Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 8, 2009

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

* Afghanistan: "Four U.S. Marines died Tuesday when they walked into a well-laid ambush by insurgents in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province. Seven Afghan troops and an interpreter for the Marine commander also died in the ambush and the subsequent battle, which lasted some seven hours. Three American service members and 14 Afghan security force members were wounded."

* Also in Afghanistan: "Incumbent Hamid Karzai has widened his lead in the recent presidential election beyond the margin that would require a runoff vote, Afghan officials said Tuesday, but widespread fraud allegations have prompted an internationally led oversight panel to order a recount."

* Obama, Pelosi, and Reid met privately this afternoon in the Oval Office to talk about health care reform. Reid told reporters after the discussion that reconciliation remains an option.

* The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities raises some important concerns about the Baucus reform plan.

* Economists expected consumers to curtail their borrowing by $4 billion as the recession drags on. It turned out to be five times that total, the highest since the government started keeping track in 1943.

* Justice Sonia Sotomayor takes her seat for the first time.

* Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's health care speech tomorrow night. He may not be the ideal choice for the GOP.

* When former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) walked away from her duties unexpectedly in July, her resignation ended up costing Alaskan taxpayer at least $40,000, the AP discovered, "not including a special legislative session partly linked to her departure."

* Matters get slightly worse for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R).

* Good ruling in the Abdullah al-Kidd case late last week: "Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is not immune from being sued by a man who claims he was illegally detained under Justice Department policies implemented after the September 11 terror attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Friday."

* The NYT and WaPo run good editorials on the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case.

* Strong piece on "czars" from Dave Weigel: "A debate about the power of the executive branch and the collapsing trust between the president and the Senate -- it's the constant filibusters of presidential nominees that really started this process of end-runs around confirmation hearings -- would be healthy. But so far this "czars" debate seems like a witch hunt egged on by sloppy reporting."

* Zachary Roth summarizes the controversy surrounding Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).

* Karl Rove is a ridiculous individual. Seriously, he's a ridiculous individual.

* Keith Olbermann hopes to put together some research on Glenn Beck.

* Beck thinks liberals might try to hurt him.

* And Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is a man of many talents.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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

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Comments

Alaska needs 2000 of those selfish ladies waving $20 bills, to snatch away and pay for Quit-bull's little escapade.

Posted by: delver on September 8, 2009 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn Beck: I hope the research includes that stuff from his or sponsored website about, was it IIRC "jew-fish" and such? I don't recall, where can we find that?

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on September 8, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Every time Beck shaves himself, his liberal leaning right hand must exert all of it's self control to keep from slitting his throat, and don''t think Glenn doesn't know it.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 8, 2009 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hah! Further proof that Franken is the man to follow Obama in 2016!

Posted by: Midland on September 8, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

As I watch the "debate" over healthcare and the idiotic rantings over our president's back-to-school talk, I can't help but wonder if some of the talking heads would be thrilled at Obama's demise.

I'm not paranoid but I am absolutely disgusted by the pitiful discourse that we have right now.

If Laura Bush endorsed what Obama said today, then every single right wingnut needs to get a life.

Our children deserve better of us all.

We need a public option in healthcare.

We need all of our children to learn, they are our future.

To the whitehouse: stick to your "guns." To the crazies out there, lay down your guns.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on September 8, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

National Public Retards (republican controlled) wants to further limit speech with politically correct usage.

Yes, there is a connection between Republican and retarded.

Posted by: anonymous on September 8, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

When former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) walked away from her duties unexpectedly...

At least you acknowledge that she didn't quit.

Posted by: qwerty on September 8, 2009 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn Beck thinks liberals might try to hurt him? Well, seriously, wouldn't we like to? I personally would pay to see someone shove their boot up his ass. I'd like to see my grandmother do it. She could, too.

Posted by: cmac on September 8, 2009 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Also in Afghanistan: "Incumbent Hamid Karzai has widened his lead in the recent presidential election beyond the margin that would require a runoff vote, Afghan officials said Tuesday, but widespread fraud allegations have prompted an internationally led oversight panel to order a recount."

The situation is Afghanistan could get real ugly real fast. If a sizable chunk of the population ends up viewing the election as fruaduent we could end up with real civil war on our hands. Complete with US troops defending the existing discredited government.

The simple truth is, the time we had to actually accomplish something in Afghanistan was 2002-2004 and that was a long shot at best. Instead we pulled out the majority of our forces and invaded Iraq allowing Bin Laden, Al Queda and the Taliban leadership to escape and reform.

Afghanistan has broken every foreign empire that has tried to occupy it, the British, the Soviets etc etc throughout history. The odds on the US breaking that trend are pretty much zero. At this point its just a question of how long it will take before we 'declare victory' (ie throw in the towel) and bail on the place.

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 8, 2009 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Beck must be thinking that this 'trigger option' is aimed at him. I pray he's right. He's seriously crazy.

Posted by: anonymous on September 8, 2009 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Count me as thoroughly impressed with Franken's map making abilities.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 8, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

A major problem in Afghanistan no one directly brings up is that more than half the western personnel in the country are mercenaries.

It's mentioned obliquely, peripherally, then they hurry on to something else.

I think this is a major issue. Who knows what these crazy idiots are doing, roaming around unsupervised?

For an Afghani all Westerners look alike and if more than half the Westerners they see are Blackwater that's who they think we are.

Posted by: cld on September 8, 2009 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

As much as I love Al Franken's politics, I'm pissed off at him-- he stole my stupid human trick! I've been drawing the map free-handed, state by state, ever since I was in high school! Who is this johnny-come-lately, anyway? What, he thinks that, just because he's an awesome, progressive U.S. senator, he can just come waltzing in and stealing my trick? For shame!

;-)

Posted by: The Caped Composer on September 8, 2009 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone think Beck's paranoid rantings are just an innoculation against his eventual removal from FOX because he's hemorraging sponsors?

Posted by: Husker Blue on September 8, 2009 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Which corporation does Saxby Chamblis represent (Lockeed Martin?). Do they know he's a racist? Don't they care?

Posted by: anonymous on September 8, 2009 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

If Olbermann wins the Sarah Palin dinner auction he ought to turn around and auction off his guest spots.

A dinner with Palin and Olbermann would be a hot ticket.

Can you imagine trying to get through your macaroni, cheese and fish sticks with the Palins?

Posted by: cld on September 8, 2009 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Get me a scalp tomorrow Obama...

So what was your favorite highlight from August? Mine was the shout down of the lady in the wheelchair. How coolly cruel was that?

Now here are some questions for you:

What is her name?
Was she paraded on network news?
What were her concerns?
Did anybody apologize to her for being heckled and jeered?
Can you name a major Democrat who stood up for her?

The only Democrat I've seen standing up of late is Van Jones. But he was actually standing down for his own behavior. Forced to surrender his scalp by a brutish republican who, among other things, called our POTUS a racist. Now there is modern moral standing in America for you...

So here is what I would like to hear from Obama's mouth tomorrow. Something akin to this:

I've said before we can disagree without being disagreeable. And to that I would add that we can be passionate about our opinions while not being dispasionate towards others. At a townhall meeting in New Jersey a townhall mob actually heckled and jeered a a woman in a wheelchair with two auto-immune diseases. Let's be very clear hear: That is appalling unacceptable behavior. America is better than that...
Let's also be very clear here on this fundamental moral idea: We can't expect to solve our very real health care problems if we are dispassionate towards the suffering of others. There but for the grace of God go I...
Posted by: koreyel on September 8, 2009 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Does anyone think Beck's paranoid rantings are just an innoculation against his eventual removal from FOX because he's hemorraging sponsors?"-Husker Blue

OMG I hope so!!!!!

Posted by: Always Hopeful on September 8, 2009 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lose the public option, lose the kids

NYT Comic


Posted by: koreyel on September 8, 2009 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

You know, Argentina has an incurable soft spot for woozy-minded romantic loons in politics.

If Mark Sanford could think straight for ten seconds he'd realize that if he moved to Argentina to be with his Soul Mate they'd elect him Pope.

Posted by: cld on September 8, 2009 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I mis-heard something, but according to Lawrence O'Donnell, (who I believe has a better sense of what is going on than anyone else), it sure sounds like Rahm Emanuel and others were never in the tank for Public Option, that Pelosi will just go through the motions and get dramatic, but it just won't fly because there was never enough wind behind any of it and worse yet, Universal Care was never even broached.

And he imagines some sort of internet revolt that others hadn't counted on.

We can only hope.

Posted by: Yes, Frank Rich-Obama has perhaps been punking us on September 8, 2009 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

More than half the Western forces in Afghanistan are mercenaries.

What other war has been fought like this?

And, here,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/07/AR2009090702242.html

the US is spending a $1 billion on private guards for its' military bases in Iraq.


It occurs to me that these mercenaries are going to be older men who have already been in the US military or some other military and if some conflict or disagreement boiled up between these guys and some enlisted men these guys would carry a lot of presumed street cred in the absence of an officer or someone who's been around the block.

There is a lot of crap these guys can get away with beyond drinking vodka out of one anothers' butts.

Posted by: cld on September 8, 2009 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

More than half the Western forces in Afghanistan are mercenaries.

What other war has been fought like this?

The Thirty Years War.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on September 9, 2009 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Universal Care was never even broached.

HR 676's been losing co-sponsors, with fewer in this Congress than the last one.

It was never broached because it never had the support of the leadership, and it never had the support of the leadership because it never had the support of the members.

It's not a bad bill -- it's a good bill -- but good bills die in committee, or never even get hearings held on them.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 9, 2009 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Beck thinks liberals might try to hurt him.

As momentarily nice as it would be to read about Beck being found face down in a dark alley, having bled out from a large-caliber exit wound, the worst "rodeo clown" in America has nothing to worry about - he's too worthless a piece of shit to be worthy of the effort. Or the risk.

Posted by: TCinLA on September 9, 2009 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Maybe I mis-heard something, but according to Lawrence O'Donnell, (who I believe has a better sense of what is going on than anyone else), it sure sounds like Rahm Emanuel and others were never in the tank for Public Option, that Pelosi will just go through the motions and get dramatic, but it just won't fly because there was never enough wind behind any of it..."

This is the meme from the weenies that the Progressives will have to vote for healthcare reform legislation without the Public Option because otherwise it weakens Obama weakens the party in 2010, but the Progressives should pass legislation with the Public Option and make the point that it will weaken Obama and the party in 2010 if the weenies don't vote for it. Put it on them.

Democratic voters will not be rushing to the polls in 2010 because the Democratic Congressional Majority passed something they just CALLED healthcare reform.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 9, 2009 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone think Beck's paranoid rantings are just an innoculation against his eventual removal from FOX because he's hemorraging sponsors?

No. I think they're an inoculation against him getting blamed when someone takes a shot at the president. He's pretending that this is a holy war and that both sides are threatening violence. He's a liar.

Posted by: shortstop on September 9, 2009 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

RE: Franken's US map

Does anyone have a video link where we can hear his words?

The carnival music is fun, but I want the full monty.

Posted by: Bob Johnson on September 9, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

,
Wow. So, it turns out that consumers are tired of getting f**ked by credit card companies. And under our non-competitive marketplace system, they've made their only other choice: NO!!!

Golly, if only workers could do the same thing to the employers who've been screwing them all these years. But that would mean loss of healthcare, and homelessness. Unless they had the brains & the balls to stage a general strike. But conservatards tell us that Americans don't, can't and shouldn't have or use brains & balls like the French, so nothing's going to happen, right?

Unless of course they're suddenly inspired by, like, a song or something.

Pick one.
.

Posted by: cosanostradamus on September 9, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

There is little conversation today about the facts concerning the sentences of the Pakistani's who were recently jailed in England, apparently the three of them were only the tip of the iceberg, the British were on to a large terrorist group, and had them all under close scrutiny at all times. Until - that is - Dick Cheney decided to make the whole thing public, enabling the majority of them to scatter, and just the three were caught. Makes the British very angry, also any future attacks by the rest of them could be because of Cheney's blundering.

Posted by: JS on September 9, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK
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