Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 25, 2010

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

* Putting together a long-term relief plan: "Haiti will ask the international conference meeting in Montreal on Monday for $3 billion to rebuild this city, left largely in ruins by the Jan. 12 earthquake, according to a senior Haitian government official."

* Baghdad: "A coordinated attack of vehicle bombs on Monday ripped through the perimeters of three hotel compounds known for housing foreign journalists, destroying a nearby apartment building and leaving at least 36 people dead."

* The Iraq bombings followed the execution of Ali Hassan al-Majid, a former Iraqi official best known as "Chemical Ali."

* Housing crisis: "Home sales slid in December, putting at least a temporary end to a gradually improving picture for real estate and deepening questions about the market's viability."

* President Obama re-emphasizes the middle-class agenda: "Promising repeatedly to 'keep fighting' for average Americans, President Obama rolled out new proposals Monday to help struggling middle-class families, setting the stage for his first State of the Union address Wednesday night."

* Soon after, congressional Republicans said they hate all of the president's ideas, including tax breaks favored by the White House.

* Taliban talks: "This -- to be very clear -- isn't a shift of position. Both Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO troops in the war, have said that they would support any outreach made by the Afghan government to reconcile with insurgents not linked to al-Qaeda."

* As of today, will Ben Bernanke get to keep his job at the Fed? Roll Call reports that a push from administration officials "has turned the tide" in the nominee's favor.

* House Majority Whip James Clyburn's (D-S.C.) frustration with the Senate is both understandable and growing.

* Fact checking the Sunday shows.

* Laurie Mylroie probably isn't the best choice to offer "expert" analysis to the Pentagon.

* The extent to which the Republican National Committee is willing to mislead Americans, even its own supporters, is limitless.

* Caps on student loan repayments?

* One of the best possible excuses for missing jury duty: busy running the executive branch of the federal government.

* And Sen. Jim DeMint has been so conditioned to say "Democrat Party," he can't even use the word "democratic" in other contexts. How sad.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Comments

I saw this at Sullivan's, by John Judis:
http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/he-doesnt-feel-your-pain
It's a good review of why Obama is facing problems, and I think people should study it carefully and consider what to do about it.

Posted by: neil b on January 25, 2010 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

* Putting together a long-term relief plan: "Haiti will ask the international conference meeting in Montreal on Monday for $3 billion to rebuild this city, left largely in ruins by the Jan. 12 earthquake, according to a senior Haitian government official."

As I am in the middle of reading The Shock Doctrine, I'm cringing at what new horrors the moneylenders will inflict on Haiti. The return of Papa Doc? Or a Libertarian return of Slavery? I know we'll lose interest as it is happening, but something uglier is in their future.

Posted by: martin on January 25, 2010 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Home sales slid in December

yeah, slid.

slid right into the LARGEST PLUNGE IN OVER 40 YEARS !!!!!

ya gotta love the shameless and whorish pimping and shilling and denial of Reality that the mainstream corporate amerikan media contorts itself into each and every news cycle.

Posted by: is that the word on January 25, 2010 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

"reports that a push from administration officials "has turned the tide" in [Bernanke]'s favor."

Helicopter Ben isn't going anywhere. Threats that he might not be confirmed were surely just attempted (empty) bargaining.

As a Great Depression scholar, he plans to keep the cheap money spigot open wide, for as long as it takes. Wall Street loves him, and every bit of bad news for the "actual" economy will boost stocks even more, as it assures "money for nothing" will continue ad infinitum. The stock market would throw a temper tantrum if Ben were not reconfirmed. No one will risk that.

IMO, Obama risks raising expectations that something can be done about the economy (nothing can). It might make people more inclined to blame him when it doesn't turn around. BUT... OTOH, he can't very well say that stagnation is inevitable, as contractions follow bubbles, because the press and R's might spin it as the second coming of Carter ("national malaise speech").

Posted by: flubber on January 25, 2010 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many new billionaires will come out of "rebuilding Haiti?" Probably not much actual building will be done, but what the heck so long as humanitarian money is used to line the pockets of the rich.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 25, 2010 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Martin, I read The Shock Doctrine just a few months ago, and I've thought the same thing. I seriously doubt that Haiti will be rebuilt and returned to the Haitians!

Posted by: Gaia on January 25, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

is that the word,

Home sales slid in December

yeah, slid.

slid right into the LARGEST PLUNGE IN OVER 40 YEARS !!!!!

ya gotta love the shameless and whorish pimping and shilling and denial of Reality that the mainstream corporate amerikan media contorts itself into each and every news cycle."

The MSM is merely regurgitating what those weasels over at the National Association of Realtors releases to them. They. are. the. worst.

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 25, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Gawd, having Laurie Mylroie as a Pentagon consultant on al-Qaeda is almost as bad as having Timmy Geithner, Larry Summers and Helicopter Ben Bernanke as your chief economists.

Posted by: neill on January 25, 2010 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

India and China won't sign the Copenhagen Agreement.

It's because Brown won in MA. And despite the fact that the Copenhagen Agreement was not binding.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 25, 2010 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

And Sen. Jim DeMint has been so conditioned to say "Democrat Party," he can't even use the word "democratic" in other contexts. How sad.

It's ugly, but Republicans are members of the Republican Party, and Democrats are members of the Democrat Party.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 25, 2010 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Laurie Mylroie isn't the best choice to offer "expert" analysis to the Pentagon."

You say that as if neo-cons have been ostracized by this administration, or that we aren't following a neo-con consistent foreign policy.

Posted by: flubber on January 25, 2010 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

I never understood the Democrat/Democratic thing.

Do Republicans think that their failure to employ precise usage -- to properly differentiate between an adjective and a noun, in other words -- is construed by most people as some kind of effective put-down or insult? Or is it supposed to be clever?

Posted by: Jasper on January 25, 2010 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Unemployment would have hit 10.8% -- higher than December's 10% rate -- without Obama's $787 billion stimulus program, a difference of 1.2 million jobs."

Only $655,000 per job created/saved.

Posted by: flubber on January 25, 2010 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Laurie Mylroie probably isn't the best choice to offer "expert" analysis to the Pentagon.

Agreed, but why do we care about this now?

BREAKING NEWS: In 2000's, delusional neoconservatives had undue influence over U.S. foreign/military affairs.

Posted by: square1 on January 25, 2010 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Fact Checking the Sunday talk shows?"

Good gods, Benen; you've gone absolutely loopy on this one. It is a known fact that Cornyn, McCain, and McConnell represent "a Trinity of Truthlessness"---and therefore cannot be "factually checked".

This, of course, applies in equal measure to their lackeys, surrogates, bootlickers, groupies, tea-party fans, and any media outlet so behind the times as to believe that they can obtain anything meaningful from a such a lackluster trio of quasi-extinct, proto-neanderthalish bottomfeeders....

Posted by: S. Waybright on January 25, 2010 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an interesting book review of "UNEQUAL DEMOCRACY", that details income equality. Seems the rich get richer under repubs and do not fair as well under Dems, with the exception of Carter. Can you feel the warmth trickling down your leg?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/12/AR2008061203779.html

Posted by: Dave on January 25, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

DeMinted Ramblings...

Why stop at democrat process?

Why not the word government?

I am an elected official, paid for by tax dollars, but don't think for a moment that I work "for" the government, rather I work "in" the gov... can't say it cause I despise it anyway.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 25, 2010 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

"The extent to which the Republican National Committee is willing to mislead Americans, even its own supporters, is limitless."

If the repubs want to play with the census, seats in the house could be at stake and may be their own.

Posted by: Dave on January 25, 2010 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

"The extent to which the Republican National Committee is willing to mislead Americans, even its own supporters, is limitless."

The RNC wouldn't have supporters if it didn't mislead them.

Posted by: bdop4 on January 25, 2010 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

It's ugly, but Republicans are members of the Republican Party, and Democrats are members of the Democrat Party.

No, dear. You need to get out more.

Posted by: allen on January 25, 2010 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

The best thing Obama can do for this 56 year old member of the middle class is get health care reform passed. That is by far my biggest concern because a health issue is the one thing that can bankrupt me overnight. I'm not going to benefit from childcare tax credits or tuition tax credits or even a mandatory retirement plan at work.

Posted by: Obee on January 25, 2010 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Here in Pennsylvania the girl finds that her many cassette tapes and CD's remain missing, as she looks in this pile, and that pile, knowing they were here, and they now are not.

Posted by: wistful on January 25, 2010 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

All you Shock Doctrine fans on Haiti: Haiti has its own class of rich thieving bastards that make our rich thieving bastards look penny-ante. That money might make it to Haiti, but it won't get made into concrete.

Posted by: inkadu on January 25, 2010 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Haiti is a heart breaker, kind of reminiscent of the slow care to New Orleans, as many suffered.

Posted by: just a singer in a rock and roll band on January 26, 2010 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Allen: You need to get out more.

It's a perversion of language, but it's perfectly straightforward.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 26, 2010 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

It's a perversion of language, but it's perfectly straightforward.

It's not the name of the party, old fellow, and you looked like a fool when you claimed it was at 6:23 p.m.. Now you look like an even bigger fool for moving your silly little goalposts to this remarkably lame new effort.

Posted by: allen on January 26, 2010 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Herbert Hoover to give his SOTU speech on Wednesday night.

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 26, 2010 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

It's not perfectly straightforward, tool, unless "perfectly straightforward" is some kind of code for "grammatically incorrect, but thought by the Republicans to anger Democrats because it ends in "rat", and most Americans are so poorly educated that they won't pick up on the deliberate error". In at least one case, that's apparently true. Whoops! two cases - DeMint, and yourself.

Would you say "Democrat process"? "Democratly elected"? Not unless you didn't mind everyone assuming you didn't get far past Grade 5, and likely because of your weakness in English grammar. "Party" is a noun and "Democratic" is the correct employment of the adjective.

I'm sure DeMint does it deliberately, since he's like a kid in the back seat who won't stop saying, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?", just because he knows how irritating it is, but I wouldn't entirely rule out his simply not knowing how to say it properly. He is, after all, an idiot. Those who take up his cause should consider the comparison drawn.

Posted by: Mark on January 26, 2010 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Just heard about Obama's spending freeze plan. Uh, excuse me, but that was McCain's proposal. I thought I was voting for a Democrat. Obama says he wants to create jobs, then he proposes a spending freeze?!? Since when did a spending freeze create any jobs?

This is the opposite of a stimulus package. Has this administration gone schizophrenic?

Posted by: Devildog on January 26, 2010 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's time once again, to thank GW for the great job in transforming Iraq into a peaceful and just society from a terrible dictatorship. One can see how much happier the people there are.
This also brings to mind Dubya's comment to Putin that Russia needed a democracy like the one we've created in Iraq. Fortunately Putin demurred.

Posted by: rbe1 on January 26, 2010 at 5:16 AM | PERMALINK

"Soon after, congressional Republicans said they hate all of the president's ideas,"

It is probably the case that nothing short of resignation would bring the Teabaggers to look favorably on him. They are motivated by a combination of racism, sore loserism, anti-intellectualism. You might as well try to bring the Taliban over to your side.

Posted by: bob h on January 26, 2010 at 6:35 AM | PERMALINK

..push from Administration officials has turned the tide in the Senate..

So, the WH can influence the Senate. Who'd have thought?

HCR? Bueller? Bueller?

Posted by: terraformer on January 26, 2010 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

It's ugly, but Republicans are members of the Republican Party, and Democrats are members of the Democrat Party.

No, they're members of the Democratic Party. If you can't even learn the difference between a noun and an adjective, or respect the chosen name of a group in an effort to smear them, then you shouldn't wonder why you're never taken seriously. Although there are many other reasons why you're not taken seriously.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on January 26, 2010 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Allan Snyder: If you can't even learn the difference between a noun and an adjective, or respect the chosen name of a group in an effort to smear them, then you shouldn't wonder why you're never taken seriously.

I wrote a wry comment on the non-parallelism of "Republican" (which is a noun and and an adjective and a name) and "Democratic" (which is only an adjective and a name.) It is merely a convention that the language allows the "Republican Party" to include "Republicans", but requires the "Democratic Party" to include "Democrats".

You are too stupid for words.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 26, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the intriguing read! Alright playtime is over and back to my responsibilities, time to say goodbye to The Washington Monthly.

Posted by: Car Hire Malaga Airport on February 4, 2011 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK
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