There may be important votes tonight in the House and the Senate, with a variety of possibilities, but until then we’ll just take a look at what else happened today:
• Paul Krugman is full of despair over the trends in the economy and the failed elite response. If he looked at the dysfunctional Congress balking at even the most sensible priorities on spending, he’d despair even more. I fear Japanification more and more every day, and with QI GDP revised downward, we may be on that road, entirely because of bad policymaking.
• You can find the Administration’s National Security Strategy here. Ultimately I think the importance of these documents gets blown out of proportion, and that’s certainly the case here, where the high-minded claims of turning the page on the unilateralism of the Bush years totally conflicts with the fealty to Bush-era policies like indefinite detention and other civil liberties issues. John Brennan’s comments on this were sadly typical and revealing. It’s also silly to say that this strategy looks “beyond military might” in the midst of two wars.
• BP has stopped the top kill, at least temporarily, because too much drilling fluid and oil was escaping through the leak. It’s unknown when they’ll continue.
• Tim Geithner is lobbying Europe on financial regulations, and he claims a broad agreement, while acknowledging differences in approach.
• Good for Brad Henry, gamely defending a woman’s right to choose in the red state of Oklahoma, vetoing a bill that would limit coverage of abortion services by private insurers.
• Public attitudes are already changing in favor of environmental protection and against at-all-costs energy production, and with every shot of the devastation in the Gulf, we’ll see that spread expand. And Obama should stop saying that we have to keep drilling until the transition to clean energy is ready – we can do this now.
• Benjamin Netanyahu calls for direct talks with the Palestinians. I didn’t expect that.
• Jerry Brown, without really even campaigning yet, commands decent leads in the California Governor’s race, thanks to his Republican opponents beating the crap out of each other. And he has $20 million dollars in the bank, enough to at least remain competitive in the fall, and allies plan ads as soon as the primary ends. Looking pretty good for Brown at the moment.
• Polls, polls: There’s a reason Rob Simmons thinks Linda McMahon can’t beat Richard Blumenthal; Jack Conway has a legitimate shot at beating Rand Paul in red-state Kentucky.
• Supporters of the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented students, are getting more aggressive in their advocacy, holding sit-ins at Congressional district offices all over the country.
• Not only are individual insurance rates rising, but small business rates have soared in recent years, and that’s continuing.
• Anyone have any ideas about this paper promoting a new scientific possibility to wash carbon out of the air? I still maintain that geoengineering is our best bet to avoid catastrophic climate change, sadly.
• The Nikki Haley spectacle churns on in South Carolina.
• More austerity in Europe, this time in Spain, but it barely made it across the line by only one vote.
• Britain has the new Conservative government, America has the new liberal government, but it’s in the UK where civil liberties-depriving ID card legislation is being scrapped, whereas Democrats included it in their immigration reform plan.
• Hey thanks Erick Erickson: over 113 Census workers have been threatened while carrying out their duties.
• Is possible Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle a Scientologist, or just Scientology-friendly?