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

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

Getting this done a little early on Sunday because I'm headed out for the night.

• These hold-ups of qualified Administration candidates is really starting to bug. I don't know when the theory of the President being allowed to have his own advisers went out the window. Not to mention the routine nature of a supermajority vote for such nominees. This is being done to score cheap political points - blocking Dawn Johnsen for the Office Of Legal Counsel because she's pro-choice, when a) the President is pro-choice and presumably has a bit more power in that department, and b) actually he has a LOT more power in that department, because OLC has absolutely NO power over reproductive rights, makes no sense. The Administration will not undertake a recess appointment for these nominees, and I actually think that's good (the procedure should be abolished. Harry Reid claims he'll invoke cloture on Harold Koh in two weeks; stay tuned.

• The most recent poll on the potential Pennsylvania Senate primary is good news for Joe Sestak. That Arlen Specter is only barely above 50% and Sestak within 20 points this far out is quite incredible. This is great news for efforts to pas difficult measures, because Specter will have to move to the left to satisfy the primary electorate. And Pat Toomey remains behind either candidate, so that's not really a factor.

• I've been trying very hard to avoid the protests of David Letterman over a joke he made about Sarah Palin, but for comedy value, TBogg and Wonkette are worth reading. Mind you this was supposedly a major protest on the right, with a grand total of 15 people and about three times as much media. Sam Seder did his best Letterman-on-the-street impression dealing with the crazies.

• It's definitely important to keep in mind that, should Mir Hossein Mousavi rise to power in Iran, the nuclear calculus would not change - he supports the civilian use of nuclear power. But that's a misleading marker. Clearly reformers would be more willing to negotiate on an amenable solution with the West. And of course, considering that the protestors have openly fingered Khamenei and the entire leadership structure, all bets are really off in making any predictions about the implications.

• It's interesting that not even a suck-up like Sean Hannity could refute the clear fact that right now, we have an insurance agent between us and our doctor in this country. It's the perfect counter-argument to the fearmongering of "government-run socialized medicine" and should be used whenever possible. A far better argument for the right would be the fact that we don't have enough doctors right now, let along to handle 40 million or so newly insured patients. Policymakers REALLY have to figure this one out, how to encourage primary care physicians over specialists.

• The Obama Administration may have fatally wounded its relationship to the gay community, and while they're trying to make amends, I don't know if it will work. The LGBT community just doesn't trust them - for example, they don't believe the spin that the White House couldn't offer health care benefits to same-sex spouses of federal employees because of DOMA - and they don't really even trust their own leadership to not be wooed by the Administration into more delay. The rumor that the Administration failed to listen to gay rights lawyers before filing that hideous DOMA brief is just devastating to rehabilitating this relationship.

• Euna Lee and Laura Ling reportedly admitted entry into North Korea back in March, which I thought they had done already. The negotiations continue, and I actually think this release by the state run media actually means they have a chance to be given mercy before long.

• The willingness by the Administration to accept the false premises of "clean coal" has been disturbing. The FutureGen project isn't horrible unless you believe that it won't work and thus isn't worth the investment. I do believe technology represents the key to the climate crisis, but I'm just not seeing how you can burn coal and expect it to be clean.

• I just started reading "The Sack of Rome," a study of Silvio Berlusconi and his reign of terror in Italy, and it's notable for the fact that it already needs a sequel. Sure, Berlusconi evaded multiple lawsuits thanks to having his handpicked Parliament pass immunity for him, but now he's Prime Minister again, and the recent sex scandal, which now involves him paying escorts, puts him right back in the soup. Can't wait for Alexander Stille to get to reporting again.

• The events of the New York State Senate are about the only thing that can make me feel proud of my legislature in California.

• Who knew about all the flies at the White House? I knew that Washington was basically built on a swamp, and that legislators used to leave for the summer because of all the mosquitoes, but I thought that was dealt with by now.

• Chris Matthews is really an ignorant fool, but that's redundant.

• Here's a very good discussion of the excellent book Bloggers on the Bus by Eric Boehlert, a study of the online community and its rise to prominence. Incidentally, I'm on page 218 of the book, listed as "a MyDD blogger." Trust me, that's me.

• I mentioned the Letterman protestors above, but really, it's the birthers who take the crazy cake. Fascinating case study into the wingnut id.

Pete Hoekstra is a meme. Just writing that kind of reminded me of being Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence. But let's not forget some of the other insipid comments made by Americans about the events in Iran this week. I nominate Erin Burnett's relation of the crooked vote in Iran to the Employee Free Choice Act as up for ridicule.

• And finally, if you have to be told by your employer to wear underwear and deodorant, you might be the subject of a Jeff Foxworthy joke. See for emphasis the dissenting vote of the Mayor of Brooksville, Florida, Joe Bernadini, who said that telling your employers to wear underwear "takes away freedom of choice."