Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 26, 2011

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

* Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-Ariz.) condition has been upgraded from "serious" to "good." She was scheduled to be moved from the intensive care unit to a nearby rehabilitation center today.

* Egypt cracks down: "The Egyptian government intensified efforts to crush protests on Wednesday, decreeing a new ban on public gatherings and sending police equipped with clubs, tear gas and armored carriers against small groups that defiantly gathered in Cairo to oppose the 30- year rule of President Hosni Mubarak." There were reportedly 860 protesters arrested.

* Earlier today, the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament gave its final approval to the New START nuclear arms control treaty.

* The Congressional Budget Office expects a $1.5 trillion deficit this year. Before the right starts hyperventilating, conservatives should remember that this is their fault -- the tax cuts they demanded are driving the increase.

* Speaking of the CBO, I'm glad to see Doug Elmendorf receive a full four-year term, the Republican drive to discredit the office notwithstanding.

* A story to keep an eye on: "After two suspicious packages were delivered to Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) offices in the Dallas area on Wednesday, local station CBS 11 reports that bomb squad technicians detonated the two devices."

* President Obama took his SOTU message on the road today, touring Orion Energy Systems, a power technology company, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

* Remember the widely-mocked color-coded threat system created by the Department of Homeland Security? As of April, it's gone for good.

* It's hard to say whether this will translate into substantial GOP support, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is fully on board with the White House's infrastructure investment plans.

* Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), easily one of Congress' most ridiculous members, wasn't impressed with last night's address: "Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism." What a strange man.

* One of the House Republicans' favorite talking points about Democrats and spending is demonstrably ridiculous.

* Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) makes all kinds of inexplicable decisions, but her education policies are simply impossible to defend.

* The right's fascination with politicians and teleprompters appears to be fleeting. Imagine that.

* At a House hearing today on federal regulations, Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) asked, out loud, in front of a room full of people, "How do I explain all this gobbledygook you talk about?" And people wonder why I question the GOP caucus' intellectual capacity.

* Why, oh why, did ABC's "Good Morning America" invite Christine O'Donnell on to condemn the State of the Union address? What possible reason could there be for this?

* Fox News' Steve Doocy isn't just an odd Republican media personality, he's a thin-skinned, odd Republican media personality.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

"Why, oh why, did ABC's "Good Morning America" invite Christine O'Donnell on to condemn the State of the Union address? What possible reason could there be for this?"

Because she said she wasn't a witch ?


Posted by: Joe Friday on January 26, 2011 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why would GMA invite Christine O'Donnell? Because they are all trying to out batsh!t crazy each other.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on January 26, 2011 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

"conservatives should remember that this is their fault"? C'mon, even Pollyanna herself would have found that too starry-eyed. Their grand scheme (in office or out, but mostly when in) is to pump up the deficit then blame it on whichever Democrat is currenty in office. This is Two Santa Clauses 101, and they've been doing it quite effectively for some time. Media sycophancy (and/or stupidity) play a significant supporting role as well, whether they know it or not.

Posted by: jsacto on January 26, 2011 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Arizona has a gross state product of about $235 billion, the cost to provide health care for 280,000 of poor Arizonans via AHCCCS is about 1/20th of one percent of our GSP, 18th highest in the nation but very unequally distributed. For Jan Brewer and the Republicans to claim that Arizona cannot afford to provide minimal health care those who can least afford is thus disingenuous and based on a desire to cut government for the sake of cutting government not good public policy.

This policy is also short sighted for once enacted sick people will not go to doctors but try to cure themselves with home remedies or medicine given by friends with the result of increased chances of spreading infectious diseases at an increasing rate through our community. Finally, the policy is callous;  cutting off the medicine for people with long term medical needs like those AIDS and diabetes is simply counter to our cultural values, which espouse protecting the poor from the strong and helping those unable to help themselves.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on January 26, 2011 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

"* Remember the widely-mocked color-coded threat system created by the Department of Homeland Security? As of April, it's gone for good."

When can we get rid of the TSA?

"* One of the House Republicans' favorite talking points about Democrats and spending is demonstrably ridiculous."

This link goes to an article from September of last year about a budget proposal made by Boehner. What kind of point were you trying to make?

Posted by: mcc on January 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism." What a strange man.

Not nearly as strange as the people who elected him.

Posted by: JW on January 26, 2011 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

As soon as someone can explain to me the gobbledygook-speaking pile of bovine excrement commonly known as John Sullivan (R-Teabagburg), I will be more than happy to explain to that room full of people the common sense stuff that Sullivan's cowpie-between-the-ears is too decomposed to pontificate upon---as such pontification requires, at the very minimum, more than the ability to be a thread-worn Rush Limbaugh Sock Puppet.

Posted by: S. Waybright on January 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

OT, but relevant, I believe: With all the talk of increasing cost of healthcare, how, specifically are costs increasing? Is it medical staff salaries? Medical device technology? Hospitalization? Healthcare insurance premiums? Healthcare executives' compensation? Emergency room costs?
I have yet to see an actual itemized list of the costs and how they are disbursed.

Posted by: st john on January 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we adopt the defunct color-coded terron system for snow storms? The current storm swirling off the east coast should have a number that reflects how much it will cost local budgets, delay airlines, etc.

For that matter, maybe the system could be used to indicate how much trouble is brewing in Egypt at present. I think an alert level of 4-5 is in order as we watch the country unravel.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 26, 2011 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

* Why, oh why, did ABC's "Good Morning America" invite Christine O'Donnell on to condemn the State of the Union address? What possible reason could there be for this? -- Steve Benen

Pen... I mean... Bachmann envy of CNN's bold move into cuckoo-land?

Posted by: exlibra on January 26, 2011 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Today's New York Times has a piece about the forthcoming final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. There is plenty of blame to go around:


The commission that investigated the crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.
.
Many of the conclusions have been widely described, but the synthesis of interviews, documents and testimony, along with its government imprimatur, give the report - to be released on Thursday as a 576-page book - a conclusive sweep and authority.
.
The commission held 19 days of hearings and interviews with more than 700 witnesses; it has pledged to release a trove of transcripts and other raw material online.

Despite the commission's deep look into the crisis, there is still a homeownership promotion dead-ender: "a fourth Republican, Peter J. Wallison, has his own dissent, calling policies to promote homeownership the major culprit." The official report, however, 'says the low interest rates brought about by the Fed after the 2001 recession; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants; and the “aggressive homeownership goals” set by the government as part of a “philosophy of opportunity” were not major culprits.'

Ideally, the release of this report would spur a frenzy of activity in Congress and the Executive Branch to remove the causes of the previous melt-down -- e.g., ratings agencies, overly aggressive leverage, conflicts of interest, poor disclosure, etc. But with our Wall Street-loving Congress, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Posted by: meander on January 26, 2011 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding Brewer's continued attack on the vulnerable. First it was blocking immigrants, then folks who could be working and paying taxes if they had had the organ transplant promised were denied life by her; prefers to not educate folks in her state as she probably feels this would cause people to realize she is a rip off.It really isn't to much of a stretch to wonder if she didn't pay the Tucson loneman to shoot a democratic representative who just won an election so she could appont a republican to replace Gabby.Notice Brewer never opts to close tax loop holes for the rich to pay for supposed budget gap.

Posted by: MLJohnston on January 26, 2011 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

After two suspicious packages were delivered to Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) offices in the Dallas area on Wednesday, local station CBS 11 reports that bomb squad technicians detonated the two devices."

Keep an eye on it indeed. Can't help the admittedly freaky feeling that this was some kind of false-flag operation. It's tough to ignore the timing of it. Very convenient for the GOP noise machine.

Posted by: LL on January 26, 2011 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

On a roll…

Senate Majority Leader Reid today on Rep. Paul Ryan:

In the nicest way, I have to say, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about

This after last week, Reid said during an interview in response to Rep. Eric Cantor, that there is no crisis in Social Security.

MORE OF THIS PLEASE !


Posted by: Joe Friday on January 26, 2011 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

two suspicious packages were delivered to Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) ..."

Keep an eye on it indeed. Can't help the admittedly freaky feeling that this was some kind of false-flag operation.

Y'know, something less reckless than live ammo probably could have served such an operation nearly as well.

A shout-out of thanks to our first responder security forces and wishes of continued safety for our woefully confused, but valued, Republican opposition.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on January 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Tom Coburn echoed the Michelle Bachmann line today: he said on MSNBC today that he also has his eye on job training programs, which were on his list of items that he claims he can “whack from this budget and [have] nobody feel it".

Whack! Pow! Kabllooey!

Posted by: Ohioan on January 26, 2011 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

"The Congressional Budget Office expects a $1.5 trillion deficit this year. Before the right starts hyperventilating, conservatives should remember that this is their fault -- the tax cuts they demanded are driving the increase."

You think the fact that it's conservatives' fault will prevent them from hyperventilating over it? I'm sure that to Republicans, the fact that tax cuts under Reagan, Bush, and now Obama causes the deficit to get worse was a FEATURE, not a bug. It makes their calls for cutting government spending seem even more compelling.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on January 26, 2011 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why, oh why, did ABC's "Good Morning America" invite Christine O'Donnell on to condemn the State of the Union address? What possible reason could there be for this?

If you consider that the corporate HQ of ABC is found on the studio lot of the Walt Disney Corporation (aka "Mauschwitz"), the question pretty much answers itself.

American media is owned by conservative, right wing corporations. One is surprised that these organizations and individuals hate the president and hate the Democrats???

File under: simple answers to simple questions.

Posted by: TCinLA on January 27, 2011 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA: American media is owned by conservative, right wing corporations. One is surprised that these organizations and individuals hate the president and hate the Democrats???

I have to believe that Steve's seeming confusion and obtuseness about this stuff are intended to be rhetorical and/or Socratic.

At least, I sure as hell hope they are.

Posted by: Chet on January 27, 2011 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

I am glad the Cornyn bombs did not go off, but it is probably the case that Republicans will ratchet down the threatening talk and stop egging on the violent loons when they themselves become targets.

Posted by: bob h on January 27, 2011 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

"Remember the widely-mocked color-coded threat system created by the Department of Homeland Security? As of April, it's gone for good."

If we don't know if the day is red or orange then the terrorists win.

Posted by: Al on January 27, 2011 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) makes all kinds of inexplicable decisions...

And apparently, DEATH PANELS is now one of them, too

Posted by: Marko on January 27, 2011 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

* Why, oh why, did ABC's "Good Morning America" invite Christine O'Donnell on to condemn the State of the Union address? What possible reason could there be for this?

Palin was cleaning out her sock drawer?

Posted by: max on January 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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