Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 25, 2009

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

* The latest from Iran: "As Iran's embattled opposition leader said he would "not back down for a second" in challenging the disputed elections, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told President Obama on Thursday to avoid interfering in Iran's affairs and demanded an apology from the American leader for striking the same critical tones as his predecessor, George W. Bush."

* The Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling, makes the right call on the strip-search of a 13-year-old girl suspected of having ibuprofen.

* South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's (R) office said today he will not resign, but there's a growing number of key officials who want him gone, and his constituents would prefer he step down.

* The Waxman-Markey energy bill is headed for a vote tomorrow on the House floor, with the outcome very much in doubt. Today, President Obama leaned on lawmakers to pass the legislation. Brad Plumer has a very good look at the behind-the-scenes wrangling to secure a majority.

* I'm delighted to see Harold Koh was confirmed this afternoon, 62 to 35.

* Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is on board with the public-option plan sketched out by Sen. Chuck Schumer.

* Art Levine considers the showdown between lobbyists' interests and the nation's interests.

* Mark Sanford's personal emails to his mistress are his own business. Who leaked them, however, continues to be of interest.

* Why is right-wing shock-jock Michael Savage threatening Media Matters?

* With the Letterman controversy more or less finished, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has started a new feud, this time taking on an Alaskan blogger.

* In light of Hal Turner's arrest, that DHS report on extremists continues to look more and more relevant.

* Sen. Sam Brownback (R) of Kansas officially announced his opposition to Sonia Sotomayor's nomination yesterday, joining Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).

* If you're a Republican candidate guilty of adultery, don't worry, the Washington Examiner can help pretend it didn't happen.

* Ezra Klein notices that conservative bloggers tend to live in an alternate universe.

* Fox News is sorry it identified Mark Sanford as a Democrat yesterday.

* As expected, the $3,100 cap-and-trade GOP talking point has been thoroughly debunked, but House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) keeps repeating it.

* Think Bush's Justice Department couldn't possibly look any worse? Think again.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

Why did my guess that the one dissenting vote on the school-age strip search case was Clarence Thomas, turn out to be right?

Posted by: artsmith on June 25, 2009 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Either there was a lot of news today or someone spiked Steve's coffee with speed. One post every hour, clearing an entire web page between 8 and 5.

This is what I get for leaving my desk.

Posted by: inkadu on June 25, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

ZOMG! Artsmith has awesome psychic powers! Yes, indeed...

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented. "Judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment," Thomas wrote.

If by "judges," he means, "Clarence Thomas," then I agree.

Posted by: inkadu on June 25, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

I was thinking along those same lines, inkadu. It's a trend I've noticed over the last few weeks, not just today. Don't forget that of those those daily posts, two are compilations of other stories he didn't have time or energy for that day.

Steve, man, you probably need to take a vacation soon. I'll miss your posts while you're gone, but at least I know you'll be back. If you burn yourself out, I'll go into withdrawals for your blog.

Posted by: Michael W on June 25, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Farrah Fawcett died earlier today (cancer), and now Michael Jackson has been carted off the the hospital (heart attack).

Posted by: Monty on June 25, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling, makes the right call on the strip-search of a 13-year-old girl suspected of having ibuprofen.

They made the right call (8-1, no surprise who the "one" is) that it is unconstitutional to unreasonably strip search a 13 yo girl.

They made the WRONG call (7-2) that the school officials are immune from liability. Only the two most liberal justices, Stevens and Ginsburg voted correctly on that aspect.

This is another case the underscores how effing important it is for Obama to nominate actual libs (ie, not Sotomayor) to the bench, and that progs need to shift from fighting a rear guard battle against the idiot GOPers and actually start to spend some effort pushing Obama in the proper direction.

Posted by: Disputo on June 25, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas' reasoning suggest that judges are only capable of ruling on contexts with which they have direct experience?! Doesn't leave them with much to do, does it?

Worst. Supreme Court Justice. Ever.

Posted by: cthulhu on June 25, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

What the fuck is Clarence Thomas's problem?

Posted by: shortstop on June 25, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Jackson has died.

Posted by: Insanity on June 25, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Jackson is dead. (!)

Posted by: alan on June 25, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Looked in the mirror while brushing his teeth?

Posted by: alan on June 25, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

the link for the bush justice department mini report leads to a really well written account of the gonzalez/cheney/bush debacle known as our government a short while ago. whoa! obama smokes sometimes. holy crap!

Posted by: dannyshenanigan on June 25, 2009 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented. "Judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment," Thomas wrote.

Of course, Clarence is right. Cattle prods, thumb screws, the iron maiden, water boarding, and even firing squads are fine as long as school officials deem them necessary. george h.w. bush i'm sure is proud.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 25, 2009 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

alan, you have remarkably bad taste.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 25, 2009 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I have to ask,

is he really dead?

Isn't faking it exactly what he'd do?

Posted by: alan on June 25, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

It is noteworthy that Michael Jackson is deceased at age 50, but MSNBC, which I normally watch upon home arrival, is really going overboard confirming his death, repeating that he died, stating once more that he died, that he passed away.
No wonder people tune out generally to cable tv.
It is so repetitive it lowers our collective IQ.

In other areas, I thank Media Matters for America for keeping Fox News in line with what is true, what can be proven, what is real.
Finally Fox Snooze acknowledges trying to pass off problematic sexually involved republicans as democrats on their newscasts. It has been several. Too many to be coincidental.

Posted by: consider this on June 25, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

the link for the bush justice department mini report leads to a really well written account of the gonzalez/cheney/bush debacle - dannyshenanigan

Agreed. I was wondering where Murray Waas went. He does great investigative work.

Posted by: Danp on June 25, 2009 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

As expected, the $3,100 cap-and-trade GOP talking point has been thoroughly debunked, but House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) keeps repeating it.

Also thoroughly debunked is the claim that the cost will only be $157 per family. The $3100 cost per year won't kick in until after 2020, when the caps actually start to bite. The investment cost to achieve the modest caps up through 2020 will probably be around $1800 per family.

The good news is that ongoing investments in alternative energy are leading to reductions in CO2 emissions through reduced coal use. With the growth of alternative energy being 40%-60% per year (with a high attendant cost), and coal use declining, there is a possibility that the "cap" in the cap-and-trade will not be "active". This is analogous to the recent CAFE standards autos, wherein the processes already ongoing will achieve the standard.

Put differently, the CBO analysis does not include the price to be paid for achieving the standard, the "cap" does not really become active until 11+ years from now (2 more presidential election cycles), and the investment money is being spent anyway. Except for the symbolic value, and the fact that it is cap and trade instead of a straight tax (which would be much easier to understand, i.e. "more transparent"), it is almost redundant, given the other programs that are now being implemented.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on June 25, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

For those looking for links RE: Michael Jackson:

Just checked CNN (here's the link: http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/25/michael.jackson/index.html ). They haven't confirmed yet death yet, but did confirm he arrived at the hospital in a coma.

Reuters (link: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE55O6AK20090625 ) has confirmed death, no cause determined/released yet, though the article said he has been having health problems recently.

Posted by: Michael W on June 25, 2009 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Jackson: wow. I remember that Motown night, the moves ... It's a shame, not only his death but the way he unraveled in later years. It's almost too, like he couldn't really "grow up" - and certainly not age gracefully, it just wouldn't make sense for him to be an old man - and so had to leave us by the age of 50.

Thomas, heh! BTW why is it the "conservatives" who more often defend the government's authoritarian intrusions, it's "sovereign immunity" etc? Isn't that odd?

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on June 25, 2009 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Jackson has died.

That should take some of the heat off me.

Posted by: Mark Sanford on June 25, 2009 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Re the strip search verdict:
Unlike in the case of the Voting Rights Act, *this* time, I was wrong about the dissenter; I had Scalia pegged as the vicarious peeping tom/lech. Glad Ginsburg managed to talk the est of them into seeing the light.

Re the bad, bad, Bush's DoJ:
But our DoJ, has no interest whatsoever in pursuing the question of *who* the evildoer was. Not their purview, not in their brief. Eff that for BS.

Re Michael Jackson:
Sic transit gloria mundi... I actually remember the days when the Jackson Five burst onto the music scene; *even in Poland* we listened to them. And I remember what a cute little kid Michael was... Pity how he turned out.

Posted by: exlibra on June 25, 2009 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed: Between Farah Fawcett dying today, and Michael Jackson found unconscious, then confirmed as certainly dead----Mark Sanford likely regrets such a tell-all, impromptu news conference.
His name might not be mentioned for a while, at least until impeachment proceedings start?
He, being a huge proponent of an impeachment of Bill Clinton, of course. Family values, etc.
John Lennon, famous philosopher, once said ** instant karma's going to get you**,
also--** life is what happens when you're busy making other plans**
How appropo

Posted by: consider this on June 25, 2009 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone catch the NYT online article about the pastor in Kentucky urging his flock to bring their guns to church?

They're planning to have a "Bring -your- guns- to church- day" this Saturday.

Posted by: Insanity on June 25, 2009 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Re Mark Sanford, I agree that his personal emails are private. There was no good reason for a newspaper to print them or for MSNBC to read them aloud last night. i lost a lot of respect for Rachel Maddow as she stood there telling us how much it makes her blush to do something so outrageous, while doing it. The story is that Mark Sanford abused the public trust and his office by decamping to S.A. without delegating his authority - and possibly by misusing state funds for his own "stimulus."

Posted by: ghillie on June 25, 2009 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Even though my condolences go out to Michael Jackson's family, it's very difficult to resist throwing in a couple of snark comments about it. I will take the high road. For now, at least.

Posted by: Michael W on June 25, 2009 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

in re the sanford emails ... someone leaked them to the newspaper in december, his wife found out about his affair five months ago (february?).

are the two related?

Posted by: karen marie on June 25, 2009 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

In light of Hal Turner's arrest, that DHS report on extremists continues to look more and more relevant.

Good to see at least one wingnut talk show host behind bars for inciting violence.

Now, how about Limbaugh, Savage and Hannity?

Posted by: Disputo on June 25, 2009 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Michael W - All in vain. He is too busy to read the comments. Maybe it's scouting week at liberal papers and he wants to put on a good show.

On Michael Jackson -- I haven't found any humor in Michael Jackson for a long time now. It's been just sad, sad, sad for a long time. At least it's over.

Posted by: inkadu on June 25, 2009 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the strip-search ruling:

Clarence Thomas' assertion that the court shouldn't second-guess school officials in discipline cases is off the charts worrisome.

Of course they should. This was such a blatant violation on several fronts-- so much so that two justices (Ginsburg and Stevens) spoke out against the ultimate second part of the majority decision to not penalize school officials-- indicating school staff clearly should have known a strip search was not warranted.

Posted by: Insanity on June 25, 2009 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Farrah Fawcett will go down in history with Groucho Marx, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis in at least one respect.

They all picked the wrong day to die.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on June 25, 2009 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK
Steve: "Fox News is sorry it identified Mark Sanford as a Democrat yesterday."

Ah, yes, once again, we hear the well-after-the-fact apology. After all, the FOX News producers reason, who knew about the error until it was too late to do anything about it yesterday? Certainly not their most die-hard viewers, who couldn't find the open end of a paper bag if you placed it upright on a table in front of them.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 25, 2009 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK
alan: "I have to ask, is [Michael Jackson] really dead? Isn't faking it exactly what he'd do?"

Do us all a big favor, and go slither back under your rock, will ya?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 25, 2009 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

If I even saw Michael Jackson's dead body, how could I know it wasn't the dummy from Madame Tussaud's?

Posted by: alan on June 25, 2009 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

And then Mark Sanford's conscience tweeted...

Jackson's death should shift the lights off my breakup. Need to do some public praying. Keeping my fingers "crossed." And praising the Lord Jesus for forgiveness!

Posted by: koreyel on June 25, 2009 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

There will be many comments about Michael Jackson's death, some ugly and snarky, but some that get it right.

Few will get it better than Andrew Sullivan did.

"Money quote": "He was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone.

"I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours' and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out."

And for all those who do not realize just how great his music was, you remind me of those who complain that 'the problem with Shakespeare is that so many of his lines are familiar cliches.'

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on June 25, 2009 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

So the King of Pop is dead. May he rest in the peace he rarely had.
But the Republicans still have their leader, the equally inimitable, yet fully execrable Rush Limbaugh.
All revile Rush Limbaugh, the King of Poop!

Posted by: N e i l B ☺ on June 25, 2009 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

What a creep, trashing dead people.

There are people that I don't like, when they die, I don't trash them I just don't say anything.

Oh well, guess one of those people who value animals over humans!!!!

Posted by: annjell on June 26, 2009 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

I guess my response was harsh.

But, one must look at the facts. Michael Jackson was not a babysitter - he was a star, and a grown man.

There's no way, as a woman, I would let my kid stay overnight with a grown man. There's no way, I would let my kid skip school to be with a man, I don't care how much money or fame he has.

Same as I wouldn't knowingly let a dope fiend in my house, because chances are he will steal from me.

Posted by: annjell on June 26, 2009 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK
Prup (aka Jim Benton):"And for all those who do not realize just how great his music was ..."

You can count me as one of them.

I readily admit that I was never a fan of Michael Jackson, but it doesn't necessarily follow that I would diminish either his obvious talent or his innate humanity. His was a very troubled and child-like soul.

And on this day of his passing, I choose to remember only the good in the man, and how he brought joy to untold millions of people with his music. And as he transitions from this world to whatever inevitably awaits us all, it is my earnest wish that he's finally found the peace that so eluded him in his own lifetime.

Aloha, Michael.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 26, 2009 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

If I even saw Michael Jackson's dead body, how could I know it wasn't the dummy from Madame Tussaud's? -- posted by alan

i'd have to say the dummy would have more humanity than you alan

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 26, 2009 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

How much child abuse was enabled by Michael Jackson's bad example?

Is that really the side you want to be on?

Posted by: alan on June 26, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Alan, you're such a prick!

You blame Michael Jackson, were you there? How do you know if it wasn't a case of $$$$

As I said, Michael was a grown man, a superstar.

Any grown person, in their right mind, would not look at him for their own child as a "Playmate," a "Babysitter."

I'm not sure why you keep bashing a man just died. Are you jealous he didn't get to tickle your little wee-wee?

Posted by: annjell on June 26, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Well, there's the voice of humanity for you.

Posted by: alan on June 26, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

alan is not a prick. he's a republican, which is worse.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 26, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm way leftier than you are, er, mj.

Posted by: alan on June 26, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Now that I think of it is exactly the past thirty years of Conservative hegemony that is what Michael Jackson defined.

The sound he invented, the super-refined insularity, hearing nothing but himself, doing anything at all to promote his bank account and grotesquely mismanaging it.

His is the face of the world of Jack Abramoff.

Posted by: alan on June 26, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Really, really expensive effort in pursuit of the trivial and selfish.

Posted by: alan on June 26, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say about right now you are probably a big fan of say, Charles Manson....

Posted by: annjell on June 26, 2009 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

With the ongoing bashing by you Alan, I will take a wild guess and say you were a victim of your priest?

The difference here, as stated, there was no legitimate reason for a mother to leave her unaccompanied child with a grown man.

I'd take it, you would probably leave your kids with a adult with no legitimate reason. And if something happens, blame the person you left the kid with, huh? If the kid is staying for a sleepover, playmate, or just to get the kid out of your house it's okay.

You are the type of person that listen to everything you hear and run with it. Hmmm, must be a Republican.

Posted by: annjell on June 26, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Just so you know, where I'm from, a mother wouldn't haul someone into court, they'd haul him to the hospital, worse case scenario, 6 feet under.

How would money take away the lifelong pain? Get a clue will you!

Posted by: annjell on June 26, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Re-writing is the heart of writing, anjell.

In this way you can achieve clarity.

Posted by: alan on June 26, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

perhaps, alan, you are. but you're still lower than a prick.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 28, 2009 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK
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