Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 8, 2010

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

* Huge, late-breaking court ruling: "A U.S. judge in Boston has ruled that a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage. U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro on Thursday ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act."

* In the absolute best case scenario, BP believes the relief wells in the Gulf can be completed ahead of schedule. Given BP's track record and credibility, caveat emptor. True or not, a couple of key moments are coming up in the oil spill crisis, including one this weekend.

* The swap: "All 10 of the accused Russian spies held in the United States pleaded guilty Thursday at a hearing in Manhattan, a key step in a reported deal under negotiation with Russia for the largest swap of espionage detainees since the Cold War." The larger diplomatic implications are encouraging.

* It's still obviously too high, but I'll take encouraging economic news where I can find it: "New U.S. claims for unemployment insurance fell more than expected last week, government data showed on Thursday, while the number of people continuing to receive benefits in the final week of June was the lowest in seven months."

* In less-encouraging news: "Over all, same-stores sales for the nation's retailers rose 3.1 percent in June, slightly below expectations. Robert Samuels, senior retail analyst for Phoenix Equities, said in a note to clients that the results were 'lackluster at best.' Analysts characterized the outlook as shaky."

* Key arrests in Norway: "Three suspected al-Qaida members were arrested Thursday morning in what Norwegian and U.S. officials said was a terrorist plot linked to similar plans in New York and England."

* RNC Chairman Michael Steele today vowed not to resign, but he nevertheless continued to lose support from Republican lawmakers.

* If CNN is going to have J. Christian Adams on, it really should let the audience know all about his background.

* Fascinating discussion: Jonathan Cohn bemoans lack of grassroots pressure for climate change legislation; Josh Nelson offers a thoughtful response; Cohn responds to the response. Worth a read.

* Four-star Marine Gen. James Mattis will replace Gen. David Petraeus as head of the U.S. Central Command, overseeing combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

* Oh, good, Fox News and Republicans are talking about "death panels" again.

* On a related note, many high-profile conservatives aren't just wrong about health care policy, they're incoherent.

* Why aren't more low-income students graduating from college?

* Dick Morris is such a hack, even Fox & Friends hosts mock him.

* And in case you haven't heard, one of the more notable right-wing fits of the week has to do with Muslims and NASA. Apparently, conservatives are afraid of Muslims in space or something.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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"...a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional."

Okay, California, your turn.

Posted by: puravida on July 8, 2010 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Take that Federal Government! Your bullshit is unconstitutional! Hilarious too, please don't resign Michael Steele! You are irreplaceable as a symbol of what the best of the 21st century GOP has to offer!

Posted by: Trollop of Love on July 8, 2010 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

...while the number of people continuing to receive benefits in the final week of June was the lowest in seven months.

Erm, wouldn't this be because Republicans in the Senate wouldn't pass the extension and their benefits ran out? Not sure how that's encouraging news.

Posted by: Freddie on July 8, 2010 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Getting pretty tired of the advertising on this site--"Do you think HOMOSEXUALS should have special rights? Congressman Frank does..."

I know, "free enterprise" and all that, but any chance of getting rid of that crap?

Posted by: cr on July 8, 2010 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Take that federal government? er,uh, no - Take That Christianists, Republicans, and all the Religious groups that fought for this and are still fighting to keep this law in place.

Posted by: Alli on July 8, 2010 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

i must second cr on the homosexual morality survey ad. who is supposed to click thru? trolls? plz make it go away.

Posted by: jeannette on July 8, 2010 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

I have never understood why Bill Clinton hired Morris and brought him into his inner circle. No human being I have ever seen reminds me of a reptile as much as Morris. I am not normally into ad hominem attacks, but even by Fox standards this guy is creepy.

Posted by: patrick on July 8, 2010 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Freddie beat me to it. Those numbers are NOT good economic news. They reflect the people who have LOST benefits. It by no means shows people actually getting jobs.

The official unemployment number may have dropped slightly (to around 9.5%) because they don't record those people anymore. Here in reality land unemployment is probably somewhere between 15-20%. The 'recovery' has not resulted in any actual gain in employment thus far. And given present trends we're looking at a repeat of the 2003 'recovery'. Little to no new jobs. The few jobs that come open will be for far lass pay and benefits than the jobs that were lost.

Absent significant structural changes in the US economy we're looking at another lost decade where what's left of the middle class continues to shrink, real wages continue to decline and the gamblers who run Wall Street get richer off our retirement accounts.

Posted by: thorin-1 on July 8, 2010 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

So much for all of our problems stemming from allowing those dirty hippies and minorities to have mortgages and live in their own homes.


(NYT) - Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.

By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.


Posted by: Joe Friday on July 8, 2010 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

It's weird that Political Animal seems to attract advertisers who are virulently anti-Obama and anti-Democratic. I always see pop-up ads saying click here to show how much you oppose the agenda of Obama, or Pelosi, or Barney Frank, or "Big Labor", or whatever.

I guess I should be grateful that these advertisers are spending their advertising dollars on liberal websites, but it's weird.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on July 9, 2010 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro on Thursday ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Wow! Good for him, and for all of us!

Sadly, I'm sure he'll be subjected to the full, ugly and harsh treatment of the right wing Noise Machine and its followers whose guiding philosophy seems to derive from H.L. Mencken's famous definition of Puritanism: "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

Posted by: electrolite on July 9, 2010 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

There are more question than answer. Also federal should answer each and every question.

Posted by: SAP Certification in London on July 9, 2010 at 5:24 AM | PERMALINK

confirmation features small trade

Posted by: millenjord on July 9, 2010 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

Don't you just love it when the party who keep shouting about personal freedoms (Ms Angle) wants to dictate to women what to do if they have been raped by a family member - e.g. Make lemonade from lemons!!!!!!

Posted by: jJS on July 9, 2010 at 6:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised more people on our side haven't noticed the major-league right wing hissy fit going on over NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden's comments. He was doing an interview with Al Jazeera and made some innocuous pro-Muslim comments, the same way he would have made innocuous pro-Jewish comments for The Jerusalem Post, and it's a wingnut feeding frenzy.

These people are deeply, deeply unhinged, and God help us if they take over either House of Congress this year.

Posted by: SusanP on July 9, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

"The Swap".

We're sending the Russians home, after all these years of living good in the USA. They haven't apparently done the nation any harm, so I'm calling this one a case of justice served.

They're going back to Russia, Russian stores, Russian winters and Russian food. Really something to look forward to.

I wonder how many of them offered to talk if allowed to stay here.

Posted by: zak822 on July 9, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

This decision is not what it seems. Yes, the majority of persons on this blog applaud the fact that DOMA was ruled unconstitutional, but in Massachusetts v. HHS the ruling was based on the Tenth Amendment and the reasoning was that marriage is to be defined by the states and not the federal government. In other words that the states have certain core powers that a federal government cannot over-ride.

If there was a federal law that stated "marriage is a state between two persons" and that gender was not important, this ruling would state that such a law was also illegal. In other words, states determine the definition of marriage.

Conceiveably this ruling could also pave the way for an annulment of the Affordable Care Act if it was upheld on Tenth Amendment grounds.

Posted by: mikeyes on July 9, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK
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