Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 14, 2010

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

* On hold in the Gulf: "The government ordered BP to postpone a critical test on the runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico until scientists could determine whether the test on the new containment cap would not put damaging pressure on the well that could ultimately jeopardize the plugging of the leak. As of late Wednesday afternoon, BP officials and government scientists, including Energy Secretary Stephen Chu were meeting to discuss the test procedures, and how best to minimize any risks."

* By another account, government officials are "conferring Wednesday with BP executives and engineers about whether, and how, to proceed with the all-important 'integrity test' that could temporarily shut down the well and could potentially throttle the flow permanently."

* A devastating day in Afghanistan: "Eight American troops were killed in a series of attacks in southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday as Taliban militants pushed back against an effort to secure the volatile region."

* Stimulus facts are stubborn things: "White House economists praised the government's $787 billion stimulus program as a success on Wednesday, saying it had saved or created 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs since it was signed a year ago.... The White House also estimated that gross domestic product, a measure of overall economic output, was 2.7 to 3.2 percent higher than it would have been without the stimulus. The new estimate is in line with projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."

* On a related note, Larry Summers is making the economic case for extended unemployment benefits.

* Right off the bat, 41 million Americans will benefit from this: "From counseling for kids who struggle with their weight, to cancer screenings for their parents, preventive health care will soon be available at no out-of-pocket cost under consumer rules the Obama administration unveiled Wednesday. That means no copays, deductibles or coinsurance for people whose health insurance plans are covered by the new requirements."

* Indeed, the list of changes that benefit consumers from the Affordable Care Act is surprisingly long.

* The White House unveiled the "first formal national HIV/AIDS strategy, a plan that aims to reduce the number of new cases by 25 percent in the next five years, officials said."

* Encouraging ruling: "A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a new Nebraska law requiring mental health screenings for women seeking abortions because the measure could have made it impossible to get an abortion in the state."

* Dems hoped to convince Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to break from the GOP on a bipartisan campaign finance reform bill. That's not going to happen.

* Matt Miller wonders why "America's business ingrates" are so irrationally hostile to the Obama administration.

* Telling the truth about cheating in higher ed.

* And in Mason City, Iowa, the North Iowa Tea Party purchased a billboard this week equating President Obama with Hitler and Lenin, declaring, "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & Naive." The head of the right-wing group, responding to outraged responses, told the AP, "The purpose of the billboard was to draw attention to the socialism. It seems to have been lost in the visuals." The display is now being taken down, but it's a nevertheless a reminder of the seriousness of thought Tea Partiers bring to the table.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

yes, because when one thinks of "socialism" one automatically thinks of Hitler

Posted by: andy on July 14, 2010 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Miller of all people should recognize by now why America's business ingrates are so reflexively anti-Obama: because it's a ruse to keep the dollars flowing into their pockets. it's never enough! They're the true "Welfare Queens" today and always have been -- and they are the same bloc that drove Churchill from office after they profited from the peace he helped to create. My dad was a Roosevelt Democrat but was strongly anti-welfare. I took exception to what he said about people on the dole, but it absolutely applies to CEO's today: people do not appreciate anything that they get for free.

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on July 14, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

If more Republican women were forced to get mental health screenings before getting pregnant we wouldn't have legislatures passing hate bills like this on in Nebraska. . .

Why do Republicans hate women??

Posted by: Michigoose on July 14, 2010 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Not, necessarily, an instance of cause and effect but amusing, all the same:
http://washingtonindependent.com/91520/violent-crime-is-down-in-arizona-up-in-sheriff-joe-arpaios-county

Posted by: exlibra on July 14, 2010 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

the North Iowa Tea Party purchased a billboard this week equating President Obama with Hitler and Lenin, declaring, "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & Naive."

They took the pics of Hitler and Lenin down and replaced them with pictures of Beck and Bachmann.

"Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & Naive." Indeed!

Posted by: Gridlock on July 14, 2010 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & Naive?"

Hmm ... project much?

I agree, @andy, it is oddly amusing that Hitler, he of the most quintessential example of right-wing fascism, is now shorthanded as some form of socialist. But then again, most teabaggers aren't exactly poli sci majors, I'd venture to guess.

Posted by: jsacto on July 14, 2010 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

the $787 billion stimulus program created 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs

That's $220,000-$320,000 per job. How much did these jobs pay, on average? Where'd the rest go?... Just giving people money is a better use.

This recession won't be helped much by fiscal stimulus. A stimulus twice the size would have less than twice the effect, IMO.

Get a good social safety net and let the rest sort itself out, instead of trying to prop up houses, the stock market and growth by throwing money at them.

Posted by: flubber on July 14, 2010 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & Naive."

its astonishing how frequently the wingnuts describe themselves. Invoking fear in the ignorant has been the whole thrust of republican/conservative strategy since reagan - and very successful.

The tea party itself represents the pinnacle of the rightwing political effort.

Posted by: pluege on July 14, 2010 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that mirrors don't seem to work for the ignorant and depraved. And, those who understand and have the ears of the people don't seem to want to call them out on it. As so many have said here and elsewhere, the Democrats are reluctant to take this to the streets. They have too much to lose if they expose their own complicity with the status quo.

Keep the pressure on and spread the word.

Posted by: st john on July 14, 2010 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

So, the new health bill might do something to help decrease the disparity in lifespans between Americans and other nations like Cuba. So why is it then that the Teapubs don't like it? Do they want poor people to die sooner?

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on July 14, 2010 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

In response to flubber, I hope the post was tongue and cheek and not meant as serious analysis. There are many thoughtful reconciliations of the stimulus, and a little research might avoid the mistake of thinking that dividing total stimulus by number of jobs gives a meaningful metric. A few points in passing to demonstrate: At the point of reporting, only about half of the money had actually been spent. The value of the output (in the case of capital projects, the value of a bridge or road) should be deducted from the nominal cost. The taxes paid on the output (assuming the 3% of GDP cited in the article and doing a simple estimate of federal taxes collected per dollar of economic activity, as a proxy) could be swagged at $60 billion, reducing net cost. While estimating a jobs saved number is dicey, there are clearly jobs saved or hours added in multiple areas as a result of the project spending. While there is valid ground over the utility of the stimulus versus the cost, doing the nominal calculation of total stimulus to jobs created is not in the space of validity.

Posted by: jim on July 14, 2010 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Are any federal dollars being used to save Dick Cheney? And if so, why?

Posted by: JustDesserts on July 14, 2010 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

"...Just giving people money is a better use." flubber @ 6:49 PM.

Not if the recipient has any sense of self-respect. These people aren't Wall Street bankers, you know!

Posted by: Doug on July 14, 2010 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

ARA dollars, filtering down from the state to the county, are repaving the streets in our neighborhood. Since I work out of the house, I've spent a fair amount of time following the work and talking to the workers.

These guys are working with 350 degree asphalt in 90+ degree weather and happy to be working. Nearly all are minorities and even though their English isn't always the best, they're more than willing to talk to you about what they're doing -- and pleasant.

Considering the conditions of our state and county budgets, there is no way these guys would be working without the stimulus funds. And considering the fact that our streets had deteriorated to something approaching the Ho Chi Minn trail, the repaving will no doubt add to the value of our neighborhood.

Oh, and they all work for private companies.

Posted by: beep52 on July 14, 2010 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

I don't suppose there is any chance that we could get a federal law passed to require mental health screening for congress critters?
That could make a significant difference in all our lives.

Posted by: thebewilderness on July 14, 2010 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

All Republicans, especially of the Tea Party racist strain, have high I.Q.'s...really...I'm serious.

Of course, the "I" in "I.Q." doesn't stand for Intelligence where conservative racist Republicans are concerned, but instead stands for Insanity, as in high Insanity Quotient, or Idiot as in high Idiot Quotient, or Ignoramus as in high Ignoramus Quotient, or all three, since all three are very, very, very high in racist Republican Tea Party half-wit circles.

But then, all these high "I.Q." racist Republicans watch Fox News, where they all get their daily dose of insane, idiotic and ignoramus news, so it is somewhat understandable, though still pathetic.

Hell, just look at Angle, Bachmann, Malkin, Coulter, Savage, Beck, Limbaugh, and so many other high-profile Republicans with high I.Q.'s...all idiots, all ignoramuses, all insane.

Posted by: The Oracle on July 14, 2010 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

yes, because when one thinks of "socialism" one automatically thinks of Hitler
Posted by: andy

actually socialism as used by the teabaggers pertains to anything evil. ted bundy and king george III were socialists; king john a socialist; ebenezer scrooge (until he saw the light) simon legree, simon cowell, the grinch, lebron james, the new york yankees, the philadelphia flyers, the dallas cowboys, all socialists and of course the ultimate socialist, satan himself.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on July 14, 2010 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Get a good social safety net ..."

There's the rub, flubber.

Posted by: Sarah Palin IS the ANTIchrist on July 14, 2010 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

@KurtRex1453.

Yes.

Posted by: Sarah Palin IS the ANTIchrist on July 14, 2010 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

flubber,

That's $220,000-$320,000 per job … Where'd the rest go?

That includes all the roads, bridges, sewer systems, and other infrastructure projects, plus all the suppliers they purchase from.


Just giving people money is a better use.

Nope.


This recession won't be helped much by fiscal stimulus.

It has already taken what was an almost 750,000 a month job loss while Chimpy Bush was still in office, to an average of almost 200,000 a month job gain over the last six months. That is a reversal of almost a million jobs a month.

It also reversed a negative 6% GDP to a positive GDP.


A stimulus twice the size would have less than twice the effect, IMO.

It would have had more than twice the effect.

Posted by: Joe Friday on July 14, 2010 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Re: tea partiers in Iowa

The first step in any takeover by a radical faction is to turn your opponent into something hated. These people are dangerous, really. And they have money and guns.

And a complacent or supportive media.

If I were the DNC and supporting orgs, I would pour every cent into convincing the public every part of their agenda is morally bankrupt.

Or would you rather have Murdoch as defacto President, Congress and Supreme Court (Oh wait, he is already the Supreme Court.).

It can happen here.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on July 14, 2010 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Since Scott Brown is not going to vote for FinReg does that mean the special treatment he wanted in the bill for big banks will be removed?

Posted by: Tom P on July 14, 2010 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

No mention of Jack Lew here (or TPM or Yglesias)?

Am I missing something or is appointing Lew like the master political stroke that appointing Petraeus to Afghanistan was? If I didn't miss something and this blog, TPM and Yglesias are all not going to cover this, Dems are in a lot more trouble than I thought.

Posted by: Owen on July 14, 2010 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Government, or someone, needs to launch an ad/pr campaign to let people know these preventive health benefits are going into effect. Might help raise the public approval of the law.

Posted by: Bat of Moon on July 14, 2010 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

beep52...the same thing is happening in my town. Everytime we go down a highway there is construction (badly needed by the way) and workers and employment. It is fabulous and then when you look on the side of the highway there is a big sign "American Recovery". It makes us proud.

Posted by: maggie on July 14, 2010 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Owen, @23:04,
I'm pretty sure that Lew's appointment was mentioned here (in the evening roundup) yesterday, though w/o comment.

Posted by: exlibra on July 14, 2010 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

That's $220,000-$320,000 per job. How much did these jobs pay, on average? Where'd the rest go?... Just giving people money is a better use.

Yes, because that was the amount we actually assigned towards payroll. Jesus, would it really be too hard for people to think maybe a little before posting comments?

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on July 15, 2010 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Question: When right wing pop ups like "MakeMurrayWorry.com" appear, do the sponsers have to pay a fee for each time we click on them?
_____________________________________________

[Yes, we get paid by the click, so click away. --Mod]

Posted by: J. Frqank Parnell on July 15, 2010 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

And in Mason City, Iowa, the North Iowa Tea Party purchased a billboard this week equating President Obama with Hitler

Where exactly is the Anti-Defamation League in all this? Have they made any protests?

Posted by: electrolite on July 15, 2010 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

"Matt Miller wonders why "America's business ingrates" are so irrationally hostile to the Obama administration."

Many of these ingrates, of course, were bailed out by Obama and the Feds.

That is why liberals should be boycotting the Chamber of Commerce members.

Posted by: bob h on July 15, 2010 at 5:49 AM | PERMALINK

Actually The Tea party would prefer " Hitler and Lenin, declaring, "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & Naive." The head of the right-wing group, .... told the AP, "The purpose of the billboard was to draw attention to the socialism. This is what Tea party really wants. Total control of the masses with total control of all the money.

Posted by: MLJohnston on July 15, 2010 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

Posted by: pharmacy technician on July 29, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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