Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 4, 2010

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

* It doesn't look like talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan are going especially well.

* The trend of the last few weeks didn't last: "The number of people seeking jobless benefits jumped sharply last week, after two straight weeks of declines."

* Not all of the economic news was discouraging: "The economy is picking up a bit from its late-summer doldrums, according to two reports Wednesday, with both the service and manufacturing sectors showing better health."

* President Obama seems to enjoy hosting these get-togethers: "In the aftermath of this week's electoral "shellacking," President Obama on Thursday invited Congressional leaders to literally break bread later this month at a dinner at the White House as he tries to adjust to a new political order with Republicans ascendant. Mr. Obama invited eight leaders, four from each party, to meet on Nov. 18 and then share a meal in the residence part of the White House."

* After such a lengthy debate over health care policy, one would like to think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) realizes the ACA lowers the deficit -- and repealing it would increase the deficit.

* Some on the far-right probably don't look forward to extending the debt limit, but even Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) seems to realize the catastrophic results of default.

* Only a handful of House Democrats actually saw their support grow over 2008 levels. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine is one of them -- and she ran on a progressive, unapologetic platform. (Her race had been considered a "toss up," but she won by double-digits.)

* It's good to see the estimable Sam Seder back on the air.

* Ever wonder about the origins of the "landslide election" phrase? Now we know.

* For crying out loud: "The GOP plans to hold high profile hearings examining the alleged 'scientific fraud' behind global warming, a sleeper issue in this election that motivated the base quite a bit."

* There's some entertaining symbolism here -- Sarah Palin's video on the midterms shows a sunrise, which is actually just a sunset run backwards. Insert joke here.

* As the economy struggles, more Americans are returning to college. That, however, isn't going especially well.

* And one of the reasons I love "The Rachel Maddow Show" is that the host and her team really seem to get what I'm trying to say with my charts.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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

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Comments

congrats on being Rach's go-to guy!

Posted by: zeitgeist on November 4, 2010 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't look like talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan are going especially well.

Let me guess... They aren't going to compromise on ANYTHING.

Posted by: kanopsis on November 4, 2010 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

the ACA lowers the deficit

You are a riot.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on November 4, 2010 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

mattR,

tbanks for sharing....Have a nice life. Bu-bye!

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on November 4, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Damn obstructionist taliban. Where could have they ever learned such a tactic.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 4, 2010 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

SO when has Sarah Palin ever cared about verisimilitude?

Meanwhile...

JUST SAY YES to tax increases for the wealthy. 

Republicans destroyed the economy by lax financial regulation coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy which forced great deficits upon the country.  Now they want to give the rich even more money.

 The rich have had a free ride since Reagan when the highest tax rates were cut from 70% to 35%.  Now the country and the economy are in trouble.  It is time the rich pay their fair share.

There is no reason to give Paris Hilton more Gucci handbags, music industry execs another Mercedes Benz, or Donald Trump additional Rolex watches when people are unemployed, losing their houses, and cannot afford college or health insurance.

Please, tell your elected officials you not only oppose the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but would like to see the top rate restored to the pre-Reagan level. The alternative is a continued reliance on selling goods and services to the über rich, a weak strategy at best - after all one needs only so much Tiffany jewelry.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on November 4, 2010 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, duh. You've never watched TV from the BACK?

Posted by: ml on November 4, 2010 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't tell me the dinner is catered by McDonald's and includes Happy Meals. Jeez. Can I get a refund? I voted for Ali and got Ghandi.

Posted by: mmm on November 4, 2010 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't look up the 2008 numbers, but Earl Blumenhauer, another unapologetic progressive shellacked his opponent 69% to 12%. Of course, the Green candidate also shellacked the R by 18% to 12%, so I guess you could say Portland is a safe district.

Posted by: J Bean on November 4, 2010 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Who are these visionless infidels that dont want the prophet Bush who mouth utters words from God almighty to sunrise that what God wants to sunset?

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 4, 2010 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Tax cuts for Paris she needs her coke.

What are you people - savages?

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 4, 2010 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, I share this series of questions for all of us to answer (following these questions). How much healthcare could a day in Iraq & Afghanistan provide? How much head trauma and PTSD treatment could the Banksters' bonuses provide? How many jobs could be filled with the campaign funds funneled into infrastructure and renewable energy programs instead of paying for obscenely negative TV ads?

"Slightly OT, but I feel this is necessary to post regularly. You may see this on other threads. This is a paraphrase from Pachamama Alliance.

"I recognize the anger and frustration with the results of this election. I would like to offer a narrative for all of us to adopt:
Imagine you are speaking with your grandchildren and great-grandchildren in about 30 years (or someone else's if you don't have any). How would you answer their questions?
What did you do in your life to eliminate poverty, hunger, violence against others, homelessness and hatred? Can you identify the acts that you undertook and the words you spoke to create a better, more loving and peaceful world?

Do you have the courage to answer these questions honestly? Did you vote for the candidates who addressed the issues of humanity or did you vote for the ones who preached hatred and division?
Ask yourself the questions and answer them honestly. Even if you don't speak them out loud, you will know in your heart how you answered.

Pass this question along to your friends and associates.
Ask your representative in government these same questions. Ask you children, now, how they think you might answer these questions.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john
Posted by st john at November 3, 2010 2:55 PM"

Posted by: st john on November 4, 2010 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hilarious!! So Sarah Palin has the sun rising in the West?

Posted by: g on November 4, 2010 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Landslide.

Huh.

Yanno, this gets me thinking about blue dogs and i wonder if it was because they got elected out by the pubs or unvoted out by the dems. If the latter then thats 22 seats that werent 'won', per se, if so that should be subtracted from the 60+ seats making the landslide more of a leaky mudwall. No?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since we were talking about money and QE yesterday I found this out of print Modern Money Mechanics workbook printed by the Chicago central bank in PDF format. http://www.rayservers.com/images/ModernMoneyMechanics.pdf

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 4, 2010 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

"The GOP plans to hold high profile hearings examining the alleged 'scientific fraud' behind global warming, a sleeper issue in this election that motivated the base quite a bit."

Next up: "The GOP plans to hold high profile hearings examining the alleged 'scientific fraud' that the Earth is round, a sleeper issue for the next election that is expected to motivate the base quite a bit."

Posted by: electrolite on November 4, 2010 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

What is this "public hearings" thingy you're referring to?

Do you mean Congress can actually use high profile hearings as a way to influence the ongoing political narratives in this country? I thought that they had to wait 'till something really really bad happened, like the Gulf oil spill or the Wall Street meltdown.

Huh. Did our side know about this?

Posted by: Dwight on November 4, 2010 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Huh. Did our side know about this?

I think they were too busy trying to pass legislation to hold hearings. Maybe during the next two years the Senate can hold hearings on Citizens United. Love to see Rove forced to testify as to who his donors were, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on November 4, 2010 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

How much healthcare could a day in Iraq & Afghanistan provide?

720 million a day according to American Friends Service Committee. [Bilmes, Stiglitz]

$5049 for single coverage and $13770 for family coverage annually. [Kaiser Family Foundation]

[15.3% [uninsured Americans from Wikipedia] of 300 million = 45.9 million. Thats roughly 255.1 million with health insurance]

720 million [daily war costs] divided by 5049 [annual single premium] = 142,602 people [roughly]

Sound about right?

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 4, 2010 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

The public hearing on science fraud is a political publicity stunt. They should have a hearing on science fraud to deny AGW.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 4, 2010 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

The public hearing on science fraud is a political publicity stunt.

I'm sure it'll be must-see TV, too. Zzzzzzz

Posted by: g on November 4, 2010 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, Democrats did use hearings a few times, e.g the June 2009 House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing where health insurance CEO's were forced to admit that they wouldn't rule out using recisions.

My point was that they didn't use them effectively enough to consistently put Republican policy on the defensive.

I think they were too busy trying to pass legislation to hold hearings.

Is multi-tasking an arcane concept?

Posted by: Dwight on November 4, 2010 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

where health insurance CEO's were forced to admit that they wouldn't rule out using recisions. -Dwight

Of course not then they wouldnt make higher profits by sticking them in a high risk [higher subsidies] bracket.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 4, 2010 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

I do worry about Repug hearings to deride climate scientists and those of us who rely on their logic and evidence to try to understand the natural world and derive implications for public policy. The Repugs are despicable, lying tools of Big Energy. I am not confident that the Dems can or will effectively support the scientists. (they weren't so hot at getting re-elected, something they should have been very motivated to do.) This could be one more way the Repugs can try to keep their supporters and lo-info independents from learning the evidence and thinking logically. McCarthy anyone?

Posted by: pea on November 4, 2010 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle Bachman understates the impact of global warming as much as she overstates the daily cost of President Obama's upcoming trip to India. When you treat every issue as an opportunity to score cheap political points, from rising seas to relations with the world's largest democracy, you lose credibility.

Getting into power is the easy part. Governing wisely is much harder.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 4, 2010 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

After such a lengthy debate over health care policy, one would like to think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) realizes the ACA lowers the deficit -- and repealing it would increase the deficit.

one would like to think that only if one were stupid enough to think there was anything at all honest about mcconnell or anything any republican says. If one likes to be stupid as hell, go right on liking to think mcconnell and his fellow republicans are honest actors.

Posted by: gak on November 4, 2010 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Pingree & Michaud may have won handily in ME, but at the same time both houses in Augusta turned over.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 5, 2010 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

I don't generally watch tweety (Matthews) because he drives me crazy with his interrupting, etc., but today (Thursday) he had a real live grownup politician on - Sen Michael Bennet. Wow, how nice to hear someone with the facts, reasonable, good ideas, etc. Why aren't more of these politicians on instead of the nutjobs? Maybe the same reason people gawk at car wrecks???

Posted by: Hmmmmm on November 5, 2010 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Huh. Did our side know about this?

I think they were too busy trying to pass legislation to hold hearings. Maybe during the next two years the Senate can hold hearings on Citizens United. Love to see Rove forced to testify as to who his donors were, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on November 4, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Personally, I think this is a great idea. More to the point, Democratic leaders in the Senate should make it clear that for every made-up scandal (climategate, birther nonsense, etc) they hold hearings on in the House designed to embarass Democrats in general or President Obama in particular, the Senate will hold hearings on a real scandal (George Bush's admission that he personally authorized waterboarding, billions of dollars of waste in Iragi and Katrina reconstruction, anonymous donors funding multi-million dollar buys for blatantly false political ads) that just happen to embarass Republicans.

Posted by: tanstaafl on November 5, 2010 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

tanstaafl, I agree with those suggestions, as well as with our Canadian comrade's call above for a closer look at Citizen's United.

But there were also some opportunities lost, both large and small:

1) Democrats had evidence prior to the '09 summer recess that there would be coordinated efforts to physically disrupt the upcoming town hall forums on health care reform. Delaying the recess, and hauling the likes of Frank Luntz, Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and the crew from American's For Prosperity in front of the cameras would have been fun, and would have shed some light on these "spontaneous" and "genuine" episodes that impacted public opinion so much.

2) Having a public face-to-face with budding sci-fi filmmaker James O'Keefe and his sugar daddy, Andrew Breitbart, might have preempted the Shirley Sherrod fiasco. May have even salvaged ACORN as well.

3) As Steve Benen has blogged about, back in October of 2009, the Texas Forensic Science Commission was about to review evidence that the state may have executed an innocent man, Cameron Todd Willingham, back in 2004. Governor Rick Perry (who signed the death warrant) was able to stop this review by firing three of the agency's commissioners, including its chairman, on the eve of the meeting. That same month, the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group, issued a report indicating that states could save millions by ending the death penalty. Since Republicans are so keen on spending cuts, holding hearings on this report and how states are administering the death penalty would have presented a wonderful opportunity to watch Perry squirm under oath. Democrat Bill White would have appreciated the footage.

Posted by: Dwight on November 5, 2010 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

Hpw did you miss the Big Story? The one about Obama's trip to India that is going to cost about 10 trillion dollars?

Not true - not to worry. The package is more important than the content.

Posted by: Marc on November 5, 2010 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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