Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 26, 2010

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

* I really am glad President Obama rescued the American automotive industry: "The Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that it earned $1.7 billion in the third quarter and that it expected to have zero net debt by the end of December, one year ahead of forecast. It was the sixth consecutive profitable quarter and the best third quarter in more than 20 years for Ford."

* On a related note, the administration has unveiled new rules to "reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants by requiring greater fuel efficiency for big trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles starting with 2014 models." Look for more regulatory moves like this in 2011 and 2012, after Congress completely loses the ability to act.

* I'm starting to think some folks consider Voting While Brown to be illegal: "Tea Party members have started challenging voter registration applications and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible. In response, liberal groups and voting rights advocates are sounding an alarm, claiming that such strategies are scare tactics intended to suppress minority and poor voters."

* Given the larger context, this may not generate as much praise as it probably deserves: "Less than halfway through his first term, President Barack Obama has appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in history. Gay activists say the estimate of more than 150 appointments so far -- from agency heads and commission members to policy officials and senior staffers -- surpasses the previous high of about 140 reached during two full terms under President Bill Clinton."

* First Lady Michelle Obama is working with OFA to encourage folks to take advantage of early voting.

* Congress still hasn't taken care of that Pell Grant problem that's been building up since the summer.

* I really do wish I knew whether it's all right to keep my cell phone in my pocket.

* Interesting-but-polite confrontation yesterday between a Fox News crew and Wisconsin Democrats.

* Right-wing hate blogger Pamela Geller has a plan to profit handsomely from bigotry.

* Based on the perspective of a woman who knew him pretty well, Clarence Thomas seems like a strange, scary man.

* From time to time, I genuinely struggle to understand how Richard Cohen's mind works.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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

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Comments

I really am glad President Obama rescued the American automotive industry: "The Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that it earned $1.7 billion in the third quarter

I agree with the basic sentiment since the stimulus probably saved my job last year. Ford undoubtedly benefited from cash-for-clunkers and other general stimulus measures Ford itself was But it wasn't 'bailed out. Ford weathered teh storm on its own.

Ford's management actually got relatively smart a few years ago (late 90s) and started making some very good moves. Ford has been the healthiest of the big three for about a decade now and was poised for serious gains before the Great Recession hit.

Posted by: thorin-1 on October 26, 2010 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

While I agree that the bailouts of GM and Chrysler were unmitigatedly good things, Ford chose not to go that route. The best that could be said is that they benefited peripherally.

Posted by: Kenneth G. Cavness on October 26, 2010 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

My BIL is an admin assistant to Alan Mullally, CEO of Ford. Although they did not get a bail out, Ford was quite frightened of GM going under due to the havoc that would have been unleashed in the domestic supply chain. It's doubtful that Ford would have survived GM going out of business.

Posted by: sue on October 26, 2010 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

From time to time, I genuinely struggle to understand how Richard Cohen's mind works.

Imagine a grotesque, twisted wreckage of narcissism, inadequacy and misogyny. Now multiply by infinity.

Posted by: dr. bloor on October 26, 2010 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK
Tea Party members have started challenging voter registration applications and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible.

18 USC Sec. 241
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same [...] They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both [...]

Posted by: cmdicely on October 26, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, Blackberry et al are just covering their asses. If the frequency isn't high enough, the intensity of the radiation doesn't matter unless it's strong enough to cook you. Cell phone radio frequencies are too low to damage cells. For more, read Bob Park at http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/. Now, excuse my while I go stare into my microwave oven while it pops a snack.

Posted by: M Sidell on October 26, 2010 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Blinded by the light"

Ford wasn't part of the bailout.

obama sycophants are ridiculous...and counterproductive.

Posted by: zoot on October 26, 2010 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely is back !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 26, 2010 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

New genre: Teabagger reality jokes

Q: Why did the teabagger cross the road?
A: To curb stomp a woman with a sign he didn't like.

(Side note: Sure am glad the Teabaggery isn't about race. Otherwise some might claim "teabagger" to be an ethnic slur rather than just a slur.)

Posted by: koreyel on October 26, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Read this article regarding the cell phone issue. I know it's not in keeping with the times to use such things as "facts" and "science" to answer a question, but I can't help myself.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-you-hear-me-now

Posted by: Zero on October 26, 2010 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

I second sue's comment. If both Chrysler and GM had folded simultaneously the likelihood of Ford surviving (counter intuitive since they'd stand to gain market share) probably would have been low. Domestic suppliers just couldn't have withstood the sudden drop.

We'd all be buying Hyundai's right now.

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on October 26, 2010 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls

Good luck with that. Can't speak for other states, but here in Colorado, poll watchers aren't permitted to address voters at the polls. They are allowed to speak to precinct workers, but not voters.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 26, 2010 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

If someone attempts/obstructs your right to vote (and even poll officers have lists of can and can'ts), that is vote tampering and violation of civil rights. If the Obama crew has balls they'll have lawyers out there and make a show of consequences and pursue prosecutions where indicated. Actually, make the Second Ammendment work for you this time: make it clear, "don't tread on me."

PS - For me it's the principle of partisans challenging people, I'm not even opposed in principle to things like rules requiring ID etc (altho the arguments against are acknowledged.)

Posted by: Neil B on October 26, 2010 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Clarence Thomas abuses his current wife emotionally and verbally and maybe even physically. I'm sure in some way he mis-treats her. These are never isolated incidents. And it's not unusual for an abused woman to side and sympathize with the abuser and it would explain her insane calling of Anita Hill..desperate to do anything to find some coherence, agreement for her staying with the asshole.

He has always seemed very creepy to me, ever since the way he conducted himself in his confirmation hearings, accusing Anita Hill, a very competent brave beyond belief black woman of pulling an "Uppity Lynching".

If anyone got lynched it was Anita Hill and the entire country for letting him get nominated.

Posted by: Yes, Clarence Thomas is the one who lynched Anita Hill and continues to lynch all of us on October 26, 2010 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Never could figure out how Thomas was confirmed for any judgeship. Can he be impeached for past deeds or only misconduct while on the supreme court?

Posted by: Bruce Lawton on October 26, 2010 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Given the larger context, this may not generate as much praise as it probably deserves: "Less than halfway through his first term, President Barack Obama has appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in history. Gay activists say the estimate of more than 150 appointments so far -- from agency heads and commission members to policy officials and senior staffers -- surpasses the previous high of about 140 reached during two full terms under President Bill Clinton."

Perhaps if those 150 appointees were receiving the same spousal benefits as their colleagues, it would get some notice. But they aren't. Insurance? hah! becomes imputed income.

Posted by: Nanuq on October 26, 2010 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

" I really do wish I knew whether it's all right to keep my cell phone in my pocket."

That depends on whether it's your FRONT pocket or your BACK pocket.

Posted by: JEA on October 26, 2010 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

> * I really do wish I knew whether it's all right > to keep my cell phone in my pocket.

Find a physicist you trust at a university
you trust and ask him or her to explain the
difference between ionizing and non-ionizing
radiation.

You'll be glad you did!

Posted by: ejk on October 26, 2010 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Obama didn't save the whole US auto industry. He saved GM and Crysler, but he didn't save Ford. I guess you didn't claim he did, but just note that if Ford is doing so well, saving GM should end up costing much (I think Crysler is a done deal as the US gov gave it to FIAT). By the way, I have never bought an automobile that wasn't made by Ford.

Posted by: robert.waldmann@gmail.com on October 26, 2010 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Tuesday, Oct. 26

'Earth First! Journal' celebrates 30 years of environmental activism

I had no idea Earth First was born in Tucson...
The link above gives an excellent short history:

They called them "silent instigators." The round stickers, sized to a half-dollar, featured a thick fist gripping a wrench. "No Compromise," the logo proclaimed, "in Defense of Mother Earth!"
In the 1980s, in Tucson, these adornments were inescapable. You'd find them stuck to walls in City Hall. They'd appear on trail signs deep within the Coronado National Forest. Or you would find them pasted to bathroom stalls on the UA campus. At the time, environmentalists were engaged in an ugly—and ultimately losing—battle to stop the university from building telescopes atop Mount Graham, in the Pinaleño Mountains east of Tucson.
But the group behind these tough-to-remove instigators was hardly so hushed. Founded in 1979 by a trio of activists, including a top Capitol Hill lobbyist for the Wilderness Society named Dave Foreman, Earth First! was known for its loud theatrics, clever humor and dead seriousness when it came to wilderness protection. At any given time, you'd come across EF! activists protesting in animal outfits, lashing themselves to earth movers, or unfurling a simulated "crack" down the side of Northern Arizona's long-contested Glen Canyon Dam.
Based in Tucson, the group had no formal hierarchy, or even an actual membership beyond subscribers to its newsletter, the Earth First! Journal. But by the late 1980s, it had become quite influential, even as its cagey, loose-limbed approach proved an evasive target for foes.
Posted by: koreyel on October 26, 2010 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I was in college during the Clarence Thomas hearings and I remember thinking even back then that if even 10% of the stuff Anita Hill alleged was true, this guy was a sociopath and shouldn't be within a 1000 yards of any public office, much less a SCOTUS justiceship. Second, he was perhaps the 5,302th most qualified person for the bench at the time, just behind -- oh, virtually every other person in the entire federal judicial system. I hate to say it, but Sarah Palin was practically more qualified to be VP than Clarence Thomas was to be on the Supreme Court. In hindsight, I think his confirmation will be seen as one of the first signs of the decline of the US Senate as an effective legislative and political body.

Posted by: jonas on October 26, 2010 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

I received a glossy mailer from this 501(c)4 "organization" (Southwest Citizens Coalition) today:

http://southwestcitizens.org/

In spite of the name, there are no names of any 'citizens' listed on its website, just a P.O. box number. There is no phone number. It has been associated in the recent past with an Allen McCulloch, a Farmington, NM, urologist who unsuccessfully ran for senate in 2006 and apparently has a thing against progressives. While the website characterizes the organization in part as an "educational" and "non-partisan" entity, the mailer was filled with completely unreferenced claims, of course, against New Mexico's Democrat Congressman Ben Ray Lujan.

Posted by: Varecia on October 26, 2010 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Tea Party members have started challenging voter registration applications and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible. -- Steve Benen
and:
Can't speak for other states, but here in Colorado, poll watchers aren't permitted to address voters at the polls. They are allowed to speak to precinct workers, but not voters.
Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 26, 2010 at 7:31 PM

I just came back from my training session as an "officer of elections" and can confirm the same rules for Virginia. An officer of elections can (and, in some instances, *must*) challenge a (potential) voter. A voter can challenge another voter. Observers, candidate representatives, press, etc (ie people who hang around the precinct all day) can only challenge by speaking to the officers of election, not to the voters directly.

A couple of amusing vignettes from the training session:
1) This year's precinct chief asked about curbside voting. Two officers of election have to accompany the voting machine outside; theoretically, it should be one from each major party. Will he get a list of "who's who", seeing that, in VA, we don't register our party allegiance? The two new (and Republican; I know them from other venues) members of the Electoral Board perk up and listen to the Registrar's answer: "it wouldn't help you very much, since most of the officer of election volunteers are Democrats. Getting one of each might not be possible". We decide that the oath we take (to enforce all the state laws impartially) will have to suffice.
2) We're seated grouped according to shift (I'll be on in the afternoon, 1PM-end; chiefs and assistant chiefs have to be on all day, 5AM to ca 8PM). Since we're expecting small turnout (Registrar's prediction: 35% of the registered voters, not counting the absentee ones -- so far ca 1%), there are only 3 for each precinct (in my town, that's two: the city and the absentee) in addition to the chief and the assistant chief of each. I know who the lady on my right is but wonder about the one on my left. Then, someone mentions a (past) case of a man who had no permanent abode. The Registrar says we have to allow such to vote -- provisional vote -- with an appropriate note (under a bridge, in a tree). The lady on my left says "I bet he just goes from precinct to precinct and votes in each". And, just like that, I know exactly where she's coming from and which TV station she watches... :)

Posted by: exlibra on October 26, 2010 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Christ people, scan the whole thread before you comment. No, Obama did not bail out Ford. But, (concentrate now) without GM or Chrysler, Ford's vendor base would have been toast; hence Ford would have been toast. How many times do we have to repeat this? (I am talking to you, Waldmann)

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on October 26, 2010 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

After Ginny Thomas’s phone call this week, I actually feel like maybe I understand Clancy. He honestly thinks he could have gotten away with sexual harassment if he was a white ivy leaguer. He wasn’t, and as a consequence had to lie under oath to congress, not to mention looking into his wife’s eyes and lying again. After committing such lies he knows at heart he is a hollow man, but is doubly bitter because he still thinks if he was white he could have gotten away with it.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on October 26, 2010 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and to the knuckleheads upthread who think that the GM/Chrysler bailout had nothing to do with Ford, think again: Ford wasn't in as precarious a situation as the other two automakers in 08/09, but, as several commenters have pointed out, the big three rely on a lot of the same parts, equipment and electronics suppliers. Had GM and Chrysler gone under, it's unlikely Ford would have remained viable either. There would have also been serious repercussions for the Pentagon's supply chain. It's one thing if you can't get parts for your GMC. It's another thing when the Army can't get parts for its Humvees in Afghanistan.

Posted by: jonas on October 26, 2010 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Channeling Barney

How many times do we have to repeat this? (I am talking to you, Waldmann)

Teabagger or firebagger....
It's all the same.
Might as well argue with your kitchen table.

Posted by: koreyel on October 26, 2010 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

I just read at TPM about some Republican Poll Watcher in Florida taking pictures of computer screens and voter registration lists with his cell phone camera in a polling station, even though signs are posted saying no cell phones allowed.

Of course, this might just be a "courtesy" prohibition against cell phones in someplace so that people aren't disturbed/distracted while voting, but it could be an election law...which would mean that this Republican was breaking the law.

If so, once outside the polling station, I'd have called the police to have them come investigate, and taser the Republican if he was uncooperative. (Just kidding about the tasering, even though after the Brown Shirt Republican Kentucky Stomp incident, just barely).

Posted by: The Oracle on October 27, 2010 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

What do you get when you cross breed a chicken with an elephant?

Sharon Angle, Joe Miller, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin and all the Republicans running away from reporters, or the Republicans who have someone stomp someone's head into the pavement if they get too close to a Republican running from reporters.

Posted by: The Oracle on October 27, 2010 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

If GM and Chrysler had not been bailed out, Ford would be doing even better today. It would have picked up big pieces of their market shares, and pricing probably would have tightened, too. Anyone who thinks otherwise should go back and retake Econ 101.

In any event, it is far from clear that GM is going to survive long term without Government support. The Volt is a POS and can only be sold with a taxpayer subsidy of $7,500 per car. The Administration seems determined to kill off the only business that is profitable for GM, i.e., big cars and SUVs. If the Administration were really all that concerned about fuel mileage, it would permit GM to satisfy its CAFE fleet averages with imported small cars made by GM overseas, but that's a no-no because the UAW would rather see GM go under than let it import small cars.

Posted by: DBL2 on October 27, 2010 at 6:37 AM | PERMALINK

When my husband and I voted today in NC, we were approached by a woman trying to give us the names of conservative judges, I feel that it was wrong and also I feel that judges should be non-partisan.

Posted by: js on October 27, 2010 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

‎"Ken Buck: 'I Disagree Strongly' With The Separation Of Church And State"

Should we elect anyone who is against the Constitution he will be sworn to uphold?

homer www.altara.blogspot.com

Posted by: altara on October 27, 2010 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

"...and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible."

I am curious as to why they believe they have a right to question anyone at the polls and what, if anything, poll workers are compelled to do to help voters who are being harrassed?

Posted by: Perspecticus on October 27, 2010 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

So they can cause a riot and shut down the precinct entirely. Of course.

Posted by: cld on October 27, 2010 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, 18 USC Sec. 241
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same [...] They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both [...]

Has that statute ever been used to prosecute anti-abortion fanatics?

Posted by: cld on October 27, 2010 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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