Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 14, 2010

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

* The Red Cross believes the death toll in Haiti may reach 50,000 people.

* President Obama delivered a message to the Haitian people this morning, saying he could understand why they would "look up and ask have we somehow been forsaken." He added, "You have not been forsaken. You have not been forgotten. Today you must know help is arriving." The president went on to explain that the U.S. is launching "one of the largest relief efforts in our recent history," but he acknowledged it may be an excruciating few days before it can arrive where it's needed because "roads are impassable, the main port is badly damaged and communication is just coming on line."

* On a related note, international relief and emergency aid is reaching Haiti, but helping victims is proving to be a "logistical nightmare."

* Obama is calling on his two immediate predecessors -- George W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- to help lead the nation's humanitarian and relief efforts in Haiti.

* Bill Clinton also has an op-ed in the WaPo today on what the U.S. can do to help Haiti, both in the short term and beyond.

* In Iraq: "Three bombs exploded in quick succession after sunset Thursday in the southern holy city of Najaf, killing up to 25 people and wounding scores of others, Iraqi Interior Ministry officials said. "

* Plaudits: "Google's surprising decision this week to abandon cooperation with Chinese government censors -- and, possibly, its four-year effort to do business here -- is galvanizing an unusually broad coalition of foreigners who hope for a fresh chance to rein in the conduct of an emerging great power."

* Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who apparently has never heard of Rolling Stone magazine, was disappointed that its new issue didn't name him the #1 enemy of the planet. He was #7.

* Kevin Drum sketches out a pretty straightforward plan for tackling long-term deficit reduction.

* A college in Maine is taking the idea of "four-year degree" seriously.

* And on MSNBC this morning, co-host Mika Brzezinski joined her colleagues in mocking Sarah Palin's inability to choose a favorite among the nation's founders. Brzezinski suggested her favorite was Abraham Lincoln, and I can only hope she was kidding.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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

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"The Red Cross believes the death toll in Haiti may reach 50,000 people."

The two big stories today, Haiti and the banker bonus tax, make a disgusting contrast. While people die like dogs in the street in Port au Prince, Wall St. bankers kvetch about any restraint to their obscene greed.

Posted by: bob h on January 14, 2010 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent point, bob h. It really puts into perspective what's important(or should be)in life.

Posted by: Athena on January 14, 2010 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I know that the Red Cross says that it has changed, but I still don't trust them with my dontation after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The head of the Red Cross for our state said on TV this morning that they'll make sure "every penny goes to help the earthquake victims in Haiti". Well, they still have to pay their folks to move that money to Haiti, don't they? Is that an overhead cost or does the Red Cross pay these administrators out of the Haiti Earthquake donations as an associated cost? I just don't trust them.

Posted by: out west on January 14, 2010 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Brzezinski suggested her favorite was Abraham Lincoln, and I can only hope she was kidding.

Is she the real Al or the parody Al?

Posted by: Danp on January 14, 2010 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Visit "Operation Leper"! Nominate your favorite RINOs in the wake of Barack Obama's surprise upset victory over Caribou Barbie and her running mate.

Posted by: Shade Tail on January 14, 2010 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Re Operation Leper: interesting populist expression there that might help rupture the Repub establishment:
Now you know why the traitors in our midst are afraid that we might yet rid ourselves of that Unholy Trinity of Wall Street Greed, the MSM Lies and the Nanny State's Taxes.
They hate WS greed to, this may be something to work with across the ditch if we can focus attention on Repiglican accomodation of Wall Street. Note all of them voting against recent regulation rules, their opposition to the new 1.5% tax on big banks. Did anyone hear Obama's talk on that whole thing today? I have rarely felt better hearing him, hope it's rather sincere.

Posted by: Neil B on January 14, 2010 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is calling on his two immediate predecessors -- George W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- to help lead the nation's humanitarian and relief efforts in Haiti.

Re W: and by lead I hope he means go the hell away.

Posted by: martin on January 14, 2010 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

BOb that thought occurred to me today as well. What a sickening and obscene contrast. Maybe Pat Robertson should start a crusade against greed here in our country to redeem himself.

It's a testament to how fucking stupid Palin is that Mike is even belittling her.

Posted by: citizen_pain on January 14, 2010 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Re Operation Leper, I nominated John McCain for choosing her for an office she wasn't ready for. They won't like that, which of course will make me weep bitter tears.

Martin, I think that it will do W good to learn why major disasters can't be solved with photo ops. Whether his presence will do any good to the Haitians, however, I don't know.

Posted by: T-Rex on January 14, 2010 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is calling on his two immediate predecessors -- George W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- to help lead the nation's humanitarian and relief efforts in Haiti.

Might this require that W. actually know where Haiti is? He might not...


Posted by: Zorro on January 14, 2010 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

T-Rex, I'm sure it would do him a world of good. He doesn't deserve a world of good;>

Posted by: martin on January 14, 2010 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, a little catty tonight, eh? I don't care if W. is doing it in exchange for naked pics of Megan Fox, he's doing it. If he can get some of his big-money friends to make a sustained effort, I'll shake his fucking hand. Most of us have no idea what those people are going through right now, and they need all the help we can give them. Quit being so goddamn petty, you sound like Republicans...

Posted by: Kordo on January 14, 2010 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Mika thinks "founding fathers" means "dead guys whose pictures are on money."

If that's the case, I'll take Roosevelt.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on January 14, 2010 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

More irony from Operation Leper:
Steve Schmidt
Another McCain campaign weasel who served his leader poorly by failing to prep Sarah Palin adequately and then blamed her for his shortcomings.

So they're admitting she was ill prepared to begin with, and it's Schmidt's fault for failing to prep her of course, not Sarah's for not trying hard enough - typical right-wing martyrdom complex.

BTW, my favorite FF is Thomas Jefferson, for saying things like:
"We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves were they to rise from the dead."
"Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right." [odd choice of span]
"Yet our lawyers and priests generally inculcate this doctrine and suppose that preceding generations held the earth more freely than we do, had a right to impose laws on us unalterable by ourselves, and that we in like manner can make laws and impose burdens on future generations which they will have no right to alter; in fine, that the earth belongs to the dead and not the living."

So much for strict construction, from a real thinker not just an figurehead.

More at http://historyofideas.org/jefferson/quotations/jeff1000.htm

Posted by: neil b on January 14, 2010 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

So, sure...let Bush jr. help out, trouble is you can't cut concrete with a chain saw...

Haiti is an example of a government-less society that republicans always dream about...not so good when crisis hits. I don't think for a minute most Haitians wished this failed state status to be their end, but really, if you look at it, it is a republican template of sorts.

I think the world governments are responding in the best possible way during this crisis, and it will certainly help those that make it past the initial impacts. On private emergency aid front, Doctors without Borders and Mercy Corps are two great organizations worthy of donations during this crisis, and there are several others.

Posted by: Benmerc on January 14, 2010 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I await any involvement from George W/ Bush, who is most distant from anything remotely related to human beings, and I have already heard from
former President Bill "The Man" Clinton in most intelligent manner, on more than one occasion, demonstrating a sober interest and ability with relief measures.

On a side note, cannot helicopters bring sandwiches and bottled water as the poor Haitian survivors await the relief effort?
Or will my comment be censured here?

Posted by: consider wisely on January 14, 2010 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Favorite Founder?

The point being that Beck gave Palin a chance to expound on multiple "founding fathers" ,and opportunity Obama would leap at, comparing their contributions, and thus putting to rest her reputation for vacousness.
Beck should have had the teleprompter qu'ed up, just in case.

Posted by: Marnie on January 14, 2010 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Benmerc is on to something: "Haiti is an example of a government-less society that republicans always dream about..."

Or hoped to achieve: A population and or resources that corporations can exploit to maximum profits.

It's really that simple.

Posted by: citizen_pain on January 14, 2010 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hasn't Dubya already done his damnedest for Haiti by orchestrating the ouster of Aristide (the wrong guy the Haitians had the nerve to elect. In pact with the devil, no doubt)? We shouldn't be asking him to do any more.

Posted by: exlibra on January 14, 2010 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Will Obama say 'Heckuva job, Bushie!'?

Posted by: Gridlock on January 14, 2010 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin Drum sketches out a pretty straightforward plan for tackling long-term deficit reduction."

Except Social Security does not require a "fix". Social Security is more financially sound today than it has been throughout most of its 72-year history.

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 14, 2010 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Only 658 days away...

Would Pat Roberston would have been as quick to point the devil at Haiti if it happened to be a white nation? Would Limbaugh have been so quick to flout his ruthless callousness?

You know the answers to both those questions.
And I only ask them to remind you of the true nature of our true enemies.
Along those lines did you know that the Oval Office's redecoration is done?
Here are my favorite pieces of new decor:

With history at his back, Obama has a framed program from the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. A bust of King replaced the one of Winston Churchill...

Those items make Limbaugh and his ilk piss red vinegar. Oh how that smarts! Thus this gentle reminder: Nothing matters more than winning in 2012. Nothing.

Taking my own advice...
I re-upped with the DNC this week.
I was so pissed at the Dims I never thought I would. But I had to. Because beating Rush and Pat at the polls, is even better than beating them with a club. Revenge is best served by having that bust of MLK in the Oval Office for another 6 years...

I'll spend my retirement money to make it so.

Posted by: koreyel on January 14, 2010 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

"The Red Cross believes the death toll in Haiti may reach 50,000 people."

Betcha in 8 years people will *still* be talking about 9/11 and have completely forgotten this quake. Nobody remembers the earthquake in 2001 in India that killed 7x as many people as 9/11.

Perspective- we have none.

Posted by: Tlaloc on January 14, 2010 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, most businessmen and politicians are whores - a fact they'll demonstrate by lying down and taking it from anyone willing to give them money.

China's offering has been too irresistible, but it appears they're waking up.

Let's review:

1. Arbitrary application of the law, in favor of the ruling class
2. Arbitrary application of the generously bestowed death sentence, sometimes carried out immediately upon sentencing, with no right of appeal.
3. Arbitrary application of the rules governing the rights of and protection of workers.
4. A madly irresponsible attitude to the environmental effects of the "growth miracle."
5. A feudal society ruling class.
6. A nation where the military is actually in charge, where the PLA is heavily involved in business administration and a chief recipient of the healthy pickings.
7. A nation committed to the expansion of Chinese power as an expression of its divine destiny. (Chinese gods, mind you - even in communist China.)

And what did we do?
We handed them our R&D, our industries, our skillsets and tooling (usually, nations defeat other nations in war before they cart this away, as Russia did in Germany after 1945.)
And we laid waste our manufacturing capacity and regions - because we (our politicians and business leaders) wanted to go to bed with China.

Now - it's too late. Google just discovered what China is up to. About time, it's not as if Google doesn't have its ear to the ground.

Posted by: SteinL on January 15, 2010 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

I am not interested in what Palin says nor am I interested in what Rove says, or Oreilly, or Leno, or Conan, or any of them. Why do internet sites continually inundate people like me with what theses people I desire to remove myself from said? I turned off the TV to get away from what the tabloidal media says. I am not going to take sides in tabloidal BS and get into their controversy. I cant go to any political site and find one side of the issue or the other pointing fingers.

Posted by: Jet on January 15, 2010 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

It is quite obvious why Sarah Palin, the iconic leader of a rural, reactionary, white, fundamentalist Christian faction could not name a favorite Founding Father. It's because her rise on the national scene would have horrified the founders and been seen as the death knell of the Republic.

For, if there was one thing the founders feared most it was faction, especially the sort of rigid and unbending faction like Palin's that blurs the distinction between self-identifying religion and democratic politics where the nation squabbling factions meet to hammer out their differences and, hopefully, resolve their problems.

Indeed, the founders feared faction so much, and the majority tyranny that factionalism gives rise to, that they wrote a Constitution filled with checks and balances and divided powers specifically designed so that that the ideologically rigid leaders of faction would be forced to check their idiologies at the door, moderate their views or else suffer the consequences of government stalemate.

We see how well that idea worked out with a Republican Party that today is perfectly willing to hold the nation hostage with the threat of a a government shutdown unless that government unconditionally surrender, completely capitulate, to right wing orthodoxy.

Nevertheless, as James Madison (one of the founders; Palin take nots) said in Federalist 10, in what is probably the best single sentance describing the spirit behind the American Republic: "Among the numerous advantages of a well ordered Union none deserves to be more accurately developed than its ability to break and control the violence of faction."

No wonder Palin as a leader of faction struggled to name these guys.

Posted by: Ted Frier on January 15, 2010 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

re Israel's recent escalation of noise directed at Gaza: it must be getting close to that defense appropriations time required to submit requests for new weapons from the USA.

Posted by: rbe1 on January 15, 2010 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Why are people making excuses for Mika Brzezinski? She wasn't kidding. She's an idiot -- and she has made that clear repeatedly.

Posted by: The Fool on January 15, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

I used to own a t-shirt with a picture of George Washington and the slogan "A. Lincoln College" on it. I wonder if anyone still has the rights to it. Maybe I'll try to market it again.

Posted by: CJColucci on January 15, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Yoninah on March 12, 2010 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK
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