TheDC Morning: Chuck Schumer’s man-crush is out of control

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Chuck Schumer hell-bent on ‘turning’ John Boehner — Schumer may not be trying to destroy Boehner’s credibility by suggesting that he yearns to make a handful of cuts and call it a day, but doesn’t it seem like he is? “The Speaker has said all along that he wants to avoid a shutdown at all costs, and I believe him. He is a good man. The problem is, a large percentage of those in his party don’t feel the same way,” Sen. Chuck Schumer writes in The Hill. “They think ‘compromise’ is a dirty word. They think taking any steps to avert a shutdown would mean being the first to blink.” Weird, right? It gets weirder: “It’s clear that there is no path to compromise that goes through the Tea Party. We urge Speaker Boehner to push ahead without them. We are ready to work with him if he is willing to buck the extreme element of his party.” It’s almost like Chuck Schumer wants people to think that Boehner is just dying to burst out of the austerity closet, throw on a feather boa, and spend, spend, spend!

2.) When Georgia Tea Party says, ‘Jump,’ Gov jumps — “A last-minute tea party protest prompted Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday to shelve legislation that would have planned for a Georgia health insurance exchange,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The legislation enjoyed wide support until phone calls started rolling in this week from tea partyers. Deal said Wednesday that he would put the legislation on hold and instead create an advisory committee to study the state’s options for an exchange.” In a statement, Deal wrote that if Georgia “must have an insurance exchange under federal law, the governor wants to ensure that our exchange is established and run by Georgians.” Local Tea Party leader Debbie Dooley, who helped organize the protest, says that this is not winning. “You don’t win battles by waving the white flag with one hand and continuing to fight with the other hand.”

3.) FEMA administrators still not ready to manage any emergencies — “The Federal Emergency Management Agency ‘is in a constant state of flux’ and needs to better coordinate disaster preparedness efforts with state and local governments, a government watchdog will report Thursday,” reports WaPo. “The agency, responsible for coordinating the government’s emergency response plans, also needs more experienced personnel to deal with a growing workload as state and local governments trim emergency management budgets and should upgrade its computer systems, according to a report by Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Richard L. Skinner.” Currently, the agency’s top priority is “gaming out” disaster scenarios, but even that is going sort of badly after Las Vegas business leaders asked Pres. Obama not to test a nuclear bomb scenario in their city. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano also hates the games, which she says are “a costly distraction that causes ‘exercise fatigue’ among officials who should prepare instead for surprise scenarios.”

4.) California State University chancellor encourages government to fix education by giving more money to the CSU system — “We cannot continue to assume that students and parents can make rational college choices in the higher education market place when they are overwhelmed by the media’s siren song, which manifests itself in massive marketing efforts to lure students to educationally suspect colleges and universities,” writes Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the California State University System. Reed is actually sort of right about this: Most of what we believe about higher education is wrong. But Reed has little interest in clearing things up. His idea for fixing the system works like this: Give fewer subsidies to posh private schools “that only manage to enroll 8 or 9 percent lower-income students despite having multibillion-dollar endowments.” Instead, give that money to “those students and institutions that are much more committed to college access.” Unless, of course, those institutions are for-profit colleges. So, basically, all subsidies should go to universities that closely resemble those in the California State University System. Problem solved!

5.) Is Miami a sign of things to come? — “Tuesday’s stunning recall of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez may well be a harbinger of things to come,’ writes TheDC’s Matt Lewis. “More people voted in the recall election than in the general election, and I’m told by a reliable source that the unions did everything they could to help Alvarez — and that Alvarez’s campaign even narrowly outspent the recall effort.” Despite all that, Alvarez, who “gave big pay raises to his staff,” was ousted by a crystal-clear margin of 88%. Keep in mind, Miami is not a GOP paradise.

6.) Privacy is a nuisance, says former DHS official — Critics of the TSA’s scanning equipment are “making a privacy mountain out of a molehill,” former DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy Stewart Baker said at a hearing on Wednesday. “If we had listened to privacy advocates, we would have no machines deployed” that could stop the kind of bomb used by the Christmas Day bomber, Baker argued during a House subcommittee’s hearing on the efficacy of TSA screening procedures. “It’s the result of privacy lobbying. It’s counterproductive.” Baker also unloaded on privacy advocacy groups who testified at the hearing. “Some of the same groups and people who campaigned against letting TSA use travel data to distinguish among passengers are here today criticizing the TSA for treating everyone with an equal degree of suspicion.”

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