I've posted comments on Collins, Nocera & Blow on the Off Times Square page. In their usual weekend scramble, the Times is still holdng back my comments on Nocera & Blow (at 11:00 am ET), each of which -- for one reason or another -- is not bad.
The President's weekly address:
Paul Krugman: "The claim that only rich people pay taxes is a zombie lie — something that keeps coming back no matter how many times it’s killed by evidence.... High-income people pay the bulk of the federal income tax. But that’s not the only tax! And while the income tax is quite progressive, the payroll tax — the other major federal tax — isn’t; and state and local taxes are strongly regressive.... The overall system is barely progressive at all":
... Jonathan Chait of The New Republic with a more detailed explanation of how the right gets away with this zombie lie. Short answer: they focus on the federal income tax. "The right seems to have an unlimited number of talking heads, columnists, and pseudo-economists willing to peddle this nonsense."
Obamacare Pays Off -- for Insurance Companies. Karen Garcia learns health insurance companies are making record profits -- partly because claims are down. The insurance companies credit the low claims to bad weather; Garcia credits "deductibles, the co-pays and all the other out of pocket expenses" that the insureds can't afford.
President Finds Manning Guilty. Guess We Can Skip the Trial. Michael Whitney of Firedoglake: "In a discussion yesterday with Logan Price, a Bradley Manning supporter who was part of a group of activists who sang a song during the President’s San Francisco fundraiser, President Obama flatly stated that Bradley Manning 'dumped' documents and that 'he broke the law.'” Here's the videotape:
The Last Liberal Turns out the Lights. Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal: "Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden‘s economic adviser and one of the longest serving economists in the Obama White House, will leave the administration at the end of the month, a White House official said. Mr. Bernstein, a liberal voice in an increasingly centrist White House, will join the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He is also in advanced talks to be an on-air commentator for Bloomberg News Service’s television network.
Josiah Ryan of The Hill: Maine Sen. Susan "Collins is the first Republican senator to state publicly that she will not support the Ryan budget." ...
... Zaid Jilani of Think Progress: "All across America, a Main Street Movement has broken out to defend the middle class against right-wing attacks on labor rights and basic public services. In recent days, this movement has turned on GOP House members who voted to effectively end Medicare and turn seniors over to private insurance companies when they approved Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) radical budget bill. On Tuesday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) was the latest congressman to face the ire of Main Street America during a town hall event with constituents who stopped being polite and started getting real.
Right Wing World *
I think [voting] is a privilege, it's not a right. Everybody doesn't get it, because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege. -- Kurt Zellers, Speaker of the Minnesota State House. Zellers, a Republican, was advocating for requiring voter ID cards, which would likely lower the "privilege" among more left-leaning citizens: students, the poor .
The right to vote is explicitly referenced in several constitutional amendments, in addition to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
-- Eric Roper, Minneapolis Star Journal reporter
These comments by Speaker Zellers reveal a lack of seriousness about protecting one of our basic constitutional rights. Perhaps this explains why Speaker Zellers is so willing to pass a photo ID requirement that makes voting more difficult for Minnesotans despite our long tradition of civic participation and election integrity. -- State Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL party
I fully understand it's a right we all have. I probably should have said it a little bit better at that late hour at night. -- Kurt Zellers, after criticism
CW: I haven't linked to any stories about Sen. John McCain's "We are all Libya rebels" lap for the very reasons Steve Benen illuminates.
Oh, rats, I missed Krauthammer Day, which was yesterday. Matt Yglesias: "... today is Charles Krauthammer Day, marking the eight anniversary of one of the greatest remarks of all time:
Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.
"In a related development, Krauthammer continues to be employed as a major television commentator and newspaper columnist."
* Where facts never intrude.
She's B-a-a-ack! With the resignation of Sen. John Ensign & his likely replacement to be Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada's second Congressional district, Sharron Angle is back in the news. Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun: "The state GOP, which is petrified of the prospect of Sharron Angle winning the CD2 special election, has obtained a legal opinion that says the special election must be done through a nominating process through central committees -- an interpretation that, coincidentally, could hurt Sharron Angle's chances. The letter, from Reno attorney David O'Mara, also buffs up Secretary of State Ross Miller as the greatest, most non-partisan SOS ever (so he'll obviously do what we want him to do.). ...
... David Catanese & Alex Isenstadt of Politico with more on the political future of Sharron Angle.
New York Times: "Syrian security forces fired their weapons into crowds of mourners in at least three towns on Saturday as tens of thousands of people buried protesters who were killed a day earlier in the worst bloodshed since the uprising began last month. Human rights activists and witnesses said at least 11 people were killed on Saturday." AP story here.
New York Times: "Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, agreed on Saturday to leave power after 32 years of autocratic rule, according to a top Yemeni official, but only if the opposition agrees to a list of conditions, including that he and his family be granted immunity. Opposition leaders said they were prepared to accept most of the terms of the deal, which both they and a Yemeni official said would establish a coalition government with members of the opposition and ruling party. The president would turn over authority to the vice president."
Washington Post: "Residents of the besieged western city of Misurata ventured downtown for the first time in weeks Friday as rebels celebrated regaining control of the city center and said they hoped deployment of U.S.-armed Predator drones could help them drive Moammar Gaddafi’s forces out completely. ...
... McClatchy Update: "Forces loyal to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi began withdrawing from the besieged western city of Misrata on Saturday, Gadhafi officials said, the first shift away from what has been an escalating urban war for control of Libya's third-largest city."
AP: "The Pentagon says the U.S. Air Force has carried out its first Predator missile strike in Libya." ...
... Al Jazeera: residents of Ajdabiya, Libya, name their largest square for documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya earlier this week.
New York Times: "More than 30 medical workers are missing in Bahrain, an American rights group said Friday, in the latest indication that the country’s health care system is being drawn into Bahrain’s confrontation with pro-democracy campaigners."
New York Times: "A federal appeals court on Friday reopened the criminal case against four former American military contractors accused of manslaughter in connection with a shooting that killed at least 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. Criminal charges against the former employees of Blackwater Worldwide had been dismissed in December 2009 by a federal judge in Washington, who criticized the Justice Department for its handling of the case and ruled that prosecutors had relied on tainted evidence."
Washington Post: "The Senate Ethics Committee is pushing ahead with its investigation of Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) despite his announcement that he would resign, an unusual move that, legal observers said, demonstrates the panel’s resolve to at least issue a public rebuke."
AP: "A plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama this week came even closer to a big military cargo jet than previously reported, the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday. The distance between the two planes closed to 2.94 miles before air traffic controllers at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington directed the first lady's plane to abort a landing...."
New York Times: "Persistent public suspicions about corruption and mismanagement that swirl around Egypt’s secretive deal to sell natural gas to Israel prompted Egypt’s public prosecutor on Friday to extend the questioning of former President Hosni Mubarak for 15 days, judicial officials said."