The Rest of The (Belated) Week In Review
Didn't get to this yesterday, as I basically played hooky from blog. So I'm cleaning out the closet:
• The House voted to strip all federal funding from ACORN in the student loan bill, and there are more such funding strip amendments in the health care markup in the Senate Finance Committee. The "let's strip ACORN funding" amendment will soon become a staple of GOP politics. Only problem is an unconstitutional bill of attainder, but when have laws gotten in a way of a good story. I've talked about the whole thing to death, but Joe Conason offers a decent synopsis of my views. In the end, this hurts nobody but the low-income disempowered Americans who will lose a voice for justice in their communities.
• Speaking of ACORN, their main sin before the entrapment videos was voter registration fraud by some of their members, which cannot possibly result in one fraudulent vote being cast in an election unless something in a mouse suit goes around to the polling sites where a "Mickey Mouse" registration was filed. The actual preferred technique for controlling an election is raising the spectre of voter fraud to pursue draconian voter ID laws, like the kind in Indiana which the state Supreme Court struck down. Of course, the entire 2008 election was held under the old, restrictive voter ID law, needlessly disenfranchising possibly thousands of voters.
• Very good news that Sens. Feingold and Durbin have introduced legislation to fix both the Patriot Act and the FISA law. With Durbin, a member of the Senate leadership, in the mix, they both actually stand a chance of passage. This is a fight that bears watching, which will get more crucial as the year ends.
• I really don't know how you can look at these 9-12 videos and then claim that race is somehow not a motivating factor in the anger on the right. Not even necessarily the race of the President, but the race of the presumed recipient of any government benefits under liberals. Obama's race just extends from their logic on this.
• After reading all the excerpts leaked, I may have to go pick up former Bush speechwriter Doug Latimer's new book on the reign of error. I think the fact that one of Bush's top economic advisers was known for putting whoopee cushions on people's chairs in the West Wing pretty much sums up the whole Presidency.
• Most of the critiques of the GOP plan for interstate insurance sales include the idea that it would devolve into a race to the bottom, much like the credit card industry, where one state would gut their regulations to attract insurance company HQs and leave Americans unprotected. Michele Bachmann considers that a virtue. She wants the kind of world where finding excuses not to pay for treatment would be the de facto law of the land.
• I've heard these rumblings about Blue Dogs working with conservatives on back-channel health care deals, but I have concluded that it's a lot of talk and bravado from some GoOPers who want to throw Dems off the trail. It's more of a psy-op than anything, IMO.
• Mark Kirk wants us to believe that cap and trade made sense for his small Illinois district but not the nation. But the worst part is how the sheep listening to him alternately boo him and then cheer him within two minutes.
• Classy work by the African-American former mayor of Memphis, claiming a racial entitlement on a Congressional seat in a majority-black district held by the white Steve Cohen. The Civil Rights Act gave an opportunity minority-majority districts so traditionally disenfranchised voters could pick their legislators. It was not a quota system or a racial ceiling, nor should it be, and race-baiting tactics like this are outrageous. Cohen has beaten challengers offering this kind of rhetoric before, however.
• It's sad that we could see a massive shift in campaign finance law, allowing corporations to give directly to candidates, at the same time as when the recession is limiting contributions from wealthy donors. Outside groups may be able to freely spend, but unless co-opted completely by corporate interests they're going to have trouble keeping up in the spending race. The 2012 campaign could really be ugly for those advocates for clean elections.
• Evan Bayh's plea for fiscal responsibility and spending freezes would have a lot more credibility if he didn't vote this session for a $250 billion tax cut for the richest people in America. His credibility lacks, um, credibility.
• A long piece from Kevin Drum about the real consequences of Republican obstructionism is worth a read.
• China wants to know about our health care debate because they cannot continue to justify investment in such a sclerotic nation. It doesn't make a great bumper sticker, but "Health Care Now - Because We Want China To Keep Servicing Our Debt!" makes sense to me.
• Best news I've heard in years: Operation Rescue says it's broke.
• I remain convinced that technology, through geoengineering or innovation, is a far better bet for getting us out of the climate change mess than relying on our political leaders. Nanotube technology for solar offers yet another example.
• Here's an insane case of jurisprudence where the prosecutor and presiding judge were sleeping together at the time that a man was convicted for having an affair.
• Finally, this is the funniest compilation I've seen in years:
Labels: rest of the week in review