Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 5, 2011

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

* At Ground Zero: "President Obama laid a wreath of red, white, and blue flowers at ground zero on Thursday, honoring the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 2001 terrorist attacks and marking the death of its perpetrator, Osama bin Laden."

* This is cause for genuine concern: "The number of people applying for unemployment benefits surged last week to the highest level in eight months, a sign the job market may be weakening. The Labor Department says applications rose by 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the third increase in four weeks."

* Pakistani officials tell the U.S. not to make a habit of raiding their country without permission.

* POTUS to meet Team 6: "President Obama will meet members of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden when he visits a military base Friday in Kentucky. The Associated Press, citing an anonymous source, reported the meeting will occur during Obama's previously announced visit to Fort Campbell in Kentucky."

* Syria: "Backed by tanks, Syrian security forces raided a restive Damascus suburb Thursday morning, arresting scores of people in a broad campaign that targeted men between the ages of 18 and 50, human rights groups and activists said."

* White House budget talks: "Vice President Joe Biden said talks on a long-term budget deal will resume next week, following an initial meeting Thursday to set up the group. The first meeting included a general discussion of rival proposals, Democrats leaving the meeting said, and the only agreement made was to meet again Tuesday."

* Agreed: "Too many of today's conservatives are unable to celebrate a pure victory for America because of who was at the helm when it happened. That's disturbing."

* Judge Jack McConnell was confirmed late yesterday on a party-line vote, 50 to 44. The vote came soon after a GOP filibuster was defeated.

* Right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton was on "The Daily Show" last night, spewing a lot of nonsense. It just wasn't possible for Jon Stewart to fact-check every claim during their discussion, but Right Wing Watch detailed Barton's most glaring errors (Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV).

* Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has a new definition for the GOP: "Get Old People."

* Daniel Luzer: "A few colleges are now starting to treat binge drinking like a public health problem, rather than just a campus discipline problem."

* America's Worst Sheriff: Joe Arpaio faces a new corruption scandal.

* Fox host Eric Bolling seemed to endorse the idea of torturing a variety of public officials, including President Obama.

* And as disgusting as it is that this incident occurred, I'm glad the district acted: "A Southeast Texas school has put a teacher on leave pending an investigation into an allegation that he asked an American-born Muslim student if she was grieving because her 'uncle' had died, referring to Osama bin Laden, a school district spokeswoman said Wednesday."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Comments

I'm getting progressively more disgusted by the endless criticism from the right of Obama's visit to New York: politicizing 9-11, doing a victory lap, not visiting the Pennsylvania crash site or the Pentagon first, all he wants is photo ops., celebrating prematurely, etc., etc. ad nauseam. THEY are finally complaining about politicians politicizing 9-11????? After all the political crap that Bush and Guiliani et al. pulled???? Bush letting the damn thing happen and then going and standing on the heap of rubble?? Bush using it to justify an illegal invasion of a foreign country that ended up killing a lot of Americans??? And “Mission Accomplished”?? Most of these critics would clearly be complaining no matter what he does (and going to any length to drum up complaints), so their criticism is looking to me to be blindly partisan, pervasively racist, and completely self-serving. Obama took out the guy who caused 9-11, so Ground Zero is exactly the place for him to be.

Also, I changed my mind about whether executing Osama as opposed to capturing him for trial was the best thing to do. Ordinarily, I’d favor capture, trial, and lifetime imprisonment and noncoercive questioning, but one potential downside could have been a succession of kidnappings and executions of Americans in attempts to force the release of a captive Osama. With Osama dead, that cannot happen.

Posted by: N.Wells on May 5, 2011 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

* Agreed: "Too many of today's conservatives are unable to celebrate a pure victory for America because of who was at the helm when it happened. That's disturbing."

Didn't we already established that hoping for the POTUS to fail is unpatriotic. Oh yea I forgot, being unpatriotic only applies to the left.
.

Posted by: pluege on May 5, 2011 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Pakistan should not make harboring and protecting terrorists a habit first.

Posted by: doubtful on May 5, 2011 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

"* Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has a new definition for the GOP: "Get Old People.""

Isn't it more like "Gut Old People"?

Posted by: Wacky Librul on May 5, 2011 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

* Agreed: "Too many of today's conservatives are unable to celebrate a pure victory for America because of who was at the helm when it happened. That's disturbing."

Reminds me of how they cheered the U.S. losing the opportunity to host the Olympics in Chicago because of their deranged hatred of our president.

Is it really any surprise anymore how pathetic, immature, and petty these losers are?

Posted by: Drinking Jim Crow on May 5, 2011 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Arpaio strikes me as an honest guy . He wants to be in the eyes , and on the tongue of every adoring man , woman , and child acrost Amurika .
Honest

Most every town I have become familiar with has these jocose fellows . A man who likes to tell other men about his thinking of what details he has concerning their underwear . "Ha ha" , said the wise Sheriff .
High school boys who want to get even are mentioned as troubling police officers . There are enough repeat settlements with the same officers that reach very substantial figures , to respect the political people and their ability to submerge their concern for the people they represent under large piles of cash .
One day , soon , soon , soon , I hope to hear of the great man Joe Arpaio making his peace with the millions in misappropriated funds and the rampant crime that promoted .
When psychology is respected enough to permit the analyzing of potential sociopaths , to protect the public from bizarre people who save money by publicly humiliating others , and then slowly poisoning them with the heat , sun , or rotten food , then maybe the cows can finally come home .

Posted by: FRP on May 5, 2011 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, the last time I did the math, ~2750 deaths was not "nearly 3000 people killed."

Posted by: charlie don't surf on May 5, 2011 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Pakistani officials tell the U.S. not to make a habit of raiding their country without permission.

I'm sure U.S. officials have delivered the reciprocal message, that Pakistan should not make a habit of harboring our worst enemies.

Posted by: Jon on May 5, 2011 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. I just caught the top of the comments;

>* Agreed: "Too many of today's conservatives are unable to
>celebrate a pure victory for America because of who was at
>the helm when it happened. That's disturbing."

You remind me of the best essay about 9/11 I ever saw. You should read "When War Drums Roll" by Hunter S. Thompson. It was prophetic. An excerpt:

"In times like these, when the War-drums roll and the bugles howl for blood, I think of Vince Lombardi, and I wonder how he would handle it. ... Good old Vince. He was a zealot for Victory at all costs, and his hunger for it was pure -- or that's what he said and what his legend tells us, but it is worth noting that he is not even in the top 20 in career victories."

http://espn.go.com/page2/s/thompson/010918.html

Posted by: charlie don't surf on May 5, 2011 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

interesting development in Afghan today....the Taliban declared they won't support Al Qaeda any more.
So, the reasons for invading and occupying Afghan - prevent a safe haven for Al Qaeda and catch Bin Laden- are now gone...GONE.
So American forces can leave. Makes sense to me. And a very clever political move by the Taliban.
What's Obama's next move on this? From what I heard today, Congressional support for Afghan may be falling fast. Which is good. If ever there was a good time to declare Victory and leave, this is it. Note to the President - know when to fold them.

Posted by: T2 on May 5, 2011 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

T2, many goodish points but the Taliban are by themselves such horrible oppressors in Afghanistan, we should at least try to force big concessions or do good follow-through to help keep women in schools, from acid-facing for flirting or showing faces or whatever, etc.

Posted by: neil b on May 5, 2011 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Calls for waterboarding by a Fauxist freak. This is the fruit of the Fauxtian bargain America made with its favorite (?) vulgarian propagandists, what a sad commentary on this nation.

Posted by: neil b on May 5, 2011 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

So Osama Bush Laden was killed. Big whoop. Now let all the small people have their say.

Posted by: Captain Obvious on May 5, 2011 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Congratulations on the mention from Rachel Maddow tonight. The "best political blogger ever is Steve Benen of Washington Monthly" - I'm pretty sure that's what she said - after which she quoted from you. Have always thought so, Carpetbagger.

Posted by: catherineD on May 6, 2011 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Too many of today's Democrats are unable to celebrate a pure victory for America because...well, it seems to have something to do with being Democrats.

I found it disturbing that I much preferred the Fox News coverage of Obama's announcement to MSNBC's. MSNBC had its ticker tape running underneath, providing us with the entertainment news we so sorely needed at the same time, even as the NBC anchor they were using did what he could to try to find something wrong with the Obama administration. Fox News just threw Geraldo at the helm, made no attempt to discredit Obama, did better interviews, had their ticker running quotes of various people commenting on the news, and recognized that it was a momentous occasion.

Half of my facebook friends expressed worry at our apparently celebrating the death of a man. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats, instead of crowing, waited around until they could find (finally!) a Republican who could think of something mildly negative to say, so that they could waste the last couple of days trying to decide just where they stood about the whole releasing-a-picture issue.

Ah, well.

Posted by: catherineD on May 6, 2011 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Those - here and elsewhere - who criticise Pakistan should maybe take a deep breath. Pakistan is a country where just speaking out against the death penalty for blasphemy can get you murdered. If bin Laden sought sanctuary, they knew that America could not protect them if they refused.

I don't think Pakistan has a monopoly on cowardly politicians, do you?

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on May 6, 2011 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

The American people will see through the veiled attempts to criminalize the president by any means. President Obama has been fought ever since he won the presidency. The president has the authority to not disclose pictures. Live with it!

Posted by: Rudy Gonzales on May 6, 2011 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

When the job market begins to IMPROVE people come back in looking for work! Now this is nothing to do with Big corps --who are not hiring--but to small business!

Posted by: jlt on May 6, 2011 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

responding to neil b's comment on my comment at the top of this thread.
Yes, the Taliban are repressive - geez, they may even waterboard. But the Taliban are native people and archaic as they may be, they are an issue for Afghani's to deal with, not Americans - not American lives. We didn't go in to save the largely mud-hutted people of Afghanistan from their neighbor who might be a Taliban.
We invaded Afghanistan to deny safe haven for Al Qaeda and Bin Laden and at the time the Taliban was giving that. That may have ended and if so, we need to leave.
If the people of Afghanistan want to modernize or remain in the 3rd Century, that's their choice, not mine or yours, or our Army.

Posted by: T2 on May 6, 2011 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK
Those - here and elsewhere - who criticise Pakistan should maybe take a deep breath. Pakistan is a country where just speaking out against the death penalty for blasphemy can get you murdered. If bin Laden sought sanctuary, they knew that America could not protect them if they refused.

Pakistan is also a country that was overtly allied with the Taliban and deeply and only somewhat less overtly allied with al-Qaeda until the U.S. started exerting pressure after 9/11 (and there are plenty of other indications that Pakistani security services actively continued to work with al-Qaeda-linked groups to advance Pakistani policy goals interests in Kashmir and elsewhere continuously after the overt repudiation of the Taliban), and a country that was deeply and actively and notoriously involved in the exchange of nuclear technology and nuclear delivery technology with North Korea and Iran and a number of other rogue states before and beyond 9/11 (at least until that fact became embarrassing enough the Bush Administration that they leaned on the Pakistani government to pretend that that two-way cooperation, which was obviously central to the Pakistani nuclear effort, was somehow the independent, secret project of AQ Khan rather than national policy.)

So, maybe, its not really all that reasonable to presume, absent some fairly convincing evidence, that their failure to do anything about Osama bin Laden's not-exactly-subtle compound is just timidness and fear of domestic political repercussions rather than active and eager cooperation with al-Qaeda.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

@ T2:"If the people of Afghanistan want to modernize or remain in the 3rd Century, that's their choice, not mine or yours, or our Army."
Aside from whether we should help: but most of them don't want to, they're being forced to.

Posted by: neil b. on May 6, 2011 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK
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