Archive for replacement

The Perfect VA Secretary Replacement For Shinseki

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VA Veteran's Administration

Okay, there's a big job opening now in the Washington area -- a cabinet post. It's the position of running the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There's probably not a less desirable position right now as the scandals and systemic problems have blown wide open. There's trouble in this most important Veterans division and it's not going to be solved by the normal political appointment to someone who's been faithful to the president and gets tabbed onto the cabinet to fulfill a political favor.

This time it's different. Whoever takes this job is most likely going to fail. At best, he or she will be under such scrutiny that they'll be tested beyond most mortal breaking points.

Let's face it, the VA is on life support. Without a heart transplant, the patient will never recover.

So what's a president to do? Fortunately President Obama is getting a lot of suggestions. Here are the top five, according to a report from The Hill: (abridged)

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal who was forced to resign from his position as a top commander in Afghanistan [because he couldn't control his personal staff], Retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli who served in the Obama administration as the former vice chief for the Army, Retired Admiral Michael Mullen who chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff in both the Bush and Obama administrations and finally, Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) who is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress.

All of these folks are serious contenders to replace VA Secretary General Shinseki. And all of them are WRONG.

First off, the problems with the department are not military. They are organizational. They require a man or woman who can handle the demands of building a corporate structure from the ground up. The new leader doesn't need to know how to handle a weapon or understand the horrors of war. They need to understand a monetary bottom line and hospital administration. We saw what a stellar job General Shinseki did during his stint. He may have been a terrific military general and leader, but he didn't have a scintilla of skills in hospital administration. He was clueless as are the other military leaders on this list. So strike off McChrystal, Chiarelli and Mullen. Brave military personnel, sure. But knowing how to build a hospital's cost-effective flow chart, not so much.

That leaves Reed and Walz. Start with Reed. A lawyer, he might be able to see some of the issues but again, this isn't a legal problem, it's structural. And even more important, the control of the Senate is in the balance this year. No reason for another Democratic-held senate seat to be put in play. So Reed's out.

Finally that gives us Walz. He's a good guy, a military background capping out at sergeant. Hardly admiral or general, but again, rank isn't the issue here. This is a hospital and health care problem. When Walz wasn't in the army, he was teaching history. Good for him. And good for us. But not good for the job at hand.

So where should Obama turn? Why to the Republicans, of course. As this is a thankless job and there's really no one outside of the political realm with the skill set to handle it, there are two choices. One is grab a hospital administrator from a flourishing medical organization or... wait for it-- pick a sitting GOP senator. Even one not up for reelection this year. Put their seat into play to increase the chances for the Democrats to keep control over the Senate.

Here are a few names --Roy Blunt. Maybe take him out of the Senate and his state's Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon will appoint a Democrat there. Or how about a lady like Kelly Ayotte? Maybe this whole thing needs a woman's touch. And coming from New Hampshire, with a Democratic Governor, she could be replaced with a Democrat. Certainly John McCain and Lindsay Graham would be losing their shadow, but if it's for the good of the country they could never vote against her. The same could be said for Senator John Boozman from Arkansas or Mark Kirk from Illinois. Both their states have a Democratic governor.

Obama should see this opening as a legacy opportunity. He can save the back half of his second term if the Senate stays blue. The VA isn't going to be fixed over night, but with a Republican in the position of having to fix things, it's never going to work and yet the GOP won't be able to stymie any legit chances to make changes, even if it's going to cost money. Remember, 44 senate Republicans voted against increasing the VA's budget.  So this becomes a win-win for Democrats and more importantly, for our brave veterans.

Hopefully Obama and his advisers are listening.

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VIDEO-- Bob Schieffer: Major Garrett to replace Norah O'Donnell as CBS Chief White House Correspondent

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Major Garret used to be a White House correspondent for Fox, and on "Face The Nation" Bob Schieffer announced that Garret is now replacing Norah O'Donnell as the Chief White House Correspondent for CBS News. 

Norah O'Donnell has done some good work, most recently in her interview with Grover "Poopy Head" Norquist:

Grover Norquist:

The president was committed, uh, elected on the basis that he was not Romney and Romney was a poopy head and you should vote against Romney and he won by two points. But he didn’t make the case that we should have higher taxes and higher spending, he kind of sounded like the opposite.”

Norah O’Donnell:

Well, I’m not sure that’s what the president called Mitt Romney, Grover. That’s not the debate that was had … He said very clearly throughout the debate that the wealthiest Americans should pay more, and he won eight of the nine battleground states, um, and Republicans failed to reclaim the White House or the Senate.”

And who could forget Norah O’Donnell Pummels Boehner on “Repeal and Replace”?

Unfortunately for "fair and balanced" news coverage, Foxers, former and current, are infiltrating as many outlets as they can: Former News Corp. exec expected to head Tribune Co., Rupert Murdoch eyes LA Times, Chicago Tribune

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President Obama to lose key advisers, close-knit inner circle in second term

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It's Second Term Shake-Up Time, boys and girls! And what a shake-up it looks to be. President Obama will likely be waving good-bye to David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Jim Messina. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew may possibly leave if he doesn't replace Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who says he'll stay until after the inauguration.

Burnout is not at all unusual, and this team has gone through enough pressure for three teams.

The Hill:

The changes will deprive the president of several of his most loyal and trusted political advisers in the West Wing, with the exception of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s longtime friend and confidante. Jarrett said that she will be back in a second term if the president will have her, adding, “We all serve at the pleasure of the president.” [...]

Joe Lockhart, who served as White House press secretary to President Clinton, said turnover among a president’s senior staff is “both natural and positive” for the transition to a second term. [...]

As a more general principle, Tony Fratto, who served as deputy press secretary in the George W. Bush White House, said it was important not to constantly rely on the same small group. [...]

Still, Axelrod et al can take heart from Fratto’s assertion that there was no reason to lock old advisers out entirely, even if they no longer held official jobs. The seasoned hands, he said, had a lot to offer.

Whoever steps in, let's hope they're a group of lefty lib French gay Kenyan socialist commie Marxist hippies. Just think of the GOP heads that would explode.

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“This is now the third committee that the GOP has had to rig..."

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A few days ago, I posted about a member (Bill Seitz) of the Ohio state Senate being booted so that he could be replaced by someone who would vote to remove public employees’ right to collectively bargain.

That's how the Ohio GOP wins their battles. They cheat.

Say hello to another rejectee, this time in the state House:

Ross W. McGregor (OH-72) is being replaced by William P. Coley, II (OH-55). [...]

This is now the third committee that the GOP has had to rig in order to get SB5 to pass,” Plunderbund notes. “If that’s what can happen to a sitting state senator,” Seitz told ThinkProgress of his abrupt dismissal, “what’s going to happen to you if you’re a nervous firefighter, teacher, or policeman…if this bill passes?”

And via Plunderbund:

Make that two members of the committee. Gongwer is reporting that Rep. Richard Adams (R-Troy) has also been replaced on the committee with Rep. Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati). This is beyond ridiculous. The Republicans have had to replace nearly a third of their membership on the committee on the first day of hearings just to keep the bill alive.

See how single party rule works now? Democracy takes a back seat to power grabs, the people don't matter, and corporations reward their puppets.

This is why people are protesting. Not because of budgets, but because of things like this.

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Fox News [sic] gets front row White House seat

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Come on, what did we tell them? Does nobody listen to us?

The White House Correspondents Association has decided to move Fox News up to the front row in the briefing room, according to sources familiar with the process.

Oh man!

Wait, I'm being told ClusterFox won't be soiling Helen's chair after all:

However, Fox News will not be taking Thomas's long-held seat in the center.

Phooey. Small consolation. It turns out that the Associated Press is going center, and ClusterFox is taking the AP seat.

Oh, but let's be mature about this. They're just chairs. In a room. With other chairs with people in them.

Okay, I hate it too, but what can we do about it other than write it up in snarky posts and tweets?

For more on who else is playing White House Musical Chairs, go here. (Hint: Politico, the Financial Times, the foreign press...)

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"Fox is a right-wing propaganda outlet, not a legitimate news agency"

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Anyone taking bets on whether or not the White House Correspondents Association will be snookered into giving  ClusterFox a front row seat at the Daily Press Briefings? Helen Thomas's seat is up for grabs. And by seat I mean vacant chair in the briefing room.

The favorites for the coveted spot are, reportedly, Fox, NPR, and Bloomberg News.

CREDO Action, a mobile phone company that sponsors activist campaigns, has an online petition that includes the following (via The Hill):

"FOX News is a right-wing propaganda outlet, not a legitimate news agency [...] It's bad enough that we have to fight the constant smear campaigns and appeals to racial paranoia from FOX and the right-wing media. We can't let them have the best seat in the White House press briefing room and the legitimacy that it confers."

So far there are more than 250,000 signatures on the petition.

I've tried to look at this in an unemotional, detached, fair and balanced kind of way. I've tried to convince myself that bickering over a chair in a room full of chairs filled by others with whom I may not agree is juvenile.

And then I come to my senses.  Helen Thomas, no matter how her career ended, contributed so much, was so bold and relentless in her questions to all the presidents she confronted-- whether a Democrat or Republican-- that to plunk down some news quack in her spot would be a slap in the face to what's left of the press.

ClusterFox does not deliver news, it spreads lies, fear, hatred, and bigotry.

Anyone who attends those briefings should be held to the minimal standards of representing the news [sic] media, not some overpaid mouthpieces for Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, the Tea Baggers, and the GOBP.


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Obama will name a Supreme Court replacement with a "similar mind"

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By GottaLaff

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

President Obama's lawyers were ready for Judge Stevens' retirement, including a short list of possible replacements:

A decision on who will replace Stevens will be made "in the coming weeks."

Top candidates: Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Diane Wood and Judge Merrick Garland.

"The crucial calculation that Obama will have to make is what kind of political capital he wants to spend on potentially contentious nomination hearings. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have signaled that a candidate with a paper trail on divisive social issues could create a firestorm."

But here's the most intriguing part:

Speaking at the White House, Obama praised Stevens for his "independent mind, record of excellence and integrity, [and] fierce dedication to the rule of law." He pledged to move "quickly" to name a replacement with "a similar mind."

Let's hope by "similar", he means not only intellect, civility, ability to draw support/interact with the other justices, but also so-called "liberal" leanings.

Jonathan Turley:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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