One week after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, the AP reports this afternoon on who we can expect to hear from on this week’s Sunday political talk shows:
ABC’s “This Week” — National security adviser Tom Donilon; Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Donilon; former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
CNN’s “State of the Union” — Donilon; Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; NATO’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
“Fox News Sunday” — Donilon; former Vice President Dick Cheney.
That’s right. Despite the fact that President Obama gave the order to take down bin Laden, only one Obama administration official will take part in this Sunday’s festivities. By contrast, there are 5 former Bush administration officials making appearances. In total, 7 Republicans are on the networks this Sunday versus 2 Democrats. Torture apologists have been arguing this week that Bush’s torture program is responsible for getting bin Laden. Conveniently, this Sunday, some of the Bush administration officialsinvolved in authorizing it will get their chance to defend themselves.
Since President Obama’s surprise announcement Sunday night that American forces had killed Osama bin Laden, conservatives and Bush loyalists have been trying to claim some of the glory and redeem the discredited torture policies of the Bush administration.
Potential GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum took this line of attack to its logical conclusions today on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show, saying “9/11 families” should be “furious” with Obama for claiming any credit for the successful Bin Laden raid:
SANTORUM: 9/11 families and everybody else in America should be furious at this president that he’s walking abound taking credit for, you know, getting Osama bin Laden. He didn’t get Osama bin Laden! … The president of the United States simply said — courageous act, give him credit for saying yes — but that’s all he did, is say yes. He didn’t do the hard work. The people he’s going after did the hard work. And that is an outrage.
Moreover, as Michael Hirsch writes today in the National Journal, President Obama was sucessful in catching Bin Laden precisely because he broke with Bush’s terror policies. The conservative “assessment couldn’t be further from the truth,” Hirsch writes. “Behind Obama’s takedown of the Qaida leader this week lies a profound discontinuity between administrations — a major strategic shift in how to deal with terrorists,” from Bush’s bombastic and overly expansive “war on terror,” to Obama’s “covert, laserlike focus on al-Qaida and its spawn.”
Suzy Khimm brings us perhaps the best evidence yet of the ambiguous status of the House Republican plan to privatize Medicare—the party is sending a fundraising email touting the plan, but the email doesn’t actually mention Medicare. It’s kind of like how Eric Cantor had his whole caucus vote to privatize Medicare, then said he’s dropping the idea, then turned back around and said it might still be a key negotiating demand.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who has been hesitant to endorse Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget, has released a bare-bones outline of his plan to reform entitlements. Via Ben Smith:
His Medicare plan, he said, “will feature payment reform” and will…give individuals rebates and financial incentives to get care in places that are higher in quality.”
Pawlenty also suggested he’d offer “premium support” — Paul Ryan-style vouchers — to people who aren’t yet enrolled in the program. He suggested, though, that he’d make the Ryan-style plan an option for individuals, not an immediate replacement for the entire program.
His payment reform ideas — which he outlined in greater detail during a recent event in Iowa — are already part of the health care law that he wants to repeal. The premium support proposal reads like a partial privatization scheme that could lead to some adverse selection problems and increase costs for existing beneficiaries. Insurers will recruit healthier applicants to enroll in private insurance, leaving the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) risk pool with a very sick (and costly) profile. Doctors could follow the patients, abandoning FFS’s lower reimbursement rates in favor of private insurance. That would result in provider shortages for the seniors who remain in the traditional program.
All of this looks very similar to the existing Medicare Advantage program in which private insurers are receiving an average of 9 percent — about $8.9 billion — more than traditional Medicare and don’t seem to be saving the program any money (with an estimated 13 percent of the payment going towards profits and administrative costs).
The Florida state legislature, apparently tired of dealing with thorny budget issues, has decided instead to tackle the big issues of bestiality and baggy pants:
Floridians are going to have to start pulling up their pants and stop having sex with animals soon. It’s up to Gov. Rick Scott to sign off on two bills passed in the Florida Senate and House Wednesday which target droopy drawers and bestiality. The bestiality bill (SB 344) bans sexual activity between humans and animals and has been championed for years by Sen. Nan Rich, from Sunrise. Rich took up the anti-bestiality fight after a number of cases involving sexual activity with animals in recent years, including a Panhandle man who was suspected of accidentally asphyxiating a family goat during a sex act and the abuse of a horse in the Keys. The bill would make such acts a first-degree misdemeanor. Also passed by the House and Senate Wednesday is the so-called “droopy drawers bill” (SB 228), will will force students to hike up their pants while at school.
It seems strange to ban human-animal sex on the grounds that it might lead to dead goats. Presumably the Florida Meat Goat Association is responsible for more goat deaths than the state’s bestiality community. Speaking of which, I think goat meat is underrated. Great in stews and other slow-cooked applications.
Last night, during a contentious interview with Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell wondered if Saddam Hussein “was the same threat to New Yorkers that Osama bin Laden was.” With the obvious answer being, “No,” Rice had to come up with something. Similar to President Bush’s “You forgot Poland” line during the 2004 presidential debate, Rice said the threat from, and thus invasion of, Iraq was justified by the coalition Bush put together. O’Donnell noted that the so-called “coalition of the willing” didn’t exactly represent the full support of the international community, but in the fog of the interview’s back and forth, Rice just started adding countries that weren’t even part of the coalition:
RICE: So the Georgians who went there and the Japanese who went there and others –
O’DONNELL: Actually had soldiers firing weapons on the ground?
RICE: This was not part of the coalition. The people who — the British and the Australians and the Poles and all of those who — the Canadians, all of those who were ultimately in Iraq, these were not part of the coalition?
This must be news to the Canadians. While Canada did participate in reconstruction projects after the war began, the Canadian government led by Liberal Party Prime Minister Jean Chrétien did not support the decision to invade. But seeing that Dr. Rice has never made a mistake in her life, perhaps it’s the facts that are wrong in this case.
Below the jump, there be spoilers through the end of Alastair Reynolds’ Chasm City.
The last time I wrote about Chasm City, I complained that “it’s entirely unclear why we’re supposed to be emotionally invested in this society, or societies.” This time out, I have a more specific complaint: I don’t actually understand what they advantage was to Sky and his ship of beating the rest of the fleet by a couple of months. Given that the story of Sky’s crime is the crux of the novel, and that by the end of the novel, we’re supposed to sympathize, to at least a certain extent, with him, the fact that Reynolds fails to communicate the thing we’re supposed to see as his rationale through his perspective seems to me to be disastrous for the novel.
Reynolds is pretty clear about this. All the Santiago gets by beating the rest of the fleet to Journey’s End is “nascent settlements.” And those are quickly overwhelmed once the other ships arrive. It’s not clear that the folks on the Santiago have any sort of long-term advantage over their rivals in the nastily brutish societies that the novel traverses now. It’s not even clear how the initial society produced the mess that the characters operate in.
So how are we supposed to react to this? Are we supposed to sympathize with Sky because he did something terrible but great? Are we supposed to feel odd about sympathizing with Sky because he did something ambitious and terrible and turned out to be wrong? Chasm City isn’t subtle, but it doesn’t make clear how we’re supposed to feel about the characters or the events either. And at the end of the day, I didn’t really end up feeling anything at all.
Late last month, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it was launching a complaint against the airline manufacturer Boeing, alleging that the company decided to move a planned production line from Washington state to South Carolina as retribution against workers in Washington who had engaged in a strike. Republicans have gone into a fit of rage over seeing an administration that is actually interested in enforcing labor law, with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) calling NLRB officials “thugs” from a “third-world country.”
Last night, the first Republican presidential primary debate took place in Greenville, South Carolina, where former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-SC) played to the local crowd by calling the NLRB’s decision “preposterous” and “outrageous”:
You have this administration, through the National Labor Relations Board, telling a private company that they can not relocate to South Carolina and provide jobs in this state, and they’re good-paying jobs, and they’re needed jobs. It’s a preposterous decision and position of this administration…I just want to make it clear: the idea that the federal government can tell a private business where they can be and not be in the United States of America is a whole new line that this administration has crossed and its outrageous.
Pawlenty conveniently leaves out that the basis for the case is the very public statements from Boeing officials, who said that their justification for moving was workers in Washington having the audacity to strike. One said that “the overriding factor [in moving to South Carolina] was not the business climate. And it was not the wages we’re paying today. It was that we cannot afford to have a work stoppage, you know, every three years.” Another said that the company decided to move its production line due to “strikes happening every three to four years in Puget Sound.”
Under labor law, it is simply illegal to move production as retribution against workers striking. And Boeing must know that these statements are incriminating, as it is now claiming that it was misquoted by the NLRB. If it felt the legal argument would swing its way, trying to hide from its statements wouldn’t be necessary. In fact, one lawyer quoted by the Seattle Times said, “If my sympathies are anywhere, they are with management. But I am also a realist. If I’m their labor lawyer, I’m cringing when they are saying that.”
While some math-challenged folks continue to push the false narrative that liberals outspent conservatives in the last election cycle, the Center for Responsive Politics has put out a comprehensive analysis showing otherwise.
Undisclosed spending by conservative-leaning groups exceeded that of liberal ones $119.6 million to $15.7 million. ThinkProgress has the story: