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Blowing the CIA's cover

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post: "When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA's cover.

"The purpose of Wednesday's hearing ... was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why 'congressional intelligence' is an oxymoron.

"Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a 'consulate' and a nearby 'annex,' was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing."

Malala vs. madrassas

Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times on the Taliban's shooting of Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani advocate for educating girls: "One of my greatest frustrations when I travel to Pakistan is that I routinely spot extremist madrassas, or schools, financed by medieval misogynists from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. They provide meals, free tuition and sometimes scholarships to lure boys -- because their donors understand perfectly that education shapes countries. In contrast, U.S. aid is mainly about supporting the Pakistani army. We have tripled aid to Pakistani education to $170 million annually, and that's terrific. But that's less than one-tenth of our security aid to Pakistan."

Fix Medicaid now

Paul Howard and Russell Sykes in The Wall Street Journal: "Medicaid, America's safety-net program for more than 62 million low-income uninsured Americans, is broken. It's broken at the state level, where program costs are swamping state budgets. It's broken for federal taxpayers, as Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse drain tens of billions of dollars from federal coffers every year. And, most important, it's broken for the millions of families who can't find doctors willing to accept Medicaid's rock-bottom reimbursements. Fixing the Medicaid safety net must be a priority of the next administration and Congress.

"The best hope for Medicaid reforms that can improve care for low-income enrollees, reduce fraud and put the program on a sustainable trajectory is to cap federal spending to the states by using block grants. Block grants would offer states a predictable source of federal funding in return for broad state flexibility in Medicaid administration, benefits and copays."

Watch Ms. Warren

Greg Sargent at The Washington Post's Plum Line blog: "Women are critical in this election, and the gender gap is currently closing in the wake of Mitt Romney's debate performance. So Barack Obama and Joe Biden should take a moment to watch Elizabeth Warren's hard-hitting attack on Scott Brown over women's issues at [last week's] Massachusetts Senate debate. Take careful notes, guys:

"Warren said: "He's had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work. And he voted No. He had exactly one chance to vote for insurance coverage for birth control and other preventive services for women. He voted No. And he had exactly one chance to vote for a pro-choice woman from Massachusetts to the United States Supreme Court. And he voted No. Those are bad votes for women. The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on not some of the time, but all of the time."

Apple to launch Hamster!

From My Tabloids: Satire on the Mon: "Apple Computer, which has long named its OS software updates after metaphorically impressive beasts of the jungle, will break ranks with its next round of software releases and begin recognizing less 'significant' animals. Whether this is due to political correctness or a nod to the fact that one release of their software isn't much different than the prior one, remains to be seen.

" 'We are currently working on Woodchuck 1.0,' said a spokesman. 'It will represent a "ground up" reworking of our core kernel and users will find it more functional than ever.' Cupertino insiders have also leaked the names of future upgrades, which include Capybara 1.0, Hamster 1.0, Rat 1.0 and Beaver 1.0."


Greg Victor (


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