Hillary Clinton is now talking tough to Arab states (is she running for something in New York state?). But still, the left-wing demagogue is never far from view. "Hillary Clinton started her week on a shameful note, terming crazed Arizona shooter Jared Loughner an American 'extremist' of a sort with the 9/11 hijackers. She went back for a second helping yesterday in a chat with CNN: 'When you cross the line from expressing opinions . . . [to] violent action, that is a hallmark of extremism -- whether it comes from the right, the left, from al Qaeda, from anarchists, whoever it is.' What she means: A maniac with a gun is no different from the 9/11 terrorists. A lone nut is the same as a global network inspired by religious nihilism." The worry is that she believes this.
Sarah Palin was justified in using "blood libel" says Charles Krauthammer. But still, "it was unnecessary, her speech, because she then re-injected herself into this and made herself the center of this, restarted the debate -- and started a debate on the irrelevancy of the blood libel." And she also revealed she has no professional media and political adviser from whom she would take direction.
Economists are increasingly optimistic about the economic recovery. But still: "The number of Americans filing unemployment claims unexpectedly rose last week, the Labor Department said early Thursday. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims increased by 35,000 to 445,000 in the week ended Jan.8, the highest level since October. Economists were expecting initial claims to drop to 405,000, according to consensus estimates from Bloomberg. Estimates ranged from 400,000 to 415,000."
The revelation of the J-20 may have not been an intentional snub. (Unlike the announcement of a housing permit in Jerusalem, this was not treated as an "affront" by the Obama administration.) But still: The big brains in the Pentagon have been arguing that the Chinese military buildup is designed to "deny access" to current U.S. forces in the Western Pacific, but the J-20 seems to be more of an instrument of traditional power projection. . . .Whether or not Hu Jintao had been briefed on the J-20 test-flight schedule is immaterial: The decision to invest in such an airplane no doubt began well before his rule and is a reflection of the ambitions that China's leaders - indeed, probably a majority of Chinese people - share."
It's nice that they are going to all sit together at the State of the Union address. ("In statements released by their offices, Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat who also chairs the Democratic Policy Committee, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said they support a proposal by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to end the tradition of partisan seating at the State of the Union address.") But still, is this really going to amount to much? Isn't it more important what Obama says, and whether he returns to partisan blaming?
Matthew Cooper theorizes the "blood libel" was some sort of dog whistle to Palin's evangelical base. But still, shouldn't some factual support for his theory be included? National Journal's standards are usually higher than that. It would be a shame if they "went Krugman" on us.
Everyone keeps saying how important Joe Biden's voice is inside the administration. But still, one week he's announcing on Afghanistan, "We're going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014," and the next he's saying, "The United States, if the Afghan people want it, are prepared, and we are not leaving in 2014." By the way, didn't Robert Gates propose troops cuts based on the assumption we would be out by 2014?
Obama says he's really serious about human rights. But still, in practice he is not. On the upcoming visit by China's president, we hear, "Still, any disagreement on human rights is unlikely to derail the summit. 'The goal is to have the U.S. and China narrow the bandwidth of disagreement ... to put the relationship in a place where we can actually work on these issues,' said Douglas Paal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace." so we can't go messing it up by raising unpleasantries.
| January 14, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories: Morning Bits
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