Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 11, 2009

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

* Diplomatic progress: "The United States and five partner countries have accepted Iran's new offer to hold talks, even though Iran insists it will not negotiate over its disputed nuclear program, the State Department said Friday."

* I think CNN screwed this up: "Radio traffic about a Coast Guard training exercise Friday led to erroneous television news reports that guardsmen had fired on a recreational boat in the Potomac River, near where President Obama was remembering the 9/11 attacks, a senior Coast Guard official said."

* Congressional Democrats are not on board with the administration's policy in Afghanistan.

* House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told CNN this morning that a public option will be in the House bill "in some form."

* Remember to wash those hands: "Influenza is circulating unusually early this year with cases in all 50 states -- nearly all the swine flu variety, government health officials said Friday."

* Uh oh: "For liberal Democrats unhappy with the way Max Baucus is handling health care reform, here's another dose of bad news: He's got his hands on climate and energy, too. Behind closed doors, Sen. Baucus has been staking his claim on major aspects of the climate bill, including financing for a cap-and-trade system."

* Will Vladimir Putin run for president again in 2012? It seems like a safe bet.

* It seems hard to believe, but there's a new poll showing Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) trailing his Democratic opponent in the wake of Wilson's "you lie" outburst. In the meantime, censure is still on the table in the House.

* Two-thirds of the members of the South Carolina Republican Party's executive committee wants Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign.

* On a related note, "What's the matter with South Carolina?"

* Jesse Singal 1, Camille Paglia 0.

* Americans United for Change launches a hard-hitting ad in support of health care reform.

* A right-wing rally in D.C. is scheduled to take place tomorrow, organized in part by Fox News. Estimates vary widely on expected crowd size -- I've seen everything from 20,000 (from conservatives trying to lower expectations) to 2 million (from liberals trying to raise expectations).

* Warren Buffett, the world's second richest man, would love to see Democrats raise taxes on the wealthy.

* A worthwhile PSA: "First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will urge Americans to support military families in a public service announcement that will be broadcast on Friday in baseball stadiums across the country, the White House announced."

* Another focus group that liked President Obama's health care speech.

* Much to my disappointment, it appears that Bradley Schlozman will avoid prosecution.

* Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has an awful habit of touting stimulus money after bashing stimulus money, while pretending it's not stimulus money.

* Michael Kinsley lands at The Atlantic.

* And finally, I'm starting to think Pat Buchanan might be a bigot. Try to contain your surprise.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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And finally, I'm starting to think Pat Buchanan might be a bigot. Try to contain your surprise.

Pat Buchanan could go on the air (pick a network) and scream into the camera "I fuckin' hate ni***** and Hitler should have finished the job!" and it still wouldn't get him kicked off the air, apparently. He's a disgrace to humanity -- no, scratch that. He's a disgrace to the toilet mold he's composed of. But, of course, our "liberal media" will keep booking him on the teevee. Seems there's no level of "low" the bar can be set to that producers won't find a way to ooze him under.

Posted by: electrolite on September 11, 2009 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK


what's the matter with south carolina?

real americans have been asking that question since 1775..

Posted by: mr. irony on September 11, 2009 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding Afghanistan, I hope the Democratic leaders aren't overlooking the larger strategic issues involved. These days Afghanistan and Pakistan are pretty much joined at the hip as far as their Taliban problems go. If the Taliban manage to re-take control of Afghanistan, you can bet they'll start up their campaign in Pakistan again. They'll have the perfect springboard for crossing the border at will so why wouldn't they?

Keep in mind that Pakistan has working nuclear weapons so it really would be a big deal if the Taliban got their hands on those. So by keeping them under control in Afghanistan we're really saving ourselves and the world from a horrific potential problem. That's one good reason to keep fighting.

What really worries me is when supposedly experienced politicians say things like, "Finally, Mr. Levin said the administration needed to adopt a plan to separate low- and midlevel insurgents from hard-core Taliban fighters and commanders."

Oookay, so we just look for the guys with "Hard-core Taliban" tattooed on their foreheads and take them out while leaving everybody else alone, or what exactly? As far as I know the Taliban don't wear uniforms, they look pretty much like everybody else already. Not a very coherent strategy, Mr. Levin.

There really is a legitimate strategic issue in keeping the Taliban down. Not to mention that they are merciless religious fanatics who butcher women without a second thought and make our own homegrown extremists look like total pussycats by comparison. We really need to not screw this up, because if we do the aftermath will be very unpleasant indeed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on September 11, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Good for Jesse Singal. Camille (Re)puglia has turned into one of the most complete, smugly snarky, fake liberal/fake Democrat, tripe-spewing pseudo-intellectual assholes in the world. Just a jerk now through and through.

Posted by: N e i l B on September 11, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding what's wrong with South Carolina .. I like Helen's point of view. http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/a-buttload-of-moolah/

Posted by: Lisaintexas on September 11, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Drudge is trumpeting the shooting death of a pro-life activist, but there was a second death and the story isn't that simple:
http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2009/09/police_say_second_apparent_hom.html

Posted by: Ne il B ♪♫ on September 11, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

I loved this comment by Carroll Campbell in Politico about South Carolina's Republican contingent:

"Carroll Campbell III, the son of the popular late governor and a Republican exploring his own bid for Congress next year, suggested Wilson's behavior may have resonated with a powerful conservative base frustrated by its MINORITY STATUS."

When are these Republicans going to realise they are in a "minority status" because last November, American voters voted the Democrats into "majority status"?

Why does the entire Republican Party think the results of last year's elections should just be disregarded because they lost? The sense of entitlement they have continues to amaze me!

The voters disregarded Republicans because we had just spent eight long years under Republican misrule or unrule. The Republicans want to WIN elections but they do not want to govern.

I sometimes wish the South HAD won the Civil War and split off. Life might be a lot better these days.


Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on September 11, 2009 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Clamille Paglia reminds me of Betsy McCaughey.

She's got her schtick and she's schtickin' with it.

Posted by: cld on September 11, 2009 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

On a related note, "What's the matter with South Carolina?"

South Carolina continues to act entirely "in character."

The colony changed for the worse when the Barbadian Pirates arrived in Charleston in 1715, having been driven from Barbados. They brought their black slaves and their white supremacist beliefs (which had never before been a part of slavery in America), as well as their piratical view of the world: "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine too if I want it." This was the founding of "Southernism."

South Carolina has always been the most resistant of the states. They were mostly collaborators with the British (Tarleton's Legion was entirely composed of South Carolinians), despite the mythology of Francis Marion the Swamp fox - who never represented mor than a tiny minority of the colonists.

Under the leadership of John C. Calhoun, South Carolina led the charge to get the Cherokee Nation uprooted and shipped off to the Oklahoma Territory after the discovery of gold in the Charokee Nation (which composed a substantial area of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia).

We can skip over Calhoun's advocacy of secession and his attempts to destroy the country and leap right to the act of Grand Treason in 1860, when South Carolina led the secessionists. South Carolina was also a hotbed of the Jim Crow laws following the Civil War.

Sadly, during the Civil War, when the Union troops got there, they destroyed as much as they could, but they failed to break the bricks and salt the land, which should have been done.

South Carolina continues to this day to prove "you can't fix stupid."

Posted by: TCinLA on September 11, 2009 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Schlozman only made a mockery of Justice, ran off the liberals and replaced them with incompetent "Loyal Bushies" in violation of every civil service law imaginable and then lied about it to Congress.

Can't imagine why anyone would want to see him prosecuted.

Thanks again, Mr. Holder, for once again proving that Justice is indeed blind.

Posted by: UnEasyOne on September 11, 2009 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Camille (Re)puglia has turned into one of the most complete, smugly snarky, fake liberal/fake Democrat, tripe-spewing pseudo-intellectual assholes in the world. Just a jerk now through and through.

Um, when was she not?

Posted by: Disputo on September 11, 2009 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will urge Americans to support military families in a public service announcement that will be broadcast on Friday in baseball stadiums across the country...

Public? Service?? That's Communism! Big Mother is watching you!

Posted by: Grumpy on September 11, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Remember to wash those hands: "Influenza is circulating unusually early this year with cases in all 50 states -- nearly all the swine flu variety, government health officials said Friday."

As usual, Google Flu Trends has beat them to the punch.

Posted by: Disputo on September 11, 2009 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, TCinLA, for the history lesson.

Factual affirmation of what we always believed, without knowing exactly why we believed it.

And the origins of those "Forget, Hell!" mudflaps on their pickup trucks. . .

Posted by: DAY on September 11, 2009 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Clam-eel.

Paglia-want-a-cracker.


Feels better just to say it.

Posted by: cld on September 11, 2009 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Censure: a play in one act

Act 1

Protagonist: We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Antagonist: You lie!

Epilogue

Narrator: If you don't censure every professional organization from the ABA to the NBA will have higher performance standards than the House of Representatives. That's unacceptable. Bring on the demerits and the dunce cap.

[Curtains Drop]

Posted by: koreyel on September 11, 2009 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Look at that Google Flu Tracker,

http://www.google.org/flutrends/intl/en_us/


Note how the flu is radiating outward from those states with the highest percentage of uninsured.

Posted by: cld on September 11, 2009 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Abraham Lincoln's insistence that the Confederate states should be brought back into the Union by force of arms left us with 618,000 dead, an inexhaustible supply of sore losers, fundamentalists, and bigots as well as a continuous drain on the national economy. Let them secede. Better yet: take their politicians at their words and do them the favor of kicking them out. We'll be better off without them.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on September 11, 2009 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Dude, getting sick of getting sick from swine flu.

Just what we needed, more flu in the world.

Posted by: Crissa on September 11, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

THE BEST THING I HEARD ALL GODDAMN WEEK!
(and it was in the Wall Street Journal, fer chirst sake! via Shakespeare's Sister:)

The Wall Street Journal reported, regarding the oral arguments over Citizens United, that "Justice Sotomayor went further, suggesting that the court's error was not in upholding limits on corporate speech, but its far earlier decisions that first granted corporations the legal status of persons."

...JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: [W]hat you are suggesting is that the courts who created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons, and there could be an argument made that that was the Court's error to start with, not Austin or McConnell, but the fact that the Court imbued a creature of State law with human characteristics.

Posted by: neill on September 11, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

I have never before heard anyone in a comparable position make such a statement, or even consider it.

Posted by: cld on September 11, 2009 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Cantankerous liberal says...

Dennis-SGMM:

Take their politicians at their words and do them the favor of kicking them out. We'll be better off without them.

Cantankerous liberal:

No. For two reasons:
1) We may need a pool of cheap labor going forward to compete globally. The South's combination of ignorance, poverty, fundamentalism, and red patriotism assures of us a reliable pool of individuals.
2) You never know when a country will need to raise a million man army in a heartbeat. The South's combination of ignorance, poverty, fundamentalism, and red patriotism assures of us a reliable pool of individuals.


Posted by: Cantankerous liberal on September 11, 2009 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Another climate blog.

Today's message: the Arctic is warming (detailed critique of a post of Watt's Up); most of effect of warming is in the winter because the latent heat of melting buffers the summer effect.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on September 11, 2009 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

South Carolina: Remember Fort Sumter. That wasn't even the first seizure of a US military installation. Apologists can't argue that the South simply declared an intent to secede and "the North" declard war: the Confederacy made the first acts of military aggression against the United States of America. Some "Patriots" now, calling anyone a traitor who didn't support Bush actions, "you don't love America" etc. Now, not so sure I guess about war now that it isn't a Repub calling the shots.

Posted by: delver on September 11, 2009 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

* Warren Buffett, the world's second richest man, would love to see Democrats raise taxes on the wealthy.

Yet he avoids paying taxes, taking advantage of present deductions. If tax rates are raised, his investment portfolio increases its competitive advantage.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on September 11, 2009 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I am so proud of Sonia Sotomayor, for challenging the legal personhood of corporations! Good girl! A wise Latina indeed!

BTW, that SCOTUS decision wasn't even supposed to say that, it is argued well by Jim Hightower that a clerk wrote a headnote wrongly summarizing the case. Note misgivings of Lincoln, yet another reason for South Carolinians to hate him:

http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/664

How a clerical error made corporations “people”

There’s a historic date that our country ought to mark every year, which has had as great an impact on the world as the July 4th birth of American democracy itself. The date is May 10, 1886—the day corporate supremacy was born. It came about through a court case that breathed life into these artificial, anti-democratic entities—a move that effectively gave corporations greater power than We the People.
...
In an 1864 letter to his friend Col. William Elkins, Lincoln wrote: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of war.”
...
The mistake came in the writing of a “headnote” to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1886 decision in an obscure tax case called Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. (I’ll not burden you with any minutiae from this case, which involved, of all things, the county’s right to tax some of the railroad’s fence posts.)
...

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on September 11, 2009 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Deep cantankerous thought on censure

"Spare the rod, spoil the child" is a family value.

Posted by: koreyel on September 11, 2009 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

2009 is illustrative:

Arctic temps above average in winter, at or below average in summer.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on September 11, 2009 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Behind closed doors, Sen. Baucus has been staking his claim on major aspects of the climate bill, including financing for a cap-and-trade system.

All of the senators from the major coal-producing or coal-consuming states have expressed "reservations" about cap-and-trade. What were you expecting?

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on September 11, 2009 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Go to Huffpo and read BILL MAHER's latest post. I guarantee that it is worth the trip.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 11, 2009 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Maher:I love Obama's civility in the face of such contumely, his desire to work with his enemies, it's positively Christ-like. In college, he was probably the guy at the dorm parties who made sure the stoners shared their pot with the jocks. But we don't need that guy now. We need an asshole.

Or at least a prick.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 11, 2009 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Behind closed doors, Sen. Baucus has been staking his claim on major aspects of the climate bill ...

K-Y anyone?

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 11, 2009 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Two-thirds of the members of the South Carolina Republican Party's executive committee wants Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign.

So, the Lord has told Governor Mark Sanford that s/he wants him to stay in office, but then forgot to inform not only five dozen Republican members of the State House, but also two thirds of the members of the South Carolina Republican Party's executive committee?

Either there are an awful lot of South Carolina Republicans the Lord doesn't talk to, or the voice the governor has been hearing in his head must have been that of an impostor.

(I'm aware that this is a sort of rerun of a recent comment, but this God-told-me-to-do-it nonsense among pols warrants ridicule wherever possible.)

Posted by: SRW1 on September 11, 2009 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Schlozman decision more than disappointments me, it makes me furious. Rethugs believe that compliance with law is optional. Democrats enable this behavior whenever possible. My contempt for politicians as vile scum remains unabated.

Posted by: Chopin on September 11, 2009 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Currently Rob Miller appears to have collected $995,000 from nearly 26,700 contributors, or about $37 per person. I have to say that sending a small contribution to Miller (and earlier likewise to Tinklenberg) were downright enjoyable ways to respond to republican obnoxiousness. Perhaps it is just me, but it feels like a major change in how to make loud collective grassroots political statements (I hope Miller has more success than Tinklenberg, though.) Thanks to the internet I learned who Wilson's opponent mere moments after learning Wilson's name, then quickly learned enough to hope that Miller was worth spending a little money on, and had a donation phoned in just a few minutes later. That felt very good, even without knowing whether anyone else was doing the same thing (at that point he'd only collected about $25k). Every democratic candidate should be so lucky as to have an opponent as toxic as Wilson.

Posted by: N.Wells on September 11, 2009 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we should just ignore Camille Paglia. I've hated her for decades and never waste any time reading her garbage. I love how she continues to profess to be a "liberal" while constant waxing effusive about right wing talk radio.

Hey, Camille: You know you're not a liberal when...

Every time you post something for a liberal blog you get hundreds of comments from conservatives that say pretty much the same thing: Hey, you're kinda nifty for a liberal.

And about Buchanan: It's about time Color of Change launched a crusade against him...just sayin' what's good for the fox is good for the...msnbc. It's a disgrace that any msm outlet should employ a bigot like that. The fact that it employs Rachel, Ed and Keith does not redeem it from the employment of Pat.

Posted by: ajaye on September 12, 2009 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Neil B wrote:

In an 1864 letter to his friend Col. William Elkins, Lincoln wrote: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.

Agree with the view of the quote, but it was never uttered or written by Lincoln.

See snopes

Posted by: lobbygow on September 12, 2009 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

On a related note, "What's the matter with South Carolina?

Shorter article: "They are racists who will do anything to undermine the uppity black man in the White House"

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 12, 2009 at 6:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm waiting (but not holding my breath until I turn Blue) for some of our Southern Friends here to respond to our snark, and post a defense of hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.

-Oh, wait: so few of them know how to read, let alone write. . .

Posted by: DAY on September 12, 2009 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

And finally, I'm starting to think Pat Buchanan might be a bigot.

The thought is late in coming to you, Gandalf.

Posted by: Saruman on September 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK
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