A sleepy Friday out here, hope it’s good in your neck of the woods.
• Elena Kagan’s going to get confirmed, but beyond her, there really is a vacancy crisis in the lower courts. Republican obstructionism and a slow Presidential appointment process can share the blame.
• Everyone’s talking about Anthony Weiner’s outburst against Republicans for hiding behind procedure to vote against health care for 9/11 workers. I support calling them out for that, but then also taking this bill through the Rules Committee and passing it through the normal process, which requires only a majority vote (they tried to pass it under suspension of the rules, which needed 2/3).
• The House also passed a pretty good anti-lobbying bill this week. If only we had a unicameral legislature!
• House Dems are today trying to pass a couple oil spill response bills, but face resistance in their own caucus to the lifting of the oil spill liability cap.
• The House Ethics Committee is only recommending a reprimand for Charlie Rangel, rather than expulsion from the House or censure, for his ethics violations. It’s hard to frame this as Democrats protecting their own, since it’s a fully bipartisan committee.
• The Daily Beast profiles Pete Peterson, finds him to be a kinder, gentler budget hawk, interested in a carbon tax and Clinton-level marginal tax rates in addition to slashing Social Security and Medicare.
• I agree with Matt Yglesias that the filibuster undermines democratic accountability – that’s the best possible reason for getting rid of it. But he should also explain that issues like foreign policy, civil liberties and even domestic issues like the HAMP foreclosure mitigation program really can be tied directly to Obama, and the accountability laid right at his feet.
• Republicans are freaking out by the suggestion from the Obama Administration that they could “go it alone” and act through executive order on immigration reform, but other than streamlining current law in the legal immigration system it sounds like all talk.
• An errant attack on civilians by US forces in Kabul has led to riots.
• The majority of Pakistanis don’t know that Predator drone planes exist, but those who do oppose them dramatically.
• The US government actually enforces a free trade agreement! In this case, they’re taking Guatemala to court under CAFTA because the country is violating collective-bargaining standards.
• Is the CBO lowballing long-term economic growth to make the deficit look bigger than expected?
• John Dingell goes to work for Big Telecom, tries to shiv net neutrality.
• Maybe if the President was less preoccupied with overhauling education policy through “reform” and more focused on saving teacher jobs by the hundreds of thousands, Congress wouldn’t be so piqued and they wouldn’t cut back Race to the Top funding in the next fiscal year.
• Lucky for Nevada GOP candidate Brian Sandoval, his kids don’t look Hispanic. Otherwise they’d be in real trouble for harrassment!
• BP’s Tony Hayward, so very misunderstood.
• I’m quoted in this Politico piece about Beth Krom winning the DFA Grassroots All-Star competition. Basically, DFA is very strong in her home base of Orange County. But Krom, the former mayor of Irvine, actually does have a chance to win a fairly conservative district (though one that voted for Obama) against birther-curious John Campbell.
• Adam Serwer makes a good point about the disclosure of Afghan informants in the Wikileaks release: where were the media outlets who received this information and combed through it for weeks before making it public? Don’t they bear responsibility too?
• Steven Pearlstein tears the Chamber of Commerce a new one.
• Nate Silver has a new, competing metric with the Cook Partisan Voting Index to judge Congressional districts, taking into account the district’s socioeconomic status.
• Did Jose Canseco travel with a steroids lab and make everyone on teams he joined better power hitters? Some data points to yes.
• More unadulterated genius from Alvin Greene: “When asked whether he believes Palestinians should have a separate state, he looked confused, then snapped, ‘For what?'”
…I forgot this one, it’s hilarious: Dan Lungren (R-CA) is on some right-wing radio show. A couple minutes in, he gets pulled over for speeding. There’s audio of it, including the cop telling him to put the phone down. Link.