Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 5, 2009

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

* Afghanistan: "Groups of tribal militia attacked two American outposts in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, the American military said, killing eight American soldiers and two Afghan police officers in a bold attack that was the deadliest for American soldiers in months."

* Pakistan: "A suicide bomber blew himself up Monday in the lobby of the U.N. food agency in Islamabad, killing three people just a day after the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban vowed fresh attacks to avenge U.S missile strikes in the northwest, police and witnesses said."

* Will the Senate Finance Committee vote on a health care reform bill tomorrow? Almost certainly not, and delays from the CBO may delay a vote until next week.

* Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants advice from commanders to the president to be private and confidential.

* Vaccinations against the H1N1 flu virus will be limited but available this week, but unless you're a medical professional, you probably shouldn't bother trying to get it right away.

* Plutonium Page had a good item last night on where things stand with Iran's nuclear program and international efforts.

* The Federal Trade Commission finds new reasons to scrutinize bloggers who take fees to review goods and services. (thanks to B.D. for the tip)

* Nearly two dozen House liberals are on board with a bill to prohibit the administration from sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

* Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor isn't impressed with what the Roberts Court is doing to some of the precedents she helped establish.

* President Obama will speak on Saturday at the annual dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group.

* MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, watching Rush Limbaugh celebrate the U.S. Olympic bid defeat, noted on the air this morning that mainstream voters watching the radio host must think, "My God, the Republicans have gone off the deep-end."

* Is modern technology actually helping college students to become better writers? It's a debatable point.

* State lawmakers in South Carolina still want Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign.

* House GOP leaders really don't like net neutrality.

* If you haven't seen it, Ryan Lizza's big New Yorker piece on Larry Summers & Co. is online.

* The The New Republic helped professional liar Betsy McCaughey in her efforts to destroy Clinton's health care reform. This week, the magazine makes amends.

* Bill Frist begins to walk back his support for health care reform.

* Fox News ran an online correction about a claim in one of its smear jobs against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings. Will any of the network's on-air personalities follow suit?

* In related news, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is directing his ire towards Jennings. Given his background, that's not a good idea.

* And over the last few days, there's been more than a little debate in conservative circles right now about the role and influence of right-wing voices like Limbaugh and Beck.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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

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Oh my God - The wingnuts are going to delete and change parts of the bible because it is too liberal, they say they want to get it back to it's conservative beginnings!!!!!!!

Posted by: JS on October 5, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Anything that DailyKos and RedState agree on should be a political no-brainer.

Any good arguments against net neutrality? I haven't heard one yet.

Posted by: inkadu on October 5, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

I would love to see Glenn Beck fired. In our area, the only ads that I see on his show are the cable provider Comcast, that basement repair company Matthews Wall Anchor, and the post it note people with the lady crawling on the floor in her suit looking for her name badge.
That's not many?

Joe Scarborough is doing a nice job of calling out Republicans, and today the illustrious and celebrated journalist Katrina vande Heuval from The Nation Magazine was a participant on the show.

It would be wonderful if Katrina became a regular, and even Mika Brezinski's replacement.
What an articulate, beautiful person Katrina is.
So intelligent, such a warm smile.

Mika has become too controlling of the conversation and rejects talk of non-political subjects. She also interrupts way too often, is dismissive, and almost rude. I have heard similar comments about her overbearing style. Too much of the ah's and oohs, and other annoying utterances--a transcript of the program really shows how often she makes her single word utterances. All in all, she comes across as both bossy and superficial. Seems overly concerned with her clothing of the day.
Hyper-caffeinated maybe--sometimes during Willie Geist's "Way Too Early" show she can be seen getting makeup applied from the staffers, and she routinely looks quite miserable and irritated.

Her father is pretty impressive.

Posted by: forty thousand thoughts on October 5, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"there's been more than a little debate in conservative circles right now about the role and influence of right-wing voices like Limbaugh and Beck."
Why does nobody ever point out that the Republican primary voters selected McCain even though all the right-wing blowhards (Limbaugh, Coulter, etc.) vehemently opposed McCain ? If even the bulk of their own party rejected their views, then why should they be considered as speaking for their party, much less the "mainstream" ?

Posted by: H-Bob on October 5, 2009 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Frist ... what a leader he was/is!

ReThuglicans like him and Tom Delay are getting really good at walking/dancing backwards.

Posted by: Cal Gal on October 5, 2009 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Frist--famous as being the doctor making a diagnosis from a remote location (the Senate Floor) of a VIDEOTAPE of a brain-injured, blind woman....he, later made a fool of by the autopsy report, ...clearly overstepping his bounds with other Republicans in a private family matter,
these politicians who hypocritically demand *small government.*

Posted by: forty thousand thoughts on October 5, 2009 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

* Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor isn't impressed with what the Roberts Court is doing to some of the precedents she helped establish.

tough sh*t, sandra.

you had your to chance to influence events and you chose the wrong path by installing The Chimp instead of allowing the votes to be counted which would have resulted in a Gore victory and thus you would not have seen roberts or alito installed and thus your prior decisions would not be overturned at the rate that they are being overturned by those two and that fat greasy scalia and his puppet thomas.

WHOOPS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: too late so sad too bad on October 5, 2009 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor isn't impressed with what the Roberts Court is doing to some of the precedents she helped establish."

Time Magazine had a devastating article on her behavior in 2000. She delayed retiring so GWB could become president, and later, during his presidency, warned that the U.S. was becoming a dictatorship.

Posted by: regrets, i've had a few on October 5, 2009 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says that some of the rulings she helped shape on "abortion rights, campaign finance and government race-based policies" are being "dismantled" under a more conservative court.

Maybe she should have thought of that before retiring while George W. Bush was President.

Posted by: what kos said on October 5, 2009 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone notice how Iraq has faded from the news cycles, as if the mission was accomplished, supplanted by the deteriorating quagmire of Afghanistan?

We have spent untold trillions on these conflicts.

In two days we will observe the 8th anniversary of our foray into Afghanistan.

Exit now. Spend those trillions on health care and jobs in this country.

We say we fight over there so that the bad guys can't get us here.

They already have. The war on terror is their victory, the illusion that waging war will vanquish the enemy.

Folks, if our economy was robust we could afford the Pentagon's obscene budget.

We are bombing ghosts.

Let's wage peace. It's a lot harder but much more effective.

Yeah, yeah, you hawks will call me a wuss, but, seriously, what IS vistory in Iraq? In Afghanistan?

Our permanent bases will be our only enduring legacy in both countries.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 5, 2009 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

House GOP leaders really don't like net neutrality.

There are few issues that are so clear-cut with the interests of the public and even the long-term interests of the business community on one side and the short-term profits of a few large corporations on the other. The fact that Republicans are on the side of the few large corporations tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the GOP.

In an updated version of the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs, they'd be the ones who brought the electric carving knife.

Posted by: Redshift on October 5, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor isn't impressed with what the Roberts Court is doing to some of the precedents she helped establish.

Well judge O'Conner, can't say that some of the precedents you helped establish were all that impressive. I'm especially thinking of the one in 2000 in Bush v Gore. What's that, that wasn't a precedent. Ah right, its OK to muck it up if you declare that it's not to be taken as a precedent.

Sorry judge, you were an integral part of the gang of five that besmirched the reputation of the Supreme Court in the most unconscionable decision of living memory. That stain ain't gonna wash off. The new gang of five is only finishing what you helped start. Live with it.

Posted by: SRW1 on October 5, 2009 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

No surprise on King. The Family Research Council is his largest backer, and he go-to group for what remains of the Republican Party in Iowa, although the minority group that still puts more importance on tax breaks for millionaires wishes it wasn't so.

And H-Bob, try David Brooks' latest column in the NYT. He makes the exact point, and as we know, he's hardly a liberal. Bobo wannabe, maybe.

Posted by: ericfree on October 5, 2009 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

The first couple of paragraphs from Evan Thomas and Mike Isikoff in Newsweek, 12/25/00--
in their "essay "The Truth Behind the Pillars..."
I was stunned when I read this about Sandra Day O'Connor:

" Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and her husband, John, a Washington lawyer, have long been comfortable on the cocktail and charity-ball circuit. So at an election-night party on Nov. 7, surrounded for the most part by friends and familiar acquaintances, she let her guard drop for a moment when she heard the first critical returns shortly before 8 p.m. Sitting in her hostess's den, staring at a small black-and-white television set, she visibly startled when CBS anchor Dan Rather called Florida for Al Gore. "This is terrible," she exclaimed. She explained to another partygoer that Gore's reported victory in Florida meant that the election was "over," since Gore had already carried two other swing states, Michigan and Illinois."

"Moments later, with an air of obvious disgust, she rose to get a plate of food, leaving it to her husband to explain her somewhat uncharacteristic outburst. John O'Connor said his wife was upset because they wanted to retire to Arizona, and a Gore win meant they'd have to wait another four years. O'Connor, the former Republican majority leader of the Arizona State Senate and a 1981 Ronald Reagan appointee, did not want a Democrat to name her successor. Two witnesses described this extraordinary scene to NEWSWEEK. Responding through a spokesman at the high court, O'Connor had no comment."

"O'Connor had no way of knowing, as she watched the early returns, that election night would end in deadlock and confusion--or that five weeks later she would play a direct and decisive role in the election of George W. Bush. O'Connor could not possibly have foreseen that she would be one of two swing votes in the court's 5-4 decision ending the manual recount in Florida and forcing Al Gore to finally concede defeat. But her remarks will fuel criticism that the justices not only "follow the election returns," as the old saying goes, but, in the case of George W. Bush v. Albert Gore, Jr., sought to influence them."

"Since the high court is supposed to be above politics, guaranteeing a government of laws, not men, partisanship is a base charge to level against a justice. Even the most caustic critics last week were reluctant to directly accuse individual justices of putting narrow party interests before constitutional principle. Speaking carefully (he will have to face the justices again in future cases), Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe danced around the question last week in an interview with NEWSWEEK. The court's opinion was "peculiar and bizarre," said Tribe, who argued on Gore's behalf the first time the high court considered the case two weeks ago. The justices, he said elliptically, were "driven by something other than what was visible on the face of the opinions."

"But what? It is a tricky business to read the minds of Supreme Court justices, who operate in one of the last truly secret precincts in Washington. From hints and sometimes murky signals, one must try to divine the true motivations of the High Nine. .."

Posted by: regrets, i've had a few on October 5, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Paul Krugman has a good point today, speaking about the Republicans:

"...Cheers erupted" at the headquarters of the conservative Weekly Standard, according to a blog post by a member of the magazine’s staff, with the headline "Obama loses! Obama loses!"
Rush Limbaugh declared himself "gleeful."
"World Rejects Obama," gloated the Drudge Report. And so on.

So what did we learn from this moment? For one thing, we learned that the modern conservative movement, which dominates the modern Republican Party, has the emotional maturity
of a bratty 13-year-old.

But more important, the episode illustrated an essential truth about the state of American politics: at this point, the guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it — whether or not it’s good for America."

Posted by: Republican spite pure and simple on October 5, 2009 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

As Jed wrote on daily kos, "...Instead, Chicago didn't win out. Compared to eight years of failure on the economy, Iraq, and Afghanistan, it was a pretty small defeat. In the end, the most memorable thing about it will be the partisan, mean-spirited response by the American right..."

Posted by: True on October 5, 2009 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Who needs Repug opposition when you have Dem House trying to block anything the President tries to do on Afghanistan? The 2 dozen of them can go to Hell.

Posted by: cat on October 5, 2009 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer was really ragging on Obama about waiting for G-20 to reveal the 2nd Iranian nuke site, instead of at the UN as CK said he should have. Well, maybe, but CK implies that Sarkozy knew as well, and was irritated at Obama for withholding. So then, why didn't Sarkozy tell everyone?

Also, Krauthammer and kin keep picking on Obama about Afghanistan and Iraq etc, but don't clearly defend what a good alternative would be. And BTW, BushCo left Obama with no good alternatives anyway.

BTW, http://www.talisiorder.ca/drupal/ is a "must see" blog, very sobering and toughly written. Too bad it's got that cynicism about whether we can achieve.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on October 5, 2009 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

What does Andrew Sullivan rag on Human Rights Campaign so much?

Posted by: Neil B ♫ ♪ on October 5, 2009 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

When you look at the interests aligned against net neutrality...that's all you need to know in order to support it.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on October 5, 2009 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Wake up and smell the Joe

Joe Scarborough: "My God, the Republicans have gone off the deep-end."

Oh please.
Anybody remember Joe's anger when Limbaugh said months ago that he hopes Obama fails?

Me neither. Joe smells opportunity in defending Obama's efforts just now. He is a pure opportunist. He will say whatever he has to say to advance his career. Today he is the statesman-contrarian, tomorrow he will be making hay by reaping Obama from behind.

Posted by: koreyel on October 5, 2009 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Goodness gracious me! How could you (Benen) have, possibly, missed this particular morsel? I know you read the Hill (I got my directions to there from here). This is hilarious. And long overdue, too:


Posted by: exlibra on October 5, 2009 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding H1N1, NPR ran a piece this morning with various experts and they're actually advising people with asthma to not get the vaccine yet. Right now, it's only available as a spray (Flu Mist) that can itself trigger an asthma attack, so it's safer for asthmatics to wait for the shot.

Just a little PSA.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 5, 2009 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

What does Andrew Sullivan rag on Human Rights Campaign so much? Posted by: Neil B ♫ ♪ on October 5, 2009 at 8:52 PM

A lot of people soured on HRC after the Prop 8 campaign, in which HRCs strategy in its leading role was widely panned as timid, unfocused, wishy-washy and ineffective. The concern was that because of HRCs name recognition and prominence, they were getting all of the money and not using it efficiently; another concern was that HRCs Prop 8 campaign was viewed as all but hiding homosexuality and instead running on vague, happy-talk themes, which many activists believe makes things worse in the long-run by perpetuating the stigma, as if there is something to be so ashamed of that even HRC kept it in the background.

Sullivan was one of the highest profile voices to really rake HRC during and after the Prop 8 campaign. I'm not from Cali, so I'm not in the best position to take a side on this debate, but to this outsider, it sure looks like the anti-HRC people have a point about HRC becoming too establishment, too much about talking and not doing, too protective of its seat at the table to rock the boat.

Posted by: zeitgeist on October 6, 2009 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

If you happen to watch an entire Glenn Beck show, what is striking is the half hour straight delivery of loose associations, the desperate freakish need to find and then deny the attempt to suggest conspiracy links, repetitive attempts to tie words such as 'social justice' or'addressing poverty' to "unamerican" movements, all the while denying anything other than trying to merely understand it all, explaining in his shiny bright expensive that he has a mere 60 or 70 hours of college, and dropped out, and is just a regular guy like you (you undereducated, fearful masses listening, with 'citizen mom' or dad' code words) then dragging out the 'white like me' innuendoes every few seconds, digging up some video of a non-white american talking about poverty solutions, a stealthy agenda or community organizing, and linking that person to his fears of the democrats, but claiming not to be linking him, then, with yet more loosely associated themes, saying he, Glenn Beck, did not celebrate and cheer because Chicago lost the Olympics as liberals said, no--he says he just cheered because he did not want anything bad to happen to Chicago if they did get the Olympics--huh?
Wow-- what a gig this guy has. Churning out the 'yellow journalism' phrases, claiming he is just a dad doing this for his kids. The last hour hour saved for fear-mongering about swine flu--oh no, gun rights instead. Oh, actually it is seeds of eugenics, and big government--he's holding up posters. Seriously--just delivering breathlessly a miss mash of code words, phrases, and wing nut propaganda. Oh yeah, and he wants an honest conversation--that's all, as he spins theme after theme, and oh, that SEIU...he wonders what are they up to...the art is being made, he says.
This guy is a demagogue, a distracting shiny object in an expensive jacket.
In any other world but this bizarro world, he'd be in a straight jacket.

Posted by: loose associations on October 6, 2009 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

Just a little PSA.

And I thank you for it! I had missed this.

Posted by: shortstop on October 6, 2009 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for watching Beck, loose associations @2:50 AM, so we didn't have to. . .

-The Unintended Consequences of Beck losing advertisers is that he has more air time to spew his drivel.

Posted by: DAY on October 6, 2009 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

making hay by reaping Obama from behind

Where the sun don't shine?

Posted by: Econobuzz on October 6, 2009 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK



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