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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

Thought I'd fit this in while not posting at Washington Monthly (by the way, stop by and say hello!).

• Michelle Bachmann had herself a week befitting of the queen of crazy. First she insisted that Timothy Geithner answer the question "What part of the Constitution gave you the authority to follow laws passed by Congress?" She followed that up by calling for an "orderly revolution" to save freedom, which admittedly are nicer than those chaotic and unwieldy revolutions you normally see. She helpfully acknowledged that she's been called a kook before. And I don't think that's ended, either.

• The stimulus package has foregrounded "shovel-ready" projects to ensure that the money enters the economy as quickly as possible. The downside to that is those projects invariably support suburban sprawl and other negative consequences, and will hamper efforts to move to a clean energy economy. Investments in innovations like high speed rail make sense, but they simply don't develop as quickly. So it's a real conundrum.

• On the other hand, giving Social Security beneficiaries an extra $250 through the stimulus is first-rate policy, since most of those people will spend it quickly. Somehow it escaped me that such a payout was in the law.

• This week, a Fox News anchor compared taxing the AIG bonuses to sex abuse. We have never needed Financial Media Matters more than we do now. The amount of nonsense said on the business channels and about economics in general on cable news is almost incalculable.

• During the 2008 election, I read Mudflats on a few occasions. It never occurred to me that anyone would be so stupid as to "out" her real identity, let alone a Democratic member of the Alaska legislature doing so intentionally because she went after him in a blog post. There are entirely good reasons for anonymity, and why seemingly nobody in politics can understand that astounds me. Really dumb move by this representative.

• The Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva has generated controversy for claiming that "blue-eyed bankers are to blame" for the financial crisis, leading Maureen Dowd to write about the intricacies of race her blue eyes and the eye color of other people. She's one of America's finest analytic thinkers.

• In public, at least, Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to pursue peace talks with the Palestinians, but did not mention that those talks would be aimed at a two-state solution. This would be new for Netanyahu, and frankly I'll believe it when I see it. I agree with President Obama when he said this week that Netanyahu's election doesn't make peace efforts any easier.

• Civil liberties groups are not wavering at holding President Obama accountable. They have expressed concern for free speech regarding a stipulation in the stimulus that lobbyists cannot talk about projects to federal administrators (which shows that they are on the side of the Constitution and not an ideological corner), and they are angered by the Administration's misuse of the state secrets privilege. I'm pleased that they are taking stock of Obama on the merits and not on his word or image. The next thing they need to take on is the renewal of the Patriot Act.

• If it is indeed true that border agents plan to poison foliage along the border with Mexico to root out hiding places for smugglers and border crossers, I am appalled.

• This is novel - a news article, in this case about the debate over budget reconciliation, which actually calls out Republicans over their hypocrisy, having used and advocated for reconciliation to pass trillion-dollar tax cuts when George Bush was in power, but now horrified by the potential use under Barack Obama. Good contextualizing by the New York Times.

• Joe Biden is America's most important utility infielder, if this article about his role in the Administration is to be believed.

• Guess what? Most electronic voting is not secure. Time to end this experiment.

• Debbie Wasserman Schultz apparently had breast cancer for years, with multiple surgeries, all the while hiding it from the public. Now she's championing the fight against the disease. Impressive.

• Oh goody, Joel Surnow, the self-described “right-wing nut job” who created "24," now wants to create a 10-hour miniseries on the Kennedys, which I'm sure won't betray any biases about that Democratic family whatsoever.

• And finally, we're all going to die. Seriously, robot hunter-killers that operate with limited human control and fire on their own is the plot to about 100 sci-fi movies, where the robots slowly turn on their creators and become loveless killing machines. Thanks, Pentagon, for consigning us to a fate of the first 30 minutes of The Terminator. When the robots come, I'm joining their side, that's all I'm saying.