Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 4, 2010

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

* Iraq: "Iraq opened its polls early on Thursday for hundreds of thousands of soldiers and police officers responsible for protecting the country's electorate, and they came under assault themselves. In all, three attacks in Baghdad, two in Mosul and another in Diyala struck near polling stations where Iraqi forces mustered to vote, a potentially ominous foreshadowing of the violence extremists have vowed to carry out in an effort to mar Sunday's pivotal election of a new parliament."

* Jobs bill: "Democrats' jobs agenda is moving again after stalling briefly, as the House passed one measure designed to boost employment Thursday and the Senate pressed forward on another. The House voted Thursday afternoon, 217-201, to approve a $15 billion jobs measure whose centerpiece is a Social Security tax break for companies hiring new employees. Six Republicans joined the vast majority of Democrats to approve the bill."

* Still not good, but slightly better: "Claims for U.S. jobless benefits dropped last week from a three-month high, pointing to an improvement in the labor market that is slow to develop."

* You know who'll win if health care loses? Wellpoint.

* Robocalls as part of the NRCC's "code red" program: "National Republicans are planning to unleash a huge wave of robocalls tomorrow targeting dozens of House Dems and warning their constituents that Obama and Nancy Pelosi are plotting to 'ram' their 'dangerous' health reform plans through Congress."

* On a related note, the robocalls are filled with deceptive claims. Try to contain your surprise.

* New chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee: Rep. Sander Levin (D) of Michigan.

* The House approved a resolution yesterday characterizing the Feb. 18 suicide plane attack in Austin as "terrorism." The final vote was 408-2. Both opponents were Republicans.

* Craig Becker may yet join the National Labor Relations Board.

* Well, that's creative: Bibles for porn.

* Get well soon, Michael Froomkin.

* For crying out loud: "A Louisiana sheriff plans to arm volunteers with shotguns, riot shields, batons, and a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on a 'war wagon,' as part of 'Operation Exodus,' a program to provide security in the event of a terrorist attack or civic unrest."

* I have to admit, I enjoy these stories immensely: "It's no good for a family values Republican to get picked up on a DWI. But substantially worse to get picked up for a DWI after leaving a gay nightclub with an unidentified man in a state vehicle."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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"A Louisiana sheriff plans to arm volunteers with white sheets, oil-soaked crosses, shotguns, riot shields, batons, and a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on a 'war wagon,' as part of 'Operation Exodus,' a program to provide security in the event of a terrorist attack or civic unrest."


Ooooooohhhh doggie!

Yeeeeeeeehaw!

America's at war with Al-Canada! But we're still losing the war against AAAAAALLLLLLL... SHARPTON!

Posted by: Winkandanod on March 4, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Re Iraq Elections: So glad that surge was so damn successful that we could use it as a template in Afghanistan. No chance the surge proves successful only for defense contractors.

Nobody could have predicted.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on March 4, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

"The House voted Thursday afternoon, 217-201, to approve a $15 billion jobs measure whose centerpiece is a Social Security tax break for companies hiring new employees. Six Republicans joined the vast majority of Democrats to approve the bill."

One can hope that the DNC, DCCC and various media teams are planning on using this vote to hammer Republicans who voted against the measure. In one vote, they opposed TAX CUTS (in some people's minds, the same thing as voting for a tax increase) and a jobs measure (during the worst period of unemployment in years).

Posted by: meander on March 4, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I think we can all understand they desire to own a vehicle with a .50 cal machine gun mounted on it (my pref would be a dune buggy), but yapping about terrorist plots in East Bumfuck, LA so's you can stick the taxpayers with the tab is not gonna fool anyone.
I like that batch of recruits, though. Ought to strike fear into Bin Laden's heart, the sight of those grim-faced killers. I'm taking 25% on the "What percentage of casualties will be self-inflicted/friendly fire?" pool, though with my luck, one of them will probably drop a live grenade onto a pile of C4 and take out half the class.
2nd favorite thing about that story? Deputy Doyle Dempsey. Chosen as spokesman because he knows more big words than anyone else in Dogbite, LA, even if he's not 100% up to speed on the puttin-em-together thing just yet. No visible neck on the man at all. None. Remarkable.
Five bucks says this Sheriff winds up with a 5-state speaking tour and a book contract from Regnery.

If God wasn't dead already, he'd probably shoot himself.

Posted by: Kordo on March 4, 2010 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Gilliard's great line on another "family value" republican (whose name I forget) exposed years ago in another arrest: "How did this cock get in my mouth"?

Posted by: JW on March 4, 2010 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

And a .50 caliber machine gun in the hands of mostly untrained civilians is legal how, even if some nut with a badge says it's ok?

Posted by: Curmudgeon on March 4, 2010 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wonder if the person that shot 2 at the Pentagon this evening was a crazy right winger!

Posted by: js on March 4, 2010 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Playing hard to get...

Obama reminded the assembled Democrats that doing nothing would be politically disastrous. "To maintain a strong presidency we need to pass this bill," the President said, according to Grijalva.

We've been posting that idea for what? Nine months? What a laborious birth this has been.
And who would have imagined the last hurdle would be progressives?

I've got not problem with the lefties playing hard to get and wringing out some concessions. Maybe some secret promises. Maybe some new parkland. Maybe some military base considerations. Maybe make Raul Grijalva Interior Secretary in term two. Whatever.

One thing I am certain of: Grijalva et al. will come around. That 31 million numbers twangs a lot of heartstrings. But beyond the heart there is the head. Progressives may play dumb for awhile about this bill, but they aren't dumb. They are neither hardheaded nor hardhearted.

No way will they let this moment pass...
You can count on it.

Posted by: koreyel on March 4, 2010 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

So when is Washington Monthly going to dedicate some posts to NY Gov. Peterson, like they did with the South Carolina Gov.?

Or is it only a "controversy" when a Republican gets in trouble?

Posted by: Not Lapidus on March 4, 2010 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

You may "enjoy immensely" stories of exploitive arrests from authoritarian stake-outs of gay night spots, Mr Benen, but your immense enjoyment is incompatible with the equal protection of the laws and with my liberty, so, may I decline to treasure your pleasure? You fundamentally and absolutely have to get it straight, once and for all, or stop posing as a humane voice: the objection to discriminatory prosecution and deprivation of liberty is not subject to suspension, because of the character of the victim. The objection lodges, per se, and trumps trafficking in the bias which promotes the injustice. You are shamefully trying to pose as humane and giggle with schadenfreude at the same time, sir. I'd give up both aspirations, immediately, if I were you.

Posted by: Carter Nicholas, Charlottesville on March 4, 2010 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

I need to study German politics 1910 to 1940 again but it would seem that as a country we seem to be accepting characteristics that might match some of those elements that happened as Germany morphed into fascism. We've got forever war, have started to torture people, we don't have a "Jew" yet but Hispanics could fit the bill, and we don't have a Hitler that has developed yet. I cautiously watch our developments and wonder if it could happen again.

Posted by: MRB on March 4, 2010 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

1) that guy from calif must be cuter than his photo lets on.
2) 'other civic unrest' like civil rights marches perhaps?

Posted by: kurt on March 4, 2010 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Breaking News!!!

Rachel bin Maddow arrested as Al Qaeda suspect.

Posted by: Winkandanod on March 4, 2010 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Robocalls, filled with lies, and paid for by corporate entities whose names and origins are hidden....

I believe this is what Justice Alito calls "free speech."

Posted by: dweb on March 4, 2010 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

For whatever it is worth, the owner of the gay bar is evidently claiming that he didn't see Senator Ashburn on the night in question, and that it was unlikely he was there. The DUI still stands, of course.

Posted by: Geoduck on March 4, 2010 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

The House approved a resolution yesterday characterizing the Feb. 18 suicide plane attack in Austin as "terrorism."

Will the Ghost of Cheney Past ever stop haunting the American psyche? Terrorism will soon lose its power as a word to induce...well, terror...if it keeps being applied to every nutcase with a grudge and some kind of weapon/vehicle. Can't we reserve it for its original use, large scale acts of mayhem/murder, by an organized group, with the intent of forcing changes in government policy or redress of grievances? These other events are serial killers, suicides, disturbed people "going postal", and so on...they aren't true terrorist acts.

Posted by: GringoNoraca on March 5, 2010 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

Reps Ron Paul and Don Young voted against the labeling of terrorist. I wonder if that plane had been flown into DY's beloved Bridge to Nowhere, Don's vapid mind would have been changed?

Posted by: berttheclock on March 5, 2010 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Carter Nicholas: You are shamefully trying to pose as humane and giggle with schadenfreude at the same time, sir.

Carter, I think you're missing the point entirely. Yes, it is diabolical that the gay community is singled out in stakeouts like these. But these and other discriminatory actions are thanks to the "family values" bullshit that California state Senator Roy Ashburn decrees on a daily basis.

Ultimately, the best way for our society to get past such prejudices is to expose Family Values™ for the fraud it is. And thankfully a great many of these frauds are exposing themselves, hoisted on their own petard, as it were.

You have every right to be angry about the serious discrimination against gays in America. But, you need to see this event as a win in the good fight. If Steve Benen enjoys stories like these it is because he has been fighting for the same thing you have for a very long time. And he knows that every time the frauds are exposed we get a little bit closer to the goal of equality. And that's worth celebrating.

Posted by: chrenson on March 5, 2010 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Anarchists were never organized and there was a good deal of terrorism by anarchists in the late 1800s and extending into the early years of the 20th Century. The killings in Europe and the assassination of our President McKinley were acts of terrorism. Most anarchists believed in either no or very little government and took their perceived distaste for such to the level of terrorism by killing political and/or government employees and officials. No difference between those vile acts and flying a plane into a building housing IRS employees or trying to storm the Pentagon.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 5, 2010 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

So when is Washington Monthly going to dedicate some posts to NY Gov. Peterson, like they did with the South Carolina Gov.?

No idea. But when it does, it'll probably get the name right, which was more than you were able to pull off.

You may "enjoy immensely" stories of exploitive arrests from authoritarian stake-outs of gay night spots, Mr Benen, but your immense enjoyment is incompatible with the equal protection of the laws and with my liberty, so, may I decline to treasure your pleasure?

Oh, pipe down with the indignant bombast. The story here is that a man who fought publicly and continually to deny the GLBT community its civil rights -- leading to such bullshit as authoritarian stakeouts of gay night spots -- turns out to be on the DL. It's not about the character of the victim but about his actions, which, make no mistake, dude, are wholly relevant.

Posted by: shortstop on March 5, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

We've got forever war, have started to torture people, we don't have a "Jew" yet but Hispanics could fit the bill

Huh ???? Where have you been. Arabs are the new jews in this Reich.

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 5, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK
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