Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2011

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

* Bahrain: "Thousands of demonstrators poured into this nation's symbolic center, Pearl Square, late Tuesday in a raucous rally that again demonstrated the power of popular movements that are transforming the political landscape of the Middle East."

* Iran: "A day after the most significant street protests in Iran since the end of the 2009 uprising there, members of the Iranian Parliament called on Tuesday for the two most prominent opposition leaders to be prosecuted and sentenced to death for stirring unrest."

* Egypt: "The military officers governing Egypt convened a panel Tuesday to revise the country's constitution that included both a distinguished Coptic Christian jurist and a member of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, offering the first significant evidence of the military's commitment to moving the country toward democratic rule."

* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes clear that the foreign-aid cuts proposed by House Republicans, if approved, will prove "devastating to our national security, will render us unable to respond to unanticipated disasters and will damage our leadership around the world."

* Would the Senate approve the House's proposed cuts? According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), no.

* Chevron's guilty: "An Ecuadorian judge on Monday ordered Chevron Corp. to pay $8.6 billion to clean up oil pollution in the country's rain forest in what is believed to be the largest-ever judgment in an environmental case. And if the U.S. oil giant doesn't publicly apologize in the next 15 days, the judge ordered the company to pay twice that amount." As far as affected farmers are concerned, it's not enough.

* Pushing back against union-busting efforts: "Demonstrators gathered in large numbers at the Wisconsin state Capitol on Tuesday, to protest Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal to help close the state's shortfall by removing nearly all collective bargaining rights for public employees. As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, over 10,000 protestors gathered at the state Capitol building Tuesday, with thousands also crowded inside the building itself."

* Slowly but surely, this story keeps getting more interesting: "A feud between a security contracting firm and a group of guerrilla computer hackers has spilled over onto K Street, as stolen e-mails reveal plans for a dirty-tricks-style campaign against critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce." The L.A. Times is picking up on this, too.

* Today's single most ridiculous headline from a legitimate news outlet: "Obama's budget would add $13 trillion to national debt." Is this some sort of joke? Did Fox News staffers invade the McClatchy offices?

* Greg Sargent speaks to the "justifiable homicide" lawmaker in South Dakota, who presented a defense for his bill that appears to clear the way for killing abortion doctors.

* Remember Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed "Curveball"? He told the Bush administration Iraq had a secret biological weapons program. He was lying. (thanks to A.S. for the tip)

* I don't mind that Thomas DiLorenzo, an economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, appears to be a nut. I mind that he was called to deliver congressional testimony last week.

* A good slogan: "Put women and children last."

* And MoveOn.org has a powerful new ad responding to Republican efforts to limit women's reproductive rights. It's likely to generate some attention.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (4)

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* Today's single most ridiculous headline from a legitimate news outlet: "Obama's budget would add $13 trillion to national debt." Is this some sort of joke? Did Fox News staffers invade the McClatchy offices?

They got it from Paul Ryan:


Representative PAUL RYAN (Republican, Wisconsin; Chairman, Budget Committee): You know, that's the thing is this budget is so out of control on spending and taxing that I'm really disappointed in it. I was really hoping that the president would show some reforms that can get our debt under control. Instead, what we have is 1.6 trillion in new tax increases, 8.7 trillion in new spending. He's going to be adding 13 trillion to the debt over the course of his budget. And that to me is very dangerous, because this is accelerating our trajectory toward a debt crisis versus taking on the issue.

Posted by: Mary on February 15, 2011 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Curveball was lying??? Are you sure? Why we were assured by our very own national officials that they knew for sure that Hussein had all sorts of weapons of mass destruction and they knew where they were (north, south, east and west of Baghdad.) Would Shrub, the Dick, and Condi "Mushroom Cloud" Rice have mislead us? Please say it ain't so.

By the way, was the link to Duh! Magazine? Since we knew at the time the Germans were interrogating him that he was lying out his distal digestive tract because they told us he was. They told us that his story didn't check out with the dates when he was in Iraq or with the rest of the intelligence that they had.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on February 15, 2011 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Did Fox News staffers invade the McClatchy offices?"

The authors (Steve Thomma and David Lightman) are notorious wingnut propagandists. There isn't a single article either of them has written that wasn't loaded with assertions worthy of Fox Snooze.

Posted by: JPS on February 16, 2011 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

The abortion ad will be politically ineffectual as it only appeals to people who are strongly in favor of abortion rights, which constitutes a minority.

Roughly 60% of Americans consider abortion to be inherently immoral. Until our side finds some way to knock that number down to a more manageable size, you can do all the ads you want about how women are being hurt and most people just aren't going to be all that impressed.

Sorry, folks. But that's reality.

Posted by: Hieronymus Braintree on February 16, 2011 at 5:33 AM | PERMALINK



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