Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 2, 2009

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

* Afghanistan: "A Taliban suicide bomber detonated his explosives as Afghanistan's deputy chief of intelligence visited a mosque east of Kabul on Wednesday, killing the Afghan official and 22 others."

* On a related note, the allegations of election corruption in Afghanistan are getting more serious.

* Largest Medicare fraud fine ever: "Top aides in the Obama administration announced a $2.3 billion settlement on Wednesday with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. over the company's illegal promotion of its now-withdrawn painkiller, Bextra."

* Iran's top nuclear negotiator said yesterday he's ready for some international chats.

* Can the AFL-CIO be satisfied with no card check in the Employee Free Choice Act?

* This makes me genuinely angry: "Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago."

* If Benjamin Netanyahu wants to establish stronger ties with the Obama administration, he can cut a deal on curtailing Israeli settlements.

* The shift in U.S. strategy on illegal opium crops in Afghanistan is apparently producing encouraging results.

* The White House has apparently hurt Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) feelings. What a joke.

* Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) of Georgia wants President Obama to vow to veto any health care bill that includes a public option or a co-op. I don't think he was kidding.

* On a related note, as congressional Republicans move further and further away from health care reform, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) still wants a "bipartisan" solution.

* RNC Chairman Michael Steele, still an embarrassment to himself.

* Kate Sheppard ponders the consequences of failing to pass a climate bill this year. Hint: that would be bad.

* FP: "It's not too late to stop Africa's largest country from splitting in half. But Obama needs to act now to prevent the worst."

* Diane Sawyer will replace Charlie Gibson as the anchor of ABC's "World News."

* Did you catch Tom Ridge on "The Rachel Maddow Show" last night? You should.

* The far-right is not at all happy about Jon Henke's efforts targeting WorldNetDaily. It's a sign that Jon is doing the right thing.

* South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) believes God is on his side.

* I'm delighted to see EmailChecker.org, and I'm glad it's off to a good start.

* Jim Traficant, a free man.

* Fox News stalks the Media Matters offices.

* And finally, keep a close eye on Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who has only hired one law clerk for next year's term. The buzz in judicial circles was very loud today about the possibility of his retirement.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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

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Comments

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) believes God is on his side.

God said he'd have hit it, too.

Posted by: doubtful on September 2, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Stanford.
Yes god is giving him high-five's for cheating on his wife and kids, lying to millions, possibly stealing from the state to pay for said philandering, and last, but not least, god is genuinely pleased this douche bag is speaking for him.

It could be worse, he could be gay, or a liberal, or both, that wouldn't carry his god's approval. Idiot, it is going to be a pleasure watching him pushed out in disgrace.

Posted by: ScottW on September 2, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

* Largest Medicare fraud fine ever: "Top aides in the Obama administration announced a $2.3 billion settlement [...] -- Steve Benen

Should be enough to get the Medicare For All started, no?

* Can the AFL-CIO be satisfied with no card check in the Employee Free Choice Act? -- Steve Benen

Maybe Trumka will give in on the card check. But, will he give in on the Public Option?

Obama's scheduled to talk to AFL-CIO on Labor Day (2 days before his joint session of Congress appearance). During that meeting, Trumka is expected to take over as the head of the union. And Trumka's said that PO is a make or break for him and that Congresscriters will vote against it at their peril. Unions may not be as powerful as they once had been but they still deliver a lot, both in the way of money and boots on the ground. If Obama's planning to tell Trumka that he's OK wth a piss-poor version of reform, it ought to be one "interesting" picnic, fireworks an'all.

Posted by: exlibra on September 2, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) believes God is on his side.

Wonder what he'll believed when his butt is kicked out of office ...

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 2, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Ridge: I didn't say what I said. Buy my book.

Posted by: TonyB on September 2, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) believes God is on his side."

*Of course* he does; that's what the C Street Family, the conservatives' self-described 'Christian Mafia' is all about! Sheesh.
Maybe someone will start taking this 'C Street' ookiness seriously.

Posted by: Varecia on September 2, 2009 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

The guru of the C Street Fellowship crowd preaches that men chosen by God to be leaders - like Sanford - get a free pass, also from God, on the normal rules of ethical behavior. Their mission is more important than adhering to accepted standards of conduct.

If you drink that Kool-aid then rationalizing almost anything you do in the name of a providential mandate is easily understood.

Unfortunately, they're all crackpots who should be in padded cells.

Posted by: rrk1 on September 2, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Unfortunately, they're all crackpots who should be in padded cells." rrk1 @ 6:08 PM.
"Unfortunately, they're all crooks who should be in cells." Fixed it for you.

Posted by: Doug on September 2, 2009 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) believes God is on his side.

Well, wouldn't you believe your imaginary friend to be on your side?

Posted by: SRW1 on September 2, 2009 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

On a related note, the allegations of election corruption in Afghanistan are getting more serious

And the next question is, will the US accept the vote even if it is tainted. Early indications are not good. The British Ambassador was on NPR today saying that he was looking forward to working with a 'legitimate' government once the count was done.

If the US and Britain (and by extention NATO) back what many Afghans will almost certainly see as an illegitimate government than we back in Vietnam terrority again, defending a government that does not have the support of its own populace.

And people think things are ugly now. They could get a whole lot worse real fast.

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 2, 2009 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Re Steele's appearance at Howard. Given that the first couple of rows were reserved for local area, WHITE Repubs, has anyone noticed the irony of Steele basically telling all the other Howard students to figuratively go sit at the back of the bus he was running?

Posted by: artsmith on September 2, 2009 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

.
YAY DIANE! No reason why having Nixon on your resume should hurt your career. It didn't hurt Cheney & Rumsfeld. It's about time we finished corporatizing the MSM! See, they're all about profits. That's why they focus on right-wing news & commentators that force 90% of us to turn them off and stop buying their papers. Capitalism works!

It's working GREAT here in Hawaii, where our racist local politicians are fighting BO on buses. Anti-"wetback" Honolulu City Councilman Rod Tam says foreigners just smell bad. And homeless people should be jailed, not given access to showers.

At last, some SOLUTIONS!!!
.

Posted by: cosanostradamus on September 2, 2009 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Jim Traficant, a free man."

And his RightWing supporters are claiming that poor old Jimbo was an innocent man swept up in the US Attorney scandal after they were ordered to go after him by KARL ROVE, because he was a Democrat.

Except.

When Traficant was in congress, he voted 77% of the time with the RightWing Republican agenda, so why would Rove go after him ?

He wouldn't.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 2, 2009 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

If Justice Stevens does retire the GOP will demand that Obama reach out to them in a bipartisan manner and show good faith by allowing John Boehner to pick Stevens' replacement.
Harry Reid will think that it's a darned good idea.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on September 2, 2009 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Rachel Maddow was great in that interview. She kept her cool but pushed back firmly against the bull that Tom Ridge was trying to peddle.

Posted by: JohnK on September 2, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Top aides in the Obama administration announced a $2.3 billion settlement on Wednesday with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc....
Watch for heartrending stories in the Wall Street Journal about Pfizer execs having to eat domestic caviar for a whole month.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on September 2, 2009 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Low-wage workers, shit on again ... Democrats control Congress/Presidency and NY (how about LA and Chicago?), why don't they crack down?

Pfizer: actually, I think the FDA should lighten up on the principle of "unapproved" uses of drugs per se, and play by ear on the basis of: the companies and doctors have to say it's not approved, and base the rest more on consequences.

We had a Town-Hall in Newport News VA, and Rep. Rob Whitman answered a cheered-on question about Obama's citizenship with a flabby, it seems he is natural born but wink wink Obama should jump to admit if not etc. Someone in the audience bravely said "defend your President", to no avail of course and boos.

See good article about the vapid Whitman talking points like "make health care affordable" at http://www.dailypress.com/news/newport-news/dp-local_tamara_0902sep02,0,4070447.column. The local writer Tamara Dietrich (typ. liberal sympathies) is terrific.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on September 2, 2009 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

more SST data

"Proxy" data, but peer-reviewed and published in Nature.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on September 2, 2009 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Jimmy Carterization of HealthCare

NYT: Kennedy Memoir...

Among other things, he was frustrated by Mr. Carter’s incremental approach to providing universal health care coverage, saying the president’s go-slow approach was “squandering a real opportunity to get something done.”

Here we are 30 years later and Kevin Drum (the Jimmy Carter of liberal bloggers) actually pens a post using the French timeline for health care reform to argue the go-slow approach. Good lord. How do you say "timorous and tepid" in French?

Which leads to an aphorism: History rarely favors the timorous and the tepid.

Obama needs to get his mind right and swing for the fences. He needs to do so compassionately, lucidly, and eloquently.

The great unwashed middle is still there for the winning. They are going to be tuned in and ready to be turned on. Settling for a broken-bat Jimmy Carter single will only criple Obama's presidency. It is time for "change" baby. Time for Obama to bring his A game. Time to get his hacks in...

Posted by: koreyel on September 2, 2009 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

RNC Chairman Michael Steele, still an embarrassment to the nation

Fixed. You can't embarrass yourself if you have no shame.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on September 2, 2009 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

All about ENSO

The site is regularly updated. You can save this report, and see which of the forecasts eventually proves to be the most accurate.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on September 2, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

On a related note, the allegations of election corruption in Afghanistan are getting more serious.

I refuse to believe that the US puppet gvmt in Kabul would engage in election fraud....

Posted by: Disputo on September 2, 2009 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

WWF: Arctic Ice Thawing Faster Than Expected

Arctic thawing is likely to result in worldwide consequences - from an increase in greenhouse gases and global weather pattern changes, according to a WWF report on Wednesday.

The World Wildlife Fund released a new study, titled “Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications,” Wednesday that found that Arctic ice is shrinking at a much quicker pace than previously expected.

The report found that as sea ice is expected to shrink to near-record levels this month, there are already some visible indications of how the melt will impact the earth’s atmosphere.

According to WWF, the Arctic ice holds twice as much carbon than is currently in the earth’s atmosphere. If warming continues at the current rate, these frozen soils will thaw and release dangerous levels of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere at a much faster rate than previously expected.

Additionally, the report said that sea-levels could rise by more than one meter (four feet) by 2100 -- more than twice the amount given in the IPCC’s 2007 assessment.

Posted by: trex on September 2, 2009 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

[...] the companies and doctors have to say it's not approved, and base the rest more on consequences. -- Neil B, @20:11

How many dead and/or maimed would you consider is enough to take an unapproved usage of a drug off the table?

It's not enough for "the companies and the doctors to say it's not approved"; in that disclaimer, the doctor would also have to say "so far, 100 have died and nobody's been cured, but we have hopes. Would you like to be 101st guinea pig?". Except that the companies aren't likely to have provided the doc with the true figures; they're more likely to bury such "inconvenient" results and encourage the experimentation. After all... A guinea pig that doesn't have to be paid (and can, maybe, even be denied compensation for a screw-up) is much more useful than one who goes into an experiment with open eyes and an expectation of remuneration.

Posted by: exlibra on September 2, 2009 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Exlibra, remember we are talking about unapproved uses of a known drug. So we already know the basic effects and side effects of something deemed "safe" overall. So the main issue is whether it can treat some other condition safely and well enough to be better than nothing or what else is available. Yes there is a risk of an unfavorable reaction for that particular new condition. But lots of people want to at least have a chance.

It is not clear IMHO, that the risks of using known drugs for new conditions outweigh (on average) the losses that comes from people not being able to use them, if they would help. (Or maybe we have data to show one way or the other, I'm not sure.)

Also there's the issue of personal choice: I want to decide if I can take X for purpose Y. I know, not everyone is as well-informed so the merit of that is debatable.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on September 2, 2009 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

I refuse to believe that the US puppet gvmt in Kabul would engage in election fraud.... -- Disputo, @21:33

Tee hee. Early on, there was a fleeting notice somewhere that a batch of ballots from some piddly province had been lost (accidentally, of course)... dropped into a ravine by an US helicopter charged with the transport of same. Ever since, I've been wondering who the votes were for, *how many* had gone "bye-bye" and whether the drop was truly accidental or "accidental on purpose"...

I spent the first 23yrs of my life learning not to trust the govt and the official pronouncements. Then, I spent 27yrs "unlearning" that. Then, another 8 rediscovering old skills. And now, 9months spinning like a top, not knowing what to believe... No wonder I'm confused.

Posted by: exlibra on September 2, 2009 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

That's what "insurance" is...

Q: The most frustrating thing about the so-called health insurance debate?

A: I don't think 3 out of 5 Americans understand the concept of "insurance."

mudflats.net has a youtube video up that is an absolutely brilliant explanation of "insurance" and the government option.

Please, make this go viral...

Posted by: koreyel on September 2, 2009 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

FP: "It's not too late to stop Africa's largest country from splitting in half. But Obama needs to act now to prevent the worst."

Why would anyone want to stop that? At the very least, the intl community will no longer be able to shrug off the genocide as an internal matter... oh... *that's* why....

Posted by: Disputo on September 2, 2009 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

* Diane Sawyer will replace Charlie Gibson as the anchor of ABC's "World News."

When you look up the word "irrelevant" in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of Charles Gibson, along with Brian Williams (Mr. Nascar), and Katie Couric.

Dinosaurs.

Posted by: Patrick Starr on September 3, 2009 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Medicare fraud is not the correct description?

Posted by: YY on September 3, 2009 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Sibel Edmonds testimony - who is the female that was blackmailed - my bet is Dianne Feinstein. Anyone else have a theory?

Posted by: JS on September 3, 2009 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

"* If Benjamin Netanyahu wants to establish stronger ties with the Obama administration, he can cut a deal on curtailing Israeli settlements."

What possible reason could Netanyahu have for wanting to establish stronger ties with the Obama administration? Obama insulted the Israelis by making demands of them, rather than making demands on the Palestinians, who are the real problem. Obama is virtually a lame-duck at this point, with nothing whatsoever to offer the Israelis, and little if any international credibility. Opposing Obama is a political plus in Israel, as it is rapidly becoming in the rest of the world.

Posted by: mike on September 3, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Mike, you are morbidly crocked. "The real problem" is of course both of them. Israel was created by UN action and has no pretense for doing as it pleases. The settlements are illegal and make peace harder. Your final statement is just RNC rubbish that should have been applied to GW Bush.

Posted by: N e i l B on September 3, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Varecia beat me to it.

The C Street Cult is all about "if you can get away with it, it means God is on your side."

If and when Sanford gets kicked out of office over it, he'll get kicked out of C Street, too, because if he fails, it proves he's not a 'Big Man' like Pol Pot or Hitler, C Street's versions of saints.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 3, 2009 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I think Sanford prayed to God and asked her to tell him if what he was doing was wrong. When she didn't respond, he logically concluded that she was on his side.

Posted by: Impeach Jay Bybee on September 3, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK


"Sibel Edmonds testimony ..."

To what are you referring? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 3, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I propose not to wait until you earn enough amount of money to order goods! You can get the loans or short term loan and feel yourself free

Posted by: HydeKARI on July 2, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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