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The Morning Plum

* Maybe Republicans can win the House: Nate Silver runs the numbers and challenges the DCCC's claim that Republicans can't take back the lower chamber.

* Still more evidence the public is warming to the health reform law: A new Kaiser tracking poll finds opposition to reform has lessened, with the public now viewing it favorably, 50-35.

* But: That poll also finds still more evidence that the right's campaign to mislead the elderly about health reform worked: More than a third of seniors think the law has "death panels."

* Creative messaging! Republicans are calling for a renewal of Bush's tax cuts without calling them Bush's tax cuts. Rather, they're describing proposals for the tax cuts to expire as "Democrats' tax hikes."

* E.J. Dionne nails it: If Dems cave to GOP attacks on whether to let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire, "they have no standing to govern."

* Rare sighting of the day: A Republican who admits that keeping the tax cuts will increase the deficit.

* In a transparent attempt to paper over tensions between the White House and House Dems over criticism that Obama isn't engaged in the midterms, insiders leak word to Politico that Obama will hold a fundraiser for imperiled House Democrats.

* Here's a very useful breakdown of the nation's key House races by geographic region.

* Jonathan Cohn on the "stupidity of liberal apathy."

* The effort by House Dems to revive the public option looks like a non-starter this year, but it could help galvanize the base heading into the midterms.

* The Dems' hopes for this fall may also turn on whether they can get the public to blame the GOP for government gridlock, which I think is going to be a tall order, since Dems run the place.

* New Quinnipiac poll: Billionaire Jeff Greene has jumped ahead of Kendrick Meek, 33-23, but 35 percent are undecided and 54 percent could change their minds. Question: Which candidate does Charlie Crist prefer?

* Also: Will national Dems really step in and help Meek beat Greene?

* Let's face it: Climate change legislation failed because individual Senators have little incentive to do what's right for the long term and every incentive to do what's politically easier in the short term. In other words, cowardice won.

* And finally, the question of the day: Newt Gingrich is delivering his "major speech" attacking Obama on national security today. How many news orgs will pretend Newt is an even remotely credible or relevant voice on the topic?

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 29, 2010; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Health reform , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , economy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: The "Let Them Eat Want Ads" Caucus

Comments

Commenters, thanks for your feedback on my Olbermann appearance. Appreciate it.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 29, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I brought this over from last thread because I think it's important.

Dodd's still talking about Warrens lack of confirmation prospects while a few Republicans are praising her work. Here's a statement by two Congressional Republicans, Troske and McWatters who served on the TARP oversight panel with her. I don't think it's as much of a problem as Dodd would have us think. Her criticism of the failed HAMP program may have more to do with it than anything else IMO.

"Although we do not share many of Professor Warren's views and opposed the creation of the CFPB, we have found our dealings with her to be collegial and professional. We often debate a wide variety of issues with Professor Warren and have found her quite willing to modify her views if presented with well-reasoned cogent arguments.


For example, as the Panel undertook its investigations on the 'investment' of TARP funds in GMAC and AIG, we raised a number of specific concerns with Professor Warren and the other members of the Panel. She was presented with a clear choice -- accept Treasury's tepid analysis or conduct a rigorous de novo review. She -- without hesitation -- chose the latter and the Panel produced what we believe is the definitive analysis of the GMAC and AIG misadventures. Although Treasury has not welcomed the Panel's reports on GMAC and AIG -- not to mention its continuing criticism of the Home Affordable Modification Program -- any lesser undertaking by the Panel would have run contrary to its Congressional mandate and ill-served the taxpayers who stand to lose tens of billions of dollars of TARP funded public resources.

It is important to note that the Panel has been critical of policies and decisions implemented by Democrats and Republicans alike. There is great virtue in that, because, while it is easy to question the decisions made by members of the other political party, it takes courage to publicly question the decisions made by members of your own party."

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

"How many news orgs will pretend Newt is an even remotely credible or relevant voice on the topic?"

We'll see it on Morning Joe. And CNN. And HLN. Not sure if the nightly network news will cover it.

And since FOX is not actually a news organization, but rather a GOP political action committee, I figured I wouldn't include them in the total.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 29, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

A quick thought on extending the Bush tax cuts, with even right leaning economists saying the extension will not spur job growth but will increase the deficit, why in the world would any Democrat support such idiocy?

Have a good day all !!!!

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The Dems don't control the Senate except under rules that require 60 votes to do ANYTHING.

They don't "run the place" as it is usually understood.

Bringing that fact up in every news story would help to identify the problem and get some accountability at the polls in November. This is a tall order because any reporter that mentions it will be blasted as part of the liberal media establishment.

Posted by: grooft | July 29, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@Grooft: "with even right leaning economists saying the extension will not spur job growth but will increase the deficit, why in the world would any Democrat support such idiocy?"

Depends what part of the Bush tax cuts you're talking about. If you wonder why they are supporting extending the Bush tax cuts for earners making less than $250,000 (or somewhere in that area), it would be because a big tax increase on the voters before an election doesn't appeal to any politician, even if they can say, "Well, really, we just let those nasty old tax cuts expire . . . "

It's only idiocy if the given politician thinks getting re-elected is idiotic.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Republicans are calling for a renewal of Bush's tax cuts without calling them Bush's tax cuts. Rather, they're describing proposals for the tax cuts to expire as "Democrats' tax hikes."

Does it bother ANYONE in the reality-based community that if Obama's plan were passed, taxes on people earning less than $250,000 would be LOWER than they would be if we extended Bush's existing tax cuts?

How can you call it a "tax hike" when they're proposing a law that not only lowers taxes on most people compared to doing NOTHING, but that also lowers taxes on most people compared to what Bush did?

Posted by: theorajones1 | July 29, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

Let me join the rest in congratulating you on your appearance on Countdown. Great job.

Re: Bush Tax Policy - I think three points need to be addressed when discussing the policy.

1) Republicans voted in 2001 to enact this law, which mandates a tax hike in 2010. Again, this tax "increase" occurs because Republicans voted for it. They could have made this law permanent, but opted instead to increase taxes in 2010. Republicans made this choice.

2) Why wasn't the law made permanent from the start? (hint: gaming the CBO projections so the cuts didn't seem so devastating to the deficit)

3) If these tax cuts create jobs, how do they explain the job growth disparity between the Bush economy and the Clinton economy?

Posted by: beenjammin | July 29, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@Greg: "Maybe Republicans can win the House: Nate Silver runs the numbers and challenges the DCCC's claim that Republicans can't take back the lower chamber."

Of course it's possible. If it simply weren't possible, the DCCC wouldn't have bothered with claiming that it was impossible.

"More than a third of seniors think the law has "death panels.""

But will be pleasantly surprised when they find out the law actually only includes "death pancakes".

"The Dems' hopes for this fall may also turn on whether they can get the public to blame the GOP for government gridlock, which I think is going to be a tall order, since Dems run the place."

More to the point, that's not that big a negative for some people. As Thomas Jefferson said: the government that govern's least, governs best.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey Greg, I saw you on Countdown last night. Well done. How come you're not on those shows more often?

Can you please talk about how Chris Dodd seems to be the only person against an Elizabeth Warren selection. Who is he working for? Is he looking for a Wall Street job after retiring?

Posted by: magnus_terra | July 29, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I meant to post this yesterday. Some of you know I'm working on Bill Hedrick's campaign to rid the House of Ken Calvert. We found out yesterday that Bill placed third in the online challenge for Congressional Dems which means he'll be getting more support from DFA and National recognition. We're jazzed. We've got Calvert on the run.

The Associated Press
Posted: 07/27/2010 11:28:43 AM PDT
Updated: 07/27/2010 11:28:43 AM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—A major Democratic political action committee says it will give money and volunteer time to two California congressional candidates in competitive races.

Democracy for America on Tuesday named former Irvine mayor Beth Krom the winner of its online competition for funding. The Democrat is challenging Republican Rep. John Campbell in Orange County's 48th District, where the GOP has a 15-point registration advantage.

The PAC founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean in 2004 will give Krom's campaign $5,000 and raise another $20,000 from its members.

DFA will also make a $5,000 contribution to Bill Hedrick, who is challenging 44th District Rep. Ken Calvert, a Republican.

More than 66,000 people voted on the DFA website from among candidates nationwide

Posted by: lmsinca | July 29, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, all. I'm going to try to go on those shows more often.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 29, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@beenjammin: "Republicans voted in 2001 to enact this law, which mandates a tax hike in 2010. Again, this tax 'increase' occurs because Republicans voted for it. They could have made this law permanent,"

My understanding is that, since the tax cuts were passed via reconciliation to avoid a Democratic filibuster, the expiration had to be included in order to get them, so they really had only two choice--agree to the expiration, or not get any tax cuts for "hard working Americans". As such, this is probably not the best argument.

"If these tax cuts create jobs, how do they explain the job growth disparity between the Bush economy and the Clinton economy?"

They created jobs before they lost them. Or, you can imagine how much worse the job market would be right now, except for the Bush tax cuts. Yes, things are bad, but without the Bush tax cuts the job market right now would be even worse.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis: "Or, you can imagine how much worse the job market would be right now, except for the Bush tax cuts. Yes, things are bad, but without the Bush tax cuts the job market right now would be even worse."

Strange that the republicans won't accept the same argument ("it would have been much worse") when it comes out of Obama's mouth, even when it's backed up by a Princeton survey.

Posted by: converse | July 29, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

This is my response from a previous thread:

suekzoo1 wrote:
“janet8: "BTW, I know the difference between news reporters and columnists."
Yeah, sure you do. You proved the other day that you don't know the difference between investigative journalists and conspiracy theorists.”
Evidently, suezoo1, you don’t. Here is some background on Evelyn Pringle:

First of all, Pringle is a liberal. She’s been writing articles in liberal OpedNews for years. A recent article in OpedNews is “SSRI’s Render Unfriendly Skies” about the airline industry and pilots.

She has an article posted in New Zealand “Paxil Birth Defects Trial,” Feb. 22, 2010

This next article from 2007 you might find interesting was found in BuzzFlash – “Congress Must Cut Off Bush Family Profits.”

As is evident, although you’ll conveniently deny it, Pringle is a true Investigative Journalist who has her articles posted, and is respected,
worldwide.

Posted by: janet8 | July 29, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

should have previewed: "survey" should be "study"

Posted by: converse | July 29, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your response Kevin.

It's ironic how parties can switch sides in rhetorical arguments. The Republicans, who complained that the Democrats were using reconciliation to force health care down our throats did the same with tax cuts years before (both majority parties, of course, claimed they needed to get it done in the face of obstructionist minority parties for the benefit of the "hard working American people), and how "imagine how much worse it would have been" has been used in regards to defending both Bush's tax cuts and Obama's stimulus.

The more things change, the more they stay the same I guess.

Posted by: beenjammin | July 29, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

This is also a response from a previous thread:

cmccauley6 wrote:

“Again, while we are not able to endorse the early release of Megrahi under any scenario, we believe that granting compassionate release or bail under the conditions described (i.e. release with a life expectancy or less than three months and with Megrahi remaining in Scotland under supervision) would mitigate a number of the strong concerns that we have expressed with respect to Megrahi's release.

There you have it: an entirely appropriate expression of concern on behalf of the American people that Megrahi be demonstrably near death--something that turned out not
to be true--and under no circumstances be turned into a jihadist hero back in Libya--something that did happen, but not as a result of American policy.

So, unless some contrary information comes to light, I consider this a non-controversy in which the State Department and the Obama administration acted honorably and appropriately.
My guess is FOX didn't report this, right Janet?”

Wrong. I don’t know if FOX reported it at all. I did not see it on any mainstream media sites. I read about the article, as I stated previously, in The Australian.

But back to my response, if Obama and his administration was “surprised and angry” as he asserts, his response to the UK should have been “Under no circumstances does the US support the release of Megrahi from prison, especially not for compassionate reasons, as he has shown no remorse or compassion for his actions in the deaths of those airline passengers or families. As a longtime ally of the UK, I urge you reconsider any actions to release Megrahi from prison.”

In 2007 it was understood that if Megrahi was released, for any reason, he would be sent to the US for confinement.

Obama is a weak President and this memo further strengthens my opinion of him.

Posted by: janet8 | July 29, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Gingrich and Palin posturing on the Islamic center proposed for the ground zero neighborhood, Andrew Sullivan's readers make some astute observations:

Reader 1:

It might be worth pointing out to the knuckleheads who are protesting the building of a mosque near Ground Zero that there's been a Japanese Shinto Shrine very close to Pearl Harbor for a very long time. I'd also be willing to bet that there are German Lutheran churches in NYC close to where German submarines were sinking US merchant ships in WWII. Somehow the Greatest Generation managed to deal with these things. Why can't we?

Reader 2:

Lost in all of the pseudo-patriotic posturing and puffing by Gingrich, Palin et al., is the fact that it is against Federal Law for the City or State of New York to attempt to prevent the use of the buildings in question for religious (including Islamic) purposes absent a compelling government interest in preventing that use. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), (U.S.C. § 2000cc-1 et seq.), section 2(a)(1) states that:

"No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly, or institution--
(A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(B) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest."

In other words, if the City of New York tried to oppose the use of the building in question as a mosque or other place of religious assembly, it would have to demonstrate a compelling interest in why it should be able to do so. And even it it can show a compelling interest, it must also show that preventing the use is the least restrictive way of furthering that interest. In terms of constitutional law, that is the highest possible hurdle to placing a restriction on the practice of religious and is practically impossible to do.

It is ironic that RLUIPA was pushed through largely by Christian groups to prevent local governments from placing zoning restrictions on churches. Of course, they only meant it to apply to Christian churches, not those others.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne nails it: If Dems cave to GOP attacks on whether to let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire, "they have no standing to govern."
---------------------------------------------

E.J. Dionne nails... what exactly? I've seen precisely zero credible signs that either house of congress is likely to even take up the question (despite a few cold feet) and the the president already said no. What part of "no" is E.J. Dionne having such trouble understanding?

Posted by: CalD | July 29, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@converse: "Strange that the republicans won't accept the same argument ("it would have been much worse") when it comes out of Obama's mouth, even when it's backed up by a Princeton survey."

I was being ironic. I'm not seriously making that argument, which I think suffers fatally from an inherent logical fallacy, whether it's for jobs created or saved via tax cuts (which put money into the private economy) or government stimulus (which puts money into the private economy). Just to be clear.

"the Democrats were using reconciliation to force health care down our throats"

While not a supporter of HCR, I will tell you I am sick to death of the phrase "forced down our throats". No, Healthcare Reform was passed via the sometimes arcane legislative process that is in place, by our elected officials. The outcry about the process by which HCR passed as being someone illegitimate strikes me as so much nonsense.

"and how 'imagine how much worse it would have been' has been used in regards to defending both Bush's tax cuts and Obama's stimulus"

And the War on Terrorism. And, while things not having happened can be thrown into the bucket as something to consider, inferring causal relationships that pre-supposes an outcome that did not happen, in the absence of this wonderful thing certain people did, just strikes me as specious at best.

Makes me think of Homer Simpson's conclusion that the expensive bear patrols in Springfield were clearly working wonderfully, as there were demonstrably no bears on the streets.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe Republicans can win the House: Nate Silver runs the numbers and challenges the DCCC's claim that Republicans can't take back the lower chamber."
---------------------------------------------

Anything is possible. Not everything is likely.

Posted by: CalD | July 29, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Remember when we were going through TARP and the Bailouts in 2008, led by the Republicans?

And everyone, left and right, were screaming about Wall Street versus Main Street?

Well now we have the Small/Community Bank lending bill and who's against it?

REPUBLICANS!!! SHOCKER!!!

This bill IS the Main Street Bailout.

The Main Street Lending Bill.

The Bring Main Street Back Up To Speed Bill.

The HELLO YOU IDIOT REPUBLICANS, THIS IS GOOD FOR MAIN STREET AMERICA Bill.

Lack of credit on Main Street is THE NUMBER 1 DRIVER OF UNEMPLOYMENT right now. That and the fact that big corporations are squeezing more productivity and decent profits out of fewer employees.

But anyone who opposes injecting credit into the Main Street Economy should be run out of the country on a freaking rail post haste.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"In a transparent attempt to paper over tensions between the White House and House Dems over criticism that Obama isn't engaged in the midterms, insiders leak word to Politico that Obama will hold a fundraiser for imperiled House Democrats."
---------------------------------------------

Don't you ever get tired of that frame? And if you're reading the Politico, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Posted by: CalD | July 29, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

This also is in response to a previous thread:

nisleib wrote:

Janet says, "Same with a story about Obama sending $5 million to Kenya to fund the new Constitution which will allow abortions. The provision was created by US' Planned Parenthood for Kenya's Constitution it was reported."

That is a nonstory. According to the story pushed by Free Republic (that actually, according to their link, started with the "Christian Newswire" (the link doesn't lead to an actual story on "Christian Newswire", it just links to their home page)) the actual story is thus:

New evidence reveals that the Obama administration has given up to $10 million to groups in Kenya that are campaigning for a "Yes" vote on a new constitution that would legalize abortion.

This isn't a story to anybody but wingnuts. A) 10 Million dollars is not material B) This comes from rightwing BS sites like Free Republic C) There is no backup to the story D) USAID made the grant and USAID is an independent organization.

If that is the best you have you need to watch more Glen Beck. He'll update you on all the really juicy nonsensical Republican conspiracies.”


nislieb, If this is a non-story then lets investigate this to see that it is a “non-story” as the liberals claim?

Rep. Smith and other lawmakers have accused the Obama administration of offering incentives to Kenya to approve the controversial new constitution, promising that passage would “allow money to flow” into the nation’s coffers. A federal law known as the Siljander Amendment makes it illegal for the U.S. government to lobby on abortion in other countries.

From their own website you quoted that they take their foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. Oh, and the Secretary of State doesn’t get it’s foreign policy guidance from the President? It’s a government agency with appointments made by the President.

Did you know that Michelle Obama has stated that she has a family member working in USAID?

And didn’t Obama offer Romanoff a bribe, excuse me, “job” as a Deputy Director of a USAID division, to drop out of the race against Bennet? Hmmm.

And Rajiv Shah, the Director of USAID, was opposed by the Organic Consumers Organization because while he was working for the Bill & Melinda Gates’ Foundation, in conjunction with a partner, Monsanto, in bringing Genetically Modified Organisms to poor African countries. There is a controversy going on with the GMOs, but that didn’t stop the Foundation from partnering with Monsanto. Now what do you think Monsanto gains from this?

Also, Hillary Clinton said that they were expanding new funding into new research to biotech.

Obama-USAID-Shah-new funding for research-Gates-Monsanto. I don’t know, but by my observation, I would certainly not think USAID is independent.

Also, an oil spill connection – Monsanto – Nalco: Carl Casale is both Director of Nalco and EVP & CFO of Monsanto. Nalco is spraying that chemical in the Gulf that's making the workers sick.

Posted by: janet8 | July 29, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@firstread:

*** What happens when tax increases become politically toxic: This New York Times story grabbed our attention: “With pressure mounting on the federal government to find new revenues, Congress is considering legalizing, and taxing, an activity it banned just four years ago: Internet gambling.” We’ve already mentioned that some states are looking at legalizing sports gambling as a way to collect more revenues. And what’s probably next? Legalized marijuana. This is all the unintended consequence of making all tax increases politically toxic.

Yeah, do it already. And while we're talking about marijuana.

First of all, it's not "marijuana", that word is a Mexican word for cannabis that was used in the early days of cannabis prohibition in a derogatory fashion to scare white voters into outlawing the plant. The "Demon Weed" etc. And anyone interested in being serious on the subject should not be calling it "marijuana."

Secondly, forget the intoxicating form of cannabis. This country is NUTS, absolutely NUTS for not encouraging farmers to grow industrial, non-toxic, non-intoxicating HEMP. Absolutely NUTS. It is probably the single most important renewable resource humanity has ever known. It grows like crazy in any condition, doesn't need pesticide, can be used for everything that we currently use petrochemicals for (from fiber materials to biofuel, an endless number of uses) and the seed is one of the most complete forms of nutrition found in nature.

The taboo around cannabis is a joke and a fraud (actually perpetrated in large part by the tobacco industry in the early 20th century).

But HEMP prohibition is just lunacy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

MUST-READ.

McClatchy NAILS IT:

*Sherrod and WikiLeaks: Journalism confronts media frenzy*

The incident offers a case study of how the "new" news media — the Internet and cable TV — operate on less rigorous professional standards than the traditional news media — newspapers and broadcast TV — historically have. The new media also increasingly set the pace and define the agenda for all news media, as new and old compete for revenue and eyeballs and the national attention span shrinks.

Journalism and communications experts said that the mainstream news media — battered by layoffs and locked by the Internet into a perpetual news cycle — were more vulnerable than ever to innuendo and incomplete information from people with partisan agendas. Andrew Breitbart, the blogger who first posted the snippets of Sherrod's speech, has been behind several ambush videos against liberal politicians and organizations.

"You've got to vet it and authenticate it, and obviously understand the motives of the people putting it out there," said Mark Jurkowitz, the associate director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. "The speed of this news cycle puts pressure on these kinds of judgments."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/07/28/98289/sherrod-and-wikileaks-a-tale-of.html

Absolute must-read. Greg, buddy, that one's for you. It's what we've been saying now for a long time, and from what I can tell you're way out in front of this issue. HAVE AT IT!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "But HEMP prohibition is just lunacy."

Now, that's something I suspect we can agree on 100%. Indeed, I'm at least somewhat in the Bill Buckley camp, in that I think the War on Drugs needs to be seriously re-thought (obviously, heroin addiction is a bad thing, but is our strategy working?) and marijuana (even the intoxicating kind) should be legal. Compare it the effects of alcohol or many prescription drugs, and at least prescription marijuana should be legal. And prescribed for stuff like nervous disorders and OCD, not just for chemotherapy patients (although depriving them of marijuana, given it's demonstrated palliative effects, make zero sense).

A huge tax on legalized marijuana makes a lot of sense to me. What tax is more market-friendly than consumption taxes, except sin-consumption taxes? And taxes that can't be accused of creating market distortions, because they are taxes on a previously (legally) unavailable product, so the market is defined as a high-tax generating market right off the bat.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

More on the Small Biz bill:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/us/politics/29cong.html

1 Million Gallon Oil Spill in Michigan, Spill Baby Spill

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/07/us_hit_by_new_oil_spill.php

Biden: US doing 'significant damage' to al-Qaida

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/07/biden_us_doing_significant_damage_to_al-qaida.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan: "1 Million Gallon Oil Spill in Michigan"

If the Democrats can't pass a progressive environmental agenda in this environment, I don't think they are ever going to. At least they will reform the MMS, yes?

"Biden: US doing 'significant damage' to al-Qaida"

Obama has, in my opinion, demonstrated a serious, adult, practical approach to the War on Terror. Irrespective of what conservatives think of the conciliatory language sometimes employed by the Obama administration, there can't be much doubt that when it comes to picking off Al-Qaida leaders with drones, the Obama administration has been doing an awesome job. And has shown no hesitancy to make hard decisions that fall on the side of breaking a few eggs, if it means hurting Al-Qaida's terrorist networks. So, props to Obama on that.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Redesigned Arizona Car Plates:

New State Slogan:

Arizona Is For Ethnic Cleansers.

The Cactus Icon has been replaced with an Icon of A Boxcar.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 29, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

All, another Republican caught saying that unemployment benefits discourages job seeking:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/the_let_them_eat_want_ads_cauc.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 29, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Great comments Kevin_Willis, I agree 100% with everything you said.

Re: cannabis, the more conservatives come out in favor, the better. The main opponents tend to be older white conservatives. These folks tend not to pay attention to anything liberals say, so the more that people like you can do to advocate for legalization and taxation of cannabis and industrial hemp, the better for everyone.

Re: AQ, I am a big fan of the drone strikes. More than anything they are what has galvanized Pakistan into cornering the (foreign to the region) arab AQ pockets in the mountains of the FATA. Combine the two and it is clearly, imho, the most important and effective strategic national security operation since 9/11. As I said the other day on the Afghan thread, the faster we can transition to strictly counter-terror efforts and shift away from COIN and occupation, the better for America and the "West."

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Kevin - it's hard for me to disagree with anyone who makes a Simpson's reference.

RE: Legalization of Drugs. What I think gets overlooked in this case is not only would taxing drugs bring in revenue, but it would deny revenue to gangs and cartels, which would significantly marginalize their influence in society and reduce violence. In addition, "drug dealers" would now be regulated and held accountable. Finally, this would significantly reduce the financial burden imposed on the taxpayer by overcrowded prisons, and let police officers focus on violent criminals, not wasting their time (and our money) busting Cheech and Chong.

Posted by: beenjammin | July 29, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

New NOAA report out today...

*NOAA: Past decade warmest on record*

Earlier in the month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared June 2010 to be the hottest June on earth since temperatures have been recorded. And today the agency has released a similarly ominous report: the past decade was the hottest ever recorded, and the Earth's temperatures have been climbing steadily upward over the past 50 years.

In the 2009 "State of the Climate" report released today, NOAA researchers say that the relatively stable climate that's helped sustain human civilization for the past several thousand years is rapidly changing for the worse. As the Earth has grown warmer, the report says, weather conditions grow more extreme, spurring violent storms and prolonged droughts.

[...]

The report--which collects data that NOAA researchers have compiled throughout the world-- highlights 10 key measures of global temperature. The resulting picture, the researchers write, "proves consistent with a warming world." Seven of the indicators -- "air temperature over land, sea-surface temperature, air temperature over oceans, sea level, ocean heat, humidity and tropospheric temperature in the 'active-weather' layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth’s surface" -- are rising. Three of indicators -- "Arctic sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover in the Northern hemisphere" are on the decline--but the report notes that they, too, are symptoms of a warming earth.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100728/sc_yblog_upshot/noaa-past-decade-warmest-on-record

The article is informative, but the graphic accompanying it is really important for people to see.

It sums up the mechanism for the warming of the Earth in a very easy to understand, visual manner.

Do check it out (and send it around):

http://mit.zenfs.com/5/rsz_warmingindicators.jpg

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Judging from the comments both right and left here are for legalizing and TAXING Hemp,weed,maryjane...whatever you wish to call it.

Kevin and others have provided all the common sense arguments that favor legalization and TAXATION.

And it is the TAXATION part that will lead to the legalization. California is already poised and ready...and not just statewide. Oakland City Council recently voted to award four large scale mass production license for greenhouse operators who grow "medical" or "legal" marijuana IF Californians pass it at the ballot. Oakland leaders say they are aware that is still an "IF" but apparently they are fairly confident and they are well aware that there will be huge money behind this for government tax coffers as well as the business who operate these giant commercial scale grow houses.

Predictably the small independent guys already serving California's Medical Marijuana market are upset with Oakland officials. They believe licensing four huge commercial grow houses will put the little guys out of business. Yeah before you know it Wal Mart will be featuring a cannabis aisle.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 29, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@beenjammin: "RE: Legalization of Drugs. What I think gets overlooked in this case is not only would taxing drugs bring in revenue, but it would deny revenue to gangs and cartels, which would significantly marginalize their influence in society and reduce violence"

That is something to be considered. I also argue that there is a clear difference between marijuana, heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, etc., in terms of effects on the individual and overall societal costs. To treat marijuana as no different from heroin would be to treat aspirin as no different from morphine.

@Ethan: "the faster we can transition to strictly counter-terror efforts and shift away from COIN and occupation, the better for America and the 'West.'"

Especially given the nature of the enemy, which, rather you regard it as a tactic (i.e., terrorism) or a militant ideology (i.e., radical Islam), is difficult to fight with conventional warfare and occupation. Rather, the infrastructure needs to be constantly attacked and disrupted. You do that by taking out the leadership, the tacticians, and, to a lesser extent, the front line warriors and their access to weapons, as much as possible. Whether this is bombing an "aspirin" factory, ala Clinton, or making a decision to strike a highly likely high value target, even there may be some civilian casualties. In the end, this strategy will result in far fewer civilian and American military casualties than conventional warfare and policing of quasi-occupied territory. In my opinion, which is worth exactly what it cost you.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding: There's a large obstacle to the cannibis aisle at the Wal-Mart. Two of them. First, you have to have an administration that's truly willing to force the DEA to stand down. That really hasn't happened, yet. And it requires some thoroughbred conservatives to face up to the political consequences, and acknowledge that state's rights should mean, as with policing and allowing the sales of tobacco products and alcohol, much of that can be legally and practically devolved to the state. And there's reasons for it. If legalized cannabis means the end of the world as we know it, let California try it out, first.

Another possibility, and one I favor, is the possession and sale of marijuana to become a misdemeanor, one that is "ticketed"--caught you smoking a J, gonna cost you $50--rather than tying up the criminal courts and prisons with people who are often too blissed out to be a problem for themselves, much less anyone else.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | July 29, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"You do that by taking out the leadership, the tacticians, and, to a lesser extent, the front line warriors and their access to weapons, as much as possible"

Agreed 1000x

They are terrorists. They live and die by terrorism. Since they are willing to die for their "cause", the only way to really inflict catastrophic damage to their cause is to A) take out leadership, B) relentlessly buzz them with bombs so they are looking over their shoulder and up in the sky 24/7, and C) follow this strategy for any AQ network anywhere in the world.

As you imply, it is more psychological warfare than battlefield confrontation.

That's how THEY do their thing to us.

It is, ironically perhaps, also THEIR OWN Achilles heel.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

To view an extensive interview of Warren that will appear in a new documentary about medical debt and personal bankruptcy go to :

http://www.sybervision.com/sadbully/sadprivate/ewarren.htm .

This will give you a feel for and deep appreciation of her keen intellect, compassion and passion for her mission to protect consumers from abusive business practices.

To watch the first part of the four part interview series go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8jypW5pmXo

In this extensive interview you'll discover Warren is not the left wing radical some have made her out to be. On the contrary, she is a non-partisanl pragmatist, full of common sense sharpened by intelligence

Posted by: curiously_yours | July 30, 2010 5:02 AM | Report abuse

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