Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 19, 2009

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

* Devastating attacks in Iraq: "A string of attacks in Baghdad, including two bombings near prominent government buildings, killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 530 Wednesday morning in the bloodiest day in the capital since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from cities.... The two deadliest bombings targeted the finance and foreign ministries, which are among the most heavily guarded buildings in Baghdad, Iraqi authorities said."

* Afghans head to the polls tomorrow, and the country is on edge.

* Two North Korean officials head to Santa Fe to chat with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D). The North Koreans reportedly requested the meeting, and the State Department approved.

* On a related note, former President Bill Clinton briefed President Obama and his team on North Korea in the Situation Room yesterday (the real one, not that CNN thing).

* Israel: "Several officials said Tuesday that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu], Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Housing Minister Ariel Atias had quietly agreed to suspend all government tenders to build new Jewish housing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem at least until the start of next year."

* This ought to be interesting: "The Swiss banking giant UBS on Wednesday reached a final deal with the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service in which it will ultimately disclose names and account details for more than 4,450 wealthy Americans suspected of tax evasion."

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is prepared to pass health care reform "by any legislative means necessary."

* Some talking points never change: "Top Senate Republicans warned [Attorney General Eric Holder] on Wednesday not to name a special prosecutor to investigate Bush policies allowing brutal techniques on terrorism suspects, saying that doing so would drive a wedge between the Justice Department and the CIA and 'leave us more vulnerable to attack.'"

* UnitedHealth Group claims to be an insurance company that wants health care reform. If that's true, why is it directing its employees to attend right-wing, anti-reform Tea Parties?

* Good: "An Oklahoma judge on Tuesday overturned a state law that required women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound and a doctor's description of the fetus."

* How big a hack is Dick Armey? He's trying to politicize the H1N1 virus.

* Limbaugh cheers on the lunatic from Barney Frank's town hall, while Steve Doocy, in an apparent attempt to be even more ridiculous than usual, thinks the congressman was mean to the nutty protestor.

* Steven Pearlstein dismisses the significance of the public option: "It is not the be-all and end-all of health-care reform." He added it's "a political non-starter that threatens the entire reform effort. It's time to let it go." Ezra responds.

* Families USA does a nice job with this: "10 Reasons to Support The Health Care Reform Bills."

* As if the anti-Semitism from anti-health reform protesters weren't disgusting enough, if keeps getting worse.

* Fox News comes up with a new way to source its brand of "journalism."

* Glenn Beck loses yet another advertiser.

* R.I.P., Don Hewitt.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Comments

Let the public option go in exchange for what? Dems continually surrender and gain nothing at all. All we need is for no Dem senator to filibuster -- the blue losers don't have to vote for the bill, but just not filibuster.

Posted by: Go, Sestak on August 19, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is prepared to pass health care reform "by any legislative means necessary."

What, is he gonna send himself a strongly worded letter?

Posted by: slappy magoo on August 19, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

how about gettin' a health care bill passed by stepping down and letting a vertebrate take over the majority leadership?

Posted by: neill on August 19, 2009 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

"... leave us more vulnerable to attack." On the other hand, we have a president who can read an FBI report, so we're probably less vulnerable to attack.

Posted by: Greg Worley on August 19, 2009 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

*sigh* I sure don't know how Obama got us into this quagmire in Iraq.

Posted by: Conservatroll on August 19, 2009 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Top Senate Republicans"

...Are scared witless that they'll all be indicted for obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting in the commission of war crimes.

That might be how we'll finally get healthcare legislation to pass---pack all the obstructionists off to the Hague. I'll contribute to that cause!

Posted by: S. Waybright on August 19, 2009 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Pass the public option or die

It is what I've been saying...
and now Ezra is saying it too, but with a hell of a lot more historical force:

Centrist Democrats know what happened last time a popular young president failed in a massive push to reform the health-care system and lost his high public approval in the process. A historic number of centrist Democrats lost their jobs. More than 50 of them, in fact. Liberals, conversely, kept their seats, because their seats are safe.
The central political reality of health-care reform is that if the bill fails, the vulnerable centrists who are queasiest about supporting it will be the casualties of its collapse.

The blue dogs are not in the driver's seat. They are in the injection seat.
And the public will gong them out at midterms if they do not deliver a public option.

I guarantee it...


Posted by: koreyel on August 19, 2009 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Koreyel - I absolutely agree, how can we get this message through to the centrists, I cannot imagine whaat they are doing calling themselves democrats anyway.

Posted by: JS on August 19, 2009 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

"UnitedHealth Group claims to be an insurance company that wants health care reform. If that's true, why is it directing its employees to attend right-wing, anti-reform Tea Parties?"

Because they are bastards who deserve to be put out of business. Of all the bad actors in the health insurance industry, they've got to be the worst.

Posted by: Tropical Fats on August 19, 2009 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Koreyel, @19:10

You can't guarantee it, at least not for the Senators; they don't have to look about covering their butts every two years. How many of those "centrist" Senators are due for a re-inspection next year? My own anti-reform "centrist" (Warner) only got elected last year, so he's *secure for longer than Obama*, if you please. Yeah, he doesn't have as much heft as the usual suspects (Baucus, Nelson, Conrad, Bayh), but enough to gum up he works some.

Posted by: exlibra on August 19, 2009 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Glad to see something a little bit positive coming out of Israel, hope the visits of Cantor & Huckabee to Israel to derail Obama's agenda are denounced by one and all, also I hope the Israeli's see them for what they are.

Posted by: JS on August 19, 2009 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Ahhh, United Health Care, the company that charges the two of us $12,000 a year for a catastrophic policy with a $7,500 per person deductible (before they cover anything).

Sooooo good to know how that money is being spent - to screw me over even further.

Posted by: Mo So on August 19, 2009 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Please, please, please can we get the women shouting "Heil Hitler" at the Jewish man video plasterd all over the TeeVee? Coverage similo that of the ignorant Glenn Beck supporter who's every Rethugs "hero."

Posted by: Winkandanod on August 19, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Checking my memory with Wiki, Don Hewitt was the Executive Producer of CBS Nightly News with Walter Kronkite as well as with Edward R. Murrow on See It Now. Back in those days a news program was a NEWS program and we could believe what they said. Today, not so much. We will miss them both dearly.

Posted by: anonymous on August 19, 2009 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

"An Oklahoma judge on Tuesday overturned a state law that required women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound and a doctor's description of the fetus."

Wow! There's an intelligent person in Oklahoma? Who'd have thought? He must be from Texas.

Posted by: fostert on August 19, 2009 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

What's going on with Iraq? Anybody watching who knows? Is the civil war beginning to break out (again)?

I lost track, but I thought that the cleansing had, sad to say and for all intents and purposes, already taken place? Not really?

The reports say (at best) it's sunni vs. shiite, but it's only mentioned in the last paragraphs if at all, and it's not clear whether they really know what the truth is.

Posted by: dannyshenanigan on August 19, 2009 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

If that's true, why is it directing its employees to attend right-wing, anti-reform Tea Parties?

Because they oppose raising taxes.

Posted by: marketeer on August 19, 2009 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

"But the killer for me was, here's Barney Frank saying, 'What planet do you live on?' to this woman. Isn't it an established fact that Barney Frank himself spends of his time living around Uranus?" -Limbaugh

More ass jokes, really? Rush must certainly be a closet gay, with his complete infactuation with the anal area.

Posted by: oh my on August 19, 2009 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

marketeer,

"Because they oppose raising taxes."

You mean they oppose paying their fair share of the tax burden.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 19, 2009 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh has been referring to any woman in a position of power as a feminazi for as long as I can remember, which probably speaks volumes about his tortured relationships with women and his fascination (like many republicans)with authoritarian regimes. Of course he would encourage an unstable protester comparing the Presidents' heath insurance proposals to Hitlers' final solution. Limbaugh himself is one part Goebbles (the part that spews filth such as this each day) and two parts Goerring (the bombastic arrogance and the physique that can only be formed by years of indulgence. I would like to think that filth mongers like Limbaugh will someday be held accountable for the destruction and the inevitable deaths their propoganda inspires, but I don't believe it happens in this life. I hope that,following his demise (he'll probably die of an overdose in some seaside resort in South America, Rush finds himself in that ring of hell Dante reserved for politicians, where they have to listen to their speeches (or broadcasts) played concurrently throughout eternity.

Posted by: Broken Arrow on August 19, 2009 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

while Steve Doocy, in an apparent attempt to be even more ridiculous than usual, thinks the congressman was mean to the nutty protestor.

If I'd known that clipping and pasting out-of-context video was the only requisite skill for a FOX personality, I'd have migrated that way years ago. They must make at least a six figure salary.

Posted by: oh my on August 19, 2009 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

re the "good Christian" woman who shouted "heil Hitler" and then responded boo-hoo when the Jewish guy complained about his uninsured emergency room bill; she better watch herself as she is getting very close to what common law regards as fighting words. Some Christian; as JC said (paraphrased), "so as you do unto some Jewish guy, you do so unto me".

As for Rush, doesn't Dante describe the lowest level of Hell as that where people who turn us against each other reside?

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on August 20, 2009 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Friday: You mean they oppose paying their fair share of the tax burden.

Steve Benen posed the question as though there were some mystery.

Posted by: marketeer on August 20, 2009 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

Presumably Armey and his Teabagger legions will shun the H1N1 vaccine because it was developed by the CDC- government run healthcare at its worst?

Posted by: bob h on August 20, 2009 at 6:44 AM | PERMALINK

Frank WAS mean to the dining room table. Of course Dooky will never understand that Frank only gave her 1/3rd of what she deserved. All fReichtards must be treated as though they are made of spun glass, they get very weak screaming about Hitler and Commies don'tchaknow.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on August 20, 2009 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen posed the question as though there were some mystery.

Considering that many of these same people are screaming for Obama not to touch their Medicare, it is.

Posted by: Gregory on August 20, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Re your comment on government tenders in Israel. Afraid I can't figure out what tenders means in this context, so I'm not clear what you're saying. (I suppose all I need to do is click the link, but thought I'd give you a heads up, in case I'm not alone.)

Posted by: catherineD on August 20, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

J. Frank Parnell writes:

"As for Rush, doesn't Dante describe the lowest level of Hell as that where people who turn us against each other reside?"

Sowers of discord are in the eighth circle of hell, in a ditch where they get sliced apart for eternity. Traitors are in the ninth circle, where they are frozen in ice (cold-blooded), except for Judas Iscariot, Brutus and Cassius, who are personally chomped on by Satan.

Posted by: mim on August 20, 2009 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK
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