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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Stories to Watch: 3/6/13

The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen told congress in his final report that -- one decade and $60 billion dollars later -- the reconstruction effort in Iraq was just money blown. The money's gone and we have almost nothing to show for it. "You think if you throw money at a problem, you can fix it," a Kurdish government official told auditors putting together the report. "It was just not strategic thinking." Tell me again how great Republicans are at spending money wisely.

The state of our media in a nutshell: If David Petraeus has an affair, it's wall to wall coverage. If we learn he had direct ties to a massive Iraqi campaign of torture, that's hardly even worth a mention.

Obama does an end run around Boehner and McConnell, reaching out to rank and file GOP senators to repair the sequester and swing a budget deal. Don't get too excited, though. From the sound of things, entitlement spending isn't just on the table, it's part of the centerpiece. Then again, if he does manage to completely blow off Mitch and the Orange One, their obstructionism might be pretty hamstrung going forward, making damage control a realistic possibility.

This is happening as a stopgap GOP bill to avoid a government shutdown clears the House. Not surprisingly, it's pretty stupid, but it'll be un-stupided quite a bit in the Senate. In the process, a great deal of the sequester's damage could be undone.

Speaking of obstructionism: Sen. Dick Durbin wants to revisit filibuster reform -- and get it right this time.

Gabby Giffords returned to the grocery store parking lot where she was shot to push for universal background checks.

Yes, Rand Paul is filibustering over the use of drones in US airspace on US citizens. Just keep in mind that Paul's squirrelier than a walnut grove and that his reason for doing this is probably some crazy-assed conspiracy theory rolling around in his otherwise empty skull. He's not one of the good guys. I'm not saying we shouldn't stand back and let people do the right thing for the wrong reason, I'm just saying maybe everyone should dial back all the RAND PAUL'S A FREAKIN' HERO!!! stuff a couple two three hundred notches, OK?

Maryland is one step closer to ending that state's death penalty.

A federal judge rules that a Missouri public library cannot censor websites they've labeled "occult"; which according to the report, "included websites about Native American religions and the Wiccan faith."

Apparently every other problem facing the state of Arkansas has been solved, leaving them with plenty of time to dick around with unconstitutional laws designed to create doomed court challenges to Roe v. Wade. Once again, the GOP fails to realize that their War on Women is killing them longterm.

Proof that the Crazy People's Action Conference is a total joke: wildly inaccurate, mentally dysfunctional, and cognitively challenged blogger Jim Hoft will be presented with a "Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award" at CPAC. Irony truly is dead.

Finally and related to the last item: CPAC thinks the GOP's entire problem with voters can be solved by sticking fewer white guys in front of cameras. Meanwhile, they'll all keep saying the same insane stuff which makes them so hated. Expect no lessons to be learned from this failure.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

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