Tuesday Reads: Debt Ceiling Chicken, Roberts vs. Roe, Rove on Obama, NewsCorp, and Casey Anthony RumorsPosted: July 19, 2011
Good Morning!! I know we’re all sick and tired of the debt limit battle, but there is going to be a vote today in the House–on a stupid bill that includes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. What a joke! And with only about two weeks to go until armageddon.
Anyway, let’s get the depressing news out of the way first. From Politico: Debt ceiling debate turns ‘scary’
Washington’s frayed nerves showed through Monday amid tough talk on the right, a White House veto threat, canceled weekend passes and the top Senate Democrat likening default to a “very, very scary” outcome even for those “who believe government should be small enough to drown in a bathtub.”
“What will it take,” asked an agitated Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), “for my Republican colleagues to wake up to the fact that they’re playing a game of political chicken with the entire global economy?”
House Speaker John Boehner confirmed a POLITICO report that he had met again privately with President Barack Obama at the White House on Sunday to try to get debt talks back on track. But ignoring Obama’s veto warning, Boehner will press ahead Tuesday with House votes on a revised debt ceiling bill that shows no sign of compromise on the spending and tax policy differences behind the crisis.
Indeed, with the Aug. 2 deadline exactly two weeks away, the House GOP is doubling down its bet with 10-year statutory spending caps intended to wring $5.8 trillion in unspecified savings from the government during the next decade — more than twice the $2.4 trillion debt ceiling increase that is allowed. And in his haste to act, Boehner will bring the so-called Cut, Cap and Balance bill to the floor under exactly the type of procedure he has said he abhors: limited debate and with no real review by any legislative committee.
Yes, the psychopaths and John Birchers are in charge, and there’s nothing we can do but wait and hope.
The Nation has a good article about the ongoing war on women by Amanda Marcotte and Jesse Taylor: How States Could Ban Abortion With Roe Still Standing
The Supreme Court granting states the power to ban abortion with Roe still standing seemed outlandish even just a few years ago, but the appointment of John Roberts to Chief Justice shifted the equation. Roberts specializes in decisions that reverse the spirit of precedent while leaving intact the letter of it, like when he squashed large chunks of Brown v the Board of Education while claiming to uphold it. To make it legal to ban abortion in the states, all the court needs is a law that eliminates legal abortion while dodging the logic of Roe v Wade.
Many state legislatures appear to be doing just that, writing legislation which Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, describes as “part of an ongoing effort around the country to choke off women’s access to abortion by any means necessary – either by forcing doctors out of practice, banning procedures outright or demeaning women.”
How would the Roberts Court invalidate Roe without actually overturning it?
Until recently, Roe has been considered an insurmountable obstacle to states that wish to ban abortion. The conservative side of the Roberts bench, however, will likely view the Roe decision as a seesaw with women’s rights on one side and the state interest in the fetus on the other. Currently, most of the weight is on the woman’s side for three months, some weight moves over to the state’s side for the next three months, and then most of the weight moves to the state’s side for the last trimester.
Roberts has two options for reshaping Roe: the first is to claim the state’s interest in fetal life starts even sooner, using bogus science to claim we know more about the fetus than we did 1992, when Planned Parenthood v Casey was decided. The second option is to change the court interpretation of individual state rights and compelling state interest, while leaving Roe’s framework technically in place. The court could, for instance, define the state’s interests more broadly, allowing it to regulate differently within the (technically) still-operative Roe framework. This would allow a state like Kansas to claim to still have legal abortion while burying would-be abortion providers under so much red tape they couldn’t keep a clinic open. It would also allow states like South Dakota to create so many hoops for women to jump through to get abortion that women simply wouldn’t be able to do it. The right to choose would theoretically exist, but only to the extent states deign to recognize it.
This struck me funny–Karl Rove isn’t all that impressed with Obama’s fund-raising.
According to CBS radio’s Mark Knoller, who also serves as the unofficial White House press corps statistics king, the president attended 31 fundraisers in nine states during the last three months. That is more than a fundraising reception or dinner every three days.
Rove doesn’t think Obama can keep up that pace.
Thirty-one fundraisers in a quarter is a big strain on any president’s schedule. Mr. Obama can’t keep that pace up and not just because he’s got a day job. There are also just so many cities capable of producing $1 million and only so many times you can hold a million dollar fundraiser in them.
Here’s the funny part:
Even though at least $35 million (almost half the total Obama/DNC haul) can be credited to just 244 well-connected “bundlers,” Team Obama made a big thing of their 260,000 new small dollar donors. But that means only 292,000 donors from his last campaign have renewed their support for the re-elect so far. That’s just 6.6 percent of the 3.95 million people who donated to the ’08 Obama effort, only a quarter to a third of what most reelect campaigns could expect from renewal efforts at this point.
Perhaps there really is donor fatigue among the legions of stalwarts who put Mr. Obama in the White House the first time.
Yeah, I’d say there’s probably quite a bit of “donor fatigue” among the unemployed and underemployed masses.
British police are still insisting that the death of News of the World whistleblower Sean Hoare is not suspicious; but no one trusts the police because they were apparently taking bribes from Murdoch employees to help in stalking celebrities and other NOTW targets.
We’re being prepared to find out he died of an overdose by being reminded that Hoare had drug and alcohol problems. But so far we don’t have a cause of death. I say he was suicided. Even if he died of natural causes, no one will believe it.
Some people are beginning to question whether Rupert Murdoch can keep control of NewsCorp in the face of this growing scandal.
Independent directors of New York-based News Corp. have begun questioning the company’s response to the crisis and whether a leadership change is needed, said two people with direct knowledge of the situation who wouldn’t speak publicly. Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief who Murdoch backed until last week, was arrested yesterday in London.
“The shell of invulnerability that Rupert Murdoch had around him has been cracked,” said James Post, a professor at Boston University’s School of Management who has written about governance and business ethics. “His credibility and the company’s credibility are hemorrhaging.”
Murdoch’s son James is also in big trouble and may not survive the investigation.
Finally, despite the threats of the media and the public alike to boycott Casey Anthony and consign her to oblivion, lots of people are still obsession about her. The latest frenzy is the media’s efforts to find out where Anthony has disappeared to. I thought that’s what everyone wanted her to do?
The Orlando Sentinel asks: Where in the World is Casey Anthony? My answer is “who cares?” But it seems lots of people still do. News crews and helicopters attempted to follow the SUV that Anthony got into after she walked out of jail, but
Anthony’s exact location was lost when the SUV stopped at the parking garage of the building where fellow defense team member Cheney Mason works.
Droves of journalists and spectators waited for hours at nearby Orlando Executive Airport, where many guessed Anthony would board a private plane and head out of town.
But there was no clear sign of Anthony boarding a plane and no flight manifests immediately available that would indicate who was on board the handful of flights that departed the airport early Sunday.
The secrecy surrounding Anthony’s whereabouts continued to fuel the rumor mill Monday as the media and public tried to figure out where the 25-year-old is holing up and when she’ll resurface.
The latest rumor is that Anthony is staying at Geraldo Rivera’s residence in Puerto Rico, but Rivera denies it.
Defense attorney Cheney Mason says that Anthony is “safe” and that hundreds of people have offered to help her.
Whatever. I really thought ignoring her was a good idea, but I guess it isn’t going to happen.
That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
You may remember back in January that I was not happy and very outspoken about the size of the Obama Stimulus plan. I was not impressed by the content or with the mix between tax cuts and direct government spending. You may recall that the Blue Dogs interminable resistance to do anything that might wake their sleeping Republican voters and the desire on the part of POTUS to appease the unappeasable remnants of the Republican party led to a very watered down plan. At the time, all that I could hope was that it might be enough to get the ball rolling. However, I felt that the historical multiplier –especially for taxes– was not going to kick in the way it had in the past.
The release of the miserable unemployment data yesterday (not all that unexpected as you’ll recall) as well as an estimate of our output gap now clearly squares with my earlier view as well as the earlier views of Brad deLong, Paul Krugman, Mark Thoma and Joseph Stiglitz among others. The stimulus was clearly not the blue pill the economy needed. (That last link is from me saying this same thing in July.)
The Washington Monthly says the decision to appease centrists and Republicans looks even worse in retrospect. Now, the media gets it. Color me completely unsurprised because I told you so back then that it wasn’t going to be enough. I even mentioned it recently when it appeared the stimulus plans of German, France, and Japan had already lifted those economies from the worst of it last spring. These countries emphasized direct government spending. We mostly shuffled a few funds as stop gaps and the created a bunch of tax cuts that no one really needs right now.
In February, when the debate over the economic stimulus package was at its height, a handful of “centrist” Senate Republicans said they’d block a vote on recovery efforts unless the majority agreed to slash over $100 billion from the bill.
The group, which didn’t have any specific policy goals in mind and simply liked the idea of a small bill, specifically targeted $40 billion in proposed aid to states. Helping rescue states, Sen. Collins & Co. said, does not stimulate the economy, and as such doesn’t belong in the legislation. Democratic leaders reluctantly went along — they weren’t given a choice since Republicans refused to give the bill an up-or-down vote — and the $40 billion in state aid was eliminated.
In the past, government hiring had managed to somewhat offset losses in the private sector, but government jobs declined by 53,000, with the biggest number of cuts on the local and state levels. Even the Postal Service, which is included in the public-sector job statistics, dropped 5,300 jobs.
“The major surprise came from the public sector, where every level of government cut back,” Naroff said. “The budget crises at the state and local levels have caused an awful lot of belt-tightening.”