The Week in Review looks at news stories from the past week with added commentary and perspective. (more)

On Thursday, President Barack Obama gave a speech outlining his policies on the Middle East which stated that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines”. This “new” policy is the same policy that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had proposed. President Obama saw his shadow heard from the Israeli government, Arab nations and Republicans who did not like the policy, signifying 63 more years of strife.

Exploding a Newtlear Device
If Newt Gingrich were capable of embarrassment, this would be embarrassing.

We start with Newt’s own words on Meet the Press. These are the words that you must not speak of much less report on:

MR. GREGORY: What about entitlements? The Medicare trust fund, in stories that have come out over the weekend, is now going to be depleted by 2024, five years earlier than predicted. Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors…
REP. GINGRICH: I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.

MR. GREGORY: But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare.
REP. GINGRICH: I, I think that, I think, I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose.

• Courageous (but whiney) Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) complained about his ‘friends’ being mean.
• Democrats laughed and planned new ads based on the words that Newt said must never be spoken (or reported on).
• Newt claims that after 30 years in politics and 35 appearances on Meet the Press, he was simply unprepared for gotcha questions.
• Newt apologizes to Paul Ryan.
• Newt apologizes again to whoever will listen (a smaller and smaller group).
• Newt claims he was not referring to the aforementioned already apologized to Paul Ryan and apologizes to Rush Limbaugh for not not-apologizing correctly.
• Newt’s spokesman pens anti-media tirade for reporting Newt’s words

The exclamation point was put on this story when a man at a campaign event in Iowa told Gingrich: “Why don’t you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself”.

No word on Gingrich’s plans to continue making a fool of himself and whether that would be “bigger” fool or “complete and utter” fool.

The Senate falls further into irrelevance
On January 27, 2011 the Senate voted 92 to 4 to end the practice of secret holds. Darned good thing because if they hadn’t, the secret hold that someone put on Heather Higginbottom’s confirmation as a Deputy Budget Director would have not not happened. And of course the secret hold which could never have happened was honored :

Heather Higginbottom’s nomination to be President Obama’s deputy budget director is in deep trouble after the GOP placed a hold on it, Democrat aides said Friday.

Because of the secret hold, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cannot move the nomination to the floor for a vote under unanimous consent.

Next up, despite ads targetting Republican Senators in support of the Senate bill to end oil company subsidies, the bill was not allowed to come to a vote as it was filibustered on May 17th.

It is possible that this:
Oil Money
may have trumped the ads.

At least the Senate, by voting down the measure, acknowlegded that there were subsidies, a point that some in the House including Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN), Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) missed. Were you lying then or are you lying now? Or are you simply clueless?

Finally, in a moment of either unfiltered racism or complete cluelessness (there’s that word again!), Sen. Grassley accused Asian-American judicial nominee Goodwin Liu of holding a ‘Communist’ Chinese worldview:

Six years ago, Ninth Circuit judicial nominee Goodwin Liu published an op-ed in which he made the utterly banal point that a conservative interest group used the terms “free enterprise,”‘ “private ownership of property,” and “limited government” as “code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections.” In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, however, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) somehow managed to interpret this op-ed as proof that Liu wants to turn America into “Communist-run China”.

As Liu explains, his own commitment to American law stems from his experience as the child of Taiwanese immigrants who “came from a society that did not, at the time, know many of the freedoms that we take for granted in America.”

Profressor Liu’s nomination was filibustered and not allowed to come to the Senate floor.

By the way, I voted 92 to 4 (with 4 of my personalities abstaining) that I would never repeat my comment from Tuesday night’s discussion of the secret holds:

I am sick of the Senate being run like a kindergarten that allows the 5-year olds to have tantrums. The “saucer that cools the tea of the House”, my patootie. More like the “clowns wearing their underwear on their head”.

So I won’t.

Hitting a new low on the debt ceiling
The United States hit the debt limit on Monday and started emergency procedures to keep the government from defaulting on it’s obligations. Ratings companies like Moody’s suggest a default could harm the country’s credit rating causing us to have to pay more interest on our debt in the long term. The failure to borrow money could threaten our fragile economic recovery.

Rich person Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) said it was ‘no big deal’ and even quoted another rich person who said the same thing. Heck, what more do we need?

Besides, according to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) the American people have apparently not suffered enough from the Great Recession and that “it could benefit us to go through a period of crisis”. Much easier when you have a job and government sponsored health care, I’ll bet.


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