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January 04, 2012 5:30 PM Wednesday’s Mini-Report

By Steve Benen

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* EU vs. Iran: “The countries of the European Union have agreed in principle to impose an embargo on Iranian oil, but there are many details to resolve before a decision is taken by heads of state and government at the end of January, European and French diplomats said Wednesday.”

* It’s a good thing Obama didn’t listen to Republicans on auto-industry policy: “Automakers finished 2011 on the upswing, with strong December sales in the United States and expectations for further growth this year. For Chrysler, December was the best month in nearly three years, as passenger-car deliveries more than doubled and total sales rose 37 percent. Chrysler’s sales for all of 2011 were up 26 percent. General Motors reported a 5 percent increase in December and a 13 percent gain for the year.”

* The inevitable litigation: “The recess appointments President Obama announced Wednesday are ‘almost certain’ to be challenged in court, according to a top official with … the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

* Before Republicans freak out over Obama’s recess appointments, they should take a look at Adam Serwer’s helpful new chart.

* Lorene Turner couldn’t find her 14-year-old granddaughter after she ran away in the fall of 2010. It turns out, she’d been mistakenly deported, despite being an American citizen.

* When military personnel make appearances at political campaign rallies while in uniform, it’s a real problem.

* Good call: “Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) rescinded rules limiting how many people can be inside the statehouse at any one time on Wednesday, a victory for Democrats and labor leaders who protested the restrictions as an attempt to quash the size of protests.”

* Renewables: “With two years of the Obama administration, almost four times as much clean energy has been put on the grid on public lands as in all the previous 40 years.” (via TOA)

* In the state of Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) will begin a push for marriage equality.

* Something may be amiss at Current: “Olbermann, the host of Current’s ‘Countdown With Keith Olbermann’ and listed on the masthead as the network’s chief news officer, was supposed to be on air Tuesday night, assuring a concerned Twitter follower earlier in the day that he was ‘headed into the office now in fact.’ But a few hours later, Olbermann announced he would not, in fact, be on the air.”

* Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has some ideas about education reform at the state level. They’ve been tried, and they didn’t work.

* It’s nice of Mike Huckabee to notice: “It appears to me, and it still does to a large degree, that many of the Republicans are more interested in just defeating Barack Obama than they are in rebuilding America.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • Jimo on January 04, 2012 6:00 PM:

    Recess appointments challenged? By whom? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (one of the dozens of lobbying groups for the 1%)?

    A lawsuit will be dismissed wherever there is no "case or controversy" showing direct, and unique, harm to the plaintiffs.

    Sorry, but it isn't clear who would have standing to file any lawsuit.

    Neither you not I nor the man behind that tree can just sue "the government" because we don't believe officials aren't appointed correctly, or the President is really a foreigner, or the flag in the Oval Office shouldn't have gold fringe on it.

    At best, you'd have to be a member of Congress and even then it is far from clear that any court will be interested in becoming involved in what's clearly a political dispute masquerading as a fight over semantics. Indeed, the first question for any judge (in his head, at least) is going to be: Why don't you just have a vote and see is it's yea or nay?

  • square1 on January 04, 2012 7:09 PM:

    When military personnel make appearances at political campaign rallies while in uniform, it's a real problem.

    I'm all for the ban on uniformed service members at political rallies. But I'm not too hot on banning them from speaking when not in uniform.

    When you join the military, you shouldn't have to check your right to participate in the political process on your own time.

  • Field Medic on January 04, 2012 7:35 PM:

    I'm all for the ban on uniformed service members at political rallies. But I'm not too hot on banning them from speaking when not in uniform.

    When you join the military, you shouldn't have to check your right to participate in the political process on your own time.

    We don't.

  • TCinLA on January 04, 2012 7:40 PM:

    Lorene Turner couldn’t find her 14-year-old granddaughter after she ran away in the fall of 2010. It turns out, she’d been mistakenly deported, despite being an American citizen.

    Your public-spirited public employees at work defending America.

    Is there a collective single-digit IQ to be found among all the otherwise-unemployables who provide us with "security" in the homeland? Fools & Buffoons, Inc.; Can't Investigate Anything; Idiots, Cretins @ Educationally-challenged; the entire Imperial Wehrmacht?

    And then add that to the cocaine-republic "authorities" who respond to the event by putting the girl in a "detention camp."

    Some lawyer is going to make a fortune off of suing the ass of these tenthwits.

  • TCinLA on January 04, 2012 7:45 PM:

    When military personnel make appearances at political campaign rallies while in uniform, it’s a real problem.

    Someone so stupid they can't make more than E-4 in ten years in the Army is a demonstrable moron. Supporting KKK Ronnie is just a further demonstration of idiocy.

  • cmdicely on January 04, 2012 8:08 PM:

    The inevitable litigation: “The recess appointments President Obama announced Wednesday are ‘almost certain’ to be challenged in court, according to a top official with … the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

    By whom? It would be a pretty major reversal of precedent that even the most interventionist Supreme Courts--liberal and conservative--have abided by to find standing for anyone other than either than the Senate acting through a resolution passed by majority vote.

    Anyone can file a lawsuit, but it doesn't seem like anyone is likely to get a case on this issue to a hearing on the merits.

  • Doug on January 04, 2012 8:33 PM:

    As a retired veteran I can sign my letters or postings
    "D.E. Stamate
    USN (ret)",
    because that signifies that, while I served in the military, I am no longer a member of the military and anything above my signature represents only my views. I rarely use it except when writing to my elected representatives. Or posting replies to people who have absolutely NO idea what military life is like.
    Should I have wished to write a letter to the editor or post on a blog while still on active duty, there would have been no problems as long as I refrained from signing
    "D.E. Stamate
    PO1 USN".
    Cpl. Thorsen is still able, as was I, to attend all the political rallies and/or write all the letters to the editor he wants. What he cannot legally do, is sign his name
    "Jesse Thorsen
    Cpl USA", to those letters or in ANY way imply that the US Army, qua the US Army, supports, or opposes, a particular candidate. The use of rank, or uniform in Mr. Thorsen's case, implies that the person is providing some sort of "official" sanction to the proceedings. A definite no-no.
    Giving a speech at a caucus meeting, as long as he didn't identify himself as active, while still against regulations, would most likely have been overlooked, if even noticed. According to the update, Mr. Thorsen is NOT currently on active duty, which implies that he's a member of the Army Reserve and possibly explains his still being a corporal after 10 years.
    Then again, if THIS action is characteristic of him, THAT could explain his rank...

    Regarding Mr. Benen's remarks about Huckabee: I urge extreme caution concerning any action of Huckabee's, especially when he's trying to sound like the sane one...

  • SYSPROG on January 04, 2012 9:23 PM:

    Doncha' just LOVE the Chamber and Wall Street??? 'We HATE Obama' 'He can't DO that' 'He's taken the country down the wrong path' 'He's a MUSLIM' and yet...it was John McCain that had to suspend his campaign to 'work' on the financial crisis (oops not so much) and the Bush Administration that almost destroyed this country and it was OBAMA'S Administration that saved their ass, didn't prosecute and brought the stock market up 4000 points. Yep, he's a real socialist.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on January 04, 2012 9:57 PM:

    I've just been reading some of the comments to the item about those recess appointments at The Hill site. They make me wonder if there is any future for the United States of America as the world once knew it.

    For instance, "This is just the beginning of the Communist Party power grab". Some other idiot mentioned the Reichstag fire.

    Just how fucking dumb are these drooling, Fox-watchin', gun-totin', bible-bashing morons? Have they ever looked in a mirror?

  • exlibra on January 04, 2012 10:25 PM:

    Kinda OT, being, sorta, "back to Iowa"...

    Ran into a "Paulista" acquaintance (typical: white male, beefy-but-not-fat, crew-cut, mid-to-late thirties) today. Don't have many of those, but this one has a sense of humour so, when we run across one another (frequently -- he seems to support the same charities I do, plus the town is tiny and the grocery shops are limited), we banter. I expect he doesn't have non-Repub friends to talk to, either. Anyhoo...

    He was "with angels" about last night's showing in Iowa. Apparently -- according to him, anyway -- just the raw numbers of votes the top three got is not the whole story; *all three* got the same number of delegates. Even though Paul was definitely the third vote-wise, he's "up there", delegate-wise, with both the "dog on the roof" and the "frothy mix in a sweater vest".

    Which made both of us wonder just how important the 49 delegates of Virginia -- which *only* Romney and Paul will get to divvy up, since Santorum did not qualify for the primary ballot (just like Gingrich and Perry) -- might be in the "larger scheme of things". I did some checking and a candidate (a Repub one, anyway) needs 1144 to lock the nomination. So, 49 is not a whole lot. OTOH, some states (like Fla, for example) got half of their delegates docked, for intransigence and hubris. If the race remains tight between those three, every delegate will be worth his weight in gold (Paul's preferred currency)...

    "Internet playunc". I always thought one "cried uncle" and "played doctor" but, with the Intertubes, any mix -- however frothy -- is possible, I guess.

  • zandru on January 04, 2012 10:29 PM:

    "When military personnel make appearances at political campaign rallies while in uniform, it's a real problem."

    Come on. He was speaking on behalf of A REPUBLICAN.

    Moreover, if DEMOCRATS let out so much as a peep about it, they'll be branded as "hating the troops". That's almost as bad as questioning Israel...

  • Texas Aggie on January 04, 2012 10:53 PM:

    The article on Gov. Goodhair really has nothing to do with education reform. It is purely a gift to supporters operation similar to just about every dollar that has been dispensed from the taxpayer funded money pit that Goodhair gives to friendly corporations. It's almost the same thing as the loan made to Solyndra except that in this case there was no reason to expect Lexicon to do what they said they would do.

    Whenever someone talks about Solyndra and how bad that was, the reply should be to mention what Gov. Goodhair did with Lexicon, and how it is connected to his in group.

  • Sparko on January 04, 2012 11:08 PM:

    But the Senate minority was pretending they were still in session! No Fair! No Fair!!!

    Has there ever been a more juvenile and ridiculous party than the "I won't let kids, minorities or old people vote" party?" They stand for closing American industries, incest-rape babies, and racism.

    I note the "both sides do it" defense has not been supported in the case of recess appointments this time by the MSM. Hmmm. Wonder why?

  • Kenneth Almquist on January 04, 2012 11:55 PM:

    "Lorene Turner couldn�t find her 14-year-old granddaughter after she ran away in the fall of 2010. It turns out, she�d been mistakenly deported, despite being an American citizen."

    That's a scary story.

  • Danp on January 05, 2012 6:21 AM:

    ex-libra: Let's not tell your Paulista friend this just yet, but Ron Paul doesn't get any delegates in Iowa. Romney gets 13 and Santorum gets 12. Paul doesn't get any because he didn't win any of the congressional districts.

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