Count this as a Quick Hits. Olympia Snowe retired recently, amid speculation that ... well, no one knows why.
Here are two comments on Ms. Snowe, gathered by yours truly from around the iNet.
■ First, Jonathan Chait (h/t the Professor; my paragraphing):
When George W. Bush proposed a huge, regressive tax cut in 2001, Snowe, sitting at the heart of a decisive block of centrists, used her leverage to support the passage of a modestly smaller and less regressive version.A Village "moderate" (or what passes for one on TV).
When Barack Obama proposed a large fiscal stimulus in 2009, Snowe (citing fears of deficits that she had helped create) decided to shave a nice round $100 billion off his figure and call it a day.
If a Gingrich administration proposed spending a trillion dollars to erect a 100- foot-tall solid-gold Winston Churchill statue on Mars, Snowe would no doubt decide, after careful deliberation, that the wise course was to trim the height down to 90 feet and perhaps use a cheaper bronze alloy in the base.
■ Next, Susie Madrak, commenting on a piece by the Sunlight Foundation (my emphasis):
The real reason?Nice; it was already interesting.
This certainly sounds like a big factor, if not the main reason, for Snowe’s decision not to run for reelection. Maybe it was the final straw, since Snowe was also facing a primary challenge from the Tea Party:Last August, while Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was in the midst of an intensive round of fundraising for her 2012 reelection bid, a four-year-old civil lawsuit alleging fraud by an education company in which she and her husband are heavily invested became public.Now here’s where it gets interesting ...
Nationally, most of the coverage of Snowe’s decision to drop her reelection bid has focused on the centrist Republican’s frustration with the polarized politics on Capitol Hill. But in Maine, a few newspapers have speculated that her husband’s legal entanglements had a role in Snowe’s sudden and surprising decision ...
According to the senator’s most recent financial disclosure form, she and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan Jr., have investments worth between $2 million and $10 million in Education Management Corp., a Pittsburgh-based company that operates for-profit higher education institutions. McKernan is chairman of the board of directors of the company, now embroiled in a lawsuit in which the federal gover[n]ment, 11 states and the District of Columbia are seeking to recover a portion of the $11 billion in federal student aid that the education firm has received since July 2003.
Originally filed in April 2007 by a pair of whistleblowers, the lawsuit alleges that the company violated a federal law that prohibits schools from paying admissions officers based on the number of students they recruit and enroll. ...
The complaint names Snowe’s husband, noting that in December 2006, while he was the company’s chief executive officer, McKernan personally signed [false] certifications that Education Management Corp.’s schools complied with the ban on offering compensation to admissions officers based on the number of students they recruit.
Read the whole thing at Susie's site. I think she and the Sunlight group are onto something. (We wrote about for-profit schools here, by the way; a truly wicked bunch).
■ And finally, for those who wondered what the title of this post is about, a taste:
II"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by one of this nation's geniuses. Sunday fun; the other eleven ways are just as good.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
(I was tempted to tag this a Music post, but I didn't.)