I want to lead this off with a sad note: you may have learned that netroots activist and writer Martin Bosworth passed away yesterday. Martin moved to Los Angeles sometime last year, and I got to know him from various blogging/Democratic events. I just saw him a couple weeks ago, actually. I found him to be smart, dedicated, and passionate about his views. He will be missed. RIP.
And here’s what else happened today:
• Obviously the big story concerns Joseph Stack, who crashed into a federal building in Austin, Texas with a Piper Dakota. He was angry at the IRS (the building housed a local IRS office) and left a manifesto that acts as a fun-house mirror, for really anyone to read into. Glenn Beck is calling this guy a crazed liberal; Dave Neiwert pegs him as a right-wing anti-government ranter; hundreds of Facebook fans call him a hero. I think it’s pretty clearly an act of domestic terrorism, but people are complicated and often contradictory, and so I’m laying off attributing a maniac’s beliefs to one side or another of the political spectrum.
• The foreclosure crisis is the biggest problem facing the economy right now, as big an impediment to growth and job creation as anything else, not to mention a source of much suffering for families. Current mitigation efforts simply aren’t getting the job done; and yet I see no urgency from the White House or Congress to remedy this. Shameful.
• Two Taliban “shadow governors” have been arrested in Afghanistan, adding to the momentum from capturing the Taliban’s military commander. And the leader of the Haqqani network in Pakistan may have perished in a drone strike. With all these efforts on the national security front, why can’t Democrats present a coherent national security message?
• California State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass will run for Congress, replacing the retiring Diane Watson, and Watson has already endorsed her. Basically, the seat is hers. Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom may want to be Lieutenant Governor. I have no idea why.
• And now Liz Cheney endorses repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. They ought to put this to a vote in Congress tomorrow. No reason not to do this, now.
• I sense a faint rehabilitation of George W. Bush in conservative circles. Not so fast: “The average income reported by the 400 highest-earning U.S. households grew to almost $345 million in 2007, up 31 percent from a year earlier, Internal Revenue Service statistics show.”
• Brad Ellsworth says he’s still undecided on running for Senate in Indiana, which of course he is required to say at this point. So don’t put much stock in it.
• More signers to that public option letter, with Jeanne Shaheen becoming number 19.
• As I said earlier, while Anthem Blue Cross has delayed their rate hike in California so far, to get out from under the media spotlight, expect them to eventually impose it, because there’s nothing much the state can do about it.
• Violence in Iraq, just what we need! Then as now, we have very little control over events in Iraq, and the factions jockeying for power will fight it out amongst themselves regardless of whether we have 100,000 troops in the country or 0.
• Scott Brown will make a history in the Senate of teasing Democrats with potential support for their bills. Hopefully it’s a short history.
• Environmentalists have had it with Barack Obama. From my perspective, they need to look within and fix their own movement – the UN climate chief’s resignation under pressure shows just how badly enviros are losing the messaging war.
• Progressive groups should go after Michele Bachmann regardless of the issue, but particularly when she starts talking about “weaning” America off of Social Security and Medicare. That needs to get maximum exposure.
• Pollster Stan Greenberg writes about how Democrats can avoid another 1994. I say: help people. Simple, two-word fix.
• It must be close to election season, because the DSCC released one of those attack websites, this one hitting Ohio Senate candidate Rob Portman’s relationship with big banksters.
• I’m assuming James Cameron’s Avatar novel will be a pop-up book. But a revolutionary one! That will change the way you read!