Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 17, 2010

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

* As expected, President Obama signed the tax deal into law today.

* Oh my: "The CIA has pulled its top spy out of Pakistan after terrorists threatened to kill him, current and former U.S. officials said, an unusual move for the U.S. and a complication on the front lines of the fight against al-Qaida."

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested today, for the first time publicly, that the Senate may actually wrap up its work for the year before Christmas. It's funny what the death of the omnibus can do to the calendar.

* Of course, with the death of the omnibus, funding the next stage of ACA implementation becomes a lot more difficult.

* Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) had hedged, just a little, on whether she's a firm "yes" vote on a clean DADT repeal bill, but today she removed all doubt -- she'll side with the majority. By most counts, repeal supporters now total 61.

* The Food Safety Modernization Act was part of the omnibus. Republicans now have a new chance to kill the bill that passed the chamber with broad bipartisan support.

* For weeks, there have been 38 judicial nominations waiting for up-or-down votes. As of last night, there are 34 -- the small Republican minority decided to let four of them get confirmation votes, and they were approved. Three of the four have waiting for a vote since May, the other since June.

* In addition to DADT repeal, the Senate will also move on the DREAM Act over the weekend. Attorney General Eric Holder offered a strong endorsement of the proposal earlier today.

* Fred Kaplan reviews the latest assessment of the war in Afghanistan. He's not encouraged.

* Why nukes aren't the only scary aspect of North Korean society.

* Best wishes to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) for a speedy recovery. The prognosis on his prostate cancer looks encouraging, thanks to doctors catching it early.

* The most entertaining part of my day was ready Jon Chait's response to Nick Gillespie.

* Looking back at the BP oil spill disaster, it's worth remembering that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) had no idea what he was talking about.

* I'm glad this effort failed: "Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), blaming Republicans, admitted defeat Friday in his long-shot bid to advance legislation this year that would delay looming Environmental Protection Agency climate change rules. Rockefeller -- who says the rules will harm his coal-heavy state -- had vowed Thursday to try and force a vote on the measure, but now admits it's on ice for the year."

* When Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) whines about a $165,000 earmark for maple-syrup research in Vermont, remember, there's a lot to this that the senator doesn't understand.

* "The Ph.D. Challenge" actually sounds pretty clever.

* And in the upcoming Thor movie, the role of mythical Nordic deity Heimdall will be played by an African-American actor. That has racists awfully upset. (thanks to readers D.N. and J.D.)

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

obama should have said, "i'm looking forward to signing the new tax bill... right after i sign the omnibus bill, the dream act, and the dadt repeal."

Posted by: mellowjohn on December 17, 2010 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

As expected, President Obama signed the tax deal into law today.

And our long national nightmare is finally over. The nation's millionares and billionares can sleep easy tonight knowing they will be richer tomorrow than they are today.

And the other 95% of us will continue down the path to serfdom.

Posted by: thorin-1 on December 17, 2010 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

He's not African-American; he's British.

Posted by: Clambone on December 17, 2010 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

"the role of mythical Nordic deity Heimdall will be played by an African-American actor"

The actor, Idris Elba of "The Wire", is British, not American.

Posted by: Chris G on December 17, 2010 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Idris Elba isn't an African American. He's British

Posted by: craig on December 17, 2010 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"The CIA has pulled its top spy out of Pakistan after terrorists threatened to kill him, current and former U.S. officials said, an unusual move for the U.S. and a complication on the front lines of the fight against al-Qaida."

The death threat is a little over the top, given that his usefulness evaporated when he was outed in the course of a lawsuit.

Needless to say, the ISI had absolutely no idea how the name got out.

Posted by: dr. bloor on December 17, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I would not even had known THOR, the movie, existed had not these guys complained, about the nearest I get to the Norse Gods are Wagnerian operas. NOW it's a must see. My theory, if corporatists, Christians and racists hate it, it must be good.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on December 17, 2010 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Neither is Obama an African-American. He was not born in Africa; his father was. His mother was born in the United States of America; he was born in Hawaii(I think). Doesn't that make him an American-African-Hawaiian-American? How many hyphenated "Americans" are there? Aren't all people born in the Western Hemisphere Americans? I must be an English-American-New York-California-American, since my mother's parents were born in England, she was born in New York, my father's parents were born in America and he was born in NY and I was born in California.

Do we really care?

Posted by: st john on December 17, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

"President Obama signed the tax deal into law today."

Truly a sad sad day.


Posted by: Joe Friday on December 17, 2010 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

And the gleeful Republicans get America for Christmas. God bless them, every one.


Posted by: Skip on December 17, 2010 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

I too am of "african descent". Of course my ancestors left the Dark Continent some time ago- 200,000 years, give or take a few millennia.

I can't wait until the melting pot is finally cooked and ready to serve, and we are all proud members of the Human Race. . .

Posted by: DAY on December 17, 2010 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

DAY: I trust the day will come when we can be "proud" of who we are. Today, not so much.
How about the un-hypenate: Galactic Citizen of the Universe

Posted by: st john on December 17, 2010 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

To everyone who pointed out that Elba is not African-American, but British:

There had been a time, not so long ago, when all the official (govt, etc) wort-typing programs, in the cause of Political Correctness gone haywire, automatically replaced "black" with "African-American". As in: "we need a quart of red ink and two quarts of African-American dye". I kid you not; had a friend working for the magazine of the Williamsburg Foundation, who used to tear her hair out about it.

Given how antiquated the "system" is at the Political Animal, who knows, but "African-American" is the only option Benen had, when he wanted to indicate that Elba is not, precisely, a Viking type...

Posted by: exlibra on December 17, 2010 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

As DAY so aptly pointed out, we're all Africans, but we're not all Americans.

Posted by: st john on December 17, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

real Vermont maple syrup is worth whatever subsidy is necessary.

obviously McCain is a man of no taste. probably pours Aunt Jemima on toaster waffles.

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 17, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Probably Log Cabin Syrup in honor of his Gay Republican colleagues.

Posted by: st john on December 17, 2010 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

So, the Democrats just effectively raised taxes for the working poor, and gave a big huge tax break to the uber-rich.

I can't think of one good reason to vote for Obama in 2012. Not even Sarah Palin. So help me God, I'll stay home.

Posted by: kc on December 17, 2010 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

A friend dated an second string libertarian blogger. Her experience among his circle--libertarians tend to have Asparger's. That may explain their repetitive behavior and nonsensical reasoning, but perfect pitch recall of wingnut talking points. The black t-shirt and leather jacket would be cool, except almost everyon in DC dresses in black.

Posted by: Rich on December 17, 2010 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceuticals laid off 1,700 via voicemail.

We need more tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate !


Posted by: Joe Friday on December 17, 2010 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Breaking news: Michele Bachmann (Retard, MN) has received her committee assignment for the 112 Congress. She's going to be on the...*drum roll*...Intelligence Committee!!

Oh. My. God.

Posted by: Athena on December 17, 2010 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Idiocy Watch:

Steve Benen, a long time solid progressive analyst/blogger, has inexplicably whored his ass out to the current administration, and has, hilariously, started parroting Gibbs about the "loony left" disregarding the fact that there is no Left in the U.S.

Posted by: HMDK on December 17, 2010 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Three things.

No. 1: While Benen is looking back at that idiot Bobby Jindal, he shouldn't forget to glance at the idiotic move by Obama ten days before the BP oil disaster when the president called for MORE drilling in the Gulf and Atlantic.

No. 2: While I am sure Benen has it in him to excuse that move of Obama's as merely bad luck in timing the reach-out to rub up the opposition's leg, the real world outside of Washington now sees it as symptomatic of much that has gone terribly, terribly wrong with the Obama presidency. It even colors (unflatteringly) his corporate bailout bills.

No. 3. Has anyone noticed that the persistently lame, predictable excuses being offered here and on similar partisan blogs for every step Obama takes to embrace the Republican agenda are generating more and more hostility among readers? I ask because in the non-cyber world my friends unanimously now say, in effect, they feel like suckers every time they read or hear the news. The reason? As one said to me today, "Every time I hear something new he's done I feel like Obama defrauded me by running as a Democrat."

Posted by: John B. on December 17, 2010 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I was thinking: there's at least a 20% that Sarah Palin will (if she decides to run) win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Wouldn't you think? I mean 20% is pretty low. Her chances can't be much lower than than, don't you think?

And if she gets the nomination, there's got to be at least a 25% chance that she'll win, I would think. Something in China or Europe goes blooey and there's a huge economic collapse, and she wins. Or she gets some good handlers and runs a surprisingly good campaign while unemployment stays stuck or even edges up, and she wins. Or there's a credible third party candidate and this somehow redounds to her favor, and she wins. Or there's a series of massive terrorist attacks, and she wins. Or Obama dies, or has a nervous breakdown, or is caught in some scandal (unlikely, but you never know) or gets caught on tape raving about "honkeys", or some other weird thing happens, and she wins. Or something.

She'd be the candidate of one of the two major parties. I can't believe the chances that she could somehow win are much lower than 25%.

So 25% of 20% is %5. Right? I'm not a math guy. So that means that where we stand right now, at this moment, there is at least a one-in-twenty chance that Sarah Palin will be the next president.

Of course she'd have Republican majority in the House, and probably a slim Republican majority in the Senate, I think.

It'd be interesting and fun to see some speculation of what a Sarah Palin presidency would be like. (Just for fun, we could assume that the GOP Senate would introduce new rules quashing the filibuster, which they could do if they wanted to.)

A Palin presidency might be a trainwreck, but not necessarily. Anyway, it's something to think about. I wonder why no one has written about this yet.

Posted by: herostratus on December 17, 2010 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Presumably the CIA agent's cover was blown by someone in the Pakistani intelligence service(our good allies).

Posted by: bob h on December 18, 2010 at 6:12 AM | PERMALINK

"* The Food Safety Modernization Act was part of the omnibus. Republicans now have a new chance to kill the bill that passed the chamber with broad bipartisan support."

I can't help but think that both parties had this 'accident' planned all along.

Posted by: Dictynna on December 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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