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

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

Been kind of a lazy weekend, great weather out in Santa Monica today. So let's get ready for the week ahead with a final look at the week behind.

• Dave Weigel has a good article on Arlen Specter, and how he tacks to the right every time he comes up for re-election, just in time to win his primary, and then return to the center. It doesn't appear that Pennsylvania Republicans, now smaller in number since so many crossed over to vote in the Democratic primary in 2008, are buying it this time around. Specter already aired an attack ad against probable primary opponent Pat Toomey, showing his tone-deafness by portraying him as a proponent of deregulation. Um, Arlen, that's what your conservative base would WANT.

• Dahlia Lithwick had a great piece about the right-wing assault on Harold Koh to be the State Department's top lawyer, based on smears and lies. Based on a lack of concern among GOP leaders about the noise machine's attacks, Koh isn't threatened to go down to defeat, but this is how the conservative movement keeps their base rallied, through lies and distortions and chipping away at the character of Democratic public officials.

• Despite getting pushback from Harry Reid and Chris Van Hollen, MoveOn will continue to call out Blue Dogs and ConservaDems who vote against core Democratic values. Good.

• Some news of the good from Congress, as I always try to report: Both houses passed a volunteer and community service bill, expanding AmeriCorps and other service organizations and offering generous stipends to college-bound students who engage in service projects. The House passed a bill putting the tobacco industry under stricter regulation by the FDA, though Senate passage is unclear. And a DC voting rights bill looks cleared for passage, although in the process, the bill would repeal DC gun laws, which given the current spate of gun rampages across the country seems insane.

• The general verdict on the G20 was a success for Barack Obama, as the IMF got not only resources but a kind of reboot with new leadership. But I thought the biggest news out of London concerned imagined breaches of etiquette by the President, leading to the rending of garments from top conservatives!

• The newly installed Israeli Foreign Minister had a great opening week, what with the investigation into graft charges and all. Meanwhile, the parties that now control the Israeli government are allied with the kind of far-right media outlets that airbrush out female members of the cabinet to keep their readers from being offended. And it doesn't even seem to matter, because talks between Fatah and Hamas aimed at reconciliation have broken down, meaning there is no real partner for peace on either side.

Ah, the Middle East.

• Joe Klein comes out in the pages of Time Magazine for the legalization of pot. That man has really changed since entering the blogosphere. Makes a pretty solid argument, too.

• I get the feeling that John McCain is going to pass away, and his cryogenically frozen head will be kept in a jar and brought out onto the Sunday shows and habitually asked for comment.

• We won't know the winner in NY-20 for a while, but if Scott Murphy does emerge victorious, could the tactic of Google network blasting to local residents have been a key to victory?

• A bunch of retired military officers came out in favor of Don't Ask Don't Tell this week. Brandon Friedman shows that some of these retired officers have forgotten their own experience with discrimination in the armed services, and that they are not representative of those who entered the military after Vietnam.

• So we got rid of Blackwater's State Department contract in Iraq, just in time for all of the ex-Blackwater mercenaries to pick up jobs with the new contractor, much to the delight of the State Department, who sought experienced security personnel. Yay. Change.

• So insurance companies buy health information about you from data-mining companies, and use the data to deny you coverage if they find that you purchased certain drugs. And this is the industry we want to keep in business.

• Hugo Chavez wants to reset relations with the United States. I don't think America has a Venezuela problem, so much as Hugo Chavez has a United States problem, so this shouldn't be hard to arrange.

• The Huffington Post will launch a non-profit fund to provide the money for investigative journalism from staff reporters and freelance writers. This is a great initiative, and one that will become increasingly familiar over the next several years.

• And finally, some clearly obsessed fan put together a Jeopardy website with the names and player stats of everyone who has been on the show for several years. Way back in 2003, I picked up the buzzer and appeared on two episodes, so here are my player stats. I guess I had a .214 batting average. Above the Medoza Line!