The Rest Of The Week In Review
I personally haven't moved in quite a while, and hadn't remembered how draining it all is. I'll be glad when it's over, but of course, we're just moving out during the remodel and then have to move back in. So even when we're done, we'll be half-done. Lovely. Anyway, here's what I missed this past week:
• Congress has been trying to pass a federal shield law for journalists for some time, and the bill Sen. Schumer proposed suddenly made all unpaid bloggers and citizen journalists ineligible, despite the fact that many of them work on investigative subjects and may need protection for their sources. It's more that the bill gives journalists special protections unattainable for bloggers that gets to me. Markos doesn't blame Schumer but some other Dems on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and reports are that the White House could be involved as well - actually it looks like they want to kill the bill altogether by trying to great giant national security exceptions. Stay tuned on this.
• Ben Bernanke gave a long piece of testimony to Congress about the role of the Federal Reserve saying nary a work about consumer protection, a good symbol of the fact that the Fed could give a rat's ass about whether or not consumers are getting ripped off by financial firms. Perhaps this signals that Bernanke won't work too hard to oppose the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency that could take away their portfolio on consumer protection. Bernanke seems to be relenting on giving the Fed the role of systemic risk regulator, too.
• Insurance companies continue to mail misleading information to seniors over Medicare reform, in this case not just to protect schemes like Medicare Advantage but to sell new supplemental insurance to the elderly. Now THAT'S entrepreneurship. The Department of Insurance in Connecticut will investigate.
• Alan Grayson's performance on the national scene this week was great, but the other positive is that he just moved to the top of every rollodex in the traditional media. He has a higher profile for the issues he has been working on in Congress, mostly the great story of our time, the destruction of the economic system by financial and corporate elites. Grayson has been a leader in the movement to audit the Federal Reserve and bring accountability to Wall Street. He has also seized on the right's phony ACORN gambit by extending their bill to defund companies who have committed fraud and applying it to government contractors like weapons producers, who have consistently defrauded the government for decades.
• The Pew Research Center alleged that a poll showed a decline in American support for a woman's right to choose, but Kevin Drum offers ample evidence showing it to be an outlier.
• Turns out that, while both sides were at fault in last year's Russia-Georgia war, an EU report states that Georgia started it by attacking South Ossetia. As John McCain said, "We are all Georgians now." Because we all support unnecessary invasions of random countries.
• If you want to know why even the IMF wants to overhaul the global financial system, read Matt Taibbi's post about how Goldman Sachs tries to bamboozle lawmakers. They really have consolidated far too much power. This new book should have some answers, too.
• Showing that you still can't fight the military-industrial complex, Congress voted for $2.5 billion in C-17 cargo planes that the Pentagon says it doesn't want or need. This is going to be a long struggle.
• A dozen retired generals and admirals told Dick Cheney and his Mini-Me daughter to stop the scaremongering on Guantanamo Bay. The sad part of all of this is that transferring the remaining prisoners to a Supermax site would greatly intensify their isolation and curtail their freedoms. This is what the Cheneys are arguing against.
• Brad from Sadly, No! authored a great piece about the entrenched interests in the health care reform debate who have been thwarting a sane method for providing care to everyone for almost a century now. Puts things in perspective, but also demands that Democrats formulate some sort of long-term response.
• Could we be seeing the end to sectarian politics in Iraq? I'm not certain - Maliki sought out Sunnis because Shiites formed their own list. The elections themselves will tell the tale, not the slates.
• RedState head Viking Erick Erickson, who is incredibly a city councilor in Macon, GA, wants to eliminate the local police force rather than let them unionize. There's a certain perfection to that. Somehow I don't think the cops are coming to his house during the next round of burglaries.
• This is a very good shift by the WIC program: "Beginning today, women and children who receive food vouchers through the federal government's WIC program will be able to use them to buy fresh fruits and vegetables." It's astounding that they weren't able before. I know I'm seeing a lot more people in the supermarkets using the WIC vouchers these days, so it's good to see that they have access to nutritious and healthy food.
• A new report by a respected national commission calls on the government to provide broadband to everyone as an imperative. This is just self-evident. We cannot compete with the rest of the world if a large segment of our population lives without the same tools of communication and knowledge. We have failed to provide the infrastructure for the 21st-century economy, not just with broadband but transportation and education, and we will pay the price.
• Here's this week's Silvio Berlusconi chronicles: he opened the week by calling Obama tan again, which appears to be his favorite joke; the woman who claimed to be a paid prostitute for the Italian prime minister asserted on Italian TV that Berlusconi knew her to be an escort; and meanwhile, despite the controversy the Italian Parliament approved a tax amnesty bill that allows the Mafia and Berlusconi's rich friends to avoid prosecution for illegal actions. Same as it ever was.
• And finally, I'm not going to rush right out and enter the WaPo's America's Next Great Pundit contest. First of all, being on the op-ed page that spawned David Broder, George Will and Charles Krauthammer isn't my idea of a prize. Second, it's unclear whether the Post even is obligated to run the columns. Third, they're offering a whopping two hundred bucks per column. Fourth, I think "Groomer Has It" was more interesting than this contest. Also, Thers won it with this entry.
Labels: rest of the week in review