I really thought John Thune was going to run, and the idea of it was scary. He didn’t have great name recognition, but that honestly almost seemed like a good thing with a lot of people divided on Palin and Romney. He would have been a fresh, tall, good-looking face with nice hair and very solid conservative credentials, both for fiscal conservatives and evangelicals more focused on social issues. He would have been a scary candidate.
But he is out. He has decided not to run, citing how difficult it would be to raise enough money considering how he lacked the name recognition of other candidates as a main reason.
Jennifer Rubin thinks Thune has a good chance to replace Jon Kyl as GOP whip upon his retirement in 2012.
Any way you look at it, Thune gained some name recognition and had people discussing whether or not he would run. Next time around more people will know him and he’ll rise a little higher. Who knows?
I still wish he would have run for governor back in ‘04.
Enjoy some SD pub for something other than a contentious bill.
Remember the Iraq War? The one the CBO estimates will have cost us $1.7 trillion by 2017? With over 4,000 American soldiers killed and over 30,000 wounded? With at a minimum over 100,000 Iraqis dead (Iraq Body Count has about 100,000 civilians killed and about 50,000 combatants, though some had much higher numbers)? With about 2.2 million Iraqis fleeing their homes? The one that saw countless people tortured by Americans? The one that brought Al-Qaeda to Iraq (who continue killing people)? The guy that gave us some of the evidence we needed has admitted he just made shit up, but all of this was worth it.
I’m sure he has to tell himself that, otherwise being a main reason for all of the above would seem pretty awful.
Colin Powell didn’t say I was the only reason for this war. He talked about three things. First of all, uranium; secondly, al-Qaida; and thirdly, my story.
I don’t know why the other sources, for the uranium and al-Qaida, remained hidden and my name got out. I accept it, though, because I did something for my country and for me that was enough.
Powell went ahead and used Curveball’s (which was the US codename for Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi) report, though he had been warned that he was “suspected of being mentally unstable and a liar.
Couple this with the fact that the yellowcake uranium in question was based on forgeries (which was known) and the dubious claim that Al-Qaeda was in Iraq (which was disputed before the war). It has even been alleged that officials seeking to justify the war after these claims proved false ordered the forgery of a document.
Sorry to get back into all of this stuff, but I think sometimes we forget just how at best this was an epic intelligence failure and at worst it was the intentional use of false information to justify war. The costs continue, and we didn’t have a leg to stand on. I guess there is the fact that weapons inspectors didn’t have perfect access, though even on our tips they couldn’t find anything.
I think if we want the real reasoning behind the war, we need look no further than ten days after Bush took office. At his very first National Security Council meeting, Bush was already talking regime change in for Iraq. The rest of the evidence just a means to get people to go along with it. He thought Saddam was a bad dude and that was enough for him. So it didn’t matter that we should have known a guy like Curveball was full of it, because their mind was made up. Our leaders thought the cause was right even if the intelligence was wrong, so it should be no surprise that they didn’t care that it was wrong.
As Paul O’Neill put it, “It was ‘Go find me a way to do this.’ For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”
It’s a really huge leap, indeed. We leaped right into the first paragraph of this post.
Enjoy Curveball’s clean conscience.
HB 1171 has set off a bit of an internet wildfire. The bill makes legal homicides in which the act was committed to save the life of an unborn child.
Mother Jones ran a story arguing that this makes the killing of abortion providers legal.
Representative Phil Jensen is the bill’s main sponsor. He said this is untrue. Killing abortion doctors wouldn’t be made legal because the abortions they perform are legal.
Let’s take a look at some of the wording of the bill to see what we find:
Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.
I highlighted the word murder because I think that proves Jensen right. Doctors aren’t attempting to commit murder because their actions are legal. This means that homicide against doctors is not justified by the law.
I don’t know that the bill is necessary. In the example Jensen uses, in which the woman is being beaten to induce abortion, she would have the right to self defense without this law, wouldn’t she? It may raise concerns about the motive of the bill, but I do believe that it’s not to spark the killing of abortion providers.
Enjoy SD in the news again.
Here is some information and here is a video about President Obama’s proposed budget:
Here is a video about the cuts:
Many Democrats are not happy (though Democratic leadership is starting to get behind it). Many Republicans are also not happy. But of course Democrats in power must embrace it and Republicans must knock it. That’s politics. I think the fact that a lot of the left is pissed shows that a serious effort was undertaken to make cuts.
It’s often said that the best compromises are those that leave both sides wanting more, so on that note this seems to have struck that sort of balance, though Republican criticisms seem a little harsh when Obama is cutting some of Democrats’ favorite programs.
This obviously isn’t the end of this story, but we have an interesting start.
Enjoy Chicago Code if you’re not already.
One of the more entertaining political figures over the last year was possible witch and masturbator hater Christine O’Donnell. Thankfully, she looks like she’s going to keep herself in the headlines. Her new plan is to start ChristinePAC so she can counter those damned liberals that run the GOP establishment.
Huh. I wonder if she thinks Boehner is a GOP establishment liberal, because he thinks he should be considered a member of the Tea Party. But make no mistake, he’s either in the Tea Party or liberal. The world is that black and white, as someone like O’Donnell would want us to believe.
Enjoy more O’Donnell quotes.
The Hill has a strong article on the challenges facing John Boehner. The Republican majority in the House has been strong and unified, making Speaker Boehner’s job easy. They all wanted to repeal health care reform. They all wanted to make cuts. But now he’s faced with the vote to raise the debt ceiling, and the new guys may not go along.
If we don’t raise the debt ceiling and the government defaults, things could get ugly. Tim Geithner warns that interest rates will rise, house values will fall, and payments will stop for military salaries, Medicare, and Social Security. Some Republicans think he’s being melodramatic, but even Boehner said not acting is not an option:
That would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy. Remember, the American people on Election Day said we want to cut spending and we want to create jobs. You can’t create jobs if you default on the federal debt.
The period of agreement will end, as Michele Bachmann and some number of members of the Tea Party Caucus will refuse to vote to raise the limit, regardless of spending cuts attached to it.
There could also be another disagreement between some Democrats. Those that don’t want huge cuts because they worry about the affect of such cuts on the economy will likely be unhappy if a deal similar to the Bush tax cut extension is made that gives Republicans a lot of cuts.
Boehner called this an “adult moment.” I think that sums up what this is going to mean for many of the Republican newcomers that had huge ideas of saying no to any debt and spending. It sounds good, but in practice it just isn’t that easy.
I think it’s similar to how Boehner promised $100 billion in spending cuts then proposed $32 billion in spending cuts. If they’re talking about getting the debt under control, this is a feeble attempt. It seems well and good to say, “Let’s cut $100 billion” (with pinky to mouth), but once you set out to do it you see it is a very difficult process.
Following through on bold talk isn’t always the best move, and we’ll see if the newbies are adult enough to realize this.
Enjoy what should be an interesting amount of showdowns.
Before the Super Bowl, which was a solid game, President Obama sat down with Bill O’Reilly. He spoke about Egypt, saying they will certainly change but we can’t dictate what they do. When asked about the judge’s ruling on health care reform, Obama said he disagrees with the judge and doesn’t want to continue fighting the battles of the last two years while championing some of the better parts of the bill. I do like at about the 7:00 mark how Obama makes the argument that the mandate is about responsibility. Obama also talked about his idea of winning the future in various ways. There is also an interesting point at 9:45 when Obama talks about the things that reach his desk. It’s definitely worth a listen.
Enjoy contemplating how long it will be before the next NFL game.
This video is pretty awesome. Zach Wahls is a 19-year-old engineering student at Iowa. He was raised by a lesbian couple, and he feels as though they did a pretty good job. He spoke in front of Iowa’s legislature on Tuesday in an attempt to sway them not to move on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Iowa and not recognize civil unions from other states.
Some of my favorite parts:
If I was your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I would make you very proud.
I’m not really so different from any of your children. My family really isn’t so different from yours. After all, your family doesn’t derive its sense of worth from being told by the state, ‘You’re married, congratulations!’
In my 19 years, not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple. And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero affect on the content of my character.
The sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other. To work through the hard times, so we can enjoy the good ones. It comes from the love that binds us. That’s what makes a family. So what you’re voting here isn’t to change us. It’s not to change our families. It’s to change how the law views us. How the law treats us.
Sadly, the legislators prefer to think they can judge others’ relationships as inferior. They voted in favor of the amendment, which would have to be approved by voters and legislators in 2013. I guess they feel better about their marriages knowing that horrible gay people can’t get married.
This video has gone viral, and a lot of people are reporting on it for that reason. But that shouldn’t be the story. This young man stood up with pride and defended his family as equals. And they are, regardless of what some legislators think.
Enjoy knowing they told Zach his parents don’t deserve the rights of straight people.
President Obama has a new site that allows you to track the progress we’ve made by your location (if you want you can check their numbers going through their sources by clicking on the source).
You can sniff around and see what you see, but to make it easier I’ll do a rundown of some major areas:
- 41,000 South Dakota residents will now have access to affordable health care because of reform
- 10,169 South Dakota seniors benefited from additional coverage when Democrats closed the Medicare donut hole
- 67,000 South Dakotans age 26 or younger can now stay on their parents’ health care coverage
- 217,000 families in South Dakota will receive tax credits and other assistance because of health care reform
- 46 community clinics were created in South Dakota by the Affordable Care Act
- 23,100 small businesses in South Dakota eligible for health care tax credits under the Affordable Care Act
- 300,000 middle class families in South Dakota received a tax cut through the Recovery Act
- 16,859 new hires in South Dakota for which their emploiyer may be eligible for a tax cut through the HIRE Act, which Democrats passed to promote private-sector job growth
- 9,000 jobs created or saved through October 2010 in South Dakota because of the Recovery Act
- 217,00 families that get health care help (mentioned above)
Economy and Jobs
- 9,000 jobs created or saved (mentioned above)
- 2,215 South Dakota residents who receive relief because Democrats extended Unemployment Insurance
- 300,000 middle class tax cuts (above)
- 23,100 small businesses eligible for health care tax credit (above)
- 23,100 small businesses eligible for health care tax credit
- 70,000 loans issued to small businesses through the Small Business Administration Recovery loan provisions (nationally)
- There is also a list of tax cuts for small businesses (8 listed, though it says Democrats have enacted more than a dozen tax cuts for small businesses)
- 500 education jobs in South Dakota have been saved because of the deficit-neutral state-aid bill Democrats passed
- $5,975 can be received from Pell Grant scholarships by 2017 for eligible students
- 23,000 South Dakota families received college tuition help in 2009 from the American Opportunity Tax Credit
- $130,165,683 invested in higher education in South Dakota over the next 10 years
- 31 Department of Energy Recovery Act projects in South Dakota that will help secure our energy future
- 1,809 South Dakota homes weatherized through the Energy Department between February 2009 and September 2010, reducing energy bills and increasing energy efficiency
- $74,900,000 invested in South Dakota through the Recovery Act for clean-energy projects
There are also stories from South Dakotans about how policies have benefited them. Here is one from Kayla in Brookings, SD:
When Kayla was just 9 years old, she was in a motorcycle accident. While her insurance plan covered her medical expenses, she contracted chronic osteomyelitis, a chronic bone infection. Since contracting the disease she has had over 25 surgeries on her leg. Kayla is now 22 years old and a full time nursing student at South Dakota State University, but in five months, she would have lost her coverage. The new law will make it possible for Kayla to remain on her parents’ plan.
There are other things and stories you can explore, but this should give you an idea of what there is. I think it was a good idea to lay it out state by state (or in larger states, by congressional district).
Enjoy the tolerable weather.
People that are against democracy in Egypt have been citing the violence in Egypt as evidence of radicalism that we should fear. This doesn’t tell the whole story. If the peaceful demonstrations became violent, it is largely due to the actions of a government that fears for its own continued existence. Rachel Maddow has a solid video that questions why journalists are being accosted and arrested. Why would the government not want people reporting on what is happening?
The government has been trying to stoke violence and chaos so they can justify strong action against those seeking democracy. Those horrible looters people say demonstrate the danger of the protesters, but the looters were laregly police. It also makes you wonder how 1000s of prisoners escaped.
Mubarak needs to be seen as the only thing keeping order in Egypt, so in order to make people want to turn to him, he has to create disorder.
I think they made a mistake by having forced confessions run on pro-government networks. It was especially a mistake to have these people claim they were trained by Israel and America in Qatar to overthrow the government. Such claims are obviously false, stink of desperation, and show exactly why people are trying to overthrow the government. They will arrest innocents and force them to tell lies in order to maintain power.
Anyone that called our government tyrannical over the last few years and now defends Mubarak has an odd sense of tyranny, in that it is idiotic. A lot of people just get to define words as they go and claim they’re good based on whether or not they favor the results. For instance, Obama is a tyrant (Tea Party, Dick Armey, etc.) because he works to get legislation they don’t like, even though they have the option to vote him out when the time comes. Which is, um, the opposite of tyranny. Democracy is good, unless we don’t like who we think someone will democratically elect, in which case, tyranny! But it’s not really tyranny, though Mubarak abuses his power to maintain power (or tyranny), because he’s our ally.
I didn’t intend on going on that little tangent when I started this post, but it just struck me how hypocritical people can be. It again feels like people don’t actually support ideals, but rather support them only when they get the results they desire. It’s like how Republicans have claimed for years to be against government spending, then each time elected they only try and change where the money is spent, not the actual amount spent (though some of the current batch do seem serious).
But anyway, the main point is that the Egyptian government is attempting to make things look bad so they have an excuse to come down hard on the protesters. They should know that silencing foreign journalists is not going to do much to help their credibility, nor will having protesters say we trained them.
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