1) From last week’s Area Votes In Congress (here)…
Clean-energy dispute. Voting 254-173, the House added a clean-energy section to a bill (HR 5116) authorizing $86 billion over five years for science and technology programs run by federal agencies, universities, and the private sector. The proposed Clean Energy Consortium would use federal and university resources and venture capitalists to develop and market technologies not being adequately addressed by the private sector. The focus would be on renewable energy from sources such as the sun, wind, oceans, earth, and agriculture.
A yes vote backed the amendment.
Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
This is the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 that the Repugs tried to stall by sticking that ridiculous anti-porn amendment into it, which, as noted here, is a typical tactic that they pull to try and gum up the workings of government (which, as The Sainted Ronnie R told us, of course, is the problem…government, that is – more on him later). And the party-line BS is totally reflected in this vote, of course.
On the Senate side, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve sponsored by Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont passed 96-0. A Repug-sponsored amendment “requiring the government to phase out its control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within two years” was defeated (as far as I’m concerned, that was a “solution” to a problem that never existed in the first place…I know Fannie and Freddie have issues, but they can still be resolved in their current disposition IMHO).
Also, the Senate voted to keep new rules on derivatives in place, outlawed “no doc” home mortgage loans, and defeated a GOP scheme to “sunset” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after four years. The Senate also voted 64-33 to regulate fees that firms such as Visa and MasterCard charge merchants for debit-card transactions (as tall as Ted Kaufman has stood on “too big to fail,” that’s how low he shrunk by opposing this amendment – Tom Carper did also, but that’s about what I would expect).
2) Also, I found the following at Fix Noise yesterday (here)…
A George Soros-funded, Marxist-founded organization calling itself Free Press has published a study advocating the development of a "world class" government-run media system in the U.S.
A newly released book, meanwhile, documents Free Press has close ties to top Obama administration officials.
"The need has never been greater for a world-class public media system in America," begins a 48-page document, "New Public Media: A Plan for Action," by the far-left Free Press organization.
"Commercial media's economic tailspin has pushed public media to the center of the debate over the future of journalism and the media, presenting the greatest opportunity yet to reinvigorate and re-envision the modern U.S. public media system," argued the Free Press document, which was reviewed by WND.
WND, by the way, stands for World Nut Daily, and if you guessed that that’s a far-right web site pretending to be a news organization, then you win a free photo of Dr. Rand Paul posing next to two drinking fountains, one labeled “White” and one labeled “Colored.”
This takes you to the About Us page of the Free Press web site. I don’t know which one, if any, of the individuals at this site has “close ties” to the Obama Administration, and I don’t know which “Marxist” founded the group (Groucho? Chico? Harpo? : -).
As noted here, though, Free Press has collaborated across the ideological spectrum with the Parents Television Council (including Brent Bozell) and the Gun Owners of America on the issue of Net Neutrality. And I think it’s more than a little ironic for a Repug-simpatico operation like Fix Noise to be complaining about a plan that emphasizes local media coverage since, as noted here, those zany teabaggers have been relying on that in part to get the word out whenever they have those charming little dress-up parties where they parade their ignorance for all the world to see.
But hey, why pass up on a chance to propagate wingnut nonsense when the truth is apparently so much harder to comprehend?
3) And I think that is an appropriate segue to this item from yesterday’s New York Times by Zev Chafets – a paean to Flush Limbore timed ever so conveniently with the release of a book by Chafets on the “hillbilly heroin” addict…
Mr. Limbaugh has played an important role in elections going back to 1994, when he commanded the air war in the Republican Congressional victory. This time, however, he is more than simply the mouthpiece of the party. He is the brains and the spirit behind its resurgence.
How did this happen? The Obama victory in 2008 left Republicans dazed, demoralized and leaderless. Less than six weeks after the inauguration, in a nationally televised keynote address to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Limbaugh stepped into the void with a raucous denunciation of the new president’s agenda and a strategic plan based on his belief that real conservatism wins every time. He reiterated his famous call for Mr. Obama to fail and urged the party faithful to ignore the siren song of bipartisanship and moderation and stay true to the principles of Ronald Reagan.
You mean, the “principles” of huge two tax hikes (the largest in peacetime history, as Paul Krugman tells us here), expansion of government (he did so by 61,000 employees, as noted here) and nuclear deterrence (here)?
I’m not entirely sure why the Times decided to let itself be used so Chafets could spread such right-wing flatulence like this, but then again, I also don’t know why they decided to run with a story on Richard Blumenthal, the Dem senatorial candidate of Connecticut, and some quotes where he claimed to have served in Vietnam when he in fact served stateside during the war (I thought kos had a good response to that here, and as noted here, somehow I don’t recall a similar dustup when a Repug politician misspoke along similar lines).
Also, the paper chose to run a column by Buzz Bissinger on its Op-Ed page yesterday about LeBron James, and I have two responses. One, the place for sports commentary is the Sports section, not the Op-Ed section (Is there a shortage of editorial content out there that I don’t know about?). Two, Bissinger writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer, which routinely does this stuff with Bill Lyon – I’d really hate to see the Times now practicing this same bad habit.Update 5/24/10: This is probably the soundest analysis of the Blumenthal mess that I've read to date in response to scribblings from Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt yesterday (h/t Atrios).