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

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

An early-in-the-evening version, just to get it out of the way.

• In New Hampshire, John Sununu has decided not to run for the open Senate seat being vacated by Judd Gregg. More good news for Democrats in a state trending their way, although for the moment, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) has a slight lead over Rep. Paul Hodes (D). Both have a way to go to cement their reputation among the electorate.

• I'm sorry I didn't highlight this story during the week, because it's a textbook example of how Republicans have gutted all regulatory oversight and turned so much of our corporate and political processes into a Wild West Show. In this case, the Republicans on the Federal Election Commission have basically turned it into a non-entity, because they oppose the very existence of the FEC itself. We have options to fix this and actually allow the campaign finance laws to be enforced, but the system appears so broken that chances aren't very likely.

• The FBI's Saddam tapes had plenty of interesting nuggets, including the big story that Saddam refused to allow inspectors into Iraq because he feared the response from Iran when they discovered his weapons program had more bark than bite. Maybe we should have looked into that.

• Chris Bowers has a good post showing the path to victory on the public option. I don't view it as the end-all be-all, but it's an important element of overall reform. However, there are other potential roadblocks on the horizon - like this letter from conservative House Democrats warning that they won't support any bill that aids funding of reproductive choice. This is an artifact of Rahm Emanuel's stupid decision to back pro-life Democrats throughout red districts who had little mitigating benefits other than the D next to their name.

• Joe Biden isn't wrong that most of the stimulus money has not been released yet. For example, he just kicked off the broadband expansion piece of the funding, releasing $4 billion dollars out of a total of $7.2 billion. Significantly, the White House instituted rules requiring all telecoms participating in the broadband grants to comply with net neutrality principles. I'm excited about the broadband part of the stimulus, which leaves something tangible while creating good jobs and building toward the future with digital infrastructure.

• Great news from India, which has finally lifted the criminal ban on consensual gay sex. The ban dated back to the colonial era. Very few nations still have sodomy laws.

• Speaking of gay rights, the only state in New England without legalized marriage for same-sex couples is Rhode Island, and with geniuses like these running the state, who accuse states like Vermont of "legislative activism," I don't see that changing too soon.

• In case you're holding out hope that Mark Sanford's resignation (which may or may not be imminent) would bring a better life to the citizens of South Carolina, check out his potential replacement.

• Here's the Associated Press using the Fourth of July as a hook to fearmonger about the national debt. These are the kind of stories that magically disappeared under George W. Bush, only to return with a vengeance once a Democratic President came into power seeking a modestly progressive agenda. It's disingenuous crap.

• I think the lesson here is not to blindly trust the word "organic". At my local farmer's market, they'll tell you that they cultivate their crops according to organic practices but cannot afford the label to promote it. The USDA needs to improve the process.

Limbaugh on military coups: "If we had any good luck, Honduras would send some people here and help us get our government back." Classy.

• Tom Lee thinks that investing so much communications infrastructure on Twitter, a privately owned technology, has the potential for real disaster down the road. It's worth considering whether such a centralized tool that can be used to, say, track individuals, could become problematic.

• Did the Bush Administration deliberately leak the existence of a federal wiretap to tip off the Republican Congressman who was the subject of the surveillance, and help that subject win re-election in 2006? Murray Waas reports. (The happy ending is that Rick Renzi, the aforementioned Congressman, eventually was indicted.

• More bondholders put their personal profits over common sense and try to block the sale of GM, as if they'll be able to recoup their money from a company that doesn't exist rather than one that does.

• I really have no interest in any conscience rule, because it assumes that a pharmacist or other health-care worker has an entitlement to their own job even if they prefer not to carry it out fully, and it puts more importance on the mental well-being of the health-care worker than the physical well-being of the individual
who seeks legal health care services. Obama is wrong to keep these conscience laws alive.

• Every so often, somebody writes about how the blogosphere sucks today compared to the good ol' past. I was around back then, and I don't pay too much attention to these concerns. Mainly because you are your own publisher and can create the blogosphere you desire. If you don't like how nobody's linking to smaller blogs, start linking to them! If you think Huffington Post is sucking up the oxygen, stop reading them! The blogosphere is bigger and therefore more fractured, and Twitter and Facebook have pulled readers away, but I don't really see this as a problem. Considering that this whole thing is pretty much an incredible accident, I'm surprised as many people still participate in it.