Everyone has been e-mailing me about this video. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) takes President Obama out to the woodshed, and accuses the president of being “AWOL on leadership,” a point I was making in my story last night, “Is Barack Obama on the Precipice of Becoming Jimmy Carter?“:
WOW! Someone with some common sense! “Scaring people is not leadership.” RIght on, Lindsay! Right on!
I just wish there were MORE MEAT like this, by an intelligent and thoughtful guest, than the filler that passes for news but is NOT news. I’m also bored stiff by the repetitiveness of TV cable news. I try to watch some so I know what they’re emphasizing but I always end up turning to NPR or BBC World News. Today, CNNMSNBCFNN have got the tapes of the plane that landed in the Hudson, and they’ll be playing that every hour, all day and all evening long. It’s perfect fare, because it’s the kind of news that does ALL work for them. It requires no reporters, no investigation, and very little analysis; the networks just toss it up on the screen and let the watchers watch.
But you’re probably like me, and you want MORE actual news, so here’s some of what I’ve found today:
*** Sad news: “U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery today for pancreatic cancer.” (Via CNN’s breaking news e-mail)
*** “Deluge Is Holding Up Benefits to Unemployed
Decline in Funding Forces Staff Cuts as Claims Swell:
Thousands of people in the Washington area and hundreds of thousands more across the country are waiting longer than they should for unemployment benefits at a time when they need the money the most because rising joblessness is overwhelming claims offices, records show.
The problem is compounded by a simultaneous decrease in federal funding, which has reduced staffing at some local government offices. The result is that the District and many states, including Maryland and Virginia, are failing to meet federal guidelines that require timely processing of unemployment claims. …
It’s likely to get worse. …
*** Eric Shinseki, the brave general who told the truth to Donald Rumsfeld and ended up with his career ruined, is ON THE JOB as Secretary of the Veterans Administration.
According to the WSJ, he’s beginning with a careful analysis which, from all the stories we’ve heard about chaos and inefficiency at the VA, sounds like a plan: He is “launching a top-down review of his embattled department, saying major change is needed soon to ensure the “highest levels of integrity, transparency and performance.” More snippets:
“Our veterans deserve and demand a Department of Veterans Affairs that remains relevant over time, that is responsive to their individual and changing needs, and that cares enough about them to undertake this challenging transformation. We care,” Mr. Shinseki said in testimony prepared for a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday.
… Thousands of veterans currently endure six-month waits for disability benefits, and the VA is scrambling to upgrade government technology systems before new legislation providing for millions of dollars in new GI benefits takes effect in August.
In recent weeks, the Government Accountability Office found that the VA was still lowballing budget estimates to Congress at the expense of tens of thousands of patients needing long-term health care. The VA also acknowledged at least nine cases of giving incorrect doses of drugs — mostly blood-thinning heparin — due to widespread computer glitches that it didn’t disclose to patients. …
*** Ken Rudin, the political blogger for NPR, has a fascinating report on the race to succeed Florida’s retiring senator, Mel Martinez, and also on the future of Minnesota’s Norm Coleman:
Jeb Bush had frozen the GOP field while he was considering the race. Now it’s Charlie Crist’s turn. The popular governor said he would sit down with his new wife and discuss it after the legislative session, which ends in May. Crist, like Bush, could probably have the nomination if he wants it. He is barred from seeking a third term in 2010. Way back in 1998, Crist was the GOP Senate nominee against Democratic incumbent Bob Graham and got clobbered by nearly a million votes. But that was a long time ago.
The latest news has former Sen. Bob Smith (R) thinking about running. That’s former Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire. Smith, who moved to the Sunshine State to sell real estate since losing his seat to Sununu in the 2002 primary, has sent out an email trying to gauge his support.
After a hand recount of 2.9 million voters, Al Franken, the Democratic challenger, has a lead of 225 votes. For the longest time, the assumption (here at least) was that it’s just a matter of time before Franken is sworn in. But not so fast. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the state Supreme Court agreed to review 4,797 previously rejected absentee ballots. This was in response to a motion made by Coleman, who actually wanted the judges to review about 11,000 votes; Franken wanted the scope to be limited to 771 rejected
So the review of nearly 5,000 ballots has begun. Just because they are being looked at does not necessarily mean Coleman will prevail. There’s no telling how many of the ballots will be reinstated, and it’s quite possible that Franken could get a healthy portion of them. And, if after this process Coleman moves into the lead, we know that Franken will come up with his own list of ballots he wants reviewed.
We may not know who won the election until March. At the earliest.
So: What else is going on in the big bad world?