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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 03/10/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

The administration changes tactics on defending ObamaCare. "Early [Tuesday] night, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a notice of appeal in Florida v. HHS, the multi-state lawsuit that has the best chance of striking down Obamacare. And this morning, DOJ filed a motion in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals for expedited review of the case, which was a condition the district judge imposed on the DOJ to grant its request for a stay of the judgment pending appeal. . . . The bottom line for those of us who can calculate the appellate timetables is that it is likely that a decision will be reached in the court of appeals by this fall, if not earlier, and the Supreme Court can consider and hear the case next winter for a likely decision in June 2012 or earlier." Wow.

Independents change their minds."Independents' approval of President Barack Obama has dropped sharply in the past month, a new poll suggests. Obama's approval rating among independents fell to 37 percent in a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday, down from 47 percent a month ago." You don't think it's his defense of the spending status quo, do you?

Newt Gingrich changes his tune. Now it was all that hard work for America that got him off track: "There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them." He did it for us! Good grief.

Time for change, says David Brooks: "In a time of fiscal restraint, we're paying benefits we can't afford to some people, at the upper end of the income scale, who don't need it." I guess Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been right all along.

Sen. Chuck Schumer changes his mind about no more spending cuts. "Top Senate Democrats visited with Obama on Wednesday afternoon to plot strategy. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a participant, declined to comment afterward, other than to say he recognizes his party will have to move in the GOP's direction. One reason is that Democratic moderates are agitating for further cuts to spending." It sure is clear who is leading and who is following in the Senate.

Remember how we were told that the Tucson memorial and the lame-duck tax deal were game-changers for Obama? Not so much. "President Barack Obama averaged 46% job approval the week of Feb. 28-March 6, his lowest weekly average since mid-December. Obama's weekly approval rating had steadily improved from mid-December to late January, peaking at 50% during the final two weeks in January, before dropping below that mark in February." Maybe non-leadership isn't a winning gambit.

Charles Lane says it is time to change how NPR operates. I bet some House and Senate Democrats will agree it is time to "set it free": "It is precisely because I love NPR that I think the time has come to end federal funding for the radio network and other public broadcasting. Radio and TV broadcasting is not a high national priority in an age of multiple media options and fiscal difficulty, so I believed NPR's subsidy was expendable even before fundraiser Ron Schiller revealed himself to be a biased blowhard on hidden camera. The irony was almost too much to bear: Here's a guy expounding on the stupidity of America's 'uneducated' masses even though he lacked the wit to do a basic background check before breaking bread with a couple of purported Middle Eastern donors."

Well, of course we have to change the law. Otherwise all those schools would be failing. "Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Congress needs to act now to change the law that was enacted in 2002. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Congress on Wednesday that 82 percent of the nation's public schools could be failing by next year under the standards of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law." Thunk.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Re the Newster, I can’t get this out of mind: “It’s okay, babe, this one’s for the Gipper.”

Elective office seems like an aphrodisiac for the guy and his erratic behavior after assuming the speakership just proves the maxim that men can divert blood flow to only one major at a time: his brain was starved. To save his third marriage he should not run for public office.

If he does run, he needs to learn one lesson, as Jim Steinman wrote and Meat Loaf sang in one of the greatest compositions of the 20th century:

I couldn't take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
I started swearing to my god and on my mother's grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive
I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I'm praying for the end of time
It's all that I can do
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!!!

Posted by: SCMike1 | March 10, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

One thing doesn't change - Mz. Rubin and her liberal neocon ilk continue to advocate getting us bogged down in a third ME country hoping to spend ANOTHER trillion we don't have.

Criticizing Newt for saying what he did was for us. Right, and Mz. Rubin thinks advocating that our conservative children march to Tripoli is also doing what's right for us. Good grief indeed.

That's not change, that's just more of the same (neocon hypocrisy).

Posted by: mfray | March 10, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

....."Radio and TV broadcasting is not a high national priority in an age of multiple media options and fiscal difficulty...."

Multiple media options? Yes, but other than a few excellent PBS programs from time to time, 90+% of the educational content on tv on the Discovery channels, NatGeo, etc., is produced in England. What happens to the educational value, and it is often very valuable, if the BBC, that socialist government sponsored television network in England, stops producing educational material?

More Sponge Bob Square Pants and Auto Repo junk?

Posted by: Lazarus40 | March 10, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"90+% of the educational content on tv on the Discovery channels, NatGeo, etc., is PRODUCED IN ENGLAND."

So THAT explains all the Nostradamus, UFO/Alien, global warming, and ghost story programming I see on those channels .... ;-)

Posted by: Catalonia | March 10, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Can't (or shouldn't?) that guy in the Steinman song get a d-i-v-o-r-c-e and move on like Gingrich did? Let ye without sin...

But I really liked the baseball announcer bit (forget the name) and the woman singer who did a season or two on Night Court until Markie Post knocked the part right out of ratings park. Good show in its day, but on consideration Barney Miller and Taxi beat it IMHO.

Posted by: aardunza | March 10, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh, that's one major *organ* at a time, not a major like burns or major major major! :)

Posted by: aardunza | March 10, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I got most of my cultural awareness of philosophers and suchlike from Monty Python's Flying Circus, can you tell?

Posted by: aardunza | March 10, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

One of the first Masterpiece Theatre presentations was "Upstairs, Downstairs." But before that was "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", summer of 1970. We went on a family vacation during that middle Jane Seymour episode and I never did see that durn thing again. Been bothering me ever since! (not really :))

Posted by: aardunza | March 10, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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