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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Rest Of The Week In Review

Been a nice long weekend, but it had to come to an end. And so, we mop up last week and look forward to the week ahead:

• A new report from the Council of Economic Advisers shows that the stimulus package boosted the economy by 2-3% in the 2nd quarter and created or saved as much as 1.1 million jobs. Pro Publica, the self-appointed stimulus watchdog, questions the numbers, but I don't think you can deny the effect of public spending to fill the shortfall in demand caused by a lack of private investment, trade and consumer spending. Indeed, Pro Publica's critique was more about the media reporting of the report than the report itself.

• I'm not going to get entirely bent out of shape by the Administration stopping ACORN from helping with the Census, though I don't really have a good sense of what they did with it in the first place. An accurate count should probably be free of even perceived political bias. This comes after a video of questionable legitimacy, possibly doctored, showing ACORN in a bad light. If I had a dollar for every wingnut welfare organization that got money during the Bush Administration, I'd be a rich man. ACORN isn't even profiting from most of this stuff, but if other groups can positively fill their role, fine.

• John Stossel is moving to Fox News, where his combination of selfish cruelty and mangling of facts will fit in perfectly. I will never forget his "In praise of price gouging" column written after Hurricane Katrina, written with the conceit that starving people seeking food and water had the luxury of comparison shopping.

• The right has tried to take back the word "astroturfing," but here's a real-life example of it from Florida, where a GOP operative writes a critical letter posing as a "constituent" of Alan Grayson's.

Better late than never as the Connecticut AFL-CIO finally begins to turn on Joe Lieberman. The man is an endangered species in 2012. You've never seen so much progressive energy as you will then.

• Being right about the Iraq war makes you just as crazy as a teabagger or a Birther. That's the verdict from the Politico. What do you expect from a media that privileges conflict over the truth? When hackish Mark Bowden can figure this out and stitch together a thoughtful story about the death of the media, you know it's gone completely to the dogs.

• Now Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has even more extremist comments to defend. He apparently didn't believe gays should serve in the judiciary as recently as 2003.

• I'd be more comforted by this story of Obama's ability to shape a health care debate in the Illinois state legislature if the ultimate bill he got passed wasn't totally compromised and worthless. It becomes a much more ominous story given that context.

• The Schloz gets a reprieve: his perjury case for testimony about politicized hiring at the Justice Department will indeed be thrown out.

• No, Congress isn't coming close to passing their various spending bills to get the government running after October 1. Expect a stopgap measure.

• Abu Ghraib had a three-day riot this week, where inmates started a fire and fought with guards. That kind of thing wouldn't have happened under the stalwart control of the US military!

• Having trouble in the Great Recession? Time to make some weed! I'm dubious that it's a trend, but the Guardian seems to think so.

• According to Glenn Beck's lawyers, a domain name counts as defamation. Actually, the domain name in question is pretty defamatory, though clearly satirical.

• Fascinating article about John Murtha and incredible largesse he's bestowed on Johnstown, PA and the rest of his district over the years. This is all the more fascinating for me because I have family in Johnstown, which has apparently been propped up by $2 BILLION dollars in federal spending over Murtha's tenure. Johnstown's always revolved around one company or another, only now, instead of Bethlehem Steel, it's the ability of Murtha to bring the bacon home to the district.

• With the sudden notoriety of backbencher Joe Wilson, two of my favorite things are coming back into relevance: bizarre political behavior globally, like fights in Taiwan and South Korean Parliaments and such; and the curious history of South Carolina politics, with figures like Rep. Preston Brooks caning Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts nearly to death. It's a hell of a state. More on South Carolina's dubious history here.

• More from my favorite Italian buffoon-cum-dictator, Silvio Berlusconi, who apparently has purchased up to 30 women for parties at his Roman villa over the past five months. Very few people in Italy will know anything about this if they only consume Berlusconi-run media.

• I used to have a Geocities page, which I guess now will be lost to Internet history with the shuttering of that online community. Kind of sad, in a way, although this thing is a bit easier to update.