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

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

Somehow, the more I write, the more I end up wanting to write about. It's as if news just continues to happen rather than stop every so often! So inevtiably, at the end of the week, a few items fall by the wayside. Thus necessitating the need for this running feature. Here's this week's version.

• Newt Gingrich wants people to think he's running for President again. Only he's pretended to run multiple times. And stopped when he realized that he was entirely unpopular. Which begs the question, why do we care what Newt Gingrich thinks? He's a media talking head with a rampant ego and a set of "solutions" consisting of the exact same mix of tax cuts and giveaways to Republican special interest lobbies. Somehow, in the media world, that merits glowing 8,000-word profiles about how "Newt is back." The profiles hailing the return of Newt Gingrich are as familiar as the falling of leaves in autumn, but at least those are pretty to look at.

• On the other hand, I think Jon Huntsman, the Governor of Utah, is at least making a bit of sense, for a Republican. He understands that the rampant extremism of the Republican Party is just killing them, and that they might need to moderate themselves to have their message be more appealing to the electorate. Fortunately, the rank and file will never go for this. But it could serve Huntsman well in a Presidential primary. John Cole concurs. This guy could be formidable if the economy fails to recover.

• Good for Ruth Bader Ginsburg for sticking it to Jim Bunning for darkly intimating she was about to die. "I also wanted them to see I was alive and well, contrary to that senator who said I'd be dead within nine months." If anyone needs to have his words thrown back in his face, it's Bunning.

• Matthew Yglesias has been focusing this week on the need for more global efforts to resuscitate the economy. Germany in particular has been resistant to providing any fiscal stimulus despite a budget surplus, worrying about inflation, and this is causing a ripple effect throughout Europe. Plenty of think tank analyses show that the world is doing far too little, with their stimulus encompassing far less a percentage of GDP than needed. If the World Bank is correct that global GDP will shrink in 2009, and that economic crisis could turn into several destabilizing political crises, then it becomes a national security issue to get some global coordination on reversing the meltdown. Europe cutting their interest rates is a start, but with their political and institutional constraints, the rest of the heavy lifting may fall to China. That's a discomforting thought.

• Here's a perfectly ridiculous statement from the increasingly ridiculous Marc Ambinder. Should Obama give Bush credit for saving Iraq? You know, I don't think 4,250 dead Americans and maybe a million dead Iraqis are going to have a benign reaction to that question, stipulating of course that they were alive to hear it. The 360,000 with brain injuries are alive, and probably just as angry at the question. Obama is unwinding an unhealthy mess in Iraq, which by the way is still hazardous. We've gone over the arguments of how the surge is not responsible for the relative decline in violence and certainly not responsible for a political reconciliation that has not happened. I don't think thanking Bush for bringing this mess to our country, with its cost in lives and treasure, leaps to my mind. Or the President's, for that matter. He has enough problems.

• David Simon has a great op-ed about the effect of the potential loss of local newspapers on local crime and local accountability. It makes some excellent points, but of course this is a decline 30 years in the making, and also the reliance - even at the local level - on official sources has corrupted the news-gathering process and the public's right to know. Bloggers and the Internet are a convenient scapegoat, but not the entire story.

• The fight over the Employee Free Choice Act will really heat up next week. There's a hearing scheduled in the Senate for Tuesday. Although I don't see it coming up for a vote until the Al Franken situation is resolved.

• Two op-eds worth reading: Roger Cohen on the demonization of anyone who dares to criticize Israel policy (hint: the word "Nazis" often comes up), and none other than Michael Moore on why he has never been the Democrats' Rush Limbaugh (because people agree with his perspective).

• On the other hand, a column not worth reading: Anything by Tom Friedman. His top five worst predictions are pretty incredible. We won the war in Afghanistan? Colin Powell "can never be fired"? Vladimir Putin as “Russia’s first Deng Xiaoping”?

• Larry Kudlow is thinking of running for Senate in Connectiut against Chris Dodd. CNBC's Larry Kudlow. This guy. The one who coined the phrase "Bush/Bernanke boom." Bring it on.

• If you want to see what the conservative blogosphere is consumed with, check out this slap-fight between two of their charges, arguing that essential divide over whether it's OK to want Barack Obama to fail or not. Just another MENSA meeting over there.

Dick Cheney giving a deposition? Under oath? Well, it's not quite what it sounds - there's a lawsuit against some Secret Service agents for illegally arresting an Iraq war protester, and Cheney is being forced to give testimony in the case. So it's not exactly George Bush getting indicted for war crimes just yet... although I don't know that's happening either.

• Michael Steele had a blog left over from his campaign for RNC Chair. After he started criticizing Rush Limbaugh, some dittoheads found it and harrassed him to distraction. So he shut the blog down. It just goes to show you, Leave Limbaugh Alone.

• And finally, Siegfried and Roy appeared on stage for a final time - with the same bengal tiger that took a chunk of Roy the last time they were on stage. Amazingly enough, the tiger didn't use this as the opportunity for an encore. And the animal kingdom wept.