Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 27, 2009

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

* The World Health Organization has issued a phase 4 alert on the swine flu.

* There are now a 73 confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide, including 40 in the United States, but the actual number is believed to be closer to 1,6000 affected people. In Mexico, the virus has killed 149.

* The CDC today encouraged Americans forgo all "nonessential travel" to Mexico.

* The right is responding to the public health emergency about as you'd expect. Some are accusing the administration of deliberately overreacting. Others see an elaborate conspiracy to get Americans to "respond to government orders." Others still see a different conspiracy to get Kathleen Sebelius confirmed. Just another day in conservative political discourse.

* Just what Mexico City needed: an earthquake.

* Among those who supported cutting pandemic flu preparedness from the recovery package were Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and David Vitter (R-La.). Susan Collins (R-Maine), meanwhile, is defending her record.

* Krugman: "So Bobby Jindal makes fun of 'volcano monitoring,' and soon afterwards Mt. Redoubt erupts. Susan Collins makes sure that funds for pandemic protection are stripped from the stimulus bill, and the swine quickly attack. What else did the right oppose recently? I just want enough information to take cover."

* GM is cutting 21,000 factory jobs and dropping Pontiac altogether.

* Every major broadcast network will air President Obama's White House press conference on Wednesday -- except Fox.

* Flying these jets over Manhattan today was a pretty jarring error.

* Five House Democrats were arrested today protesting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's expulsion last month of 16 aid groups from Darfur.

* Nine years later, political reporters still aren't fair to Al Gore.

* "Politics Daily" launched today, featuring work fromWashington Monthly contributing editor Walter Shapiro, among others. We wish the site the best.

* Newt Gingrich still doesn't know if waterboarding is torture.

* Threatening to kill government officials in Twitter messages can get someone arrested.

* Dave Weigel made me laugh with this tweet: "If it turns out that rightwing extremists invented the swine flu in a secret militia lab, Janet Napolitano is gonna *laugh*"

* And finally, I'm sorry to hear about Portfolio shutting down, but I'd love to know how a magazine burns through $100 million in two years.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Can we fix the typo in the second item? There's a big difference between an extra zero and a misplaced comma. Thanks.

Posted by: mde on April 27, 2009 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to gather some volunteers to possibly undergo a surprise abduction and "enhanced interrogation techniques" and see if they're still cool with using torture. Get a list of 100 or so people, and say they may be selected for a social experiment at some point in the next 6 months.

Newt would be a good candidate.

Posted by: ChrisS on April 27, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Really? Republicans think that 149 Mexicans conspired to drop dead and dozens of teenagers in Queens conspired to spike their fevers and form a line outside of their nurse's office just so that Obama can increase government power and just so that Kathleen Sebelius can overcome a Republican filibuster?

DAMN. JUST. . . DAMN!!!!

Posted by: PS on April 27, 2009 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is out of favor with God.

Pray for rain in Denver - result: the most perfect evening ever.
But it does rain on the Tea Bagging Spectacular - across the nation.

Make fun of volcano monitoring? Take cover.

Cut flu spending? Here comes the pandemic.

Prayer meeting around the Wall Street Bull.

Proving they haven't read their Bible, on the topic of false idolatry.

And God has a fun sense of humor. What does he send the GOP? Rush Limbaugh to be its guiding light and Eddie Cantor to do the thinking.

Endless entertainment, coupled with tragedy.

I agree with Krugman - it's best to bet against the GOP, God's fed up with them.

Posted by: SteinL on April 27, 2009 at 5:45 PM |
PERMALINK

SteinL, don't you mean ERIC Cantor, not EDDIE? Eddie Cantor was a great comedian from the early 20th Century. He made people laugh WITH him. Eric Cantor makes people laugh AT him. Huge difference!

Posted by: The Caped Composer on April 27, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously SteinL, the pictures and the video are really creepy. A definite must see to those who haven't yet. Thank you for posting.

Posted by: PS on April 27, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding that typo...looks like it was an extra zero.

From the NYT: "As of Monday afternoon, more than 1,600 people in 17 states across Mexico were believed to have been sickened by the virus."

www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/health/28flu.html?hp

Posted by: JK on April 27, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Take a look at this, it's very revealing and needs promoting as an antidote to free-market fundamentalism:
http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/03/how-nation%E2%80%99s-only-state-owned-bank-became-envy-wall-street.

How the Nation’s Only State-Owned Bank Became the Envy of Wall Street

— By Josh Harkinson | Fri March 27, 2009 6:33 PM PST

The Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in America—what Republicans might call an idiosyncratic bastion of socialism. It also earned a record profit last year even as its private-sector corollaries lost billions. To be sure, it owes some of its unusual success to North Dakota’s well-insulated economy, which is heavy on agricultural staples and light on housing speculation. But that hasn’t stopped out-of-state politicos from beating a path to chilly Bismarck in search of advice. Could opening state-owned banks across America get us out of the financial crisis? It certainly might help, says Ellen Brown, author of the book, Web of Debt, who writes that the Bank of North Dakota, with its $4 billion under management, has avoided the credit freeze by “creating its own credit, leading the nation in establishing state economic sovereignty.” Mother Jones spoke with the Bank of North Dakota’s president, Eric Hardmeyer. ...

Collate with http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2009/04/17/ap6304410.html -
Associated Press
Bank of North Dakota posts $57M profit in 2008
By DALE WETZEL , 04.17.09, 11:05 AM EDTi

The Bank of North Dakota posted a $57 million profit last year, its sixth straight year of record earnings despite national economic turmoil and signs of a slowdown in the state's own economy. ...

dextrovore

Posted by: Neil B ◙ on April 27, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck the corporate media and their hatred and jealousy of Gore. Thanks, you insecure dipshits, for giving us Bush and destroying this country.

Posted by: Obama / Steelers / etc on April 27, 2009 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Here's Newt's new sleep number bed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WaterboardWithCanKhmerRouge.jpg


Hint: If there's a museum of Torture and Genocide and it has one of these ,ITS FUCKING TORTURE! We accused and hanged the Japanese 50 years ago for this!!!!

These clowns can't man up and admit their own guilt.

Posted by: johnnymags on April 27, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

@ Caped Composer

I get your standing up for the musical profession, but I was having a little fun.

Posted by: SteinL on April 27, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Others still see a different conspiracy to get Kathleen Sebelius confirmed. Just another day in conservative political discourse. -- Steve Benen

Well, if that was the intent of letting that mutant virus out of the lab, it had worked; her confirmation is expected tomorrow. Not surprising, given that all those Repub Governors are clamouring for cash to help with prevention, while, probably, only the Sec of Health can sign off on it. What I do find surprising is the lame way Beck is trying to cover his butt and blame it on Obama. I have it from a reliable source that that letting the mutant virus out was *Beck's* conspiracy; his contribution to limiting the illegal immigration of Mexicans into US.

* Among those who supported cutting pandemic flu preparedness from the recovery package were Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) [...] -- Steve Benen

Ah, dear Schmuck Chummer, ever so eminently and reliably "sensible" (I still remember his endorsement of Mukasey)... It's not as if there were any cities in his state, with high population density and therefore at an extra risk of a pandemic spread of any airborne disease. Good thinking, Schmuckie.

* Five House Democrats were arrested today protesting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's expulsion last month of 16 aid groups from Darfur. -- Steve Benen

But, now that they're arrested criminals, will they resign their seats in shame? No, of course not. Only the law-and-order Republicans do that; Democrats have no shame. They'll appear in Congress tomorrow still wearing their handcuffs like some badge of honour, I shouldn't wonder.

Posted by: exlibra on April 27, 2009 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Every year in San Francisco, we have fleet week with the Blue Angels roaring through downtown for several days. I'll tell you it's jarring enough when you know they are coming.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on April 27, 2009 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Forgive me if this has been posted already:

Petition to impeach Jay Bybee

Posted by: MissMudd on April 27, 2009 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

dropping Pontiac altogether

Because most people haven't considered buying a GM car for decades (SUVs and trucks, maybe, but not cars) the full impact of this announcement may not be clear.

Long, long ago -- 1950s to be exact -- GM had a very clear product line in which the 5 nameplates -- Chevy, Pontiac, Olds, Buick, and Cadillac -- did not have any overlap in terms of price. The idea was that as you became more successful you moved up the line.

But starting in the late 1950s GM started trying to give each nameplate it's own identity. Chevy still had value, but they also got the Corvette and Camaro. Pontiac, though, grabbed the spotlight with a series of sporty cars, headlined by the GTO, and hence the slogan "we build excitement" really defined the brand.

Even in the Roger Smith 1980s Pontiac car sales held their own. When the Olds Calais was released in 1984 GM thought it would really take off -- but it was the Pontiac-branded version, the Grand Am, that dominated sales. And so it was for most of the multi-brand cars GM built. The 2000 update of the Bonneville was eagerly anticipated by American car affectionados.

No one was surprised when the Olds brand was killed off. There was nothing to distinguish it in character, price range, or customer base from a Buick. But Pontiac -- that essentially means that GM can't see cars anymore except as Chevy fleet cars or to older folks who remember when the name Buick and Cadillac meant something.

Saturn will be next. There was something appealing in a member-of-a-special-club way when you bought the old Saturn compact sedan or coupe, but now they are just another nameplate being built poorly on the same lines as other GM crap.

Posted by: Jupiter on April 27, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Fox will not air the President's press conference because later, when they make up shit that wasn't in it, it would be "unhelpful" if somebody showed a split-screen capture of their telecast so everyone could see they had no excuse.

Posted by: Mark on April 27, 2009 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

How can there be only 73 confirmed cases of swine flu when 149 people are already dead of it? Dead people don't count anymore?

Posted by: SqueakyRat on April 27, 2009 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK
Regarding that typo...looks like it was an extra zero.

From the NYT: "As of Monday afternoon, more than 1,600 people in 17 states across Mexico were believed to have been sickened by the virus."

Then the summary Steve gave has more problems than an extra zero, since the "1,6000" is not reported as the number believed to have been affected worldwide, not in Mexico. The whole swine flu item doesn't make a lick of sense.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 27, 2009 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are priceless. Can you tie your own shoes, or does the administration have a program that offers those services?

Posted by: jimmy on April 27, 2009 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Even by Fox's own poll, Obama is at 62%. I couldn't imagine them not airing a speech by the very popular and non-polarizing figure George W. Bush.

Posted by: Chris on April 27, 2009 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Just an OT note to say that this blog is so much better and informative than it was when Kevin Drum was in control.

Posted by: dms on April 27, 2009 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Saturn will be next. There was something appealing in a member-of-a-special-club way when you bought the old Saturn compact sedan or coupe, but now they are just another nameplate being built poorly on the same lines as other GM crap.

I thought the demise of Saturn has moved beyond speculation and was already a done deal.

Posted by: Disputo on April 27, 2009 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

I just finished taking the new "Research 2009" pol over the phone.

This one is obviously funded by the Republican party; the way they asked the questions and you could only answer yes or no.

Example of a few questions:
1)Do you consider yourself to be "Pro-life"? I did NOT answer that question. I'm pro-choice AND Pro-life.
2) Are you afraid that Obama will raise your taxes? NO
3) Are you worried that the 'card check' will take away your right to a secret ballot? NO
4) Are you happy with your congressman? NO (Greg Walden - R)
and a few more leading questions with an obvious conservative slant.

Anybody else who got the call this evening?

Posted by: bruno on April 27, 2009 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

See your Krugman and raise you a Krugman...

Krugman:"Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil."

W00t that hoot...

Krugman almost reads like a wee commenter on the some fringe leftwing blog. But Paul's not quite ready for prime time. Watch, take notes, and feel free to quote me back Mr. Krugman:

It all started at the top. Bush, never the most eloquent or logical, said something along the lines of: I don't give a fuck, cut their god damn tongues out if you must, I want them to talk!

This explains why a lot of people don't want a commission to study US torture. The commission stands to besmirch the King and all his men. And after all, it is so much easier to pit it on Lynndie England. Hapless trailer trash, she's the made for tv perp. Frog march her! Roll the video at five, six, and ten. And lets go wash our hands...

What a sad, sordid, shameful mess. Not only is our country rife with torturers who will slither away free, but it also has its fair share of cowards too fearful to seach out the truth and prosecute as necessary.

You fucked up America.
And until you investigate it, you are going to stay fucked up...

'nuf said.

Posted by: koreyel on April 27, 2009 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Every major broadcast network will air President Obama's White House press conference on Wednesday -- except Fox.
------------------

Is that supposed to be some kind of insult, or are they doing everyone a favor?

Posted by: Please correct the error on April 27, 2009 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Flying these jets over Manhattan today was a pretty jarring error."

Wow. What a dumbass move.

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 27, 2009 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

We shouldn't be so insulted that Fox isn't showing Obama. Let the bitches watch WWF or Nostradamus' predictions for all I care.

Lord knows I couldn't sit through one sentence of that buffoon, GWB's conferences.

"You guys are priceless. Can you tie your own shoes, or does the administration have a program that offers those services"

Earth shoes don't have laces, you ignorant oaf.

Posted by: MissMudd on April 27, 2009 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

bruno, @21:52,

I didn't get that call but I had a Zogby Poll (the unreliable one, over the Internet) last night which looked like it came out of the same, panicked, Repub book. Skewed questions, impossible to answer honestly, because every one of them was built on the principle of taking a Repub lie/talking point as a God-given truth and you were supposed to operate within those parameters. Since this was a second one like that within a two week period, somewhere in the middle of it I snapped and, instead of finishing, asked them to unsubscribe me. Eff them and the horse they rode in on.

Posted by: exlibra on April 28, 2009 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't we holler when Bush signed environment bills authored by polluters?

From today's 5000 word front page article in the NYT...
Geithner, Member and Overseer of Finance Club:

A bill sent recently by the Treasury to Capitol Hill would give the Obama administration extensive new powers to inject money into or seize systemically important firms in danger of failure. It was drafted in large measure by Davis Polk & Wardwell, a law firm that represents many banks and the financial industry’s lobbying group. Mr. Geithner also hired Davis Polk to represent the New York Fed during the A.I.G. bailout.

Treasury officials say they inadvertently used a copy of Davis Polk’s draft sent to them by the Federal Reserve as a template for their own bill, with the result that the proposed legislation Treasury sent to Capitol Hill bore the law firm’s computer footprints. And they point to several significant changes to that draft that “better protect the taxpayer,” in the words of Andrew Williams, a Treasury spokesman.

But others say important provisions in the original industry bill remain. Most significant, the bill does not require that any government rescue of a troubled firm be done at the lowest possible cost, as is required by the F.D.I.C. when it takes over a failed bank. Treasury officials said that is because they would use the rescue powers only in rare and extreme cases that might require flexibility. Karen Shaw Petrou, managing director of the Washington research firm Federal Financial Analytics, said it essentially gives Treasury “a blank check."

Posted by: koreyel on April 28, 2009 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why GM retains the GMC brand, which as far as I can tell, has the very same (truck and van) vehicles as Chevrolet.

Posted by: in vino veritas on April 28, 2009 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

If there is any correlation between the GM vehicles and the clown who posted under the name "Jimmy" supra, then, they should dump the product.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 28, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Threatening to kill government officials in Twitter messages can get someone arrested.

Posted by: There is no Right WIng Terrorism on April 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see what the big deal about the Fox Network (distinct from Fox News) choosing to broadcast their originally planned programming.


  • Wednesday is, from their perspective, a huge night for ratings, in the middle of May sweeps.

  • Originally, the administration said that they weren't going to bother with the 100 days nonsense, and with good reason, so it's certainly reasonable for any network to be doubtful of whether or not this address will be important.

  • No one said anything against networks who chose not to air Bush's news conferences.

  • It is entirely their prerogative to choose whether or not to agree with a presidential request for time.


Given all of the above, I'm not surprised that Fox chose to air their planned programming. They got slammed last time when they dropped 2 scripted shows to air both the address and American Idol. They don't want that all over again, nor do they want to loose the ad revenue and ratings during sweeps (which sets the revenue rates for the next quarter for them).

I'm glad that the president wants to talk to us so regularly. I really do appreciate that. I don't think that American Idol is more important than a presidential address. However, I can certainly accept that a network, especially in these economic times, might choose to side with their wallet in this case. And most people aren't political junkies, and frankly don't care about a 100 days press conference that will be as predictable and scripted as anything else shown that night.

Posted by: Diogenes on April 28, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly