My column for the New York Times eXaminer is elegantly titled "Pat Some Butts, Barry -- Maureen Dowd." Clearly, this is My Week of Going Classy.
Scott Shane of the New York Times: "Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures.... The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president's counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say. More broadly, the administration's legal reasoning has not persuaded many other countries that the strikes are acceptable under international law."
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to examine the constitutionality of the health reform law's employer requirements and mandatory coverage of contraceptives without a co-pay.
The move could open the door for President Barack Obama's health law to be back in front of the Supreme Court late next year.
Peter Whoriskey of the Washington Post: "Arguably the most prestigious medical journal in the world, the New England Journal of Medicine regularly features articles over which pharmaceutical companies and their employees can exert significant influence.... Over the past decade corporate interference has repeatedly muddled the nation's drug science, sometimes with potentially lethal consequences."
Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "The Senate -- the legislative body that was designed as the saucer to cool the House's tempestuous teacup -- has become a deep freeze, where even once-routine matters have become hopelessly stuck and a supermajority is needed to pass almost anything.... Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, says he will move on the first day of the 113th Congress to diminish the power of Republicans to obstruct legislation." ...
... Jonathan Bernstein in Salon: it will be difficult & complicated to fix the filibuster, but one part that should be relatively easy: confirmation of executive branch nominees. Both parties more or less agree that a President should get staff s/he wants. CW: another idea: the President is required under the Constitution to obtain the advice & consent of the Senate for a number of positions, including ambassadors, Cabinet members & Supreme Court justices. But there is no reason the Senate should be vetting lower-level appointees except perhaps judges to lower courts because they're lifetime appointments (which is a mistake, too) & a few security-related positions like NSA, CIA & FBI directors.
Steve Rattner, in a New York Times op-ed, proposes several sensible ways to raise taxes on the wealthy. He appears to be advocating for pretty much doing them all.
Adam Davidson of the New York Times: "The secret behind this skills gap [which both Obama & Romney complained about during the presidential campaign] is that it's not a skills gap at all." Manufacturers are just not willing to pay for the skills they require. CW: I don't usually link to Davidson's posts because he so often screws up the economics. ...
... But economist Dean Baker backs up Davidson on this one: "News stories have been filled with reports of managers of manufacturing companies insisting that they have jobs open that they can't fill because there are no qualified workers.... The real problem is that the managers don't seem to be interested in paying for the high level of skills that they claim they need."
Zaid Jilani writing for Bold Progressives: "Many progressives have been celebrating [Sen. Saxby] Chambliss's [R-Ga.] rebuke of [Grover "No-New-Taxes"] Norquist.... [But] the senator is not breaking from Norquist because he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy or big corporations.... Chambliss is willing to deal with closing small loopholes in the tax code in order to get to the wider goals of the Bowles-Simpson plan: cutting Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age, cutting Medicare benefits by capping overall spending, and dramatically lowering corporate tax rates." ...
... How Government Works. Digby: "Chambliss said nothing he hasn't said before. They set all this up so that we would have a number of arbitrary deadlines coming to a head at the same time. It's how we govern these days --- a bipartisan plutocratic centrist and conservative coalition comes together to do the bidding of the moneyed interests and betray their own constituents under a phony sense of crisis in a lame duck session. The details vary only slightly depending on who allegedly 'won' the recent election, but basically, this stuff is all baked in the cake long before any of us have a chance to vote." CW: There's a reason you can find the word SCAM in Saxby ChAMbliss." Let's just abbreviate to "SCAMbliss." ...
... CW: well, at least SCAMbliss has Grover's fat-boy (sorry) shorts in a knot:
Senator Chambliss promised the people of Georgia he would go to Washington and reform government rather than raise taxes to pay for bigger government. He made that commitment in writing to the people of Georgia. If he plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them. The Senator's reference to me is odd. His promise is to the people of Georgia. -- Grover Norquist
David Patterson, in a New York Times op-ed, on the confusing November 6 Puerto Rican ballot issue that appears to demonstrate that Puerto Ricans favor statehood, though because of the way the questions were presented, is not definitive. "The people ... deserve another, clearer, definitive ballot -- and soon."
Rick Pearson & John Byrne of the Chicago Tribune: "Cook County Democratic leaders plan to recommend a replacement for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in an effort to winnow a growing field of hopefuls looking to take over the congressional district stretching from the South Side to Kankakee. Gov. Pat Quinn was expected to decide by Monday on the early 2013 dates for the special primary and general elections, but already a swarm of has-been and wannabe political players are considering the rare opportunity to run in the suddenly open, solidly Democratic, black-majority 2nd Congressional District."
Lauren Neergaard of the AP: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the nation's largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists, says birth control pills should be sold over the counter, like condoms."
"The Blue-Footed Booby." George Colt, in a New York Times op-ed: sibling rivalry, especially at the dinner table, is a Freudian thing.
CW: Just so I can foster my Petraeus Affair fix (see yesterday's Commentariat), Seth Meyers assesses the winners & losers in said five-way (the sketch news analysis is at least a week old, but that doesn't make it less funny):
Local News -- Right Wing World Edition
Laura Gottesdeiner in AlterNet: "In Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state's citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God -- or risk 12 months in prison. The law and its sponsor, state representative Tom Riner, have been the subject of controversy since the law first surfaced in 2006, yet the Kentucky state Supreme Court has refused to review its constitutionality, despite clearly violating the First Amendment's separation of church and state."
New York Times: "Syrian rebels seized a military airport and an air defense base about 10 miles east of Damascus on Sunday morning and drove off with a tank and other weapons, according to opposition activists and video posted online, demonstrating their ability to advance in areas around the capital despite facing withering aerial attacks."
ABC News: "A man suspected of shoplifting two DVD players from a Lithonia, Ga., Walmart today died after an altercation with two store employees and a contract security guard, prompting a police investigation."
Reuters: "Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi faced a rebellion from judges who accused him on Saturday of expanding his powers at their expense, deepening a crisis that has triggered violence in the street and exposed the country's deep divisions. The Judges' Club, a body representing judges across Egypt, called for a strike during a meeting interrupted with chants demanding the 'downfall of the regime' - the rallying cry in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year." ...
... Al Jazeera: "Share prices on Egypt's stock exchange have plunged almost 9.5 per cent, days after President Mohamed Morsi assumed sweeping powers that sparked clashes and polarised the country's politics."
New York Times: "More than 100 people died Saturday and Sunday in a fire at a garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, in one of the worst industrial tragedies in that country."
AP: "Lawrence Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved, has died. He was 73."
Al Jazeera: "China has successfully landed a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, which entered service two months ago, the country's official news agency confirmed."
Guardian: "Police in Bangkok have fired teargas at thousands of anti-government protestors calling for the overthrow of the Thai government. At least 9,000 people attended the rally, organised by activists who believe the current prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is the puppet of her brother, the deposed former PM Thaksin Shinawatra."
Reuters: The Rolling Stones take to the stage later on Sunday after a five-year hiatus to celebrate the golden jubilee of one of the most successful and enduring bands in rock and roll history. Now in their mid-60s to early 70s, lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts will perform five concerts - two at the O2 Arena in London on November 25 and 29 and three in the United States next month."