Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Morning Must Reads from DCExaminer

Wall Street Journal -- Leverage Sought In Health Summit
Republicans are asking President Obama to make a show of good faith before his proposed health care summit by publicly scrapping the existing Democratic legislation, crafted at great pains over the past year.
The president cannot explain that the only reasons for the summit are to show that he went down fighting for the great liberal cause, to demonstrate that Republicans are unworthy partners for bipartisan outreach, and, of course, to prove that he was right.
The White House is attempting a controlled demolition while Republicans are proposing a new construction project.
But as Examiner colleague Julie Mason points out, the White House is keenly aware that the president’s pivot to issues of concern for voters has resulted into a duck hook back into the health care bunker.
Writer Laura Meckler explains that speed will trump outcomes when it comes to the Battle of Blair House.
“Mr. Obama has repeatedly said Democrats' messy negotiations soured the public. The White House now hopes that a better, more public process will boost public support and give congressional Democrats enough confidence to pass the bill, using a parliamentary procedure that requires just 51 Senate votes…If that fails, the White House hopes the summit will lay the groundwork for a modest bipartisan bill that would fall far short of Democrats' original goals, but would give the president and his allies a success to show voters this fall. Another possibility: the session might do nothing to break the deadlock and merely provide grist for each side's fall campaign.”

Washington Post -- In Congress, it's decision time on long-term unemployment benefits
The jobs bill being considered in the Senate is also a no-jobs bill. It includes provisions to keep a million Americans who are slated to lose unemployment benefits on March 1 on the dole for a total of two years, rather than the six months usually allowed.
Writer Perry Bacon offers a handy primer for how the 12 million people currently getting an average of $325 a week from the government continue to cling to the financial lifeline that currently costs taxpayers $13 billion a month.
The question is not whether to extend, but how. Some Democrats want a temporary, targeted expansion, while others want a permanent expansion of the entitlement. Republicans wonder if it’s a wise thing to make not working pay.
“Through a series of laws, including the $787 billion economic stimulus, people in states with high rates of unemployment are eligible to get jobless benefits for up to 99 weeks, an all-time high.”

New York Times -- U.N. Climate Panel and Chief Face Credibility Siege
The swami of Global Warmism, Rajendra Pachauri, has become a liability to the beleaguered faith.
Al Gore’s 2007 co-laureate and the originator of the theme of the Copenhagen climate summit (“Less meat equals less heat”) has been taking a shellacking both for the junky report his UN team produced three years ago and for his own business dealings.
The 2007 climate report that was heralded as the final word on man-made global warming has recently been found to have been as well sourced as a freshman term paper written in an all-nighter. Claims on glacier melt, ocean rise and weather disruption seem to have been selected for salaciousness, not accuracy.
But Pachauri, an Indian railroad engineer with a knack for the NGO game, is also in hot water for the jet-set life he has led as a corporate advisor, much like Gore. At the heart of Pachauri’s operation is a non-profit group that corporations can fund in order to receive absolution from the warmist high priest.
Writer Elisabeth Rosenthal offers one case:
“The energy institute has financial interests in a number of companies. For example, it was awarded stock by the founders of GloriOil, a start-up based in Houston, in exchange for permission to use a method developed at the institute to extract residual oil from older wells.
‘We thought about it long and hard, and decided to get involved in this because the U.S. has the largest number of these wells and it is better than drilling offshore or in Alaska,’ Dr. Pachauri said.”

Washington Post -- U.S. proposes new climate service
It takes chutzpah or extraordinary tone-deafness to create a new global warming tracking service in the depths of the worst winter in Washington since before RFK Jr. was knee-high to an Eskimo and while the global scientific consensus on global warming is in disarray.
The Obama administration wants to change the focus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from providing a weather service to providing a climate service that can help people and organizations make plans for the warm years to come.
The joke is lost on writer Juliet Eilperin, who makes only a glancing reference to the UN climate models now held up for ridicule by many in the scientific community.
This is starting to feel a little like the metric system. The folks in the administration and their cheerleaders in the press, like Eilperin, may be the last ones to know that they lost the fight.
“Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in an interview that the service would be able to provide advice on such diverse topics as where ski operators might want to refocus their activities in light of changing snowfall patterns and which farm crops will need increased irrigation.
In the same way businesses such as the Weather Channel and AccuWeather.com have taken advantage of the National Weather Service's predictions, Locke said, ‘you'll see much of the private sector will want to build on this one-stop shop of climate services.’”

Wall Street Journal -- Senator Prodded Fed to Aid Ailing Lender
Kudos to the Federal Reserve for having the courage to blow off the unethical demands of a powerful senator even as the central bank was fighting for its life on Capitol Hill.
Bob Menendez went to bat for two home state politicos and asked the Fed in a private letter to approve a merger that would have bailed out two of his cronies. Not to consider the merger, but to approve it.
The Fed said no, but if the Senate Ethics Committee were more than a dumping ground for inconvenient facts, Menendez would be stripped of his seniority for trying to bully an essential agency.
Thanks to writer Damian Paletta for bringing it to light, along with Menendez’s race-card excuse.
“In a written statement, Mr. Menendez said helping the community bank, which mostly served Hispanics, was the right thing to do. ‘If any New Jersey constituent—regardless if it is a family or a local community bank—comes to me seeking assistance with a legitimate federal matter, not only is it important to help, I was elected to help,’ he said. ‘Telling them 'no' would be abdicating my responsibility.'"

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