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But they will be back: “Senate efforts to compromise on a watered-down version of the Employee Free Choice Act have been put firmly on the chamber’s back burner — perhaps for the rest of the year — as senators, aides and lobbyists focus on health care and other legislation, participants said.”

I think Jonah Goldberg has it only half right when he says, “Socialized medicine needs Obama to be popular in order to pass, and socialized medicine is making Obama unpopular.” Actually, there isn’t much evidence that Obama is adept at selling socialized medicine.

And it’s almost like they don’t want to be seen with him: “Perhaps he’d rather they be working? No members of Congress will be joining POTUS at his health care events in North Carolina and Virginia today, a WH aide said.”

Chuck Todd unloads on Glenn Beck and a bunch of other people: “It’s getting nuts that the folks who are creating the perception of an ideological/polarized media world are people who have never really spent their lives being journalists. Whether it’s former political consultants-turned-TV execs or former radio DJs, or former California socialites, the folks helping to accelerate the public’s perception of the media off a cliff made their livings trying to do other things.” Sort of like a loudmouth ex-sportscaster who’s become a raving lunatic on a netroot cable-news network, huh?

Nathan Diament explains why a settlement freeze in East Jerusalem will never be enough. After all, giving the Palestinians their own state and 95 percent+ of the West Bank wasn’t enough.

I share Jeffrey Goldberg’s desire not to make Israel a “pariah” state, which is why we should object to Obama’s efforts to make Israeli settlements the “key” to unlocking peace. (The unilateral Israeli withdrawals from Gaza and Sinai and the multiple offers to give Palestinians their own state suggest it’s not all, or even primarily, about the settlements.) To his credit and more indicative of his fact-based analysis, Goldberg does acknowledge that Obama’s approach is not appreciated in Israel, where “disturbing” poll numbers show that they know hostility when they see it.

Think this will make Obama’s next Middle East speech? “A Gaza man is being held on suspicion he bludgeoned his daughter with an iron chain, cracking her skull in a particularly brutal family ‘honor killing,’ two human rights groups said Wednesday, citing police and forensics reports. The groups’ reports said that the assault was triggered by Jawdat Najjar’s discovery that his daughter Fadia — a 27-year-old divorced mother of five — owned a cell phone. He suspected she used it to speak to a man outside the family, according to the groups’ reports.”

Not good: “The U.S. Treasury sold $39 billion in five-year debt Wednesday in an auction that drew poor demand, raising worries over the cost of financing the government’s burgeoning budget deficit. It was the second lackluster showing in as many days, convincing analysts that the stellar results of debt auctions just a few weeks ago were a fluke and that Thursday’s $28 billion seven-year offering could suffer a similar fate. Under the weight of the ballooning deficit, the government has raised auction volumes and analysts now wonder whether the strain on the market is showing.”

Karl Rove makes the case that the vast majority of people with health insurance are satisfied with it. “Of those who do not have insurance — and who therefore might be better off — approximately one-fifth are illegal aliens, nearly three-fifths make $50,000 or more a year and can afford insurance, and just under a third are probably eligible for Medicaid or other government programs already. For the slice of the uninsured that is left — perhaps about 2% of all American citizens — Team Obama would dismantle the world’s greatest health-care system. That’s a losing proposition, which is why Mr. Obama is increasingly resorting to fear and misleading claims. It’s all the candidate of hope has left.”



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