Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 4, 2011

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

* Watch this closely: "The Obama administration is seeking to use the killing of Osama bin Laden to accelerate a negotiated settlement with the Taliban and hasten the end of the Afghanistan war, according to U.S. officials involved in war policy. Administration officials think it could now be easier for the reclusive leader of the largest Taliban faction, Mohammad Omar, to break his group's alliance with al-Qaeda, a key U.S. requirement for any peace deal."

* On a related note: "Osama bin Laden's death is likely to revive a debate within the Afghan Taliban about their ties to al-Qaida -- a union the U.S. insists must end if the insurgents want to talk peace."

* Seeking an explanation from Pakistan: "Obama administration officials here and in Islamabad are demanding that Pakistan quickly provide answers to specific questions about Osama bin Laden and his years-long residence in a bustling Pakistani city surrounded by military installations."

* In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll released this morning, President Obama's approval rating jumped 11 points, from 46% to 57%. Support for his handling of the economy, however, reached the lowest point of his presidency.

* Despite the fact that his remarks came very late on a Sunday night, President Obama's speech announcing the killing of bin Laden was watched by 56.5 million Americans. That's 8 million more viewers than watched his State of the Union address.

* Any lingering doubts on whether Obama's call to raid the compound in Abbottabad was gutsy? Consider this piece on "the debacle that didn't happen."

* Scandalous: "U.S. mining regulators found multiple safety violations at a West Virginia mine owned by Massey Energy Co., saying Tuesday that the conditions were 'nothing short of outrageous' and accusing the company of failing to clean up its act after the 2010 explosion at its Upper Big Branch mine."

* Paul Krugman 1, Casey Mulligan 0.

* The company formerly known as Blackwater has a new ethics chief. It's former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

* Conor Friedersdorf put together his top 100 pieces of journalism from the last year, and it's good to see a couple of pieces from the Washington Monthly print edition in there.

* On the lookout for the next economic bubble? Is higher education on the list?

* Virginia's truly bizarre, hyper-conservative state attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, published one of the strangest tweets I've ever seen this morning: "How much would I give to be one of the 72 Virginans Osama is 'hanging out' with since Sunday?" I suppose there's supposed to be some kind of pun in there about "Virgins" and "Virginians," but he spelled the latter wrong and the whole message was just a distasteful mess.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (3)

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Steve, Cuccinelli must be referring to a joke that was making the rounds a few years back:

Bin Laden's Afterlife Surprise

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on May 4, 2011 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

A progressive president who campaigned on giving constitutional rights to detainees, among them the right to counsel, habeas corpus, appeal, has ordered a US hit squad to target and kill a civilian, kin his home yet - no due process, no trial. Why aren't liberals upset? What exactly happened to their commitment to human rights? Or are they frauds at heart?

Posted by: mhr on May 4, 2011 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Frauds at heart, mhr? As we have been reminded ad infinitum by Bush & Co, "we are at war!"

Consider this historical precedent: (courtesy wikipedia)

Operation Vengeance was carried out to kill Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was killed on Bougainville Island when his transport bomber aircraft was shot down by U.S. Army fighter aircraft operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.
The mission of the U.S. aircraft was specifically to kill Yamamoto and was based on United States Navy intelligence on Yamamoto's travel plans in the Solomon Islands area. The death of Yamamoto reportedly damaged the morale of Japanese naval personnel (described by Samuel Eliot Morison as being considered the equivalent of a major defeat in battle), aided the morale of members of the Allied forces, and, controversially, may have been intended as an act of revenge by U.S. leaders who blamed Yamamoto for the Pearl Harbor attack which initiated the formal state of war between Imperial Japan and the U.S.

Posted by: DAY on May 4, 2011 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK
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