As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

OK, so I played hooky from blog today. Had friends in town and not much time to sit at the computator. So I'm definitely behind on my weekend news, but here's something to tide you over.

• You could see this coming when they discovered Roland Burris put his resume on his tombstone. Turns out he wasn't telling the whole truth at his deposition in the Blagojevick matter, as the former Governor hit him up for $10,000 in campaign cash. Burris held a news conference today where he defended himself, but leading members of the Illinois GOP are calling on him to resign, given the potential for a perjury investigation. I can't wait to see this guy primaried out.

• I never got around to writing about Joe Biden's Munich conference speech, but it was pretty good, especially the part where he disavowed the "clash of civilizations" rhetoric that drove practically every foreign policy decision in the Bush White House. While some saw his rhetoric on missile defense troubling and also some manner of revenge for Russia possibly spearheading Kyrgyzstan's closing of the Manas Air Base, I think that Biden actually sought compromise on the issue and looked for areas of agreement. My personal view is that missile defense should be scrapped, but the fact that Russia is being engaged and consulted is positive.

• The upcoming climate change summit at the UN in late March will be important to set the done for immediate action on reducing emissions, and I agree that President Obama should be in attendance. You can look at about 100 different factors, from migratory birds shifting north to harsher weather events to melting ice caps to know that we need a change in what we're currently doing if we want a sustainable planet. Of course, Fred Barnes says global warming isn't man-made and that the planet has been cooling recently, but he can't give you any information to back that up, so maybe he shouldn't be listened to on the subject. Dave Roberts, on the other hand, should, and his think piece on the next steps in energy policy is worth a read.

• One really disturbing element of the bank bailout is the degree to which the Federal Reserve is basically allowed to print trillions of dollars with little oversight beyond an internal review. That Brad Sherman is seen getting the Fed to limit themselves to a $12 trillion lending limit is seen as a VICTORY for putting controls on them is out of control. The Fed is the preferred route for policymakers, I believe, because then they don't have to ask Congress for any money. Of course, sooner or later we'll be paying for this.

• I don't know when this changed. The last NIE on Iran claimed they stopped pursuing a nuclear weapon in 2004. Within the last several months Obama and his advisers spoke differently. And now they are agreeing that the Republic is seeking nukes, despite their contention that no new information has come to light since the NIE. It's just a feeling they have. Or there's something we're not hearing.

• It took all of one day for Robert Mugabe to break promises in his power-sharing agreement with the opposition in Zimbabwe. He tried to swear in additional ministers in his party, and he had a senior aide to the Movement for Democratic Change, Roy Bennett, arrested. This is a desperate situation and the unity government will not hold.

• Although a few of Obama's orders regarding Bush-era detention and interrogation policies have been disappointing, his suspension of charges against a key member of the USS Cole bombing was the proper course of action, after a judge refused to comply with his executive order stopping all military commissions while the process was under review. Why the former commander of the USS Cole was so hot on the prosecution, after 8 1/2 years, is an interesting phenomenon explored by Marcy Wheeler.

• This writeup of Paul Krugman's appearance at the Thinking Big Conference is great because it's succinct, and explains why the stimulus is actually filling in a critical lapse in public investment since the time of Reagan. Obviously we need stimulus now to cover the demand shortfall, but the best stimulus spending is sustained, so that there is confidence it will remain and so things like infrastructure and education and R&D reach their proper level. Meanwhile, Australia's Parliament rejected their stimulus, which is a blow to a coordinated global response.

• When mercenaries meet marketing - Blackwater is running away from their unpopular policies that have led to unnecessary shootings and deaths by... well, not by changing the policies, but by changing their name, to Xe. Maybe the idea is that if nobody can pronounce it, they won't be able to prosecute anyone involved with it.

• I would love to see the restrictive policy against showing soldier's coffins overturned. War is really horrible and it should not be sanitize or hidden from view. We, the taxpayers, who pay for the machines of war, have a right to know what policies taken in Washington actually do to individuals and families.

• This has been going back and forth for some time, but a judge this week formally declared no link between autism and vaccines, which should hopefully put this whole silly controversy to rest. Those insisting on the link never based their views on science, which can get you into trouble.

• Forget why David Plouffe is meeting with the leader of Azerbaijan, why is the leader of Azerbaijan meeting with David Plouffe? The US electoral system is idiosyncratic and I'm not sure it's transferable, and the same with America's relation of politics and culture. I just don't think Plouffe plays overseas.

• Ya gotta love Tweety Pete.

• And finally, Apple's Steve Wozniak on So You Think You Can Dance. I think I might have to tune in to that one.