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

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

Sorry for the lack of posting since around noon yesterday. I'm still in a bit of flux post-marriage. We're remodeling the house, but aren't ready to move out yet, so I'm kind of camping at Mrs. D-Day's for a while, and we're still doing lots of remodel stuff on the weekends. So weekend posting will be light for the time being. Point being, I missed all kinds of stuff. Such as:

• After killing the head of the Pakistani Taliban, the President wants to reach out to the Islamist parties there. This is generally a good idea, but its effectiveness will be hampered somewhat by the fact that Pakistanis can't stand Americans, and insistent Predator drone strikes that kill Pakistanis won't exactly ameliorate that.

• This "Congress' Gulfstream Jets!" story became one of those simmering issues on the right that becomes part of their vernacular, but strangely dropped from the complaint is the fact that Obama himself put a stop to Congress (mostly conservatives from Georgia, where Gulfstreams are made) trying to double the Congressional air travel budget, not to mention Obama constantly slamming the defense industry and Congress for their wasteful projects. Not that I expect the right to be coherent and factual.

• North and South Korea actually held high-level talks this week for the first time in a couple years, suggesting that the DPRK is rapidly moving toward a position of conciliation with the West. However, their talks with Bill Richardson this week amounted to them believing they are owed bilateral talks with the United States, which probably won't happen.

• Given how Obama is "losing the left" this week, let me point to a few things the Administration is doing right. They're apparently getting global buy-in on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, with several countries willing to accept those released. The new credit card rules took effect this week, which will have a tangible, if modest, impact for consumers. And the US is finally giving the names of everyone in overseas prisons to the Red Cross, ending the shameful practice of hiding ghost detainees from international perusal. Also the stimulus projects may start really ramping up in the next two months. Let's at least acknowledge this.

• It's not all good news, of course: why the hell is the State Department still using Blackwater to the tune of $400 million in contracts?

• David Vitter wants members of Congress to take the public option as their own health care, a cute little talking point which is, incidentally, IN the Senate HELP Committee version of the bill. I have a challenge for Vitter. He could try to run for re-election without using public funds for campaign activity.

• Alec MacGillis has a very good primer explaining the entire health care fight in 1,000 words. This is one article Dean Baker doesn't need to criticize. Probably the only one, but still.

• It's fun to watch the National Review admit that rationing is inevitable in medicine, and that the proper way to do it is through price. They think it's completely just that you should be denied treatment by virtue of your station in life. This story, in other words, is exactly how the market should work. Your modern conservative movement, ladies and gentlemen.

• Jim DeMint, who thinks health care is a privilege (see the National Review above), has teamed up with Michele Bachmann (a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde stealing from poor people) calling for state nullification if health care reform passes. These are the kind of people known as "patriots" to their supporters. Funny, I don't recall any effort to reject stimulus money being anything put a pose, quietly reversed later on.

• This stimulus grant for electronic medical records is well-timed. The fact that we're still using paper files to track the health status of 300 million Americans is asinine.

• Turns out that end of life provisions improve the mood and quality of life for the patients who use them. We've moved so far away from a rational debate over health care or really anything in this country, that such news won't have an effect. The proof of that is the fact that the states with the most uninsured are the states most likely to believe the swarm of misinformation out there.

• Here are two epic takedowns - Glenn Greenwald on America's biggest corporate whore, Lanny Davis; and Julia on America's other biggest corporate whore, Betsy McCaughey.

• Capping off New Jersey GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie's horrendous week, a tape has emerged showing him telling a crowd that he's "got" US Attorneys, presumably ones that do his bidding. Jon Corzine really has a chance to make this a race now. Christie is tarnished, and he was running almost entirely on his law-and-order image.

• This John Ensign quote is astonishing:

"I haven't done anything legally wrong," the Nevada Republican told the Associated Press in an interview. "President Clinton stood right before the American people and he lied to the American people," Ensign said. "You remember that famous day he lied to the American people, plus the fact I thought he committed perjury. That's why I voted for the articles of impeachment."

I guess paying off the family of your lover through your parents, in installments just small enough to avoid IRS scrutiny, means that he did nothing legally wrong. Funny moral universe Republicans live in.

• Speaking of which, Karl Rove wants an apology. This is about the most self-serving extended whine I've ever seen in a print newspaper. It's the journalistic equivalent of the Leave Britney Alooonnne! guy.

• Lt. William Calley has broken his silence about the My Lai massacre. I honestly didn't know he was still alive, but he's worked at a jeweler in Columbus, Ohio for years. Calley is very remorseful, you'll be glad to know.

• I couldn't hear a word of this at Netroots Nation, but it's actually pretty funny, especially the cameo from David Cross (can't wait to read his new book):

• There's a German comedian pretending to be a candidate in upcoming elections who would take 18% of the vote, according to a recent poll, based on ideas like wanting to change the national symbol of the eagle to a bunny. It's a sad day for American satire that a GERMAN comedian is kicking our asses. Germany, home of such vintage comedy as... well, nobody.

• And finally, in news of the recession, Italian banks are considering taking wine and proscuitto as collateral. Next thing you know we'll be using bottlecaps as scrip.