Vietnam War

West Wing Week: 06/01/12 or “Each of Them Loved This Country . . . More Than Life Itself.”

The White House

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

This week, the President honored Memorial Day and the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, signed bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, and welcomed former President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush for the official unveiling of their portraits.

That’s May 25th to May 31st, or “Each of them loved this country . . . more than life itself.”

10 little-known Rush Limbaugh facts

Rush Limbaugh is pictured. | Courtesy of Premiere Radio Networks

Politico

America’s top talk radio host is in the middle of a firestorm for calling Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke “a slut” and a “prostitute” before apologizing for his comments after advertisers began leaving his show. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Rush Limbaugh:

1. Enjoys scented candles, and has them lit daily in his Palm Beach home.

2. First job away from home was shining shoes in a barbershop, at the age of 13.

3. During the Vietnam War, after holding a 2-S college deferment, he was reclassified as 1-Y – meaning qualified for military service but available only in time of war or national emergency – for a pilonidal cyst on his butt.

4. Due to his loss of hearing and the need for a cochlear implant, Limbaugh cannot listen to music he wasn’t familiar with before 2001.

5. Owns a Maybach 57S - an extremely rare sports car. Only 63 were sold in 2010, giving the brand a luxury item status that is frequently mentioned by rappers, such as Jay-Z and Kanye West, who cut apart a Maybach 57 in the music video for their hit single, “Otis.”

6. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas officiated at his third wedding. (Limbaugh is currently married to his fourth wife, Kathryn Rogers.)

7. Sang at his friend and baseball star George Brett’s 1992 wedding reception, according to Zev Chafets’ 2010 biography, Rush Limbaugh – An Army of One.” (The two met while Limbaugh was the Director of Promotions at the Kansas City Royals in the late 1970s and early 1980s.)

8. The third member of his immediate family to bear Rush as a first name. His full name is Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, and he was known as “Rusty” growing up. (Rush’s name comes from ancestor Edna Rush, whose name was given to Limbaugh’s grandfather, Rush, Sr.)

9. Admitted to Playboy in 1993 that he smoked marijuana twice, inhaled, but didn’t like it.

10. Idolized conservative writer William F. Buckley. “Bill Buckley is indescribable. He’s irreplaceable. There will not be another one like him,” Limbaugh said on his radio show on the occasion of Buckley’s death.

John Boehner understands Occupy Wall Street ‘frustrations’ and hopes they don’t riot

Daily Kos

John Boehner has decided to weigh in with his deep thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street protests. He understands. He knows why people are “frustrated.” He knows that people have the right to protest. Oh, and please don’t riot:

Beyond that, I lived through the riots of the Vietnam War … and you can see how some of those activities got out of control. A lot of people lived through the race riots of 1968 that was clearly out of control, and I’m hopeful that these demonstrations will continue to be peaceful.

Well, sure. He understands, don’t riot. Great take-away.

And it’s a shame Boehner isn’t in a position to actually do anything about people’s frustration about jobs and the economy. Oh, wait …

 

Is this the ‘worst Congress ever’?

The Week

The acrimonious debate over raising the debt ceiling has shined a spotlight on partisan rancor in Washington. Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, who wrote a 2006 book saying Congress was “broken,” now says at Foreign Policy that hardliners in both parties have gained such “inordinate power” that compromise, even on crucial matters such as keeping the government from defaulting on its debt for the first time ever, is essentially dead. Even back in 1969, when the country was deeply divided over the Vietnam War, Capitol Hill was “considerably less dysfunctional” than it is now. Is this really the “worst Congress ever”?

Yes. And it won’t get better anytime soon: It’s hard to argue that the 112th Congress isn’t “the worst one ever,” says The Economist. It’s even more depressing when you realize that this is not a temporary shift due to transient factors, such as the rise of the Tea Party, but “the culmination of a long period of realignment in American politics” that has left the parties polarized. Things are likely to get even worse in 2012, as redistricting and acrimonious primaries pick off more moderates, one by one.
“Worst Congress ever?”

Congress is only as bad as GOP obstructionists make it: The debt-ceiling showdown has “laid bare the degree to which our political system has become dangerously dysfunctional,” says John Farmer at the NewarkStar-Ledger. The nation’s Founders divided power among the different branches of government to serve their ideal of checks and balances. “But for that to work, compromise is a must, not something malevolent,” as a growing bloc of my-way-or-the-highway Republicans now seem to view it.
“Debt ceiling struggle exposing dysfunction in the U.S. political system”

Blame the self-serving motivations of both parties: Republicans are afraid Tea Partiers will stay home in 2012 unless they cut spending at all costs, says Charlie Cook at The Atlantic. Democrats made the same mistake in 2009 and 2010, when they “obsessed about their base and ignored independent and swing voters.” Both sides would do well to remember that independents often tip elections, and they hate all this “sophomoric, partisan towel-snapping” — they just want Washington to function.
“Memo to the GOP: Focus on independents”

Roger Vinson, Florida Judge Who Ruled On Health Reform, Has His Own Medical Care Story

Huffington Post

The judge who ruled the Obama administration’s health care overhaul unconstitutional questioned whether the government was reaching beyond its power by requiring citizens to buy health insurance because everyone needs medical care.

Under that logic, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said, the government could force Americans to buy clothes or food. Vinson, who sided with 26 states fighting the much-maligned measure, revealed his own health care story during arguments several weeks ago, an example that helped shed light on his ruling Monday.

When Vinson was a law student and his wife gave birth to their first child, he paid a doctor in cash.

“It amounted to about $100 a pound,” the 70-year-old jurist joked in December.

Vinson, an ex-Navy pilot appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, is known for maintaining control of his courtroom while letting everyone have their say. He loves camellia flowers and has handled cases from abortion clinic bombings to veterans rights to racial discrimination.

“I think being a former Navy officer, he is used to being in control of things but not being a tyrant,” said attorney Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War who has tried numerous cases in front of Vinson.

The judge’s ruling produced an even split in federal court decisions so far on the health care law, mirroring enduring divisions among the public. Two judges had previously upheld the law, both Democratic appointees. A Republican appointee in Virginia had ruled against it.

The Justice Department quickly announced it would appeal, and administration officials declared that for now the federal government and the states would proceed without interruption to carry out the law. It seemed evident that only the U.S. Supreme Court could deliver a final verdict on Obama’s historic expansion of health insurance coverage.

On Capitol Hill, Republican opponents of the law pledged to redouble pressure for a repeal vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate following House action last month. Nearly all of the states that brought suit in Vinson’s court have GOP attorneys general or governors.    More…