 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Bernard Goldberg believes, "The dictionary is written by some liberal person." I know reality has a well-known liberal bias, but this is just silly.

That WOULD explain Dubya's need to invent new words.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 21, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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