Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (March 13, 2011)

Today: 48 hours after the 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami off the coast of Japan.  1400 or so officially dead, but the death toll is likely to run up in the tens of thousands.  And now there are serious fears of a nuclear meltdown in a nuclear reactor.

Chuck Todd is sitting in for David Gregory.  Governor Mitch Daniels will be here as well to talk about the 2011 budget and

The Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. is here to talk about what’s going on in Japan.  this is the worst disaster in Japan’s history since WWII.  What he, Chuck Todd and others mean, of course, is that this is the worst disaster since the atom bomb attacks against Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The first concern is to protect suffering human lives.  The U.S has sent off the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan to help in Japan.

Have we had a partial meltdown at the Fukishima  nuclear power plant.  The nuclear rods are getting too hot, and the government has been trying to cool down the reactors, partially with sea water.  The Ambassador is trying his best to reassure the American audience that the Japanese government is doing all it can to prevent a nuclear meltdown; that it has everything under control–though the solution to drown out heat with sea water seems rather desperate and somewhat contrary to the Ambassador’s attempts to reassure his international audience.  However, he is rather unconventionally grateful for the help that he and his government has received in this extremely difficult time.

Marvin Fertel, the President of the Nuclear Energy Institute is here to speak about what’s actually happened in Japan.  So now what’s going on at the nuclear power plant?  The reactor went down, and it completely shut down, unfortunately that means that the mechanisms that cool the nuclear rods weren’t working, as a result the dangers have skyrocketed at that plant.
Chuck Schumer is here to talk about the budget bargaining crisis.  Schumer stood up for nuclear energy sometime ago.  Does he still stand with nuclear energy given what’s going on?  Yes, he does.  The price of gasoline has gone up; we need something, some technology to free ourselves from our dependence of Arab oil.

What’s going on in this budget debate?  There’s now a new short-term resolution to fund the government.  How can this go on?  Schumer’s argument is that something has to be done; but he’s not very specific about what needs to be done.

Senator Claire MacGaskill delivered a speech where she argued that Democrats need to be more serious about cuts.  Now Schumer is saying that all Democrats voted against HR 1, the Republican’s budget cuts in the House.  No one doubts that cuts are necessary, but lets not cut into our future, all the ways that the poor and the young need to shore themselves up as the economy rebounds.

Schumer is arguing that the GOP cut into the institutes that work toward tsunami prevention.  His argument is rather strong, that the GOP cuts wouild have required furloughs in the NOA.

The Arab League voted for a no-flight zone in Libya.  But he is toeing the president’s line that establishing a no-flight zone requires multilateral moves.  We can’t and shouldn’t do it ourselves.

Mitch Daniels is here.  He seems to think that the riders that the GOP’s put up on any budget resolution.  On raising the debt ceiling.  He seems to think that the ceiling has to be raised; but that he thinks that there has to be some kind of leverage to have it done.  Now, Mitch Daniels was President Bush’s budget director.  His regime passed the prescription drug benefits without paying for them. Then there’s the whole issue about a war that wasn’t paid for through tax increases.

So, now that Mitch Daniels is an executive, Governor of Indiana, he’s tried to pay down the state debt.  But jobs have not been created from his moves.  So where then is the argument that shrinking government and debt adds jobs to the economy?  He’s going around in circles, here.  He’s not attended to the question.

Has Governor Walker lost the political fight, though he’s won the policy fight.  After all he did not campaign on doing away with collective bargaining; he campaigned on cutting the healthcare and pension pay outs.  So now that Democrats have begun to stand on principle against the GOP government in Wisconsin-how will that play out?  No real answer there.

Can a Republican who ignores social issues run for the GOP nomination for the 2012 election?  Governor Daniels is asking, in a roundabout way: are you committed to results or rhetoric?  Governor Daniels ran an ad when he was running for state office and said he would not run for any higher office.  Where does that him for the GOP race?  So far, he’s hedging but seems to have made up his mind to think about running.
Will he vote for Dick Lugar running against a Tea Party candidate, for a seventh term. Yes it seems.  (This will come to bite him in the nomination fight)
The roundtable is up next.  Dan Balz and Michele Norris are here.
So what now about NPR?  Well NPR is only one part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If the larger organization doesn’t get funding, lots of small stations will lose any kind of news broadcasting and journalism.  This will have been a loss.  Ron Shiller expressed an opinion, not  fact.  In order to maintain regular and important broadcasts, NPR needs government funding.
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~ by Faheem Haider on March 13, 2011.

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