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Happy Hour Roundup

* Dan Balz says the House Dems' ad spending patterns show clearly that they're running scared.

* And the unveiling of "13 very serious allegations" against Charlie Rangel will only make it easier for the GOP to argue that Dems failed in their vow to drain the swamp.

* People are noticing! The New York Times article on the GOP blockade of the small business bill says in its first paragraph that it's all about denying Dems "any further legislative accomplishments before November's midterm elections."

* Steve Benen lists a bunch more Republicans whose comments about unemployment entitle them to coveted membership in the "Let Them Eat Want Ads" Caucus.

* And: Gop Rep Zach Wamp also signs up as a member:

"This is creating a culture of dependence which we do not need. We want people out there scraping and clawing and looking for work and not just sitting back waiting."

We want them out there "scraping and clawing." Nice!

* Obama likes to mock polls, but Sam Stein notes he's spent more on them than Bush.

* Shirley Sherrod says she'll sue Andrew Breitbart. News orgs will love this story, and covering it means they have to discuss Breitbart's credibility implosion, right?

* Takedown of the day: Yglesias versus that "emotionally manipulative" Time mag cover.

* Bonus takedown of the day: Joe Conason versus Fred Barnes over the latter's Journolist-bashing claim that he's not on a "team." Riiiight....

* Glenn Greenwald notes the escalation of the Obama administration's war on WikiLeaks and other leakers and sardonically notes "this week in change."

* Lefties gear up for a massive fight against Republicans and the Obama administration over Social Security.

* And it's unclear whether this is related to the passions unleashed by the Arizona immigration law, but Raul Grijalva's staff has announced that the Yuma office has been closed because a "shattered window and bullet inside the office were found earlier today." The investigation is ongoing.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 29, 2010; 6:18 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , Political media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: GOP blocks small business bill. Who will get the blame?
Next: The Morning Plum


Hey Balz, if they weren't spending on those ads would that make them confident AND stupid?

Does getting billionaire money make Karl Rove stupid?

Greg, can you get me an op-ed at the Post? I've got all kinds of wacky ideas I can write up.... Balz can do better than this.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 29, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Governor's race in NV is going to get interesting.

"I have confirmed that Brian Sandoval, as reported by Univision’s news director in a column and revealed in an earlier blog post, did indeed say that his children don’t look Hispanic when asked by the Spanish-language station whether he was worried about his kids being profiled if they were in Arizona. Sandoval denied (twice) making the comments during an interview with “Face to Face” this week. But the comments are on videotape, I have confirmed."

This is coupled with a new poll that shows Reid gaining ground on Sandoval. He's was down 21-points in the last Rass Poll (7/12) and down 14-points in a recent PPP poll (7/18).

But in a poll released today, Rass has Reid Jr. down by only 10-points. That's an 11-point swing in less than 3 weeks since Rass's last poll.

This is BEFORE the remarks by Sandoval about SB1070 not being a big deal for him because his kids don't look Hispanic.

Unless that tape add some extra context that we're unaware of...if it makes it into an ad - this could get really interesting really quickly.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 29, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

My line in the sand is Social Security benefits. This is sort of long but I wanted to post the entire thing. Myth vs. Reality regarding SS from moveon.

Myth: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T'). It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits--and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers retirement decades ago. Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly--since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.

Myth: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security.

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come. Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income. But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market--which would have been disastrous--but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth: Social Security adds to the deficit

Reality: It's not just wrong -- it's impossible! By law, Social Security funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I thought Fred Barnes played right next to Kristol on the FatcatDumbass team.

GOOOO Fatcats!

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 29, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

thanks lmsinca. do you or anyone else have a sense of how likely it is that they'll really move on SS?

BG -- good point. If they weren't taking steps they'd get pilloried for having their heads in the sand.

And BBQ, that is interesting. my first instinct is to doubt that he said that, or that the actual quote isn't as bad as it seems. but it's def worth digging into I'd say.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 29, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I believe the ultimate goal of the Deficit commission is to cut entitlements and SS, Medicare and Medicaid are all in the cross hairs. Everything I read from Bowles and Simpson gives me that impression. A lot of groups are getting geared up to head them off at the pass before it catches on.

And the members of your "let them eat want ads" group need to read some of the heartbreaking letters over at:

These folks are desperate for work and will literally take anything. Most of the people leaving Tier 4 will be wandering the streets soon, literally. BTW, they're organizing and speaking out. I don't think they'll think much of that caucus or their comments.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet good money that Barry's tax raising team will add an increase in the age of retirement and a reduction /'means test in benefits as bait to the Republicans to sign on to what will be enourmous tax increases. Let's face it, SS money has been lent to the government and is sitting on Trillions of T-bills that they do not want to collect the taxes to pay back. Spare me the SS is not insolvent nonsense. If SS money is in T-bills, it's gone. Instead, argue a restructuring so that the government cannot touch the cash collected (if it ever rises above expenditures again). I personally do not think any politician can resist the cash and well do this again in the near (10 years) future. It's just to tempting.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 29, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"""We want them out there "scraping and clawing."""

Gotta be JOKING.

Also, Dan Balz is a jackass (but that's nothing new).

Have a good night all!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

In her suit against Breitbart, Shirley Sherrod is going to be able to force him into a very uncomfortable corner.

She will win if she can prove that he intentionally slandered her. Then, he's toast.

He keeps trying to defend himself by saying that someone else gave him the edited clip. No doubt he will pursue the same line of defense in court.

When he does that, he then has to both disclose the source and also he will then have to publicly admit...hopefully under oath.....that he is no journalist since he didn't bother to find out what the context was of the entire speech.

Oh wait, is it also too much to hope for that he will refuse to disclose his source and then be sent to jail? ;)

At any rate, I don't see how he comes out of this without his credibility in complete tatters.

Posted by: elscott | July 29, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse


"And BBQ, that is interesting. my first instinct is to doubt that he said that, or that the actual quote isn't as bad as it seems. but it's def worth digging into I'd say."

It's been confirmed that's what he said. There's tape, which I'm curious if/when it will see the light of day.

This won't be a like the Macaca moment, because the comment isn't really being directly derogatory towards Hispanics. certainly means that in his mind, the law will involve racial profiling, particularly against Hispanics. And since he supports SB1070, this could present a real problem for him in Nevada.

Again, it's not a mecaca moment. But it certainly opens him up to attack in a heavily Hispanic state when he says he's cool with racial profiling because his kids are white.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 29, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

McWing, I agree with restructuring so it can't be touched and raising the income cap. If T-bills aren't safe, we're pretty much screwed.

Have a good night all, I'm back to party mode.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

SS T-Bills will be the easiest to default on. We won't punk the Chinese or other investors while they're loaning us money.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 29, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

@tmwn:SS T-Bills will be the easiest to default on. We won't punk the Chinese or other investors while they're loaning us money.

The full faith and credit thing is just a bunch of hooey? Really? I thought you believed in stuff like contract law and governments acting lawfully and such...

Posted by: srw3 | July 29, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm saying that not enough politicians will have the courage to raise taxes enough to satisfy the SS T-Bills. But will have the courage to raise the retirement age and lower or means test benefits of SS. May or may not be "right", but it is what will happen.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 29, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Greg, whats all this talk about the senate recessing when they have so much unfinished work to do.

They better stay and work through august, there is a recession/depression on here and the republicans are dragging their feet, on bills already passed by the house. When I didn't get my schoolwork done, I had to stay after school. Senators should have to as well.

Posted by: srw3 | July 29, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

BBQ, you know that Brian Sandoval is himself Hispanic? Seems like an odd statement for him to make about his kids, although looking at his website, I agree...they do not look Hispanic. It does seem odd to me that Univision is thus far not releasing the tape. This is just an entirely weird story.

Benen asks, "What does Sandoval think should happen to children in Arizona who do "look Hispanic"?"

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

"Obama likes to mock polls, but Sam Stein notes he's spent more on them than Bush."

Bush was much more famous for deriding polls than Obama. He was the one who claimed he never looked at the things.

But here's a question: How much *is* $4.45 million in pre-Bush dollars. It may be a tad more than the 3.31 Bush spent his first two years in office, But I'd bet it's a long way from half again. The dollar did take one helluva beating under Bush.

Posted by: CalD | July 29, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Turley has a post on his blog about Shirley Sherrod suing Breitbart. His take away is that she would most likely make it past initial motions to dismiss and would be granted discovery.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"Dan Balz says the House Dems' ad spending patterns show clearly that they're running scared."

That's certainly a characterization. But it looks more to me like they're keeping their powder dry. I would define "running scared" as more along the lines of shooting at everything that moves, not earmarking cash reserves for the endgame.

For the benefit of anyone who just woke up yesterday morning and decided to start paying attention to politics, thanks to a practice known as "gerrymandering" there are really never more than 60 or so House districts in the entire country that are in any way competitive in any given election year. Over the course of the last two congressional elections, Democrats have won nearly all of the competitive districts. So there's simply no way around the fact that most competitive House races this year will be in Democratic-held districts. It's the price of success. That being the case, Democrats would have to be pretty stupid *not* to be gearing up for war.

Posted by: CalD | July 29, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Chris Matthews makes 5 million a year for this?

The lout doesn't realize that Breitbart put out an edited tape of Sharrod's speech.

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 29, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Some of the attorneys who read & comment on Turley's site have some interesting points to make about Shirley's chances of prevailing.

Here is one that makes an important point:

"If the video were ONLY of Sherrod’s speech, you could fairly describe it as “misleading.” However, for the first 15 seconds of the video, there is added text which does not IMPLY that Sherrod is a racist, it baldly states that Sherrod has ADMITTED TO A CRIME!

“Ms. Sherrod admits that in her federally appointed position, overseeing over a billion dollars…She discriminates against people due to their race.”

If you separate the video from that offending text, the video might be simply false light, but with the video purporting to support that conclusion, taken as a whole, in other words, the video is libelous. Ms. Sherrod never admits that “in her federally appointed position…she discriminates against people due to their race.” That is false. And, since it accuses her of a crime, it is libel per se in most jurisdictions (meaning she can recover without proving specific damages)."

Breibart is screwed, so very screwed.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Via TPM, more "interesting commentary" from Rand Paul:

Rand Paul: Controversial Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Isn't So Bad -- It Enhances The Land!

In a wide-ranging profile due out in next month's issue of Details, Kentucky's Republican nominee for Senate, Rand Paul, stands up for all the good things the controversial practice of mountain top-removal mining can do for the environment. Despite warnings from conservationists that blowing the tops off of mountains to get the precious, precious coal underneath can have a seriously negative impact on the surrounding land, Paul says that when you really stop to think about it, losing those mountain tops is actually a net positive.

From the lengthy article, which was reported before Paul shunned the national press:

Paul believes mountaintop removal just needs a little rebranding. "I think they should name it something better," he says. "The top ends up flatter, but we're not talking about Mount Everest. We're talking about these little knobby hills that are everywhere out here. And I've seen the reclaimed lands. One of them is 800 acres, with a sports complex on it, elk roaming, covered in grass." Most people, he continues, "would say the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it."As he said of so many things in the past, Paul said the final decision about mountaintop removal mining (which, as Details reporter Jonathan Miles reports, has been called "the greatest environmental tragedy ever to befall our nation" by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) should rest in the hands of private landowners.

"Let's let you decide what to do with your land," Paul told the magazine. "Really, it's a private-property issue."

Coal production, of course, is one of the most important industries in Kentucky, so Paul's not likely to lose many friends in the business community by talking up the advantages of flattening Appalachia to dig up more coal. But if the people who run the coal mines might be happy with the article, the folks who actually dig up the coal might find Paul's understanding of the industry lacking a bit. Miles and Paul drive through Harlan County, Kentucky -- the front line for some of the nastiest labor battles in the history of American coal. The county was where many miners spent decades trying to win concessions from owners and help build coal mining into a middle class job. But when Miles asks about it, Paul can't seem to remember why the area is important to Kentucky:

Something about Harlan has lodged itself in my brain the way a shard of barbecue gets stuck in one's teeth, and I've asked Paul for help. "I don't know," he says in an elusive accent that's not quite southern and not quite not-southern. The town of Hazard is nearby, he notes: "It's famous for, like, The Dukes of Hazzard."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Either the republican's are trying to provoke another terrorist attack or they are making their followers believe the nation is being taken over by Islam (to include Obama) with their new fear mongering attack they've begun. Or maybe both.

I sure hope the nation doesn't fall for their fear spreading ways but they said in the pamphlet that was left at their convention that this is how they stir their voters.

I sure wished I could find that story, this would be a good time to remind America of what they said.

Posted by: soapm | July 29, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Dang these bigoted Teabaggers!

Will these freaks go away!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 29, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Here is one of their fear pamphlets but I can't find the one I'm looking for.

Posted by: soapm | July 29, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

From Gallup.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Of six possible ways to address concerns with the Social Security system in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, a majority of Americans favor two, both of which would affect only wealthy Americans. Less than a majority favor proposals that would involve increasing taxes, reducing benefits, or increasing the eligibility age for larger segments of the general public.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse


Do you have links to the Myth/Facts of Social Security you posted earlier?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Sue, they came from moveon and Digby had them up earlier. DDay has them up at FDL with a whole bunch of other stuff as well. Trumka gave a big speech today that I heard was terrific for the kick off of the coalition to fight SS cuts.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse


For the last several Saturday's there has been a lengthy post about SS on Daily Kos. Here is a link to the one last Saturday. I think they have links to the previous entries as well. Is this what you have been looking at?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 29, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

lms, following stunts like the cat food commission, it annoys the hell out of me when the DLC corporatists blame the hippies for not clapping loudly enough.

Look in the mirror, gang. Look at your hands, full of corporate bag money.

I saw this over at Steve Benen's place:

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 29, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

McWing, I've been super busy this week and hadn't seen those pieces at Dkos. I've been following this since they set up the Deficit (catfood) commission. I settled for the HCR bill even though I hated the drug deal and the lack of a public option, financial reform was okay as long as we get Warren in there to monitor and set up the CFPB, but don't get me started on Afghanistan, immigration reform or energy legislation (thank God for the EPA). I'm patient and I'm also practical, but really SS cuts will turn me into a raving maniac. Not for me, it won't affect my husband and I, but if they pretend that it's worse than it is and expect the middle class, working class and working poor to pick up the deficit slack I may have to walk to DC to protest.

Thunder thanks for the Benen link, I'll go read it and then off to bed, another busy day tomorrow. We're having a huge party here Sat. to send our daughter off to School of Mines for her Masters, still have lots to do.

Night all !!!!!!!

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Thunder, I don't even know what to say. I got beat up here last year over the HCR debate but I got over it, most of us who wanted something better took what we could get. I think Cohn's over doing the hippie punches and apathy routine, that's just about as helpful as those who've given up totally on Obama.

The biggest problem Dems have is that the economy hasn't improved enough for people to be hopeful. I know it would have been a whole lot worse without the Stimulus, but most people don't necessarily feel that way in their pocketbooks. And the HAMP program has been a colossal failure. I'm patient until I read the letters from the long term unemployed and then all I can think of is that we should have done a better job.

All I can do is keep pushing for better policies and politics. I've been advocating for the middle class in every way I can, that's the best I can do. I'm working on a local campaign to boot out a long time Republican incumbent with a progressive Dem and it looks like we may have a shot this year, we came close in 2008. He's a great one to watch this election, Bill Hedrick CA(44).

Posted by: lmsinca | July 30, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

lms, have a great party and best to your daughter at CSM.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 30, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Thanks BG, I'll check in Sunday if I can crawl out of bed, I know how much Geologists like to party and I hate to miss the fun. LOL

Posted by: lmsinca | July 30, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

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