Day: December 16, 2011

The Debate In 100 Seconds

TPM2012

As the GOP candidates lined up for their last debate before voters take to the Iowa caucuses, everyone took their chance to get a last pitch in with some final free airtime.

Everyone’s swagger was in abundance and some rocks were thrown at the frontrunner, but now we have to wait until votes are cast before everyone gets together to yell at one another on TV again…

 

Blame Where Blame Is Due

One can’t argue with this…

Limbo

Given the unwillingness of Republicans to take any active role in boosting the U.S. economy over the last year, and the fact that George W. Bush left the country in the poor financial state that it’s had to endure since 2008, these findings from the latest Pew Research survey should come as no surprise:

The Republican Party is taking more of the blame than the Democrats for a do-nothing Congress. A record-high 50% say that the current Congress has accomplished less than other recent Congresses, and by nearly two-to-one (40% to 23%) more blame Republican leaders than Democratic leaders for this. By wide margins, the GOP is seen as the party that is more extreme in its positions, less willing to work with the other side to get things done, and less honest and ethical in the way it governs. And for the first time in over two years, the Democratic Party has gained the edge as the party better able to manage the federal government.

Read more about this survey here.

Bachmann: ‘The Number One Way We’ll Advance The Cause Of Life’ Is By Repealing Health Reform

Perhaps it’s all a matter of interpretation, but from my perspective, Michele Bachmann has once again bitten an apple from the crazy tree.

The Affordable Care Act saves lives so her premise is flawed from the outset…

Think Progress

Like Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann found no irony in calling for the repeal legislation that would extend health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans (and already insured 2.5 million young adults) at a “pro-life” event last night, saying, “the number one way we’ll advance the cause of life is through the 100 percent repeal of Obamacare.”

Speaking at the premiere of The Gift of Life, an anti-abortion movie, Bachmann also criticized the administration for denying greater access to the morning after pill, despite agreeing with the decision.  She warned that if re-elected, the administration would surely make Plan B available “on the grocery store aisles next to bubble gums and next to M&Ms.”

Watch it:

Of course the morning after pill will never be available in candy aisles. Currently, the medication can only be purchased behind the counter by women 17 and older — meaning that they do not need a prescription but they have to ask a pharmacist for the drug. Those 16 and younger need a prescription in order to obtain it.

Meanwhile, all available data — both in Massachusetts and around the world — shows that women contemplating an abortion are far less likely to seek one if they can afford health insurance for themselves, and feel confident they can provide quality medical care to their newborn children. Therefore, repealing health reform would not only violate the general concept of supporting human life, it would also destroy the “life” of the fetuses that conservatives talk so much about protecting.

The Iraq War’s ‘quiet’ end: By the numbers

This is an interesting look at the wind down of the Iraq War…

The Week

An understated ceremony in Baghdad marks the end of a mission that lasted nearly nine years, claimed the lives over 4,000 U.S. soldiers, and divided our nation

America’s long, contentious war in Iraq came to a “quiet” end Thursday. In a “muted ceremony” in Baghdad, U.S. troops lowered the flag of command that flew over the headquarters of the U.S. mission for a final time. “After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern and secure itself has become real,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at the ceremony. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the bloodshed and monetary toll:
8
Number of years the Iraq War lasted — the official tally is eight years, eight months, and 25 days. As a start date, The Washington Post points to March 20, 2003, when an airstrike was launched in southern Baghdad where Saddam Hussein was presumed to be hiding.

More than 1 million
Number of U.S. troops who have served in Iraq since 2003

4,483
Number of troops who were killed during the Iraq War, according to Mark Leon Goldberg at UN Dispatch

33,183
Number who were wounded

104,080 to 113,728
Estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed during the mission,according to Iraq Body Count

6.5
Number of deaths per day from suicide attack and vehicle bombs in 2011, says Goldberg

$800 billion 
Cost of the war to the U.S. treasury, says Lolita C. Baldor at theAssociated Press

4,000
Number of troops who will remain in Iraq over the coming months, “despite President Barack Obama’s earlier contention that all American troops would be home for Christmas,” says Baldor

170,000
Number of troops in the country during the 2007 surge ordered by President George W. Bush

500
Number of bases and outposts established in Iraq during that surge


Number of bases that remain

61
Percent of Americans who favored the withdrawal of all troops of Iraq by the end of the year, according to a CNN/ORC Internation poll conducted last month. That’s despite the fact that “only half of Americans think their nation achieved its goals in Iraq,” says Richard Allen Greene and Moni Basu at CNN.