Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 9, 2009

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

* Quite a scene in Mexico City today: "The hijacking of a commercial airliner carrying 104 passengers ended peacefully Wednesday when five to seven people were taken into custody at Mexico City's airport."

* Quite a scene in Kunduz yesterday: "Stephen Farrell, a New York Times reporter held captive by militants in northern Afghanistan, was freed in a military commando raid early Wednesday, but his Afghan interpreter was killed during the rescue effort."

* Iran: "American intelligence agencies have concluded in recent months that Iran has enough nuclear fuel to make a rapid, if risky, sprint for sufficient enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. But in a series of briefings to President Obama, they say they believe the country is still holding off on taking the last critical steps in designing a sophisticated bomb."

* The Supreme Court heard arguments today in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205.

* The Federal Reserve believes there's enough economic activity in the U.S. to suggest the recession may be over.

* House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked today about the absence of the Republican health care plan. He dodged the question.

* Five dozen Republicans in the South Carolina state legislature called on Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign.

* Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is sounding pretty enthusiastic about pursuing health care reform through reconciliation.

* Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) wants President Obama to take the public option off the table. 

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will not replace Ted Kennedy as the chair of the Senate HELP Committee, but will instead remain chairman of the Banking Committee. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will instead take Kennedy's place.

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.) said Republicans will not accept a "trigger" as a compromise move on the public option.

* A major new coalition gets to work on getting a climate and energy bill passed this year.

* Greg Sargent unveils some cool new tools at Who Runs Gov, including a "Health Care Reform Tracker" and a new "Moderated Wiki" for its profiles of D.C. power players. Both look like they're going to be useful applications (which I'll probably be using often).

* Low college graduation rates are bad for the country. Why isn't this talked about more?

* Nice find from Lindsay Beyerstein on the Tea Baggers' bus company and its work during the Katrina crisis.

* It's amusing that during the Bush administration, Bill O'Reilly didn't think the White House had enough "czars."

* Tell the truth, is anyone surprised that Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) is a birther?

* The line between parody and reality among right-wing activists is easily blurred.

* Olbermann walks back his request for Glenn Beck info.

* And finally, if all goes according to plan, I'll be live-blogging the president's speech tonight. See you in two-and-a-half hours.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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Comments

I just watched some idiot named Jake Tapper talking to Charlie Rose, saying about Obama's address to students that suspicions were out there that Obama was trying to enroll them in a partisan army and tut-tutting that the White House was caught flat footed when the MSM blew up the issue. No kidding. The role of the fourth estate is to challenge rumour mongering, Jakie. When it doesn't do its job, we are all caught flat footed.

When Bill O'Reilly came to Toronto, he got out of a position by quoting the "Paris Business Review." After checking, the Canadian Broadcasting Company let viewers know there is no PBR. When that blond female wingnut (skinny, looks like a right fielder from the minors) came to Toronto, she tried to tell the CBC interviewer that Canada supported the Vietnam War. The interviewer set her straight, which put her nose out of joint.

Maybe ABC would like to send Jake Tapper to a training session in Toronto to learn how to stop people exploiting him by rumour mongering.

Posted by: Bob M on September 9, 2009 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

"The Supreme Court heard arguments today in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205"

I listened to the arguments on C-SPAN. More importantly, I listened to the justices' questions on C-SPAN. It was clear that their minds were made up. The outcome will be 5-4 in favor of eliminating limitations on corporate expenditures in political campaigns. No doubt about it. The result will be that our extreme form of plutocracy will soon be an absolute plutocracy.

Posted by: Chris on September 9, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Irreconcilable question of the day

Would republicans be negotiating away the farm with a democratic party version of Olympia Snowe if the situation were reversed?

Posted by: koreyel on September 9, 2009 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

* The Federal Reserve believes there's enough economic activity in the U.S. to suggest the recession may be over. -- Steve Benen

The financial sector's (Wall Street) point of view and mine (Main Street) don't, quite, align. When businesses stop laying people off in thousands, when those looking for a full-time job are able to find a suitable one within 3 months... Then, and only then, will I believe that the recession is over. Bankers buying and selling fake paper, to the detriment of everyone else, don't make me hopeful *or* impressed.

Posted by: exlibra on September 9, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

20 to one on a 5/4 decision for ciizens united.

any takers?

Posted by: mellowjohn on September 9, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

re: End of recession.
Perhaps Churchill's remarks about the battle of El Alamein are appropriate ("...the end of the beginning.)?

Posted by: Doug on September 9, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK
suspicions were out there that Obama was trying to enroll them in a partisan army

Dumbledore's Army

(you Potter-heads will understand)

Posted by: Michael W on September 9, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

oliver's army?

Posted by: mellowjohn on September 9, 2009 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Low college graduation rates are bad for the country. Why isn't this talked about more?

Because it's an important issue.

Now if you were to start a rumor that graduation rates are dropping because Obama operatives are kidnapping students and forcing them to go to indoctrination camps then it would be covered.

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 9, 2009 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Five dozen Republicans in the South Carolina state legislature called on Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign.

Sounds like Gov Sanford's proselytizing the C Street creed isn't catching on. The poor man just doesn't seem to be able to catch a break.

Maybe God really told him to hang in there, but then he sure doesn't seem to talk to these five dozen Republicans.

Posted by: SRW1 on September 9, 2009 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I live for live-blogging! Thanks Steve Benen!

You should be on TV!

Oh wait... You are!

Posted by: MissMudd on September 9, 2009 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Drudge is working so hard to derail health reform, I wonder if he's directly in some company pockets and not just an overall rightwingnut? Latest: Not enough Dem votes even in House, but that seems to count from both ends (anti and pro public option.)

I want Olbermann to keep on the Beck detail. See this, even from 2006, including "jewfish":

http://mediamatters.org/research/200605030014

Google for the combinations and get some scoop.

Posted by: delver on September 9, 2009 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'll be live-blogging the president's speech tonight.

From the excerpts, it looks like his speech may have some stirring moments, but his actual proposals will be limited to insurance reform and not health care reform.

Posted by: qwerty on September 9, 2009 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

"* Tell the truth, is anyone surprised that Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) is a birther?"

When I see a person has (R-State) after their name, I'm surprised if they're **not**.

Posted by: Shade Tail on September 9, 2009 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Citizens United has valid points, however the system is damaged by the dominance of Fascism. The Court doesn't seem to recognise the corruption.They join with the Congress in their fear of overthrowing the status quo.

Posted by: tom on September 9, 2009 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Re: Citizens United case: what don't these justices understand about corporations not being persons that can vote? And what about multi-national corporations? Do they get to "vote" with their dollars in every country they have a presence in? We don't let foreign nationals have a say in politics in this country.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on September 9, 2009 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

This is the first time I saw that video of the woman upset about Obama's speech. I strongly suspect that she is deliberately parodying the right wing points. There is no way on earth that a parent would go on about giving their children diabetes if they were sincere. There is no way in hell that anyone would claim that "studying hard" was the slippery slope to Marxism or Nazism or whatever it was. That had to be a put up job. She had to be making fun of the wingnuttery that is going around.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on September 10, 2009 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK
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