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TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

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Wow. Here we go! Good morning and welcome to another iteration of Your Sunday Morning Liveblog. My name is Jason, and today, we are officially experiencing one of those famous "Dog Days Of Washington" where the air sticky with humidity and time seems to stand still. Are we still talking about health care reform? UGH WE ARE. Does the endless repetition and glacial movement make you want to just bury your head in a bucket of water? YES IT DOES. How much longer until your next vacation. BLEAH FIFTY WEEKS BLEAH. What you got going on today? Well, I thought I'd wake up, take a brisk shower, throw on a pot of coffee, a spot of apple juice, curl up in my favorite chair, spend a minute or two reflecting, and then, hmmm. What's on teevee? Oh look! FOX NEWS SUNDAY! That reminds me...let's see...just reach around to the back of chair...ahhh, there's the pull cord! Pull the pull cord, and then sit back and relax as the bag suspended over my chair opens, releasing twenty five ball peen hammers directly onto my head.

Now I'm in the correct frame of mind. As always, you may leave comments, send emails, and follow me on the Twitter Machine, why not? Let's get set for....

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Good lord. It looks like I'm going to need another bag of hammers to drop on my head, because the first guest is Jim Towey, another one of those Betsy McCaughey-like liars. They are like a hydra. In this case, Towey wrote an op-ed trying to convince America that the VA already has death panels. Which led Sarah Palin to Facebook about it, and here we are, because this is how assignment editing works, now. Anyway, the whole thing is ridiculous, but the combination of death panels being so hot right now and the need to cripple the VA, what with its government run health care, has led us to this point.

"We're going to do something different today," Wallace says. YES. LIE ABOUT SOMETHING. So different!

Towey says that the message of "Your Life, Your Choices" is that the book encourages people to think that their life isn't worth living and that it's author is "way out there on the issue of assisted suicide." SLIPPERY SLOPE THAT MAKES PEOPLE WANT TO COMMIT TEENAGE SUICIDE. Don't do it!

Towey says that the "fear Americans have is that when they are fragile and vulnerable and facing serious illness" that a discussion with doctors will be "biased and tilted" and in this case, it'll be BIG GOVERNMENT SUICIDE PANELS, with brochures about timeshares in Elysium, that will go on so long that people will naturally want to swallow poison. YES. This is exactly what Americans -- THE CRAZY ONES -- fear the most: CRAZY THINGS.

Why would the VA be promoting this document? Because the document says this:

That's how Big Suicide works, you know! Start by suggesting that life should be prolonged as long as possible and then wait for the sweet, sweet reverse psychology to kick in!

If that doesn't work, there's a worksheet, and it doesn't have boxes where everything is beautiful! And everyone knows that if you look into the cases of people who want to end their lives, ALL OF THEM WERE CONVINCED BY STUFF THEY WROTE ON WORKSHEETS. Worksheets are binding! Also Towey has a sad over the use of the word vegetable, because it's "demeaning." God, who's gone politically correct on us, now? Would you prefer "Flesh-husk-for-conducting-low-end-electrical-impulses-Americans?"

Anyway, Dr. Robert Pearlman! Have you heard of him? Well, if you've ever felt like life is too hard, he's probably come along to tell you to kill yourself! Towey says that veterans should not be given a book like that! Hmmm. What sort of book should they get? What sort of book, Mr. Towey? I'm guessing the answer is: A BOOK THAT THIS JACKASS WROTE AND WANTS TO SELL TO THE GOVERNMENT. From VetVoice:

In light of the absolutely ridiculous argument Towey makes in his op-ed, I'd like to point out something Towey isn't telling you. In 1996, Towey founded an organization known as "Aging with Dignity" which still exists today. The following year, Aging with Dignity released a document titled "Five Wishes". Five wishes is the same type of document as the VA's "Your Life, Your Choices", only 41 pages shorter and not legally sound as a living will in 10 states. That's right. All you need, according to Jim Towey, to make your end of life decisions is five questions and twelve pages, because wrestling over end of life shouldn't take up more than two minutes of your time. That is, if you are lucky enough to live in one of the 40 states in which it is acceptable.

Here is something else that Jim Towey isn't telling you: He wants to kill the "Your Life, Your Choices" pamphlet because he has been trying to sell his own "Five Questions" document to the VA for use in VHA medical centers:

In addition, Towey seems to have his own axe to grind. He has repeatedly tried to get the government to spend millions to purchase his "Five Wishes" book, which is published by Aging With Dignity, a non-profit group he founded, to distribute to veterans across the country, according to sources within the VA. Towey used his influence with the White House to get a meeting with VA officials, including then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. At one meeting, Towey was informed that the VA could not act on such an unsolicited proposal without violating federal procurement regulations, according to VA sources.

[...]

In 2007, after Towey complained that the so-called "death book," "Your Life, Your Choices - Planning for Future Medical Decisions," was biased against the right-to-life viewpoint, the VA convened an outside panel of experts to assess and update the booklet.

In his op-ed, Towey stated that this panel did not include any representatives of faith groups or disability rights advocates. In fact, according to the VA, the panel included a priest, a rabbi, a renowned disability rights advocate, and the president of the organization that produces "Five Wishes," the alternative advance care planning document that Towey is promoting and selling.

Anyway, this guy is a pathetic prevaricator and the people who greenlit his op-ed are psychopaths. The end.

Oh, but actually, no: Tammy Duckworth is here from the VA to talk about this. She points out that she had advance-end-of-life directives going into combat, and that any worksheet that vets can use to help them make decisions is okay by her. She also points out that veterans are free to come by their decisions using any booklet or worksheet or pamphlet that they'd like. They can even spend the $5 on Towey's book. Duckworth points out that the worksheet is a tool, and one that hasn't been used since 2007, when it was put back into revision. And despite Towey's claim that the revision has stemmed as damage control from his op-ed, it's actually been in revision "according to a timetable that was decided on in the [Bush] administration," and will be out in 2010.

Wallace says that that's not true, that "as of...last month, VA practitioners were told to refer to the document." Duckworth says, no, they were told to refer patients to any type of tool. She also points out that the VA is working to expand veteran care and add patients to the program, an incentive that basically runs counter to a massive, "Let's get these guys to kill themselves plan."

Wallace keeps working the point about the revision being on the website. Duckworth points out that literature that comes attached to federal grants remain in circulation, but that a disclaimer, pointing to the revision, has been in the beginning of the document since 2007. Duckworth maintains that the statement that Wallace keeps hanging on is not any type of directive. Wallace doesn't seem to understand that you cannot just take the document down because of Federal laws that require departments and agencies to make these documents available, if for no other purpose than research. It's amazing, because if the Obama administration just started pulling down documents, it would just violate all of those transparency promises.

This is just a basic example of Wallace, knowing that the laws are confusing enough so that most people don't understand them, using his knowledge to misinform people. But he'll stay on this fake story until he's wanked off enough gullible people to have made a difference.

Anyway, Arlen Specter and Paul Ryan are here to gripe over health care. Specter says he has big problems with the booklet, but that Duckworth argued her point well. That sort of document, he says, would not be any part of any health care plan. He says Towey's point of view on the worksheet is right, and that arrangements should be made under the law to suspend the regulations that require the VA document to run on its website. So, Wallace has successfully wanked off somebody, today!

Paul Ryan says, OMGZ BIG GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE TAKEOVER YAHHH.

Anyway, why does Specter think public support for health care is dropping? Specter says it's that misinformation. I say it's partially that, but it's also ebbing because it looks like Obama is shifting away from the public option, which is more popular than ever. Ryan, in insisting that approval is dropping because of socialism, is disconnected from the reality that it's popular. He also seems to think that a budget reconciliation vote would be a new sort of parliamentary tactic. This is sad and disturbing, to have a lawmaker like Ryan who doesn't know how laws are made. Here's what's equally sad. Via Matthew Yglesias, comes a bit of history:

When the Budget Act was enacted in 1974, reconciliation was envisioned as the final accounting at the end of the fiscal year containing spending cuts and tax increases to bring the budget deficit back to the level approved in the original budget resolution. The idea was to circumvent the normal impediments, like the Senate's filibusters and never ending amendments, to achieve deficit reduction. The first reconciliation bill at the end of 1980 fit that conception, as tiny as it was, but the next reconciliation bill, President Reagan's 1981 tax cut used reconciliation to enact the largest tax cut in U.S. history. Former GOP Congressman and OMB Director David Stockman's brain child, using reconciliation to expand the deficit with massive tax cuts to take away the federal government's credit card, worked like a charm legislatively, but spending took off anyway, particularly for defense, leaving record high peacetime deficits that persisted until 1997.

Paul Ryan thinks the bill that essentially touched off the "Reagan revolution" is a new parliamentary tactic? That's sad. He's so very ignorant.

Anyway, I hear all the time that important decisions need 70-80 Senate votes to be taken seriously. Why? I'm pretty much forced, under the Constitution, to take the ones that pass with 51 votes just as seriously. Laws aren't MORE BINDING because more people agree. If fifty elected Senators and a vice president want to do something, then they can do whatever they damn well please.

Ryan wants to pretend that "votes have consequences" and that people are concerned that the Democrats can pass all sorts of bills with the votes they have, and that we need to "slow down" health care. Of course, those voters voted in large numbers to get health care passed.

Arlen Specter offers what I'll call SPECTRAL support for the Public Option. This is about the best as you can get from him.

Tad Devine and Nicolle Wallace are on the panel today, in lieu of Mara Liasson and Brit Hume. They join Bill "Walking Death Panel Of Reason" Kristol and Juan "Has This Guy Actually Slipped Into A Coma" Williams.

Wallace says that the Obama administration has largely made the same mistakes the Bush administration made in trying to effect Social Security reform. Devine says that inadequate attention has been given to tracking the crushing, dinner-table costs of health care, and household debt. Kristol says that the GOP has done a good job objecting to the plan but that the public is failing the plan on the merits. "People don't want the plan." There's a truth to that: people don't want the plan, if it doesn't include a public option. Williams says this, but doesn't cite the most current numbers.

Wallace says the Obama is being weakened by Democrats opposition, which is true, but not because of the reasons she insists are true. Democrats feel that Obama's "knees are buckling" on the public option and are angry that he's apparently sold the store to PhRMA.

Devine's point is a good one: Obama needs to concentrate some attention on the fact that the INSURED are in a bad boat as well. Kristol disagrees, and thinks that Americans DON'T think the insurance system is broken.

Meanwhile, Tom Ridge and his recent terror alert declarations. Wallace says that Rumsfeld has denied all of this stuff, and that Ridge is laying allegations "in a wussy way." Devine says that "he wishes he could say this was shocked," and that Ridge is not "wussy." Kristol objects on the ground that ultimately, the alert level was not raised. Williams says that this is all about selling a book.

THIS WEEK

Okay, for some reason, George Stephanopoulos has traveled out to the Grand Canyon for another Sunday Morning Edition of "John McCain Is Gettin' All Wee-Wee'ed Up!" McCain, lifelong recipient of government health care (though admittedly, the Viet Cong's implementation of universal healthcare was pretty damned retrograde), is making his umpteenth appearance on a Sunday morning show, because both he and the Sunday Morning shows he goes on, are by and large all out of ideas.

Anyway, McCain is out at the Grand Canyon because he and SECINT Salazar and the Udalls are working to help national parks.

On Afghanistan, McCain says that General McChrystal is going to up the troop level, but tend toward a MOR mission that's not as robust as it could be. He worries that McChrystal will be pressured to keep troop levels low, but that this pressure is probably not coming from Obama. He's confident McChrystal will make the correct choice, I think...McCain isn't clear on what will govern the decision. His point about always choosing the medium risk is a good one. One takeaway I have from reading the COIN manual is that the strategy requires the Army and Marine Corps to assume greater risk in pursuit of more lasting, but more difficult to obtain, military goals. McCain thinks that Obama will hold on in Afghanistan.

What will need to happen in 12-18 months to get the American people back on board. "Reversals" on attacks, casualties, and area held by the Taliban. McCain thinks that the decision to leave should be dictated by events, but that Afghanistan cannot revert back to a terrorist safe haven.

McCain says it's "arguable" that the U.S. military in Iraq left the cities too early but that it was "important in General Odierno's eyes" to give Iraqis "what they wanted." Uhm: "what they wanted" was what was agreed to in the Status Of Forces Agreement, and we were bound to it by the Bush Administration. Only the Iraqis could revise it. It's great if Odierno thought it was a nice idea to go along with it, but he didn't have a choice.

McCain says that he told Qaddafi that it would be a "great mistake" to give the Lockerbie bomber a hero's welcome. He says that if Ahmadinejad would agree, like Libya has, to dismantle their nuclear program, he'd sit down and talk to him. BUT IS AHMADINEJAD THE LEGIT RULER OF IRAN? WHY DOES JOHN MCCAIN WANT TO GIVE CREDIBILITY TO THIS REGIME?

Anyway, on health care, he thinks that everyone should go back to the drawing board, and that he's on board with pre-existing conditions being eliminated. But he's against the public option. Of course, that makes health care reform even less popular. And once that critical competition is removed, private insurance companies, armed with a government-enforced individual mandate, will assess the costs of putting people with pre-existing conditions on their rolls and pass that costs right on to the premiums. It's a great recipe for enriching insurance companies, and one that will lead to high costs for consumers.

McCain wonders why the Democrats refused amendments that clarified that the "death panels" which were not death panels, were not death panels. Probably because it was ridiculous, redundant bullshit that would have forced them to admit to a falsehood: that there were death panels, when there weren't death panels. Anyway, the end-of-life matter was stripped from the bill.

GSteph wonders why McCain's votes have been so "partisan," but McCain rightly points out that he's supported the White House on Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was a big help to Obama and SECDEF Gates on defense budget reform. (Those efforts have not been wasted ones, by the way. And defense lobbyists are difficult to stand up to.)

McCain is determined to fix Social Security by ending earmarks, I think? Which would be an interesting vision, if there was any significant amount of money or waste tied up in earmarks. I think that one thing that still really annoys me about McCain is that he's one of these intellectually dishonest types that finds silly sounding parts of bills, that involve animals and crap, and without considering the merits, just mocks them. He's not as ridiculous as that idiot they have in Lousiana, Jindal, who is like, "Volcano monitoring? WHAT IS THIS WITCHCRAFT? WHAT IS THIS DEVILMENT? Trains that run on 'magnetic levitation?' OKAY, DUMBLEDORE, SHOW ME THIS LEVITATION." McCain is not this bad, but Jindal is because guys like McCain turn it into this sort of dumbassed game.

Anyway, McCain thinks climate change is real, which probably separates him from Jindal, who likely wants to break the Seventh Seal and begin the End Times.

PANEL TIME! With David Frum, George Will, Paul Krugman, and Robert Reich.

Will says that Olympia Snowe says that Americans are happy with what they have got, and that Obama is trying to get change, through being "shrill" and being like "elevator music." Again, this elides over the point that the American people want a public option. Reich thinks Obama could stand to be more shrill, and points out that when Americans say they are satisfied, it's with their doctors, not with insurance. But GSteph has a poll showing that Americans are fearful of what might happen. Krugman says, this proves the fearmongering is working, and that the system is "unraveling" and that Obama needs to do a better job pointing this out. Frum says that most Americans see the reform as benefitting "other people."

Reich is optimistic at the thought of consensus over pre-existing conditions and employer coverage. Will offers some comparison to fifty years ago that elides over the point that health care costs have not matched the efficiency and value of food, shelter, and energy costs. Krugman points out that costs are rising to the point that the incentives to provide even employer care are diminishing.

Why not give up the public option? Reich says it's a base issue. Krugman points out that the centrist Democrats have no "intellectual basis" to stand on in defaming the public option. Reich and Krugman want to paint the "public option" as "modest," which leads Frum to wonder why it can't be dispensed with, to which Reich replies it's "crucial." I'm not sure "modest, but crucial" are good talking points.

Krugman says the GOP is being hypocritical on "medical effectiveness," as reform is compared to extant programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Reich says that the GOP wants to have it both ways: the reform will be a terrible plan -- leading to, I guess, TERRIBLENESS -- or it will be an effective plan, leading to the GOP never being able to say that government run health care doesn't lead to TERRIBLENESS.

Frum then alleges that the U.S. Post Office has no control over it's competition, which is ludicrous. Can you imagine how much UPS and FedEx would charge you to send a letter if the U.S. Post Office went away tomorrow, leaving them as the primary option?

Reich makes a similar point on cost-control of pharmaceuticals. George Will says, "Do drugs cost too much? I don't know if they cost too much!" Sure, George, you don't even have to ponder your options when you go to the pharmacy. I can tell you, non-generic drugs are expensive. They can be pretty dear even when consumer cost is subsidized. I'd be going without important preventive medicines right now if I had to pay for them on my own. That's just a fact. If I was rolling with George Will's bankroll, the cost of say, Advair, wouldn't concern me at all.

Frum points out that most of the stimulus will be spent during the run up to the 2010 elections. Could you have passed a stimulus that wasn't primarily tied to getting people re-elected?

Meanwhile, Afghanistan. George Will cites "clear hold and build" as the strategy, and that's "nation building," and that the Marine Corps are not nation builders. Here's what the COIN manual says about "clear hold build."

"5-51: A clear-hold-build operation is executed in a specific, high-priority area experiencing overt insurgent operations. It has the following objectives:

--Create a secure physical and psychological environment
--Establish firm government control of the populace and area
--Gain the populace's support

Popular support can be measured in terms of local participation in [host nation] programs to counter the insurgency and whether people give counterinsurgents usable information about insurgent locations and abilities."

I think Will is misrepresenting the "build" component, to suggest costly, scary, "nation building," when all it really means is building a relationship with persuadable parties to create a bulwark against insurgents, thus supporting the already extant host nation institutions of governance.

Frum and Reich are, to differing extents, concerned about the Afghanistan mission. Reich about mission clarity, Frum about the departure of allies and ratio levels. Krugman says this isn't as scary to Americans as Vietnam, and so isn't as politically relevant. Will says that the same justification for Afghanistan should have us fighting in Yemen and Somalia.

Speaking of summer in Mogadishu, it's time now for...

MEET THE PRESS

Hilariously, I've received two emails today of a sort that's never happened before. People are writing, worried that they do not have "access" to the liveblog. But what's clear is that they are complaining about having access to unpublished portions, not the published portions. So, I'll make this clear:

NOTE: You will not ever have access to writings that have not been written yet, until such time as technology gets to the point where I can publish things I've not yet written. Until then, the normal rules of time and space shall unfortunately, continue to apply to this liveblog and your daily, personal lives. I am told that an addiction to certain pharmaceuticals can create the illusion that these rules have been suspended, but it is not recommended you take such medications, unless, of course, you have brought enough for the whole family.

Now, as I pause to start writing stuff about MEET THE PRESS, note you will have to actually wait for me to write stuff for you to read it. Again, I am sorry for this, this alternate worldview sounds interesting, but impossible.

We start with Admiral Mike Mullen and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, on Afghanistan. A thin majority of people say that the war isn't fighting. Mullen says he is aware of the "criticality" of public support, but that he has a mission and that he's "moving in that direction." Will more troops be requested? Mullen says McChrystal's assessment is due in two weeks, and then resources will be dealt with then. Will it include specific troop requests? Mullen says no. What about the fear that skepticism will greet any indication that troop levels need to go up. Mullen says that everyone will work hard to get it right.

Eikenberry is asked about the recent Afghanistan election. He tells Gregory that the election was HISTORIC and SPECIAL, so YAY. Also, it's important. IT'S NOT LIKE THOSE UNIMPORTANT ELECTIONS, YOU HAVE HEARD OF.

But what about the Taliban? They're going nuts up in that piece! Eikenberry says there's great excitement for Afghans to regain control of their country, and the process was so civil and nice, as long as you don't count, you know, the Taliban.

War of necessity? War of choice? War of the clones? Are we fulfilling the central mission, of defeating al Qaeda? MULLEN: We are in a war, and it is against al Qaeda. It's the mission. We are focusing on it. "To a certain degree," Mullen says, there is nation building. The American people have "signed up" for defeating al Qaeda, and the restoration of institutions that "underpin" society is a critical part of that.

So more troops? Mullen says that there is a coming upgrade in civilian resources. "In certain ways, we are starting anew." Mullen says, "I do not see this as a mission of endless drift...we have to focus on the Afghan people." Eikenberry is asked how long will it take to succeed in Afghanistan. Eikenberry says that Afghanistan needs security forces, reasonable services, and it's a multi-year strategy. He's certain that bencharks will reveal themselves.

Gregory wants to split the difference between "progress" and "victory" but Mullen does not accept the premise that the two are mutually exclusive.

NOTE: My laptop seems to be struggling with the letter "m" right now, so I am going to reboot.

Okay. That seems to have done the trick. Mmmmmm, cookies are delicious! Remember that Crash Test Dummies, song, "MMMM MMMM MMMM MMMM?" Hey, kids! Let's Dial "M" for Murder, via fictional death panels! Okay. M seems to be all clear.

Hmmm. Chuck Schumer and Orrin Hatch. Schumer favors a public option! I'm guessing Hatch doesn't. There's you surprising health care news, kids! You can probably all go home, now, right? Schumer makes the case. Gregory says that "liberals" are mad that Obama could cave on the public option, but since the public option is so popular, it'd be more accurate to say that mainstream America is expressing disappointment. Gregory asks Schumer to account for Obama's shifting positions, and Schumer avers that in private conversations, Obama has not backed away, and that he believes it will pass. Of course, he also feels, like most of this city's simps, that a "bipartisan" bill would be better. Why? For what policy reason? Schumer either doesn't know or won't say.

Hatch of course, hates it, and says that it will lead to apocalyptic costs. He goes on to protest that everyone agrees that the insurance industry needs reform, which isn't really believably. Gregory and Hatch get hung up on the difference between "tens of millions" and "ten million." It's all frightfully interesting. Hatch does take a shot at Romney care, though! That'll be awkward in 2012!

Schumer says that ALL COSTS are trending toward apocalypse. He says that there's no mandate for the public option, and that it'll be a choice, that can be chosen, like you can choose a public or a private university.

What about co-ops? Is that what Schumer is saying can get 60 votes? Schumer doesn't seem to support the idea of co-ops, though his answer is all over the map.

Gregory asks Hatch how this would have gone down if Ted Kennedy was able to help out. Hatch says that the two of them would have had a conversation and worked it out, and then basically offers up a lot of pretense, suggesting that Kennedy would have shared his own concerns.

CLASSIC GREGORY: "Before let you answer on the substance, I want to ask you a tactical question." LE SIGH.

Schumer says they are considering alternatives to bypassing the bipartisanship, it includes the reconciliation process.

Hatch is asked if the GOP just wants to ding up Obama politically. Hatch says no, that's not been the approach, but that the GOP is acting to prevent a single-payer health care system from happening. Of course, I WISH that was the case. Hatch says using reconciliation would be an abuse of the process. That means the "Reagan revolution" was enacted through an abuse of the process.

What about the return of the Lockerbie bomber to Libya? Schumer says he was "horrified" at the hero's welcome, and that the whole matter was a disgrace. He'd also like to determine whether there was an illicit deal between Libya and the U.K.

Paneling! With Tavis Smiley and Joe Scarborough. Scarborough says that the GOP are irrelevant to the health care discussion and that Obama needs to pick fights with his own party. Tavis Smiley says "the rhetoric of reform" does not trump public policy. The two panelists fall out whether or not Obama's truly reached out. JoeScar says he hasn't done it sufficiently, and Tavis thinks he just should have put his plan "out in front." JoeScar maintains that the problem is not with winning over Orrin Hatch, but win over Claire McCaskills and Evan Bayhs. There's a lot of truth to that, frankly.

At the same time, it's true that Obama's TRIED to reach out. Maxine Waters, as presented as an example, is right about that. She's also right that it's tried to move on. Tavis says that a good faith effort was made, Scarborough disagrees. We are stuck in a redundant loop, now.

This is pretty hilarious. Smiley and Scarborough essentially agree, but the requirement of their left-right roles on teevee, require them to fall into dispute on some point, and so they're going at each other over the most stupid point in the debate.

What about all the YELLING AND THE GUNS. Smiley says there's just a portion of people that won't accept a Democratic administration under any circumstances, and that it's essentially irrational "hate." Scarborough says that lots of Americans have legit concerns over the size and role of government, but that only an insane portion carry guns and behave "disgusting." He goes on to suggest that "leaders in both parties, Democrats and Republicans" need to speak out over hate speech and guns at rallies. Ha! Well, where the Democratic "leaders" are concerned, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, right? Your move, GOP!

Scarborough admirably points out that the gun-toting weirdies make the cause of Second Amendment proponents harder, and the job of the Secret Service more difficult as well.

What's the "way forward?" JoeScar says that he needs to bring the reluctant Democrats together and pulls them into an agreement. Smiley says he needs to be bold, and stop wobbling.

Yargh. We'll be back next week to have the same discussion, I imagine! In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great week. Those of you who have difficulty with the space time continuum should note that after this point, you will not have internet access to my non-existent writings. TA TA FOR NOW!