Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 27, 2011

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

* As unrest continues in Egypt, ElBaradei returns to his country: "Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who has become a leading opponent of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, returned to Cairo on Thursday in an attempt to galvanize youth-led street protests that extended into a third day across the country."

* Tunisia, then Egypt, now Yemen: "Yemen, one of the Middle East's most impoverished countries and a haven for Al Qaeda militants, became the latest Arab state to witness mass protests on Thursday, as thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in the capital and other regions to demand a change in government."

* Tragedy in Uganda: "David Kato knew he was a marked man. As the most outspoken gay rights advocate in Uganda, a country where homophobia is so severe that Parliament is considering a bill to execute gay people, he had received a stream of death threats, his friends said.... On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Kato was beaten to death with a hammer in his rough-and-tumble neighborhood." Also note, the murder generated an official White House statement, reinforcing its significance.

* Iraq: "A car bomb exploded outside a funeral tent Thursday in a mainly Shiite area of Baghdad, killing at least 48 people -- the latest in a wave of attacks that has triggered fury over the government's inability to stop the bloodshed."

* A sharp and painful reversal: "The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week as snowstorms in some parts of the country forced companies to lay off workers. Applications surged by a seasonally adjusted 51,000 to 454,000, the highest level since late October."

* How well is GM doing? It's withdrawing its application for $14.4 billion in federal loans to upgrade its manufacturing operations.

* On a related note, Republicans were wrong about Chrysler, too.

* Major White House staffing announcements are underway, including Jay Carney replacing Robert Gibbs as press secretary.

* This should be interesting: "President Obama has renominated Donald Berwick to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a pivotal position in implementing the president's health care law."

* House Speaker John Boehner is walking back his own Social Security policy.

* Bush/Cheney took unprecedented steps to undermine the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Obama is putting things right.

* There are ways to improve college investments.

* Right-wing bloggers are accusing White House speechwriters of plagiarism in the SOTU. James Joyner didn't love the speech, but he knows nonsensical attacks when he sees them.

* Similarly, Obama didn't come up with "Win the future." Neither did Gingrich. Let it go, conservatives.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

And do not forget Arizona Republicans' very real attempts to cut health care for poor Arizonans. Governor Brewer wants to cut 280,000 people from AHCCCS, Arizona's version of Medicaid, without any provisions for people who have high maintenance diseases like AIDS and diabetes. The Legislature has already endorsed the idea and Brewer is to applying to the Federal Government for permission to commit this terrible act.

If this is just a game to draw attention to the incompetent way Arizona has given up revenue streams to businesses and rich the tactic is in really poor taste. If not, what an utterly callous policy that  balances the budget by cutting health care for those who can least afford it. We are consciously creating a tragedy of potentially epic proportions as the people delay or do not go to doctors when ill, go unvaccinated, and take home remedies for infectious diseases.  Arizona needs health care equality for all its citizens, not just the favored few.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on January 27, 2011 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I just saw this on a WaPo thread directed an obnoxious winger who kept spouting the silly rhetoric and accusations of that type of meathead. I hope nobody minds, as it is a form of commentary that seems effective in making them rethink their unending accusations.

" "Ol Scotty Guy, you give us independents with some Scotch-Irish blood a bad name. Why so ignorant and hateful? If you are so independent, then why not develop the thinking and information to go along with it?
Here are some things you may not know, but should, if you are to succeed in overturning the government and implementing your own reign of terror:

1) traditional conservative principles require that you respect the Constitution All the time , not just some of the time.

2) you forswear foreign entanglements (that means war, bases, support to Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and Colombia, among other US allies.) And the current inviolable military & intel budgets are at least 25% of the budget, far beyond what is required to defend the US. They should be in play and sliced to really much more modest levels to balance the budget (which also is a form of national defense.)

3) You should not depend on the taxes of others to support the operations of your own jurisdiction, like almost all of the red states have been doing for decades in supporting huge NET Federal Tax transfers/expenditures from blue states to red states (California sent $43 billion more in 2005 than it got back.)

The maps of the blue and red states almost exactly match the net contributor and net recipent states - a vast fraud on equity that the right never wants to touch on or mention, even though it involves government welfare which conservatives should frown upon. So the needy Red states are taking from the wealthy Blue states - isn't that communism?

4) Requires that you respect the law all the time, not just when it suits your preferences, like the SCOTUS opinion in 2000 that broke the laws and violated the clear right of the State of Florida to govern its own election procedures.

5) There is not a single mention of corporations in the Constitution, and corporation law was only signed into effect during Lincoln's presidency about 90 years later, so how can you justify the theft of our indiviual based Constitution by the Citizens United decision?

You are no conservative, but rather you are a radical and subversive who has been given the old Korean War era slow water drip torture to brain wash you into believeing subversive thoughts.

And so on.

Scotty, what you guys believe is really very much like the Bolsheviks, who justified all sorts of lies, deceptions, violence, threats and tricks in order to achieve their goals. That's the way the hard right behaves today, so very similar. "

Posted by: oscar3indy on January 27, 2011 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

As unrest continues in Egypt, ElBaradei returns to his country: ’Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who has become a leading opponent of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, returned to Cairo on Thursday in an attempt to galvanize youth-led street protests that extended into a third day across the country’.

Odds on ElBaradei being shot ?

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 27, 2011 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Right-wing bloggers are accusing White House speechwriters of plagiarism in the SOTU

Ah. I see. so when the Right repeats the Blast-Fax talking points, are they plagiarizing?

You make the call!

Posted by: g on January 27, 2011 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

A sharp and painful reversal: ‘The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week as snowstorms in some parts of the country forced companies to lay off workers. Applications surged by a seasonally adjusted 51,000 to 454,000, the highest level since late October’.

And the housing market is teetering again, with a tsunami of more foreclosures coming.

Sure glad we did a bigger stimulus.

Oh wait...


Posted by: Joe Friday on January 27, 2011 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

How about Win Our Future, W/O Fail?

Posted by: Gail on January 27, 2011 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Apropos of nothing specific, the future of our Union rests upon an informed voter- and then getting them to DO IT!

(This site accomplishes the first part. . .)

Posted by: DAY on January 27, 2011 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

On a related note, Republicans were wrong about Chrysler, too.

You’d have a much shorter list of just those things the Republicans WEREN’T wrong about.

Too bad I can’t think of any.


Posted by: Joe Friday on January 27, 2011 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

What isn't the right attacking? The Mosquito Party, incessently buzzing around your head, looking for blood.

Posted by: Skip on January 27, 2011 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

The right wing non-issue of the week about whether or not Obama "plagiarized" phrases in his SOTU speech reminds me of a monologue by Garrison Keillor a few years back in which he claimed that he'd been invited to be the commencement speaker for Lake Wobegon High School, and had written a great speech: "Commencement means beginning, not end. The future is yours to make of it whatever you want. Believe in yourselves, and you can do anything. The torch with failing hands to you we throw." And so on in that vein. And then he had to bow out of giving the speech, they invited a different speaker, and "He stole my speech! Word for word!" Of course, the audience was rolling in the aisles.

Posted by: T-Rex on January 27, 2011 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Take over "to big to fail" so everyone takes a haircut, and have it work out--is what should have been done with the Wall Street firms. Now that that has been demonstrated with the car companies, the model is set for the big banks--management and share holders will lose out.

Posted by: golack on January 27, 2011 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the URL for what the House GOP Congressman and Budget Czar Paul Ryan is proposing for 2011:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_XNASUrh0wVI/TUB1pSs8nQI/AAAAAAAAARQ/12C2se8N2pA/s1600/Blog_Ryan_Tax_Rates_0.jpg

It shows that the Teapublicans are not serious about reducing the deficit, since it increases the deficit by another $181 Billion.
This is Grover Norquist's wet dream at work as we all become serfs.
Why won't the American public educate themselves on the realities of the Teapublican proposals is beyond me. Send it on to your friends.

Posted by: oscar3indy on January 27, 2011 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Bush would feel like a dope if he knew that instead of dumping a trillion dollars in Iraq - killing a so far uncountable number of Iraqis -, destroying any hope of an Israeli/Palestinian peace and pissing away any hope of getting Iran to back off in an attempt to cause "Regime Change" across the middle east, all he had to do was leak a few cables he already had about a Tunisian dictator on the internet.

Posted by: paulo on January 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

"The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week as snowstorms in some parts of the country forced companies to lay off workers. -- yahoo news

And here I thought that, when UK's Cameron blamed the shrinkage of economy on bad weather, he was just borrowing excuses from *our* radical "conservatives"...

Posted by: exlibra on January 27, 2011 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

"A car bomb exploded outside a funeral tent Thursday in a mainly Shiite area of Baghdad, killing at least 48 people."
It worked! The Surge *really* worked!

Posted by: hawiken on January 27, 2011 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Rick Perlstein's takedown of Jay Carney (originally appeared on The New Racist website)

best line:At which Carney snapped back so churlishly ("the left is as full of unthinking Ditto-heads as Limbaugh-land") that, for a moment, it was hard even to remember--why was it, again, that we were supposed to defer to the authority of newsweeklies (and the mainstream press) in the first place?

Posted by: some guy on January 27, 2011 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

hearing GOP speechwriter Frum basically going with Bachmann's crazy over Palin's crazy...with a straight face.

Posted by: T2 on January 27, 2011 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Odds on ElBaradei being shot ?
Posted by: Joe Friday on January 27, 2011 at 6:43 PM

He was, publicly, very critical of our Sec of Defense saying that Egypt had a stable govt (Egypt is, after all, our ally. What's a few torture chambers between friends? Especially if we can "rent" them in case of need). So, your question might be refined into - who gets to him first?

Posted by: exlibra on January 27, 2011 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed.


Posted by: Joe Friday on January 27, 2011 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Random thought = Does Jan Brewer have a buddy in the funeral industry?

Posted by: j on January 28, 2011 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

@oscar3indy:

The Republicans we see today are not true "conservatives". They are corporatists that serve their very rich masters.

True conservatives would never have engaged in two wars without any kind of financing to fund them. No, really.

True conservatives would not give away huge tax breaks and other benefits without paying for it somehow.

True conservatives would not be so willing to change the constitution. By definition.

True conservatives would not lie, twist and evade facts in order to achieve their agenda.

All these corporatists have is FUD, party discipline and a strong media machine to get their message out. And because there are so many single-issue voters, they take advantage of that too.

It is too bad that all it takes is an open mind to see through all their crap. Unfortunately, it's all to easy to fall for it. I see it every day among my family and dear friends and it just makes me sad.

Posted by: Marko on January 28, 2011 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK

I would like to see more attention given to the Eisenhower speeches, Rachel played some on her program a few nights ago, he was more to the left than democrats are today, he was for unions and the right for every worker in the country to join a union of their choice, he was for health care for all Americans, a decent minimum wage etc etc, and he was a republican!!!!!

Posted by: JS on January 28, 2011 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Jay Carney is an idiot. That the Obama administration sees fit to hire him does not reflect well on the president.

Posted by: karen marie on January 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Marko (7:56AM), you are correct. That is why the post above about what true conservatives are like, as you also point out, is very different from the fools that today call themselves "conservatives." They really are just Bolsheviks, and they don't even know it. No doubt they would take that news very badly...

Posted by: oscar3indy on January 28, 2011 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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