Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 30, 2009

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

* Col. Timothy R. Reese wrote an interesting memo: "A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that the Iraqi forces suffer from deeply entrenched deficiencies but are now capable of protecting the Iraqi government, and that it is time 'for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.'" Reese acknowledged the corruption and poor management in the Iraqi forces, but said they're competent enough to hold off insurgents, and there's not much more we can do anyway.

* A federal judge today ordered military officials to release Mohammed Jawad, who was reportedly taken into U.S. custody when he was 12 years old, from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

* The problems in Iran continue: "Iranian police arrested mourners who gathered at a Tehran cemetery to commemorate victims of the unrest that followed the country's disputed June presidential election , witnesses said. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was also blocked from attending the graveside memorial after he defied a government ban on the gathering."

* Dozens of liberal House Democrats continue to threaten to derail health care reform, following Henry Waxman's compromise with some Blue Dogs yesterday.

* There's quite a bit of wasteful spending in the Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2010. The Obama administration instructed Congress not to send him a pork-padded bill, and the House responded today by approving it anyway, 400 to 30.

* A sixth Republican senator, Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, endorsed Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination today.

* The media's interest in the Obama/Crowley/Gates get-together this afternoon is more than a little excessive. How bad is it? This afternoon, MSNBC not only aired footage of Henry Louis Gates walking to a car, on his way to the airport, it also put a countdown graphic on the screen, letting viewers know the number of hours, minutes, and seconds remaining until the "beer summit."

* On a related note, a Boston police officer was suspended yesterday for writing an email calling Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. a "jungle monkey." Boston Mayor Mayor Thomas M. Menino said last night that the officer, Justin Barrett, is "gone," adding, "[I]t's like cancer, you don't keep those cancers around."

* It took a whole lot of effort, but Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) finally conceded today that he believes the president is a natural-born citizen of the United States.

* If more reporters covered the health care debate as well as Time's Karen Tumulty does, the country would be a lot better off.

* Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recently unveiled their alternative health care plan. It probably won't surprise you to learn their plan is awful.

* And when Fox News personalities start making fun of Lou Dobbs, that should send a pretty clear signal to CNN that he's an embarrassment to the network.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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Comments

I keep reading that "support for health care reform is slipping." How many people are answering questions like "Do you support Obama's handling of health care" as "no" because "I haven't got any yet?" and how many really believe the far right's lies and insanity? In any case, a lot education needs to be done, if only on how to answer polls so as not to unknowingly support Republican memes.

Posted by: Bob on July 30, 2009 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I found the email from that fired Boston cop about Gates to be absolutely hilarious. Particularly when he cites his former work as an English teacher and attacks the Boston Globe writer for poor writing, while his rant borders on the incoherent. And I also liked his comment about how suspects have no rights and how he would have pepper-sprayed Gates (or something) for talking back. As if arresting him for being angry wasn't enough if he didn't suffer physically.

And the best part: In one fell swoop he undermined the attacks on Gates, with his racism as well as his authoritarian belief that "suspects" are inherently inferior to police and deserve to be punished for not cooperating. Those were two issues which we were to pretend didn't exist, and now this cop put it all right out there for everyone to see. And best of all, he's now out a job. Good job, dickhead.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on July 30, 2009 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

National Research Council reviews ies.org/Energy/index.htm"> America's Energy Future.

Gasoline from municipal solid waste.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 30, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, schucks.

America's energy future

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 30, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

If Mohammed Jawad was not destined to be a terrorist at age 12 years, he certainly will be now after the enormous stupidity of the Fratboy and the Devil. What intelligence information could they have thought they could get out of a 12 year old boy? Oh yes! They did not have the capacity to think coherently.

Posted by: Captain Dan on July 30, 2009 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

What? Nothing about the problems the Moose Jerky is having trying to line up a new job?
http://thinkprogress.org/2009/07/30/clear-channel-palin/
You'd have thought that she'd have had at least enough native cunning to realise that the sound, by itself, isn't her strongest point; that, without the vision to distract from her "verbal salad", she has very little to offer...


DrBiobrain, @17:37,
Where did you find the whole e-mail? The article linked by Steve didn't seem to have it.

Posted by: exlibra on July 30, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

The reason the Latino groups are angry with the treatment of Sotomayer - if you look up wikipedia Aguadilla,Puerto Rico, there's mention there that years ago, the military personnel there treated the Puerto Ricans badly, and they were U.S. citizens!

Posted by: annjell on July 30, 2009 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

What? Fox Faux News making fun of Dobbs is an embarrassment to CNN? Somebody's putting funny stuff in your Kool-Aid, Steve. A group of lunatic propagandists with NO credibility makes fun of a wing-nut old fool who has the credibility of an empty-headed celebrity talking politics, and this reflects poorly on CNN? I don't get it.

What reflects badly on CNN is they allow idiot Dobbs to spout off about nonsense and assert he has the right to do it with impunity.

The tinfoil hats at Faux news could just as easily support Dobbs with a straight face and make him a hero. This has more to do with inside baseball than it does the integrity of (HA!) jounalism.

Posted by: rrk1 on July 30, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like some media representation on my theory that crude oil is still being created in the earth by tiny little dinosaurs running around down there (that's what causes the earthquakes too).

Posted by: Frutes and Knutts on July 30, 2009 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is the best way I can explain this, I am not being rude or sarcastic. I just trying to explain it the best way possible.

The race related issues will not be solved the way it is being handled. Here's why:

People are different. But society prefers everyone fit a certain mold. Example, people who are not built to be small or petit, whether it be due to genes or medical condition is labeled fat.

Clothing that may be acceptable to a culture, example, the burqa, is not acceptable here. The sombrero, is not acceptable here.

You notice how in certain countries, Americans or other Westerners are not allowed to take pictures of the people, or certain buildings.

One example would be, some of the people from other countries don't like the way Westerners return to their country and talk badly about the living conditions, say for instance, the homes of the kids from "Slumdog Millionaire."

There are some countries in the Middle East, that really frown on drunkeness. So much so, that during Ramadan, depending on what country you are in, the tourist areas will not serve alcohol.

One more point I should make, we need to give the Middle East people more credit than we have been giving them. Most, people say that English is very difficult language. In the Middle East, it should be more difficult, Westerners read and write from left to right. In the Middle East, they read and write from right to left.

Much like driving on the left, we drive on the right.

Posted by: annjell on July 30, 2009 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, didn't Tom Price release a health care reform bill also? I saw it on CBS.com, something about $700 billion in tax cuts.

Posted by: Th on July 30, 2009 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Dozens of liberal House Democrats continue to threaten to derail health care reform, following Henry Waxman's compromise with some Blue Dogs yesterday.

Thank goodness they're not all rolling over.

Posted by: Disputo on July 30, 2009 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

And best of all, he's now out a job.

I'm sure he'll be able to find a job with the ChicagoPD.

Posted by: Disputo on July 30, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

In case anyone missed this big news in carbon offsets.

Posted by: MatthewRQuarreler on July 30, 2009 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

on a related note, a boston police officer was suspended yesterday for writing an email calling harvard professor henry louis gates jr. a "jungle monkey."

shouldn't that be "jungle bunny"?

Posted by: skippy on July 30, 2009 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

On healthcare,

In a compromise between right and wrong, what is the middle ground? If it is between Right and Wrong, I wouldn't call it pragmatism, I'd call it just as wrong, though a pragmatic person might call it a foot in the door.

Posted by: alan on July 30, 2009 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Tumulty is doing about the best job of health care reporting out there. She may be more motivated than other reporters, as (I believe) her brother had a terrible, but sadly not unusual, experience with his health coverage.

And -- can anyone imagine W being anywhere near as informed and engaged, getting the big picture, the policy details, and the human implications, and being able to talk about them without mangling the English language and pompously defining for you the "big words" he just learned from his handlers? God, how did we live with him so long?

Posted by: stinger on July 30, 2009 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

From TPM:

Late update: House Progressives have announced that they've rounded up 53 signatures--if every one of them legitimately votes against a bill that incorporates the compromises the Blue Dogs extracted, they would kill it.

Sweet.

Posted by: Disputo on July 30, 2009 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

I am so frackin' sick of the Blue Dogs I don't know what to do. I swear I will go broke donating to anyone who opposes them.

Posted by: Trinity on July 30, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

The Birthers & the GOP.

Now they are talking about an Amendment to the Constitution that makes candidates prove their are citizens. Huh!

In 2004, Hatch, Rohrbacher, McCain & some Dems were for changing the Constitution so that Arnie could run for president.

see www.infowars.com/articles/Arnold/elite_push.html

***in this article, in 2004, Arnie said, "if you let blacks run this country, they would ruin it." This explains why the GOP are hellbent on destroying the presidency of President Obama.

some of the Dems on board, Granholm - born in Canada, Mel Martinez - born in Cuba, Elaine Chao - born in Taiwan, Hoekstrah - born in Netherlands.

I find this interesting that the GOP would attempt to Amend the constitution to Advance someones political career or their political goals.

Posted by: annjell on July 30, 2009 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

I am so frackin' sick of the Blue Dogs I don't know what to do. I swear I will go broke donating to anyone who opposes them. -- Trinity, @21:06

My husband won't go quite as far -- he's as tight with a penny as I am -- but he's began muttering that it's one thing to be a "yellow dog Democrat" (vote for a yellow dog, as long as it's a Dem) but quite another voting for yellow-bellied *blue* ones.

Posted by: exlibra on July 30, 2009 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

"his authoritarian belief that "suspects" are inherently inferior to police and deserve to be punished for not cooperating." - Dr. B

Yes, that is the other side of the coin, isn't it? Police brutality/authoritarianism. Why attribute to racism when simple malice will do?

How many white people would have been run in with an "attitude problem" like Prof. Gates? In my neighborhood - all of them. In a rich neighborhood? Not so much. So, yes, the racism point still holds, but it's only part of the problem.

Posted by: Marko on July 30, 2009 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

And then there were 57, trying to defang the dogs...
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/update-after-public-option-concession-to-blue-dogs-57-house-progressives-say-theyll-vote.php

Posted by: exlibra on July 30, 2009 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kudos to my congressman, Representative Earl Blumenhauer of Portland, OR for standing very tall in his interview with chrissy poo matthews. Well, chrissy, now do you know who he is? He is the man who faced the camera, spoke very forcefully, while jabbing his finger towards you as he explained his position on Living Wills.

He is, normally, a very quiet fellow; very much a policy wonk. But, he was inspired, today, and came out as a gunslinger. Well done, Mr Blumenhauer. You had chrissy back pedaling.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 30, 2009 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well Steve, you know they're going to get into that "beer summit." And at least it's not lies like that trash from Martin Feldstein (he's a Harvard econ prof! Must be a ideocrank like Walter Williams ...) Kathleen Parker wrote a decent column on the BS (sorry ...), she continues to get more reasonable as wingnut ether wears off more or less.

The cutest thing I heard out there:
"The audacity of hops"
There's even a recipe for a beer of that name, perhaps a bit TIC:
http://beeractivist.com/2008/10/31/the-audacity-of-hops/

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on July 30, 2009 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Glad to see Hank Johnson join in but where is John Lewis?

Posted by: Th on July 30, 2009 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, the above post about the Birthers & the GOP hypocrisy -

also see www.arnoldexposed.com

***sometimes if you google the other site at infowars you'd have to translate the page to English.

Arnold did mention on Larry King live he wanted to change the constitution, so this is no conspiracy or anything of a sort on my behalf.

Posted by: annjell on July 30, 2009 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Translation:

Dozens of liberal House Democrats continue to threaten to derail watered-down crap version of health care reform.

Steve's not being tendentious or anything, after all we've been through.

Posted by: rabbit on July 31, 2009 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Marko,

"How many white people would have been run in with an "attitude problem" like Prof. Gates? In my neighborhood - all of them."

Highly unlikely, as law enforcement can't (legally) arrest someone for Disorderly Conduct in their own home.


"So, yes, the racism point still holds, but it's only part of the problem."

Nah, it was your basic racism.

Posted by: Joe Friday on July 31, 2009 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Col. Timothy R. Reese wrote an interesting memo: "A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that the Iraqi forces suffer from deeply entrenched deficiencies but are now capable of protecting the Iraqi government, and that it is time 'for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.'" Reese acknowledged the corruption and poor management in the Iraqi forces, but said they're competent enough to hold off insurgents, and there's not much more we can do anyway.

Colonel B-limp has also written another memo - oneo f the most unhinged attacks on President Obama and "Obamacare" by any far right nut case ever.

Both memos qualifty as bullshit.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 31, 2009 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, who are we to believe? The astute recommendations from a seasoned advisor in the field, or the ramblings of his alter ego "Tim the Enchanter" who appears to have had Erik Cantor ghost write his "Obamacare" ramblings for him.

A "healthcare Czar" - sounds like Cantor - Then, he rambles about how, during his 30 years of service, the government has been constantly dictating to the military about healthy lifestyles. But, of course, he goes on to ponder why he should have to foot the bill for that sterotypical "red meat gourging, beer guzzling, chain smoking couch laden obesity" under expanded health care reforms.

So, who speaks to the truth, the erudite Colonel or "Tim the Enchanter"?

Posted by: berttheclock on July 31, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

And when Fox News personalities start making fun of Lou Dobbs, that should send a pretty clear signal to CNN that he's an embarrassment to the network.

Maybe Chris Wallace should look at his own network before mocking CNN. Last I checked, Sean Hannity was pushing the birther nonsense (admittedly,I haven't checked in a while, I've showered enough lately).

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on July 31, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

capable of protecting the Iraqi government

Iow, incapable of protecting the Iraqi people?

they're competent enough to hold off insurgents, and there's not much more we can do anyway

Mostly if they're not competent by now there is no hope they will be any more competent in the future, now matter how much additional effort we put in.

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