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Posted at 8:41 AM ET, 02/16/2011

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* House GOP budget cuts would cost 1 million jobs? Read of the morning: Dana Milbank has a provocative take on the GOP's proposed cuts, calculating that they could lead to a loss of 650,000 government jobs, and a related loss of 325,000 more.

Though the figures come from a prominent supporter of the administration, Milbank argues that Boehner is well aware that GOP cuts could result in job loss that could impede the recovery. And then Milbank goes there: "however pure Boehner's motives may be, the dirty truth is that a stall in the recovery would bring political benefits to the Republicans in the 2012 elections."

* Tea Partyers face another test of their ideological consistency: Conservative House GOP freshmen who say they want to cut spending will decide today whether to vote for a costly fighter jet engine that is supported by Boehner, as it brings jobs to his state. The Pentagon doesn't even want it, seeing it as a waste of money. Keep an eye on this one today.

* GOP divided over how to handle "entitlements" showdown? While some conservative House Republicans want to set up an immediate showdown with the White House, other Republicans think it would be wiser to seek bipartisan consensus with Obama and Dems on Social Security and Medicare.

It's another sign that the White House's decision to take on "entitlements," forcing Republicans to make the first move, may have been smart politics.

* But Dems begin telling Obama to heed his budget commission: At the same time, a handful of Democratic Senators are now joining with Republicans in faulting Obama's budget as unserious because it doesn't tackle said "entitlements."

* Obama avoides progressive deficit reduction ideas: Think Progress has a rundown of progressive ways of reducing the deficit that Obama could have embraced, rather than cuts to Pell grants and home heating assistance.

* Support for health law repeal is vastly overstated, part 973: A striking poll from CBS News finds that a majority, 55 percent, is opposed to cutting off funding of the new law, yet more evidence that there simply isn't any extensive public support for repealing it.

* But: The poll also finds that the public doesn't appear to be buying White House claims that the economy is picking up.

* Wisconsin labor war continues: Americans United for Change has a really interesting new radio spot that hammers GOP Governor Scott Walker for trying to strip public employees of their organizing rights. Note the references to GOPers Abraham Lincoln's and Dwight Eisenhower's views about labor.

* Obama to urge Tim Kaine to run for Senate in Virginia: The President is set to meet with Kaine to discuss making the race, another sign of how pivotal finding a strong candidate to replace Jim Webb could be to Obama's reelection hopes.

* Shirley Sherrod versus Andrew Breitbart: Breitbart may be in for a much bumpier ride than he might have expected.

* Peter King (belatedly) makes nice with Muslims: Rep. King is now trying to say nice things about Muslim leaders (they don't support Al Qaeda!), but as Adam Serwer notes, all this really tells us is that he's badly losing the P.R. war over his increasingly ridiculous hearings.

* Is Michele Bachmann really running for president? She's headed to South Carolina and New Hampshire.

* Why birthers love Sarah Palin, ctd.: Andrew Sullivan, in a nice formulation, explains why her appeal is rooted in her role as "cultural antibody to the future America Obama represents."

* And the sucker-born-every-minute watch, Gingrich edition: Dan Eggen gets inside Newt's surprisingly successful fundraising empire, explaining how he gets people around the country to send his operation their hard earned money even though he hasn't held public office in a decade.

My favorite: It will only cost you $5,000 for Newt to crown you an "entrepeneur of the year." A bargain!

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 8:41 AM ET
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, budget  
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Next: South Dakota lawmaker, under fire, is now mulling changes to "justifiable homicide" unborn proposal

Comments

Deficit schmeficit.

Andrew Ferguson at the Weekly Standard writes a column today titled "The Stockman Temptation". Here's how he sets up the piece...

"For four years, from 1981 to 1985, David Stockman worked for Ronald Reagan as his budget director. Stockman hated his job. A few years after he quit, he got even. He wrote a memoir called The Triumph of Politics. The theme of the book was the horror Stockman felt at the process by which the federal budget is written. He was alarmed to discover that professional politicians (senators, congressmen, and cabinet officers) will often treat a political document (the federal budget) in such a way that it works to their political advantage (spend, spend, spend).

Even more horrifying, in Stockman’s telling, was his boss, who refused to kick the snuffling porkers away from the trough. President Reagan was a dope. He was given to saying silly things to his budget director. One of the silly things that Reagan liked to say—over and over again—was “Defense is not a budget issue. You spend what you need.”

Let this be a warning: Never try to tell a budget director that something isn’t a budget issue. He will write a book about you and reveal to the world that you are a dope."

Ferguson, one feels, has a different evaluation of who the dope was in this relationship. Frankly, I think it's Ferguson. Just a couple of observations. Ferguson relates a contest between Weinberger and Stockman on military spending. Stockman, concerned with the ballooning deficit, wants it cut along with other expenditures. Weinberger frets about the Dangerous Other. The two make presentations to Reagan, Stockman's being...uh...rational. Here's Weinberger's...

"Weinberger brought a poster-sized cartoon to make his case vividly to the president. The cartoon showed three soldiers. The smallest of them, Stockman recalled, was an unarmed pygmy—representing Jimmy Carter’s defense budget. The second was a bespectacled doofus—Stockman’s proposed defense budget. (The unsubtle joke was that Stockman himself was a bespectacled doofus. Pentagon humor.) The third was GI Joe himself, muscle-bound and well armed and ready to kick some Soviet tail—Weinberger’s proposed budget."

As it happens, an old friend of my wife worked in intel during this period and was tasked with creating presentations for Reagan and presentation via cartoon imagery was common.

(cont below)

Posted by: bernielatham | February 16, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

The argument Ferguson is making in this piece is that, like Reagan believed, an administration ought not to include defense within budget or deficit considerations because of the Big Evil Other out there who might sniff out your fiscal prudence and get the notion you aren't just a huge, fierce, crazed and totally unconstrained killing machine.

Here's his last three graphs...

" The 1980s fight over the defense budget, a fight fought first among Republicans, furnished Stockman’s interesting book with its great unacknowledged irony. Stockman hated his job because politicians insisted on subjecting the budget to political considerations. He hated Reagan because, when it came to the defense budget, Reagan refused to do the same.

And it’s not as though he didn’t try to tell Stockman over and over again: Defense was not a budget issue. We would spend what we had to spend.

Otherwise the other side might get the wrong idea."

You get it? There's an "other side". There's always an "other side". Because unless there is an "other side", the enormous military/industrial colossus begins to look like a fat purple elephant in a tutu taking a crap on your kitchen table.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/stockman-temptation_547415.html?page=2

Posted by: bernielatham | February 16, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Deficits won't be tackled until after the presidential election as it should be. Our economy is just too fragile to tackle it now.

I also believe that Obama if he wins re-election will not only let the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich in 2013 but he will let the middle class tax cuts expire as well which getting rid of the Bush tax cuts altogether will cut the deficit over the next 10 years by $5 trillion.

Then Obama will tackle entitlements in 2013 to try to get to a balanced budget within 10 years.

Posted by: maritza1 | February 16, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Is this the same Maritza that predicted the SOTU would be about jobs jobs jobs jobs?

Posted by: Papagnello | February 16, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The Tea Party is not against a string national defense. That's at least one thing they do want.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 16, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Shirley Sherrod versus Andrew Breitbart: Breitbart may be in for a much bumpier ride than he might have expected."

Bravo!

Posted by: bernielatham | February 16, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The Obama budget proposal may be the first indication that he knows how to negotiate. In the health care debate he single payer was never even on the table which significantly weakened any claims he could make about compromise even if he never wanted a single payer or thought it could pass. He did the same thing with extending the Bush tax cuts.
By not including "entitlement" cuts in his budget, he gives himself the strongest negotiating position to start off. In the end I think people will remember less about Obama's original proposal being "weak" and remember more about whatever cuts are ultimately agreed to.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 16, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"The Tea Party is not against a string national defense."

Together with the missile defense shield space condom, no one will ever get us again.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 16, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I really don't think the criticism on LIHEAP is justified. They're trying to match the funding level with the actual need. Why not cut it if the level the program has more than it needs?

From the budget: The Budget does not repropose the creation of a LIHEAP funding trigger included in previous budget requests, but the Administration is continually monitoring energy prices, and if they should spike again, we would explore what level of LIHEAP funding would be necessary. The LIHEAP program doubled in 2009 following an energy spike, but energy prices are now significantly lower, and the prior level is no longer sustainable. The 50 percent funding reduction brings funding back to the level before the energy price spike."

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 16, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What else is happening?

BREAKING: Libyans clash with police
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/16/libya.protests/?hpt=T1

*Kaddafi is still revolting*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 16, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, tao. GWB isn't your hero? Your assessment that Bush's inaction accounted for 0.00% of the Katrina tragedy was based on cold, calculated logic?

I'm sure.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 16, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

""Obama avoides progressive deficit reduction ideas""

Are you sure you don't mean that he •avoids• them?

"Support for health law repeal is vastly overstated, part 973"

Wasn't your last part numbered 974? You're going backwards? And I've checked, and I can't find part 17 or part 53. I'm beginning to suspect you're padding your numbers.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""You get it? There's an "other side".""

Are you saying there wasn't an "other side" in 1981?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 16, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "Together with the missile defense shield space condom, no one will ever get us again."

I detect some mockery in your tone! Is mockery good now? Because apparently (or so I'm told) it's a bad thing when I do it.

:P

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Public employees and union workers ARE the American Middle Class. Therefore, every attack on public employee unions is an assault on the American Middle Class. And we won't stand for it any longer. Scumbags like Scott in FL and Christie in NJ are moving with cover for now but that won't last. Soon they will have to resort to the measures planned by Scott in WI: bringing in the National Guard to suppress dissent.

But the Plutocrats will lose, just as they did in Egypt.

"They got the guns but we got the numbers." (J. Morrison)

Keep the faith.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 16, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

[Greg fawns: "Why birthers love Sarah Palin, ctd.: Andrew Sullivan"]

Sulky Sullivan has become the intellectual equivalent of a write-off. His self-righteous preening and us-versus-them logic are tiresome.

Which explains the appeal of his arguments to Greg.

*boring*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 16, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

No offense but the O man needs to stay out of VA politics for 2012.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 16, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@Greg: "* Shirley Sherrod versus Andrew Breitbart: Breitbart may be in for a much bumpier ride than he might have expected."

You're joking, right? In what way is this not great news for Breitbart? And, if he wins, or draws, he claims it as a huge victory and vindication. If he loses, it proves the system is hugely biased and unfair and he was wronged and make your donation here and 50 talkshows have him on and he hawks a new book or something and, somehow, he's still vindicated.

From the article:

""Andrew Breitbart posted an edited videotape of a speech by Shirley Sherrod. He presented this video as proof positive that Sherrod, the USDA's Georgia Director of Rural Development, was herself a racist and, furthermore, executed her job in an overtly racist way.""

Actually, the point Breitbart was making (or claims to have been making, and, like Republicans about Obama's religion, I take him at his word) was that her audience was racist and, when under the impression that Sherrod had denied white farmers assistance based on their race, lightly applauded and made approving noises, until Sherrod delivered the coupe de grace, admitting that racism, even against white people, is probably wrong. ;)

http://biggovernment.com/publius/2010/07/21/breitbart-its-not-about-shirley-sherrod-its-about-naacp-attacking-tea-party/

Although, please note, I think BigGovernment's reportage on the issue may be biased in Breitbart's favor for some reason.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

[Greg sneers: "Why birthers love Sarah Palin"]

I'm beginning to suspect Greg is a closet Trig Troofer.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 16, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, your Stockman-RWR story was very entertaining. Both Gen. Powell and Sen. Rudman, in their autobiographical books, report RWR's treatment of DOD spending as sacrosanct. Rudman was frustrated by it, btw.

The cash cows are Med/Med, then DOD. Imsinca wrote yesterday that I underestimated folks' willingness to deal with Med/Med. I wonder if we of varying stripes here could agree on an Rx for Med/Med and an approach to DOD fiscal sanity. If we could, the Bernie-Ims-Mark-Kevin-Scott compromise might be as workable as any.

I do not myself think that all of the fiscal prudence necessary is on the spending side. I do think that revenue must be increased, substantially. That, to me, requires revisiting the methods so thoroughly proposed thirty-two years ago by Bill Bradley and Jack Kemp. Again, if we could forge the Bernie-Ims-Mark-Kevin-Scott compromise, we would have a winner.

But I fear my friends on the left would only agree to raise taxes "on the rich" and that my friends on the right would only agree to end medicaid, entirely. I fear that no one even trusts compromise solutions, to the point that few will actually sit down and bargain.

I have been in hard bargaining positions in my life, but I believe in the process of negotiation. Forget my Bernie-Ims-Mark-Kevin-Scott example: Do we think our elected officials bargain with each other in good faith? Do we think they are as willing as Bradley and Kemp were, to write books about their proposals and visit with each other about them?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Public employees and union workers ARE the American Middle Class. Therefore, every attack on public employee unions is an assault on the American Middle Class. And we won't stand for it any longer. Scumbags like Scott in FL and Christie in NJ are moving with cover for now but that won't last. Soon they will have to resort to the measures planned by Scott in WI: bringing in the National Guard to suppress dissent."

I'll be you 5 bucks that neither Scott, nor Christie (especially Christie) are going anywhere, anytime soon (i.e., they, and their political careers, will last). Also, I don't think the National Guard is going to be brought out to suppress dissent (don't expect all that much dissent in this country, either--even when we have it, once the looting is over and everybody's got a new TV, the protestors go home. This ain't Egypt).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Dog from DC area wins Westminster.

And I thought Portland was parochial for doing a piece on a stumptown native beating Justin Bieber for the best new artist Grammy.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@ Kevin- "This ain't Egypt"

This sort of goes back to your debate the other day about us, the middle class (am I still middle class if I have an iPad?), being better off now that say int eh 60's. That debate is a bit beside the point, because despite all whinning and doomsday prophesizing done by both sides, we are way better of than Egyptians. Veiled threats of revolution are hard for me to take seriously. That's not to say it can never happen, just that I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 16, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne

Check out the new Feingold PAC, Progressives United. I haven't gotten my email yet with temp password to log in to the blog but I think it just came online today. It may be a new tool for us.

http://www.progressivesunited.org/home

Posted by: lmsinca | February 16, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Mark,

""I wonder if we of varying stripes here could agree on an Rx for Med/Med and an approach to DOD fiscal sanity""

I expect we could. But in Washington? Especially when there's so much barely-audited secret funding in the defense budget? There are so many folks at the trough . . . it's going to be very hard to make smart cuts.

Then, there will be profound disagreement about what needs to be cut. A tremendous amount of the money in the DoD budget goes to personnel--cuts in the DoD budget will end up with people losing their jobs. How's that going to go over? If you eliminate "waste and fraud" in Medicare and Medicaid, that's going to end up with people losing their jobs, because most of the waste is going to be in duplication of administration, not in the level of benefits payments.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, if Breitbart was trying to make a point about a racist audience, why did he caption the video at the beginning with a statement that this showed how Sherrod had used racism in her role as a government employee? Why did Breitbart caption it that way instead of "hey look at this video and the racist audience"?

For that matter, why did the excuse of the racist audience only get introduced by Breitbart AFTER the unedited tape was released, proving that it showed the opposite of what his caption on the edited tape said about Sherrod?

Last, but not least, Kevin, why are you accepting the word of a known liar and inveterate scumbag like Breitbart? You should know better.

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 16, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"don't expect all that much dissent in this country"

That's what they said in Egypt. And Tunisia. The American Middle Class -- unions workers and government employees -- will fight to protect themselves and their children.

"Don't think it won't happen just because it hasn't happened yet."
(Jackson Browne)

And it is already happening. That is why it will be so beneficial to the nation that Right Wing Extremists are now in positions of power. Now we see what they really stand for: the SuperRich and Corporations. But they have overreached and the Plutocrats have awakened the Sleeping Giant that is the American Middle Class.

I urge all Middle Class and Poor Americans to make themselves heard. Call your elected officials. Complain. Get out in the street. Protest. This is OUR country; it doesn't belong to the Plutocrats and they can't have it any longer.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 16, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ims. I just signed up.

We will prevail.

"Everybody is so wrong that I know it's gonna work out right." (G. Parsons)

I have a revolutionary novel to write so I won't be around much. IOW, you won't have wbgonne to kick around anymore.

But I WILL be watching so behave yourselves.

Peace Out.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 16, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

""But I fear my friends on the left would only agree to raise taxes "on the rich" and that my friends on the right would only agree to end medicaid, entirely. I fear that no one even trusts compromise solutions, to the point that few will actually sit down and bargain.""

mark

I'm glad you read my comment yesterday. I work on public policy on a VERY small scale in my local community which is very conservative. Believe me, I'm used to compromise and bargaining. I generally maintain a very firm stand until the end though and never signal my compromise position too early, which might annoy you as much as our city council.

I agree M/M and DOD are the big enchiladas and I believe there is a lot of room for compromise in both. I don't know if our elected leaders will get it right, call me skeptical. Politicians tend to view the world through short term electoral advantages rather than long term fiscal/social health. We could probably do better but who would listen?

Posted by: lmsinca | February 16, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

But I fear my friends on the left would only agree to raise taxes "on the rich"

==

Now you're reduced to dealing in QB level caricatures.

This lefty is ready to pay higher taxes in exchange for better and broader government services, but, yes, expects steep tax progressivity restored. Preferably to Eisenhower levels.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 16, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@jenn: "Last, but not least, Kevin, why are you accepting the word of a known liar and inveterate scumbag like Breitbart? You should know better."

Well, (a) I'm stubborn, and have found that anybody who advised me that "I should know better" rarely has interest that are aligned with mine, but also, why shouldn't I take people at their word, rather than at the word of others about them? I've rarely found the latter the best way to do things.

Although, my "taking people at their word" stops at the point they ask me for money. That is an operating addendum to the principle that I've found guides me quite reliably.

In regards to the rest, you make a good point regarding the captioning. At the same time, the •edited• tape does apparently have the follow up that Sherrod learned that Racism is Bad™. So they are going to have a hard time in a court of law proving defamation, in regards to editing the footage to create a false picture. Because they edited clip (what they'll have to allege represent malicious defamation in court) includes Sherrod's Road to Damascus moment.

More on the problems with Sherrod's complaint:

http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2011/02/dissecting-shirley-sherrods-complaint.html

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Ims, your negotiating strategy is a proven one!

Yes, I think the structure of short term electoral advantage is an impediment to long term thinking. KW thinks we could come to an uneasy agreement here, but DC, probably not. You think that too, I gather. I worry about it.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I agree M/M and DOD are the big enchiladas and I believe there is a lot of room for compromise in both. I don't know if our elected leaders will get it right, call me skeptical. Politicians tend to view the world through short term electoral advantages rather than long term fiscal/social health.
--------------------------------------

In addition to the politicians being more concerned about re-election than long term solutions and problems, Med/Med and Defense spending is supported by wealthy and effective lobbying groups. The lobbying and re-election factors all but guarantee the continuing of the status quo.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 16, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@ashot: ""Veiled threats of revolution are hard for me to take seriously. That's not to say it can never happen, just that I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon.""

I never say never. But, I tend to agree.

As I have noted, I fully support the Tea Parties conceptually (I, myself, am not a Teahadist), and, for the most part, I think they got a bad wrap, and were mischaracterized. But certainly a few of them suggested that we were on the verge of revolution . . . from their Medicare-financed Rascal scooters.

I take talk of revolutions with a grain of salt, and have to argue against it, when I hear it even quasi-seriously proposed.

The American Revolution turned out all right, I suppose, and some revolutions are necessary. But they often turn out bloody, messy, and are followed up with years of economic malaise, if not outright disaster.

In any case, we are much, much better off than Egypt. Agreed! But I think, generally, all Western democracies are better off than non-democracies.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Kevin - no dice. Sherrod's telling of the tale STARTED with a tell that she had learned that her initial reaction was wrong. It was prefaced with an "I used to think this way, but let me tell you a story about how I learned I was wrong." THAT part was edited out, too. And with it included, it changes the whole character of the "racist audience" claim as well. The audience already KNEW that the story was about Sherrod learning that racism is wrong.

So much for Breitbart's excuses, and your weak-tea acceptance of them.

Sometimes I think others here give you too much credit as one of the *honest* rightwingers. To be *honest*, you have to care enough to find out the facts. In your case, apparently whatever Breitbart says is good enough.

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 16, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

cao: go nuts.

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 16, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

mark

At the time, I argued that the Bush tax cuts should all expire. I thought a better compromise would have included extended tax cuts for only the lowest wage earners, a $250 check for seniors relying solely on SS income, and an extension of UI benefits to those who have exhausted their benefits. Not sure what the total would be but I'm confident it would have been less than the $500b added to the deficit this year and money that would have gone right back into the economy. I'm a demand side small business owner who will not be taking advantage of any of the small business tax cuts but agree that some of them may be beneficial to the economy if demand ticks up.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 16, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like WI Gov Scott Walker is divining Ronald Reagan in his fight to disembowel the public employees' union.... Once again, this will "teach" those who sat on the sidelines this past election and participate more actively in elections!

Posted by: dozas | February 16, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

All, looks like that South Dakota lawmaker is ready to cave on that justifiable homicide unborn bill:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/south_dakota_lawmaker_under_fi.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 16, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

""Peter King (belatedly) makes nice with Muslims: Rep. King is now trying to say nice things about Muslim leaders (they don't support Al Qaeda!), but as Adam Serwer notes, all this really tells us is that he's badly losing the P.R. war over his increasingly ridiculous hearings.""

I understand the many problems with holding hearings about Muslim leaders, but it's not for nothing that Peter King expresses some concern (even if his approach is inappropriate).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1356361/Shame-Britains-Muslim-schools-Secret-filming-shows-pupils-beaten.html

Which one might wonder, and for good reason, if that's just barely scratching the surface of what's going on in the UK.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Greg left a juicy bit about the $5K pay to play entrepreneur award. It was sent to a very successful Dallas business woman and she sent in her money to get the award. Then it turned out that she ran a high end nude dancing establishment. Oops.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 16, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

BB - if it was high end, that counts for something, doesn't it?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Ims, I thought your position on the GWB tax cuts was rational. My own was to let them all expire but to maintain the "corrections", such as the removal of the marriage penalty.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

All, this is big news, the South Dakota guy is ready to cave:

http://wapo.st/dUEtEx

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 16, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk:

"Sometimes I think others here give you too much credit as one of the *honest* rightwingers."

Didn't ask for it, and don't want it. Any credit thus extended is cheerfully returned.

I have no interest in being anybody's "good •insert-offensive-epithet-of-choice-here•", sorry. I try to be both polite and cordial on most things, but anybody, on any side (and I've heard some comments from QB, Scott, Ethan2010, you, and probably somebody else, but my memory isn't great) who thinks I'm trying to curry favor of one class or being a "good" member of inferior species of ideological animal can go perform and act of vigorous yet unemotional lovemaking with themselves.

Just so you know.

"To be *honest*, you have to care enough to find out the facts."

I am! A single sentence, and Jenn saves me 30 minutes of searching.

"In your case, apparently whatever Breitbart says is good enough."

I give people the benefit of the doubt (this included, btw, Shirley Sherrod, at the time), especially in regards to their intentions. Am I wrong? I'm probably wrong •a lot•. It's still a better approach, over all. IMHO.

I still think Sherrod, as a public figure, is going to have a very hard time winning this case. And it's only going to be beneficial to Breitbart, no matter how much he may whine about it.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm not so sure Sherrod qualified as a public figure. I will have to go back and read case law I have never read, so I will not learn it soon. Perhaps ashot or QB are more familiar with current defamation case law.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis

You probably won't understand this, but there is a difference between mocking an idea and mocking an individual.

Tom

Posted by: mmyotis | February 16, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@dozas: "Once again, this will 'teach' those who sat on the sidelines this past election and participate more actively in elections!"

Why doesn't it teach the politicians that they should work to support their constituents and the people who elected them in the first place?

Why does the lesson have to be on the voter: next time, learn to accept what little garbage we give you, or you'll get no garbage at all!

Why do the voters have to accept the choice between, for them, bad and horrible, and the politicians get to maintain their personal detached status quo? Why is this the fault of voters who did not show up to vote, or voted for the opposition? Why isn't this the fault of the politicians who couldn't be bothered to do a job, or at least look like they were trying, that voters originally sent them to do?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

mmyotis: "You probably won't understand this, but there is a difference between mocking an idea and mocking an individual."

So when you mock somebody's ideas, or mock how they expressed their ideas, or you mock their opinions, or you mock their cherished beliefs, that's a good thing. Admirable, even.

Mock the person (by doing what, exactly, that's distinctly different or separate from mocking the things they think, say, support or believe?) and it's okay.

You're right, mmyotis. I don't understand.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@Mark - It would to me! Evidently it didn't matter to Newt as they returned her money.

Incidentally, I'd say mockery is a step up from name calling that goes on in the comments section. I try to avoid that, but can't resist the occasional dig.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 16, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

Sheesh, the world's longest lasting military dictator looks awful. Maybe the 40 woman Amazonian Guard wasn't such a good idea, he looks like he could use some precious bodily fluids.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@shrink2: "Sheesh, the world's longest lasting military dictator looks awful."

Dictatorship often turns out not to be very good for anybody's health.

"Maybe the 40 woman Amazonian Guard wasn't such a good idea"

No, dude, it was totally the most awesome idea he ever had.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 16, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

In other military dictator pathos,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12481999

"North Koreans are joining in [as if they had a choice] "mass" celebrations to mark the birthday of their [dear] leader, Kim Jong-il.

A week of festivities is scheduled, including exhibitions of Kimjongilia, a hybrid flower named after the leader, ice-skating, and music shows.

Not to mention mock synchronized swimming. Festivities, doesn't that derive from feast?

At least they don't have a childhood obesity problem, they got government's role in limited eating (except for the dear leader and his kids) all figured out in the Democratic (sic) People's Republic.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

This story just keeps getting worse,

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2011/0215/Amanda-Knox-Parents-of-imprisoned-American-student-indicted-for-slander

Now her parents are in the dock. And Berlusconi is going to be tried for doing something, so to speak, that involves no complainant, no witness(es) and no physical evidence.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

All, good stuff from Adam Serwer on how Rand Paul is no Russ Feingold:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/rand_paul_doesnt_get_to_be_rus.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 16, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

this is just too funny:
++++++++++++++++++
Public employees and union workers ARE the American Middle Class. Therefore, every attack on public employee unions is an assault on the American Middle Class. And we won't stand for it any longer. Scumbags like Scott in FL and Christie in NJ are moving with cover for now but that won't last. Soon they will have to resort to the measures planned by Scott in WI: bringing in the National Guard to suppress dissent.

But the Plutocrats will lose, just as they did in Egypt.

"They got the guns but we got the numbers." (J. Morrison)

Keep the faith.

========================

first, let me respond to the whining public nipple suckers that might lose their jobs with a quote from Barrack Hussein Obama:
"At some point you've made enough money"

Or, how about this quote from none other than KOS himself:
"Screw them"

Sorry, I just have no patience with this attempt to maintain the status quo. It is just too funny, The World Turned Upside Down. The so called progressives are desperate to maintain the status quo while the putative conservatives want change, change, change.

As for the numbers VS the guns, sorry to have to tell you this but us bitter clingers will kick the butts of liberal weenies like you in short order.
any time you think you're ready, take it to the streets pallie.

We'll be there for ya. Are there enough neckless union thugs on the planet to protect the likes of you? I hardly think so.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 16, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"neckless union thugs"

But they have awesome sateen jackets.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Most federal workers aren't unionized, skip.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 16, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"As for the numbers VS the guns, sorry to have to tell you this but us bitter clingers will kick the butts of liberal weenies like you in short order.any time you think you're ready, take it to the streets pallie."

Hey, skip, better work on your sabre rattling script, here is a good start...

"Long I pondered my King's cryptic talk of victory. Time has proven him wise. For from free Greek to free Greek, the word was spread that bold Leonidas and his 300, so far from home, laid down their lives; not just for Sparta, but for all Greece and the promise this country holds. Now, here on this ragged patch of earth called Plataea, let his hordes face obliteration! Just there the barbarians huddle, sheer terror gripping tight their hearts with icy fingers - knowing full well what merciless horrors they suffered at the swords and spears of 300. Yet they stare now across the plain at 10,000 Spartans commanding 30,000 free Greeks!...The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Greek. This day, we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine. Give thanks, men, to Leonidas and the brave 300. TO VICTORY!"

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Everyone successful got there by working hard unless their employer happens to be the US government, I'm not sure if skip feels similarly about state governmental employees. If you do work for the government you should lose you are lazy, unproductive members of society and should lose your job.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 16, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk "Kevin - no dice. Sherrod's telling of the tale STARTED with a tell that she had learned that her initial reaction was wrong. It was prefaced with an "I used to think this way, but let me tell you a story about how I learned I was wrong." THAT part was edited out, too. And with it included, it changes the whole character of the "racist audience" claim as well. The audience already KNEW that the story was about Sherrod learning that racism is wrong."

I doubt that showing a truncated clip of someone speaking at a public event will qualify as "defamation". If that was the case, then every political campaign and news organization would be guilty of it.

More substantially, Sherrod should be suing the USDA and Secretary Tom Vilsack instead of Breitbart. They are the ones who fired her (at the White House's direction) without giving her a chance to give her side of the story.

Lastly, as is pointed out in the Huffington Post, Sherrod may not want to go to trial and have discovery on this given the situation with the Pigford settlement.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-stranahan/the-odd-timing-of-shirley_b_822549.html

Posted by: jnc4p | February 16, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne "Public employees and union workers ARE the American Middle Class. Therefore, every attack on public employee unions is an assault on the American Middle Class. And we won't stand for it any longer. Scumbags like Scott in FL and Christie in NJ are moving with cover for now but that won't last. Soon they will have to resort to the measures planned by Scott in WI: bringing in the National Guard to suppress dissent. "

The problem with this approach is that the tax paying public is not going to tolerate paying high taxes to provide the public employees with better retirement benefits than the taxpayers themselves receive.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 16, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p- Your right, merely cutting a video clip or quote won't get you in trouble. However, case law says that if cutting/altering the video or quote is malicious if it materially alters the meaning of the original quote. If Jenn's iteration of the facts is true, Breibart made it appear that Sherrod's message was the exact opposite of what it was so it would be a material alteration. And malice only comes in if Sherrod is considered a public figure which isn't a slam dunk. Sherrod definitely will get past a summary judgment motion, Breibart probably will too, but it will be a lot closer call for him than for her.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 16, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

ouch...you're right.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 16, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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