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Check out this new cover from National Review:

This is as strong an argument as any other that's been made against the public option: That Obama will be personally telling you to turn your head and cough, then sticking his finger where the sun don't shine.

Late Update: Some people have raised the matter of a recent Economist cover:

While these covers might seem similar, they really aren't the same in the ways that matter. There's a big difference between the universal fear of big needles, as compared to an index finger pointed in the air...from underneath a latex glove.

Sarah Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein (the one who threatened to sue several news organizations for allegedly defaming his client) just spoke with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. Mitchell asked him if Palin was upset that critics called her speech "rambling."

Well, I don't think she's upset. What I think is, she sees it as the standard criticism that she receives....She's actually very articulate. I didn't find her speech rambling at all. She laid out exactly the reasons she had for stepping down and it was really a form of self-sacrifice. She has become the issue. The state of Alaska has been spending money on public records requests, defending or investigating ethics acts with the personnel board.

So, the official word from the Palin camp remains that she's taking one for the team, stepping aside so Alaskan taxpayers can save some cash.

Van Flein also denied rumors that she's leaving office for the money she could make on, say, a speaking tour. She has different plans, he said.

"She's taking the battle on a different battlefield...She's gonna help conservative candidates that she supports for the 2010 elections," he said.

Here's yet another example of how Republicans across the country are becoming just a little unbalanced over the victory of Sen.-elect Al Franken.

Last week, soon after Franken's win became official, Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson put up a blog post that included a curious photo of Franken in an adult diaper, wearing bunny ears and holding a teddy bear. Bronson suggested Republicans use this photo for an ad, with the heading: "Is this who you want making decisions about your health care?"

The thing is, though, the photo is a fake. It was doctored up by the Ohio Republican Party back in 2006, in an attempt to attack Democrat Sherrod Brown for campaigning with Franken in Brown's Senate race, using Franken's face from a 2004 AP file photo of him at his radio show desk. And the Enquirer itself reported this at the time. In an indication of just how successful the attack was, Brown easily won the race.

Funny thing: The title of Bronson's blog is "Bronson is Always Right." I'll also say that I have something in common with Republicans, in that I kind of wish this photo were real -- but probably for a much different reason than they do.

Late Update:: The Enquirer has now replaced the photo, with a pic of Franken in the role of Stuart Smalley. "Note: This picture replaces an earlier one that was photoshopped (Franken in a diaper)," the editorial note says. "We don't knowingly use false pictures."

Late Late Update: The Enquirer now appears to have taken the whole post down -- the link above resolves to the main page of Bronson's blog. Bronson -- who is always right, of course -- has put up a new blog post (for now) admitting that the diaper photo isn't real, and explaining that he replaced it with a Stuart Smalley pic. This new post, in which he admits his own error, is entitled "Changing Al Franken's diaper."

A few minutes after she made a cryptic, babbling announcement about her impending resignation, Sarah Palin posted this on her Twitter account:

We'll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election... this is in Alaska's best interest, my family's happy... it is good, stay tuned

It is good. For those of us who read her timing as an attempt to fly somewhat under the radar, it was a pleasant surprise to find the soon-to-be-former governor tweeting throughout the weekend.

She started out with the basics:

Check out Lt. Gov. Parnell's response re: my announcement today @

You can read the text of my announcement today @ and watch the video @

She later ranged from simple indignance:

Unfortunately fake "Gov Sarah Palin" twitter sites r doing their thing today:unscrupulous, untrue- so sorry if u recv false info @ fake site

To unreadable indignance:

Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again....

To, finally, feeding the same media she is so often victimized by:

To see full text of the letter from my attorney on baseless allegations of past 24hrs check

Trying to keep up w/getting truth to u, like proof there's no "FBI scandal", here's link Thanks, AK!

Attached is my "thank you" sent yesterday to express gratitude, & smack down lies at same time

Before getting back to fish talk:

Grateful Todd left fishing grnds to join me this wkend; but now he's back slaying salmon & working the kids @ the site; anxious to join 'em!

Palin's been tweeting up a storm since the announcement, of course, but she was a somewhat prolific Twitterer before then. Much of it is dry, announcing bill signings and Alaska-related Supreme Court decisions and other gubernatorial events.

But there are still flashes of anger. These were posted within four minutes of each other:

Is it ok to hack emails? Go thru someone's mail & broadcast what you stole? Nope, not ok to most Americans.TN proceedings tomorrow to decide

TN proceedings begin tomorrow re: democrat lawmaker's son's hacking my & my family's personal, private email then broadcasting them on net.

She's talking about the University of Tennessee student who guessed the answers to the security questions on her Yahoo email account during the election. The student, David C. Kernell, eventually only posted her new password, and not any actual emails.

Palin even hopped on the EPA memo suppression train:

Suppressed EPA memos may help explain why r position on climate change & polar bear population became controversial/misunderstood. Read 'em

And here's some more of her trademark frustration with the news media:

[Rural Adviser] John [Moller] also met w/CNN reporter while in Emmonak & shared welcomed GOOD NEWS of a result, highly unlikely interview will air:)

She quotes Ronald Reagan:

Why U.S. peace missions for freedom? "America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world." Ronald Reagan

More Reagan "Freedom's never more than 1 generation away from extinction We didn't pass it to children in bloodstream it must be fought for"

Protects her children from the spotlight:

Perfectly beautiful babies like Trig, & countless others like him, add a special quality to our world. Here's Trig:

And even congratulates a new colleague, just two days before announcing her resignation:

Congratulations to Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan as he is sworn in today! I look forward to working with him.

In this maelstrom of speculation and rumor, one thing seems certain: Sarah Palin tweets herself. That, and she'll soon need to change her Twitter handle -- AKGovSarahPalin just won't apply after July 26.

File this away under house keeping and/or leading indicators. After bidding farewell to his boss earlier this year, a one-time spokesman for Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) has returned--as spokesman for Sestak's political campaign.

Joe Langdon departed from his position as Sestak's communications director in May, about two weeks before we revealed that Sestak was raising money from supporters in advance of a run for Senate. Now, he confirms, he's back with the Admiral--this time working for Sestak's political campaign, "Sestak for Congress."

The news comes as Sestak continues a three-week long marathon tour across Pennsylvania.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just held a joint media appearance with Sen.-elect Al Franken (D-MN), with each of them giving a short statement, and possibly both seeking to counter the expectation that the former comedian will be a goofy politician -- Reid did so by citing the words of a Republican former Congressman, and Franken by simply being a serious, straightforward incoming Senator:

"I'm very happy to welcome to our Capitol, Sen-elect Al Franken. He ran a very hard-fought race and that's an understatement," said Reid. "I was talking to Al a few minutes ago and told him about my hectic race that took six weeks before the results were in. His took eight months."

Franken quite naturally smiled and let out a slight laugh during this discussion of a hectic race that took a whole six weeks to decide.

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Last week, Politico reported that the Washington Post had planned to put on an exclusive off-the-record "salon" at the home of its publisher, where corporate lobbyists would pay as much as $250,000 to gain access to Post reporters and editors, as well as Obama administration officials and members of Congress. The news provoked an outcry in DC journalism circles -- the Post's own ombudsman called it "pretty close to a public relations disaster" -- and the the event was quickly canceled.

But the notion that the Post's gambit represents some sort of new and uniquely outrageous collapsing of the wall between the editorial and business sides of a news publication is badly off the mark. In fact, it would be closer to the truth to say that the paper got caught pushing the envelope on a money-making and influence-building strategy that other outlets had been quietly deploying for years.

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Thousands of right-wing activists across this country rang in the Independence Day holiday with yet another round of tea-party protests against President Obama, inadvertently highlighting an interesting divide in the Republican Party. On the one hand are the hard-line activists who attend these things, versus the more mainstream politicians who want to win elections and are looking for their votes -- and are running into all manner of conflicts as a result, or finding themselves taking on some rather interesting policy stances along the way.

Most notably, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, was booed at the event in Austin -- on the grounds that he's part of the problem in Washington, having voted for the Wall St. bailout last fall. "I'm not part of Washington," Cornyn said in his own defense. "I happen to work there, but on behalf of Texas, and I can vote 'no' on these reckless spending bills, on the refusal to cut taxes."

Gov. Rick Perry -- who famously seemed to raise the specter of Texas seceding from the union during the April Tax Day protests -- was also booed at the same Austin event as Cornyn. Attendees saw him as yet another tax-hiking tyrant, because he supports toll roads in order to relieve traffic congestion.

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Robert S. McNamara, pictured here at Fort Bragg in 1961, served as defense secretary under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. The Vietnam War was known to many as "McNamara's War."

Cecil Stoughton, White House photographer via Wikimedia

McNamara at his desk in the Pentagon. President Kennedy recruited him as secretary of defense after just a month as president of Ford Motor Co. He was the longest-serving secretary of defense, staying in that role for seven years.

MSGT Frank Hall/ Rapport

Kennedy and McNamara in the Cabinet Room in 1962.

Cecil Stoughton, White House photographer via Wikimedia

McNamara and General William Westmoreland speaking with a general about the Vietnam War in 1965. Although initially proud of his association with the war, he expressed regret in his 1995 memoirs.

Dept. of Defense via Wikimedia

Secretary of State Dean Rusk (left), President Johnson and McNamara at a Cabinet meeting in 1968. "He's like a jackhammer," President Johnson said, as quoted by the New York Times. "No human being can take what he takes. He drives too hard. He is too perfect."

White House via Wikimedia

By the mid 1960s, McNamara was having doubts about whether the war was winnable. But he didn't publicly acknowledge these doubts until his 1995 memoirs, in which he called his own conduct "wrong, terribly wrong."

White House via Wikimedia

McNamara speaks at a 2005 event for the WMD Awareness Programme, an organization that opposes nuclear weapons. "My sense of the war gradually shifted from concern to skepticism to frustration to anguish," he wrote in his book. "I had always been confident that every problem could be solved, but now I found myself confronting one -- involving national pride and human life -- that could not."


At least two of the key senators writing health care reform legislation seem to think a pre-August recess deadline for passing a bill in the Senate is too ambitious. Speaking on Face the Nation on Sunday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said a completed Senate bill might have to wait until September. "If we can reach a compromise, we can get this done by Aug. 8 or at least get it out of committee by Aug. 8," Grassley said.

Likewise, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)--who has taken the lead on health care reform efforts in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, doesn't sound terribly optimistic. According to Roll Call, Dodd "signaled late last week that Democratic leaders do not expect a bill to clear the Senate in the next five weeks." Instead, Dodd thinks a more realistic goal is to merge the HELP and Finance committee bills before recess and debate the bill on the floor after Labor Day--a process that, if all goes smoothly, may still take two weeks.

All of which calls into doubt whether a final bill will reach President Obama's desk by mid-October, as he's requested.