History Lesson: “Ronald Reagan’s Benghazi”

Jane Meyer, in the New Yorker:

Around dawn on October 23, 1983, I was in Beirut, Lebanon, when a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with the equivalent of twenty-one thousand pounds of TNT into the heart of a U.S. Marine compound, killing two hundred and forty-one servicemen. The U.S. military command, which regarded the Marines’ presence as a non-combative, “peace-keeping mission,” had left a vehicle gate wide open, and ordered the sentries to keep their weapons unloaded. The only real resistance the suicide bomber had encountered was a scrim of concertina wire. When I arrived on the scene a short while later to report on it for the Wall Street Journal, the Marine barracks were flattened. From beneath the dusty, smoking slabs of collapsed concrete, piteous American voices could be heard, begging for help. Thirteen more American servicemen later died from injuries, making it the single deadliest attack on American Marines since the Battle of Iwo Jima…

There were more than enough opportunities to lay blame for the horrific losses at high U.S. officials’ feet. But unlike today’s Congress, congressmen did not talk of impeaching Ronald Reagan, who was then President, nor were any subpoenas sent to cabinet members. This was true even though then, as now, the opposition party controlled the majority in the House. Tip O’Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House, was no pushover. He, like today’s opposition leaders in the House, demanded an investigation—but a real one, and only one. Instead of playing it for political points, a House committee undertook a serious investigation into what went wrong at the barracks in Beirut. Two months later, it issued a report finding “very serious errors in judgment” by officers on the ground, as well as responsibility up through the military chain of command, and called for better security measures against terrorism in U.S. government installations throughout the world.

In other words, Congress actually undertook a useful investigation and made helpful recommendations…

Go read the whole thing, it’s not long. And next time someone you can’t unfriend yawks about BenghazAIIIIEEEEE!!!! on the social networks, remember: Sharing is Caring.

142 replies
  1. 1
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I really think that most ordinary people don’t care that much about Banghazi, although they may feel sympathy for the survivors.

    I think what the Republicans are doing is nothing more than satisfying themselves.

    [Let’s see if this gets through.]

    ETA: Hey, it did!

  2. 2
    Betty Cracker says:

    Thank you for that timely reminder.

  3. 3
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    The Rs seem to be incapable of doing something that’s not just symbolic. It’s like they don’t understand the difference.

  4. 4
    Schlemizel says:

    @Linda Featheringill:
    There is a fatigue factor and you can see it in how the Clinton years are now talked about. “Yeah the economy was good and we didn’t have any wars and the nation was doing really well but all those scandals, it was really a sleazy administration. It makes good people think dumb thoughts & get fed up with the whole process because they are not actually paying attention.

    This is the opening salvo against the HRC White House

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    Republicans don’t care about people or governing, only power and money and controlling vaginas.

    Even Chris Matthews understands this.

  6. 6
    danimal says:

    I hope the hearings produce a deeper understanding of American diplomacy, security procedures and the associated dangers from terrorists/militants in dangerous areas of the world. I hope the hearings are substantive, with plenty of opportunity for dialogue and common understanding. I hope the wise congressmen and women will reason together in a bipartisan fashion, eschewing sound bites and feigned outrage.

    I further hope that the tooth fairy, easter bunny and santa claus provide me with cash, food and expensive gifts throughout the year. I think this hope is slightly more realistic than the one in the previous paragraph.

    BENGHAZI!!!

  7. 7
    dubo says:

    Let’s not forget that Steely-Eyed Reagan’s strong, manly response to that attack, to show the world that We Mean Business, was….. nothing.

  8. 8
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Today’s Republicans can’t point to any achievements of their own so they’re compelled to tear down people who have achieved something.

  9. 9
    Calouste says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Now, now. Most Republicans have achieved being born to the right parents.

  10. 10

    Democrats care about the government and its processes functioning. Republicans are locked in a desperate battle for survival against the brown horde that no amount of sane policy has stopped.

  11. 11
    BGinCHI says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: You know the other Dude who “failed to achieve,” right?

    “Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?”

  12. 12
    mdblanche says:

    I would like to thank the news media for smothering any coverage of the Democrats’ push last week to raise the minimum wage while eagerly throwing in with the GOP to ring us Benghazi XXII: Nuking the Fridge-aloo. It was a very helpful clarifying moment in which the news media were kind enough to let us know beyond any doubt which side they’re on. Everyone can now plan accordingly.

  13. 13
    catclub says:

    @dubo: “was….. nothing. ”

    Well wasn’t it actually complete withdrawal from the area? I bet the Naval bombardments of the
    Hezbollah(?) ( which were listed as one of the proximate causes) areas stopped, too.

  14. 14
    yam says:

    @BGinCHI: Aww, fuck it, man.

  15. 15
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Schlemizel: Yep. Bolton basically said that. Grill HRC for hours and hours. Bascially exhaust her or get her to lose her temper on camera even if they can’t find anything new. That and remind the public that if they vote for her, they aren’t going to work with her either.

    Fuck em.

  16. 16
    BGinCHI says:

    @Suffern ACE: Wait until the GOP really starts on the misogyny with Hilary in the driver’s seat for 2016. Only the most self-loathing of women will vote against her.

    It’s going to be disgustingly epic.

    Which white GOP dudes in the Senate are up for reelection in 2016? Toast.

    ETA: Note redundancies in final sentence.

  17. 17
    Botsplainer says:

    Arms wide, Darmok and Gilaad.

    At Benghazi.

  18. 18
    Hungry Joe says:

    @catclub: As I recall — and I could be mistaken — Reagan’s response was to have a battleship (or two?) lob some heavy-duty boom-boom at suspected Hezbollah strongholds for a few days, say something along the lines of “This is what you get when you mess with America,” and claim, if not victory, at least “Gotcha last!”

    Which was apparently plenty; I don’t believe he paid much of a political price, if any. He was, after all, a man who could make one of his eyes twinkle. At will. It was the damnedest thing. I think it got him elected.

  19. 19
    Hungry Joe says:

    @BGinCHI: Redundancies in “Toast”?

    Sorry …

  20. 20
    Botsplainer says:

    The funny part of the Benghazi bit is that all the twisting and turning is being done to deflect criticism off that genyoowine authentic ‘Murkan racist halfwit pastor (and exemplar of the finest American Fundivangelical shitheelery) Terry Jones.

    I shudder to think of the defense that Bull Conner would have gotten had the Internet and Fox News been around in his day.

  21. 21
    kindness says:

    Man, have you read the comments over at that New Yorker article? The righties…they are mutantly stupid. They are dogs with a chew toy and only know they are supposed to chew.

    I am greatly saddened.

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    @kindness: At least a dog knows better than to shit where it eats.

  23. 23
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    As I recall — and I could be mistaken — Reagan’s response was to have a battleship (or two?) lob some heavy-duty boom-boom at suspected Hezbollah strongholds for a few days…

    You are correct. The USS New Jersey fired more than 200 16 inch rounds during a series of nearly continuous bombardments. There were also airstrikes by aircraft launched from two US carriers offshore.

  24. 24
    kindness says:

    @Botsplainer: Sweet Picard reference.

  25. 25
    mdblanche says:

    @Botsplainer: Benghazi, when the walls fell.

  26. 26
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I’d bet the ranch that the Republicans would be raising the same amount of stink even if only one American was killed, or even wounded, at Benghazi.

  27. 27
    Botsplainer says:

    Twas Benghazi, and ye slythy toves
    Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
    All mimsy were ye Islamofascist terrorists;
    And ye librul excusemakers outgrabe.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    Yeah, Reagan’s righteous expression of wrath was to bug out of Lebanon and invade the island of Grenada, defended by a couple dozen Cuban construction workers. Of course most Americans had no idea where it even was.

  29. 29
    BGinCHI says:

    @Botsplainer: Their vorpal penises went snickersnack.

  30. 30
    Eric U. says:

    @dubo: not really, 2 days later they invaded Grenada

    Just imagine if Obama had done something like that, we would never hear the end of it. Oh, wait….

  31. 31
    Citizen_X says:

    @mdblanche: Issa, with his dealership burning.

  32. 32
    Roger Moore says:

    @dubo:

    Let’s not forget that Steely-Eyed Reagan’s strong, manly response to that attack, to show the world that We Mean Business, was….. nothing.

    Not true. We got the hell out of there. Not that this was necessarily a bad idea- we weren’t accomplishing much in Beirut besides providing terrorists with a convenient target- but it sure wasn’t the bold, manly action today’s Republicans always associate with St. Ronnie.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Noisemax provides inadvertent comedy:

    Ted Nugent: Benghazi Debacle Defies Logic

    Yes, the entire GOP obsession with it does indeed defy logic.

  34. 34
    muddy says:

    @Roger Moore: Brave, brave, Sir Ronnie!

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Hungry Joe: I’m picturing Bluto Blutarsky handing the charming singing guy his smashed guitar back here.

  36. 36
    Trollhattan says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    You betcha. They’d probably prefer it, since it would make for simpler, more-personal talking points.

    “Justice for Ambassador Schiavo!”

    And, scene.

  37. 37
    Botsplainer says:

    Oh freddled Benghazi
    Thy micturitions are to me,
    As Kenyan gabbleblotchits,
    On a lurgid bee,
    That anticolonial leftists hath blurted out,
    Its earted jurtles,
    Into a rancid festering confectious islamofascist squealer. [drowned out by moaning and screaming]

  38. 38
    BGinCHI says:

    Who wants odds the Benghazi Select Committee (now with more assholes!) will subpoena Monica Lewinsky?

    She might have intel.

  39. 39
    Xantar says:

    Holy shit. The Beirut bomb was 21 thousand pounds of TNT equivalent? Isn’t that about an order of magnitude bigger than Timothy McVeigh’s bomb?

  40. 40
    Botsplainer says:

    Nimrods on CNBC are spazzing over today’s black swan event.

  41. 41
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Who wants odds the Benghazi Select Committee (now with more assholes!) will subpoena Monica Lewinsky?

    I’m betting on them having hero and patriot Ollie North testify.

  42. 42
    Botsplainer says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    That’s Hero-Patriot Ollie North, please.

  43. 43
    Baud says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    As long as he didn’t use drones, it’s all good.

  44. 44
    D58826 says:

    @dubo: Actually a month or so later the Marines redeployed off-shore (Marines don’t retreat). And well before the 1984 election season they sailed off into the sunset

  45. 45
    BGinCHI says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Is he still alive?

    Pity.

  46. 46
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: yes, when you posit super commando planes that can magically scramble and see the enemy from 10,000 feet on the White House universal camera system, but didn’t because Obama was too busy laughing at the deaths of white people, I can see how it starts to unmoor the soul from reason.

  47. 47
    mdblanche says:

    @muddy: Twice as brave as Brave Sir Robin, since it wasn’t his own life on the line either way.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Botsplainer:

    That anticolonial leftists hath blurted out,

    Obama: [grabs Dinesh] Shut up! Will you shut up?!
    Dinesh: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!
    Obama: {Arranges for the indictment of Dinesh on election law violations] Shut up!
    Dinesh: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I’m being repressed!
    Obamar: Bloody NRO twit!
    Dinesh: Ooh, what a giveaway!

  49. 49
    BGinCHI says:

    @Botsplainer: Oooh, Natalie Portman?

  50. 50
    SatanicPanic says:

    Remember how they were saying “Ambassador Stevens is gay! This is proof that Democrats are the real enemies of gay people!”

    Or how they claimed the terrorists raped him before they killed him? Republicans are weird.

  51. 51
    Botsplainer says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Totally hot in a girl on girl sense…

  52. 52
    BGinCHI says:

    Here is a graphic depiction of the Benghazi hearings as they will affect the GOP:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....71405.html

  53. 53
    Schlemizel says:

    @BGinCHI: I really do pray for the meteor every fucking day. We earned it, we deserve it why can’t we have it?

  54. 54
    BGinCHI says:

    @Schlemizel: The meteors are too choosy.

    Thanks Neil deGrasse Tyson!

  55. 55
    Hal says:

    The desperation is palpable on the right. No ones buying this Benghazi bullshit, but hey, the universe didn’t collapse under Obamacare, so what else are repubs going to run on? Not raising the minimum wage, or perhaps more attacks on the right to chose? How about more talks on the magical abilities of the female reproductive system, or Obama’s college grades?

    Ted Nugent: Benghazi Debacle Defies Logic

    McCain: Carney Ruined Reputation With Spin

    Obama’s ‘Hey, Dude’ Attitude to Benghazi, Newsmax TV Now

    Rep. Gowdy: Don’t Prejudge Benghazi Hearings

    Do You Think There’s a Benghazi Cover-up? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

  56. 56
    muddy says:

    @mdblanche: Can you just imagine, if this had happened under a Democrat, and then we just cut and run? They’d still be investigating. Every time some idiot says Benghazi to me, I always reply, Beirut!

    I think the Republicans should just proceed on this course. The other day this libertarian guy started saying Benghazi to me, and his much more conservative friend said he didn’t want to hear about fucking Benghazi when all the bridges were broken.

  57. 57
    Schlemizel says:

    @BGinCHI: Even they don’t want to stop by & visit. A “truck sized” meteor (how big is a truck? an 18 wheeler or an S10?) past within 186,000 miles of earth today damn close but no cigar.

  58. 58
    muddy says:

    @SatanicPanic: Full of projection.

  59. 59
    Botsplainer says:

    Issa is evil and aware, Gowdy, however, will shit the bed.

    Count on a Welch/McCarthy moment, with some shit-drawling redneck House member being at the sputtering, receiving end of it.

  60. 60
    MomSense says:

    The deficit has been cut in half and unemployment is down to 6.3%. ObamaCare enrollments beat all expectations and the Democrats are pushing to increase the minimum wage. So what do the Republicans and our media blather about endlessly? BENGHAZI!

  61. 61
    BGinCHI says:

    @MomSense: What’s even funnier/sadder is that they think this is just the latest in a continuous pattern of behavior. He has been lying and cheating and bullying ever day of his presidency, with no positives to show for it.

    It is literally (and I use that word knowingly) delusional.

  62. 62
    HRA says:

    Thank you for posting this reminder AL. My supervisor had a son who was at that embassy and he was killed. I can never forget it.
    This idiocy over Benghazi is insane.

  63. 63
    D58826 says:

    Can someone tell me exactly what is being ‘covered-up’. The attack was covered almost live, Obama and Clinton had a briefing the next day in which they referred to the attack as terrorism. The CIA helped develop the infamous talking points which were widely discussed on 5 TV shows that no one watches. Within a week every one agreed that the video had little or no effect on setting the mob off. The GOP chainmen of the Armed Services committee has said there was no ‘stand-down order’ given, rather the special forces team was ordered to deploy to protect the embassy in Tripoli. Numerous investigations have reveal people making mistakes but no one aiding and abetting the terrorists. In the meantime Obama continuers to order drone strikes and covert operations against terrorists around the world.

    So exactly what is being covered up – that Obama and Hillary were in the situation room directing the terrorists?

  64. 64
    different-church-lady says:

    The way I’m seeing the new hearings going is the same way Wile E. Coyote looks when he’s got a fresh package from ACME and the match is a half inch away from the fuse.

  65. 65
    Trollhattan says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I vote moar Natalie Portman!

  66. 66
    JDM says:

    @dubo:
    au contraire. He retreated from Lebanon and attacked Grenada (against the wishes of every Caribbean nation, BTW).

  67. 67
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Don’t forget about Bush’s Benghazi: 9/11. Talk about “left to die”. He just sat there and read a children’s book while people were jumping out of windows.

  68. 68
    different-church-lady says:

    @Schlemizel: Or, one light-second.

  69. 69
    Trollhattan says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Are we supposed to be doing a Nelson Munz?

    ‘Ha-ha!”

    Or a Homer?

    “Stupid Flandersmeteor!”

  70. 70
    different-church-lady says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Don’t forget about Bush’s Benghazi: 9/11.

    No, 9/11 was Bush’s 9/11.

  71. 71
    BGinCHI says:

    @Trollhattan: Where are the Natalie Portman Hearings!!??

  72. 72
    MomSense says:

    @BGinCHI:

    It is delusional! Meanwhile the earth is on fire (the latest climate change assessments are grim) and we are futzing around with nonsensical things.

  73. 73
    Baud says:

    @MomSense:

    We bought this in 2010.

  74. 74
    BGinCHI says:

    @MomSense: The Decline and Fall of the American Empire: The Final Season.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    MomSense says:

    @Baud:

    And WTF I saw polling today that says that the public is evenly divided about which party has the best jobs plan. We have multiple 24 hour “news” options and our public is so woefully misinformed. It is shameful.

  77. 77
    danielx says:

    @Roger Moore:

    …but it sure wasn’t the bold, manly action today’s Republicans always associate with St. Ronnie.

    Actually, St. Ronnie’s bold, manly actions were generally directed against people who couldn’t shoot back, or at least not much.

    [Operation Just Cause, aka Operation Just Because among American officers at the time…]

  78. 78

    @D58826:
    Yes. Kinda. They look at Obama, they hear that something happened and some Americans were killed by terrorists and maybe something is left unanswered. Their gut tells them that Obama was on the terrorist side murdering Americans. There is no train of logic they can use to make that not sound stupid (and sounding stupid is more important than right or wrong), but they feel this so strongly they have to keep looking for why they feel this so strongly. ‘A black man in charge scares me’ is not an answer they can say out loud, or even to themselves.

  79. 79
    MomSense says:

    @BGinCHI:

    About 20 years ago I remember vividly my Dad saying that “banking is the last gasp of a dying empire”. I have thought of that many times since and especially since 2008.

  80. 80
    mdblanche says:

    @Hal:

    Rep. Gowdy: Don’t Prejudge Benghazi Hearings

    And that’s what they’re trying to sell to their base. Real vote of confidence there.

    @MomSense:

    The deficit has been cut in half and unemployment is down to 6.3%. ObamaCare enrollments beat all expectations and the Democrats are pushing to increase the minimum wage. So what do the Republicans and our media blather about endlessly? BENGHAZI!

    It’s obvious why all this should make the Republicans so desperate. But what’s the media’s excuse, he asked already knowing the answer?

  81. 81
    Schlemizel says:

    @MomSense: Not the only thing. NPR was whining how it was unacceptable that 1 in 5 kids don’t graduate high school. That was the lede when the story was that 80% of kids are graduating, the most in American history,

  82. 82
    Schlemizel says:

    @different-church-lady:
    I saw that as the headline & had to think about it for a second.

  83. 83
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Schlemizel:

    (how big is a truck?

    10 meters. Nice compact chart of close asteroid encounters (LD == Lunar Distance) here. (Scroll down to near bottom.)

  84. 84
    Schlemizel says:

    @Bill Arnold:
    The story pissed me off because they didn’t give the actual size & instead of saying how many miles they said it was only 1 light second away.

  85. 85
    Baud says:

    @MomSense:

    If you were the public, would you watch the news?

  86. 86
    D58826 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I’m no Bush fan but that is unfair. Once the attack was underway Bush was as powerless to do anything about it as Obama was on the night of Benghazi. Now Bush and company SHOULD be roundly criticized for not following up on the warning signs prior to 9-11. The PDB and the CIA briefing at the ranch are just two of the things that Bush should be held accountable for. Obviously we have no way of knowing if the attack could have been prevented if Bush had acted more forcefully. But that goes to a deeper point – the person living in the White House is human not divine. He (or maybe in 2017 she) can’t stop all acts of evil directed at the US. There are simply a lot more folks who want to attack us then there are resources to prevent it. Gump happens in this world and there is nothing anyone can do about it, not even St Ronald and John McCain

  87. 87
    Tokyokie says:

    @D58826: You just don’t get it. Hillary lured the diplomats to Benghazi, then killed them herself with the same gun she used to murder Vince Foster, acting on direct orders from the Kenyan Muslim usurper himself, who feared that the envoys were getting too close to the secret cache containing his real birth certificate and the Michelle whitey tape, which are hidden in Dar es Salaam or Timbuktu or one of those African places, all of which are pretty much the same difference.

  88. 88
    Schlemizel says:

    @Trollhattan:
    Homer, definitely Homer.

  89. 89

    Someone on Twitter pointed the GOP to the scandals they are really looking for, and it wasn’t the Marines in Beirut.

    It was the Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch PR bullshit. That is exactly what the Republicans are claiming Benghazi was. And I just don’t see it in Benghazi.

  90. 90
    D58826 says:

    @Tokyokie: ah and here I thought it all happened because Obama never learned how to pick cotton

  91. 91
    MomSense says:

    @mdblanche:

    How are we supposed to have a functioning, modern democracy with such a sorry press?!?!

    @Schlemizel:

    Sad to see the decline of NPR.

  92. 92
    Schlemizel says:

    @D58826:
    As soon as you give me a reason to be fair to boy blunder, America’s dumbest & worst President, murderer of 10’s of thousands, destroyer of nations, feckless turd in the public punch bowl, festering boil on the body politic and useless waste of skin I will endeavor to be fair to the coke addled syphilitic whore.

    He earned it, he deserves it why can’t he have it?

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    My stepbrother had breakfast in that barracks that morning. After the explosion, he (and all of the Marines) were on total lockdown on board their ship, and yet somehow my dad managed to work all of his local political connections so my stepbrother could call his mom (my stepmother) from the ship to assure her that he was okay.

    It is apparently quite startling to be a Marine on high alert on a ship near the Middle East and be told that you have to report to your commander’s office because your mother is on the phone.

  94. 94
    SatanicPanic says:

    You know I really prefer Ian Mackaye’s work with Minor Threat.

  95. 95
    Trollhattan says:

    @BGinCHI:
    Gotcha covered. Issa never looked better.

    http://www.funnyordie.com/vide.....lifianakis

  96. 96
    MomSense says:

    @Baud:

    Nope. I can’t stand it.

  97. 97
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mnemosyne: Just curious, did he ‘pay’ for that call? My BIL had been deferred because he was getting his PhD in psych. 1 month shy of 31 he was drafted & after basic was slotte for infantry. My dad was an old & very good friend of a Congressman so he called the COngressman & asked if he thought it was the best use of a guy with that much education to slog through rice paddys. The army decided to assign him to a hospital as a shrink. About 6 months after he got called into his CO’s office & asked “Who did you piss off? I have never seen orders for a shrink for Viet Nam that named who I had to send.”

    I understand the Pentagon has a stamp “Congressional Influence” that they put on guys file if they have pull.

  98. 98
    D58826 says:

    @Schlemizel: I think he should be blamed for all of the things that you are talking about but on the morning of 9-11 there was nothing he could do. That’s all I’m saying. It gets to my larger point that we think the president has some magical power to control events. McCain is saying Obama should do something in the Ukraine but never says what. He should have taken action before 9-11 and didn’t. He will go down in history as the worst president we ever had and he will be darn lucky if he avoids the label war criminal for his approval of waterboarding and what he created at Gitmo.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    I think he got ribbed by his shipmates because his mommy called him, but as far as I know, he didn’t get any consequences from higher up.

    (His subsequent discharge was due to his own stupidity of getting caught with pot on base, nothing to do with the call.)

  100. 100
    Schlemizel says:

    @D58826: I’m not that nice. He could save a hundred orphans by donating all his internal organs & I would not give him credit.

  101. 101
    🌷 Martin says:

    Someone break out the technology and scientific ignorance foam finger!

    The House rejected an attempt May 1 to resuscitate the Office of Technology Assessment, the legislative branch agency that once offered advice on scientific and technical matters to lawmakers but has been shuttered for almost 20 years.

    An amendment to the fiscal 2015 legislative branch spending bill by retiring New Jersey Democrat Rush D. Holt, the only physicist in Congress, to provide $2.5 million to restart the OTA failed on a vote of 164-248.

    The OTA funding would have been offset by an equivalent cut to the House Historic Buildings Revitalization Trust Fund.

    Fuck you science! You’re always getting us down! (The GOP voted overwhelmingly against the measure)

  102. 102
    D58826 says:

    @Schlemizel: If there is a FSM, then I’m sure there a special place in Hell for him, Chaney, Rummy and the rest. Heck I’ll even chip in toward the bus fare down

  103. 103
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hell, if he had been the grandson of a congressman & son of the CIA head he could have had coke & been given a pass!

    My wife called Fort Jackson (unbeknownst to me) to get specific info on our sons graduation date from basic. SHe ended up talking to his DI. When she told me I said she had made a mistake but she didn’t get get. The boy said he took a ton of crap fro the DI “Soldier,don’t you talk to your mommy so she knows how your are doing?” etc. I find it funny but the por kid did not for obvious reasons.

  104. 104
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @D58826: O.K., I’m not arguing with you, but I strongly believe that if you had a photograph of Obama during 9/11 looking as clueless and pathetic as Dubya did, we’d be talking about “ex-President Obama”. Fox News would still be screaming about it.

  105. 105
    gnomedad says:

    @D58826:

    Can someone tell me exactly what is being ‘covered-up’.

    By definition:
    (cover-up) = (critical mass required to impeach) – (what is known)

  106. 106
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: I didn’t write for a couple of months from Korea so my old man wrote the CO and the chaplain came a got me and sat there while I wrote. When I got busted for a small matter of a couple of 5kw generators that “fell off my truck” in the Ville the same Chaplain wrote to my old man and told him. Because I was 17 they felt they were “in loco parentis”. Fuckin lifer assholes.

  107. 107
    raven says:

    @Mnemosyne: What did they give him? General, UD or what?

  108. 108
    Schlemizel says:

    @raven: HA! the other BIL was in Marine basic & one of his 17 yer old mates wanted to get married to his honey but his parents would not sign for him. The Corp said “Screw that, we are his parents now.” and the kid was married between basic & AFT.

  109. 109
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: Eat the apple and fuck the Corps

  110. 110
    D58826 says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: On that we can agree

  111. 111
    JPL says:

    Had President Reagan been anointed sainthood then, he would have responded.

  112. 112
    Jay C says:

    @D58826:

    So exactly what is being covered up – that Obama and Hillary were in the situation room directing the terrorists?

    Well, that’s kind of what Mitt Romney thought at the time: I bet Republicans are still regretting that he backtracked his initial blurt…..

  113. 113
    bemused says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    You got that right!

  114. 114
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Schlemizel: when I was a we lad, 55%. My own nice small town standard run of the mill unified school district was 70%, and that was considered outstanding.

  115. 115
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @D58826:

    Can someone tell me exactly what is being ‘covered-up’

    Jay Carney lied about something. We don’t know what it was, but it was something. Trust us.

  116. 116
    mai naem says:

    We need to have a modified drinking game for the hearing called BenGuzzle. Everytime Hillary is mentioned you guzzle half a beer. When Obama is mentioned you guzzle a beer, when Susan Rice is mentioned you guzzle half a glass of wine, when Huma Abedin is mentioned you guzzle a glass of wine. The problem with this game is you’ll end up drunker than a skunk super quick.

  117. 117
    Schlemizel says:

    @Suffern ACE:
    When I was a kid a guy could get a job in the factory at 3M or Whirlpool and support their family, buy a house & send their kid to college despite not graduating. Now even a college degree can get you that sort of security.

    But yeah, they are burying the great story by focusing on what still needs to be done.

  118. 118
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Schlemizel: It’s still unacceptable, even if it’s better. But what’s really unacceptable is that one in three african americans don’t finish high school.

  119. 119
    Roger Moore says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Where are the Natalie Portman Hearings!!??

    I think they’ve been petrified and covered with hot grits.

  120. 120
    nancydarling says:

    @dubo: He “invaded” Grenada, so there’s that.

  121. 121
    Jay C says:

    @Schlemizel:

    A “truck sized” meteor (how big is a truck? an 18 wheeler or an S10?) past within 186,000 miles of earth today damn close but no cigar.

    We should be f—ing grateful: while an S10-size meteorite might be damaging, an 18-wheeler-size one can do major hurt: the Chelyabinsk meteor of 2013 , which did a shitload of damage (though,thankfully, no fatalities) was estimated at about 55 ft across/12,000 tons mass (i.e., an 18-wheeler filled to the max with concrete). Which, on the scale of cosmic matter, is scarcely pebble-size. We shouldn’t gripe about the near-misses.

  122. 122
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @mai naem:

    We need to have a modified drinking game for the hearing called BenGuzzle.

    Are you looking for a B-J meetup in the liver transplant ward?

  123. 123
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Schlemizel: It used to be that graduating HS and entering the military emancipated minors – probably still does at least in some states. The rule of thumb was that once you were economically independent you were emancipated.

  124. 124
    Terrye C says:

    I remember the bombing in Beirut too…however, I do not remember any one from the Reagan administration trying to lie about what happened or why…nor did they try to cover anything up. Reagan pulled those people out of there and took responsibility. No dancing, no evading. It was a failure on their part to be sure. But we did not see the kind of silliness we have seen from the Obama people on this. They put themselves in this situation with that whole video song and dance. I don’t think there was any real criminal intent, they just wanted to win the election and so they covered their asses as best they could.

  125. 125
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Schlemizel: And we know why those 20% are dropping out of school. Egads. It’s not like it hasn’t been studied. There are lots of reasons. So the solution for, say, a group of kids woefully far behind is to raise standards on them. A solution for poor kids who need to stay home and raise their siblings because their parent is either sick or needs to work and can’t manage otherwise is to raise standards. You can’t test your way out of that.

  126. 126
    raven says:

    @🌷 Martin: And if you were 17 and didn’t graduate you were a bit less so (especially if you fucked up)

  127. 127
    Monala says:

    @🌷 Martin: According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, about 85% of African Americans complete high school. Where is this 1 in 3 dropout statistic coming from?

  128. 128
    muddy says:

    @Suffern ACE: Do minimum wage jobs even check if you have graduated? If that’s going to be your career you may as well get on with it, they may think.

  129. 129
    raven says:

    @Suffern ACE: My dissertation found that quitting school was a wise decision for some kids.

  130. 130
    Schlemizel says:

    @Jay C: you assume I didn’t want it to hit earth – you don’t know me very well!

  131. 131
    efgoldman says:

    @Baud:

    If you were the public, would you watch the news?

    My paternal grandfather read 4 papers, in two languages, every day except Saturday. My dad was a news junkie; he came into the kitchen every hour and turned on NBC radio news. I can’t help it – I watch the damned new every night, which onl raises my already-too-high blood pressure. At least I’ve learned who the frauds are, and where I can find good, honest discussion (hint – even with all the snark, this is one such place.)

  132. 132
    Schlemizel says:

    @Suffern ACE: My only complaint was that NPR chose to focus on that 20% instead of the best numbers ever. Yes, we need to find a way to reach as many of that 20% and get them through school if at all possible. We will never reach 100% because there will always be some number of kids that can’t or won’t make it. 20% is still too high but my gawd lets celebrate hitting 80% for at least 5 minutes.

  133. 133
    gian says:

    @D58826:

    he sure could start trying to turn it into a war in Iraq, the one the project for a new American century wanted.

    he should could fly all the bin laden relatives out of the US.

    he waited until he wouldn’t soil his depends to wave a bull horn in new York, he could’ve not fought the creation of the TSA….

    fuck him and his fake accent.

  134. 134
    JDM says:

    @D58826:
    Bush didn’t merely not politely excuse himself and leave the school and do his job, he didn’t do his job for the rest of the day, which he spent flying from one hidey hole to another, leaving the order-giving to Cheney.

  135. 135
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Monala: From the same study as the 80% that NPR was working from.

    But completing high school and dropping out are different things. Completing HS means that you may have come back and earned a GED later, so you would expect that number to be at least somewhat if not much higher than the dropout rate.

  136. 136
    Mike G says:

    @dubo:

    Let’s not forget that Steely-Eyed Reagan’s strong, manly response to that attack, to show the world that We Mean Business, was….. nothing.

    Reagan’s response was to invade Grenada, demonstrating that the Republican tradition of ginning up elective wars against unrelated countries, to distract from massive security failures, didn’t begin with GW Bush.

  137. 137
    Suffern ACE says:

    @🌷 Martin: Not any longer. Our lovely DOE has changed the standards an has made the GED requirements much harder starting this fall. Oh, I mean, raised the standards. I guess the studies found that industry doesn’t respect GEDs so the graduates don’t end up any better off financially than they were before. Therefore, the solution is to raise the standards so that fewer people will get them.

  138. 138
    David in NY says:

    @Mike in NC: You get the prize — and deservedly. It took 27 comments before anybody (you) mentioned the invasion of Grenada, which is intimately related to the Beirut disaster. It immediately wiped the egg off Reagan’s face as far as the MSM of the day was concerned, and it’s hard to believe that that wasn’t its intent. Reagan invented wag the dog.

  139. 139
    raven says:

    @Suffern ACE: GED requirements are set by the states.

    “Possible scores on an individual test within the GED battery, like those on an individual section of the SAT, range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 800.[12] A score of 800 on an individual test puts the student in the top 1% of graduating high school seniors. ACE issues recommendations for what constitutes a minimum passing score for any given sub-test (currently 410) and for the test as a whole (currently 2250—i.e., an average of 450 per test across all five sub-tests). Although most GED-issuing jurisdictions (for the most part, Boards of Education of U.S. states) adopt these minimum standards as their own, a jurisdiction may establish higher standards for issuance of the certificate if it chooses. Many jurisdictions award honors-level equivalency diplomas to students meeting certain criteria higher than those for a standard diploma in a given jurisdiction”

  140. 140
    hildebrand says:

    @Botsplainer: It was the Iran-Contra hearings that turned my Mom away from the Republican party for good. She had always been a fairly solid Eisenhower Republican, and was less than thrilled with Reagan from the start, but that whole disaster was the end. She disliked Clinton, but voted for him, because he was not a product of an administration that ‘could lie so boldly.’

  141. 141
    dww44 says:

    @BGinCHI: This.

  142. 142
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @mai naem:

    We need to have a modified drinking game for the hearing called BenGuzzle.

    Jeezuz, even when I was drinking heavily I think that would have me in the E.R. …

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