Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 16, 2011

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

* Bahrain: "Tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into Pearl Square here late into the night as Shiite opposition leaders issued assurances they were not being influenced by Tehran and were not interested in transforming the monarchy into a religious theocracy like the Islamic Republic in Iran."

* Egypt: "Egyptians staged protests and strikes Wednesday over a host of grievances from paltry wages to toxic waste dumping, defying the second warning in three days from the nation's military rulers to halt all labor unrest at a time when the economy is staggering."

* The Fed is slightly more optimistic about 2011, at least as far as growth is concerned.

* A very big deal in Madison: "Thousands of people descended on the Wisconsin state Capitol for a second day of powerful protests Wednesday as key votes approached on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip away the collective bargaining rights of public employees."

* Josh Marshall offers some context: "If Gov. Walker (R) is able to push through big, big changes to collective bargaining rights and makes it stick, that will be picked up in many other states and it will shape perceptions of the public mood going into the 2012 election -- from the top of the ticket all the way down to the bottom. On the other hand, if he gets shut down and the idea takes hold that he overreached, that will have similarly widespread effects in other states as well as in shaping the political terrain going into 2012."

* Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) downplayed the prospects of a government shutdown in a Fox News interview. Here's hoping he's right.

* With Republicans bringing a machete to the budget, and aiming for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Sesame Street crowd and their Democratic allies are speaking up.

* The Senate voted late yesterday to extend three counterterrorism provisions of the Patriot Act for 90 days. The vote was 86 to 12.

* Senate Dems have embraced White House messaging, and today released the caucus' "Winning the Future" agenda. It's not a bad set of ideas, but the list is more a vision statement than a to-do list -- there's no way the narrow Senate majority could overcome GOP filibusters, better yet a Republican-led House.

* Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) won't allow the Senate to vote on a nominee to head the Fish and Wildlife Service until the administration does more to make oil companies happy. Have I mentioned lately that the Senate is broken?

* The guy in South Dakota with the "justifiable homicide" bill is apparently feeling quite a bit of heat, and is prepared to make some meaningful changes to his proposal.

* David Roberts flags a poll showing public opposition to congressional Republicans' attacks on the EPA.

* Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is getting back in the game and launching a liberal political action committee.

* President Obama wants America to be the country in the world with the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Is that likely to happen? Not really.

* For what it's worth, Paul Waldman, I always really liked The Gadflyer.

* I have no idea what Nir Rosen was thinking, but there's no excuse for such ugliness in the wake of the assault on Lara Logan.

* On a related note, Jim Hoft blaming Logan for her assault is just disgusting.

* I liked this line from Greg Sargent: "[I]f Fox's explicit goal has been to create a self-sustaining, self-perpetuating alternate reality, as many have alleged, it appears that when it comes to Americans' views of Muslims, the network may be succeeding brilliantly."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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

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Comments

Disgraced Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) won't allow the Senate to vote on a nominee...

Fixed it for you Steve.

Posted by: foghorn on February 16, 2011 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

* With Republicans bringing a machete to the budget,[...]

You really bought into the savage and primitive Kenyan imagery, didn't you, Benen? Everyone knows that real, exceptional Americans use a chainsaw.

Posted by: exlibra on February 16, 2011 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Vitter seems grumpy, and he may hold up more nominations until he gets laid! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 16, 2011 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

It seems the elected dude from S. Dakota just wants to shoot someone, and only needs the law to make himself happy! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 16, 2011 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Re: Rosen's idiocy.

Nir is beyond the pale, and may just need to be sexually assulted to learn first hand how reprehensible his observations are.

Mr. Rosen, one of my dear off-spring was sexually assulted, and we as a family took a great amount of time to heal. You my dear sir, and wretched soul, sound quite damaged, and may never heal if you don't actively begin to walk such a pathway! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 16, 2011 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

We have a self-sustaining, self-perpetuating alternate reality not just because of Fox but because of the entire right wing noise machine brainwashing a segment of the population. Bigotry has always been a major component of right wing thought. Fox is just one recent manifestation of this.

Posted by: Ron Chusid on February 16, 2011 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

You can bet if Logan was a Fox News reporter, the Right would be screaming for a nuclear strike against Egypt.

Posted by: Speed on February 16, 2011 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Atlantic: The Lunatic Left-Right Harmonic Rape Convergence Theory

I wonder if Ms. Schlussel will also apologize and resign, as Mr. Rosen has done? Frankly, I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Chet on February 16, 2011 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, there was s'posed to be a link with my post above. Here 'tis.

Posted by: Chet on February 16, 2011 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

You can bet if Logan was a Fox News reporter, the Right would be screaming for a nuclear strike against Egypt.

That's exactly right. I went to that link, and the comments there and the truly unhinged hatred towards dems is actually kind of frightening.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on February 16, 2011 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

When I was a kid, Lake Washington in Seattle was a stinking sewer. At certain times of the year, you would gag driving across the floating bridge. And swimming was often dicey.

They fixed it. It made a huge difference in the livability of the city and suburbs.

I am so disgusted that the GOPs want to take us back to the days when everyplace was a sewer for dumping and there were no environmental controls.

Posted by: Artemesia on February 16, 2011 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you think there is no TV coverage on the huge protests in Madison Wisconsin.
This is for the GOP, the start of their campaign to bust the unions.
They fear the unions will work in the next election for democrats and want to destroy the opposition.

Posted by: j on February 16, 2011 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

* A very big deal in Madison: "Thousands of people descended on the Wisconsin state Capitol [...] -- Steve Benen

And Scott Walker's response? It's so reminiscent of "back home, in the days of my youth"(commie Poland), that I'm almost teary with nostalgia. A) have National Guard standing by, to "deal"with the emergency (wonder if, should they actually be called in, they'd take their cues from the Egyptian army behaviour) and, B) say it's just a small fistful of hooligans (the quote was something along the lines of "Wisconsin has 55 million citizens, this is not representative)...

Posted by: exlibra on February 16, 2011 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Why is there this big disconnect between what voters supposedly want, and what they vote for? Voters don't like Rethug ideas, but they put them in power. How crazy is that? When will this disconnect be corrected? Er, I forgot, the Rethugs have control of the MSM.

Posted by: rrk1 on February 16, 2011 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

When do we start calling Wisconsin "Little Egypt"?

Posted by: exlibra on February 16, 2011 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Wisconsin thing is actually very important. Will the GOP be able to impose Red-State rules on a State that's still Blue and turn them Red?

Posted by: Raptor on February 16, 2011 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

* Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) downplayed the prospects of a government shutdown in a Fox News interview.

republicans are correctly counting on the obama cave. obama will make sure republicans get what they want so they don't have to shut down the government.

Posted by: pluege on February 16, 2011 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold's PAC is named Progressives United? PU? Really?

Posted by: beep52 on February 16, 2011 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

"* A very big deal in Madison: "Thousands of people descended on the Wisconsin state Capitol [...] -- Steve Benen"

Maybe Wisconsin will become the next Egypt.

Do they got a big square in downtown Madison?

Posted by: paulo on February 16, 2011 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

* Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) won't allow the Senate to vote on a nominee to head the Fish and Wildlife Service until the administration does more to make oil companies happy. Have I mentioned lately that the Senate is broken?

I applaud this progress.

Previously, the appointment would be held up and, thanks to secret holds, we wouldn't know who to blame or what petty little complaint was on the ransom note.

Keep voting Republican, Louisiana. How's the gumbo tasting these days? A little crude?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 16, 2011 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Wisconsin is hugely important. If the Republicans can crush the middle class in Wisconsin we'll see this played out in states across the country. If we can successfully push back in WI we'll see them pull back and think up a new attack.

It is extremely disappointing that President Obama has not come out on the side of the citizens of Wisconsin.

Interesting how this is playing out so similar to Egypt. Will the National Guard side with the people of WI or the governor?

Posted by: JohnK on February 17, 2011 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

No such thing as "meaningful changes" to the repellent SD anti-abortion legislation, unless it's withdrawn entirely. It's not about the language of the bill, but the broader terrain. Why would you, as a Dr., perform an abortion procedure of any kind in the state where anyone can murder you, then claim they thought you were killing a late-term fetus, or thought you had killed a late-term fetus, or might have been about to etc. etc. Madness.

Posted by: Ron Mexico on February 17, 2011 at 6:37 AM | PERMALINK

I would like to ask anyone from Wisconsin who might read Washington Monthly - why the heck did you vote for a rethug governor?

Posted by: joan on February 17, 2011 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

Would like to see more information on Wisconsin protests, Ed Show and Maddow Show covering and there seems to be a lot more to budget deficit. Tax breaks for big corporations and other lowering of taxes in state seem to be behind the shortfall. New York Times article does not mention and Washington Post has nothing at all in the morning paper regarding protests.

On a separate note, I canceled my Newsweek magazine yesterday as soon as I saw the cover and read cover story by infamous free marketeer Niall Furguson. Huge headline reads: Egypt: How Obama Blew It" Article reads like a AIPAC press release (as stated in Atlantic Mag article, but I agree), it's insulting, short on sourcing and generally a hatchet job from the arrogant Mr. Ferguson. Is this the Daily Beast effect on Newsweek? Would love to see more cancellations of Newsweek. Thanks

Posted by: Kathryn on February 17, 2011 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Check out this photo of the British actor Lionel Jeffries,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Jeffries

Is this Michael Steele's real father?

We Report, You Decide!

Posted by: cld on February 17, 2011 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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