President Obama's Weekly Address:
Gail Collins writes a balanced, informative column on the Susan G. Koman/Planned Parenthood scandal. "A lot of the old Komen donors and supporters probably won’t be coming back. It would be a shame if they just retreated in disillusionment. Let’s hope they go off into the wider world of women’s health care programs and help spread the wealth. That really would be a happy ending." ...
... Simon Maloy of Media Matters: "... the same conservatives who cheered Komen's decision earlier in the week are now upset at the breast cancer awareness charity's apparent reversal of course. National Review's Daniel Foster this morning called the backlash to Komen 'disgusting' and lashed out at Planned Parenthood and 'the Left' for their 'gangsterism.' ... To see Planned Parenthood as the bad-faith actor requires an astonishing amount of willful obtuseness." Maloy outlines why. CW: Congratulations, gangsters! ...
... Judd Legum of Think Progress: "Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, was secretly involved in the Komen Foundation’s strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of 'Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations' at Komen last December. According to a source with first-hand knowledge, Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.... Fleischer’s high-level involvement with Komen further complicates its image as an apolitical cancer charity. Fleischer is a prominent partisan commentator and a longtime critic of Planned Parenthood." ...
... Adam Serwer of Mother Jones: "The crucial question remains whether or not that partnership [between Komen & Planned Parenthood] actually exists after today, or whether this is just a more amicable divorce."
Brian Beutler of TPM: "Republican leaders in Congress have all but reneged on a key agreement they reached with the White House last summer.... 'Now we’re really talking skullduggery,' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters. 'They understood what the consequences [of failure of the Super Committee] were. They agreed to the consequences.... I think that an agreement was reached. It must be honored.'”
Right Wing World *
Someone needs to remind the president that there was only one person who walked on water, and he did not occupy the Oval Office. -- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), on the Senate floor ...
Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Orrin Hatch. David Edwards of the Raw Story: Orrin Hatch, "who normally favors co-mingling government and religion, was on the floor of the Senate expressing outrage at the president for using the Bible to make a point." ...
... CW: here are the President's prayer breakfast remarks. I did not intend to post them, but since they so offended Orrin Hatch, I guess I must:
Martin Klingst, Washington Bureau chief of the German newspaper Die Zeit, in a Washington Post op-ed: "When Romney, Gingrich and Santorum warn about 'socialist Europe,' they sound as though they are talking about the Soviet empire.... My problem as a European living in the United States is that it is not Joe the Plumber who is bashing Europe but three longtime politicians who want to be president — people who should know better."
Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times: "While [Newt] Gingrich has minimized his past connections to [Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac] on the campaign trail, his Congressional record shows that his political and financial ties to the firms run deeper and farther back than he has acknowledged publicly and, in fact, set the stage for the lucrative consulting work that followed.
Steve Benen chronicles Mitt Romney's most recent, most audacious lies. He really does not care WTF he says. Then again, when your base is willing to believe the United Nations is forcing small municipalities to install bicycle paths in an international plot to deprive them of their property rights, I guess a candidate can pretty much say what s/he wants. Nothing can penetrate a tinfoil hat.
I know we're beating a dead horse here, but Charles Blow does a nice job of summing up how much Mitt Romney cares about the poor. ...
CW: This is sort of encouraging. Mark Murray of NBC News tears apart Mitt Romney's claim that President Obama's policies have made the economy "worse." The more stories like this get into the MSM, the better. Of course, stories like this will have zero effect on voters like those in the next story I've linked. ...
... These People Frighten Me. Leslie Kaufman & Kate Zernike of the New York Times: "Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.... The protests date to 1992 when the United Nations passed a sweeping, but nonbinding ... resolution called Agenda 21 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas. They have gained momentum in the past two years because of the emergence of the Tea Party movement.... In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called 'the destructive and insidious nature' of Agenda 21. And Newt Gingrich took aim at it during a Republican debate in November."
* Where they just get crazier. Partly because the GOP encourages this lunacy.
... Las Vegas Sun: "Mitt Romney has a large early lead in the Nevada GOP caucuses with 62 percent of the vote, according to Sun columnist Jon Ralston, who cited sources with knowledge of count." ...
... New York Times Update: "Mitt Romney handily won the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, solidifying his front-runner’s status and giving him the all-important political fuel of momentum as he seeks to use the month of February to ease doubts within the party about his candidacy and ove on to the business of confronting President Obama."
Washington Post: "Dozens of U.S. Park Police descended on horseback and foot upon the Occupy D.C. camp in McPherson Square on Saturday to continue an enforcement of its no-camping rules launched earlier this week. U.S. Park Police Capt. Phil Beck told protesters they would be clearing the area around the historic statue, where protesters had erected a blue tarp dubbed the 'Tent of Dreams,' and checking to see if there was unauthorized bedding in tents." New York Times story here.
The Hill: "Republicans used their weekly address on Saturday to push a highway bill that is being opposed on the right by the [Grover Norquist] Club for Growth."
Reuters: "New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Friday sued three major U.S. banks, accusing them of fraud for using an electronic mortgage database that resulted in deceptive and illegal practices. Schneiderman filed the lawsuit against Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) in New York state court in Brooklyn. The lawsuit is over the banks' use of MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System the industry created in the mid-1990s to track the ownership and servicing of residential mortgage loans."
Los Angeles Times: "Afghan civilian casualties have reached a grim new milestone, with a record 3,021 noncombatants killed in wartime violence last year, the United Nations said in a report released Saturday. The toll for 2011 represented an 8% increase from the previous year, and marked the fifth year in a row that the number of noncombatant deaths and injuries has risen. Insurgents were blamed for nearly four-fifths of the deaths."
New York Times: "Syria opposition leaders raised the death toll to 260 in a military assault Saturday on the ravaged central city of Homs, an attack that opposition leaders described as the government’s deadliest in the nearly 11-month-old uprising." Al Jazeera story here. ...
... New York Times story has bee updated: "A United Nations Security Council effort to end the violence in Syria collapsed in acrimony with a double veto by Russia and China on Saturday, hours after the Syrian military attacked the city of Homs in what opposition leaders described as the deadliest government assault in the nearly 11-month uprising."
Nevada GOP Caucus Today. AP: "A confident Mitt Romney is looking past his GOP opponents and Nevada's caucuses the day the state votes. Chief rival Newt Gingrich is bracing for defeat in a state the former Massachusetts governor won in 2008."
New York Times: Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters marched on Saturday through [Moscow,] a city gripped by bitter, Arctic cold, in a third major effort by Russians opposed to Vladimir V. Putin’s return to the presidency."
New York Times: "Ben Gazzara, an intense actor whose long career included playing Brick in the original 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' on Broadway, roles in influential films by John Cassavetes and work with several generations of top Hollywood directors, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 81." The Los Angeles Times obituary is here.
Los Angeles Times: "The computer hacking group Anonymous took gleeful pride Friday in announcing that it had sneaked onto a conference call between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and foreign law enforcement agencies concerning how to deal with the cyber-pirate organization."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "President Barack Obama’s name will remain on the Georgia primary ballot after a state law judge flatly rejected legal challenges that contend he can not be a candidate.... Judge Michael Malihi dismissed one challenge that contended Obama has a computer-generated Hawaiian birth certificate, a fraudulent Social Security number and invalid U.S. identification papers. He also turned back another that claimed the president is ineligible to be a candidate because his father was not a U.S. citizen at the time of Obama's birth. The findings by Malihi, a judge for the State Office of Administrative Hearings, go to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who will make the final determination."
CW: Sorry I missed this yesterday. Guardian: "A US army officer has ordered a court martial for Bradley Manning, the soldier charged in the biggest leak of classified information in American history. Military district of Washington commander Major General Michael Linnington referred all charges against Manning to a general court martial on Friday, the army said in a statement."