CAN THIS MAN SOLVE POVERTY? He's good. Better, in fact, than you remember. I just got back from a National Press Club luncheon where former VP candidate John Edwards gave the first substantive policy address of his yet-unannounced 2008 candidacy. News that Edwards can command a crowd's attention is scarcely news at all, so I'll not dwell on that. Nor will anyone be particularly shocked -- though some will be enthused, and others inspired -- to hear that Edwards wishes to make the elimination of poverty a national crusade. Here's what is new:
THE REPORT. Keep scrolling through TPM Muckraker for some choice excerpts from and analysis of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee's final report (PDF) on Jack Abramoff's Indian tribe shenanigans. As has been noted, committee chair John McCain had been quite careful in steering this investigation away from intensive looks into the actions of sitting members of Congress; discussion of Bob Ney, however, was unavoidable in a final, comprehensive report. Go to pages 162-180 for the goods.
IDEAS, FIRST PRINCIPLES, THE PHILOSOPHY GAP, ETC. To add to thepushback against liberal "ideas"hype, I recommend reading Greg Anrig's post as well as Alan Wolfe's essay in the latest Washington Monthly.
NDN GETS BACK TO ITS ROOTS. So the annual NDN Conference gets under way at noon today, and guess who's on the speaker line-up? New Democrats. People who have ties to the Democratic Leadership Council. People accused on blogs of centrism. The main political speakers at the conference are: Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; former Virginia Governor Mark Warner; Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, chair of the DLC; and Senator Hillary Clinton.
JUPITER RISING, WAGES STUCK. In all innocence, I went on to the Washington Post's home page on Wednesday afternoon to see who voted how in the Senate vote on raising the minimum wage. I found what I was looking for: the eight Republicans (Chafee, Coleman, Collins, DeWine, Lugar, Snowe, Specter, Warner) who voted along with the Democrats to raise the wage.
The Washington Post reported on former Treasury Secretary, and soon to be former Harvard President, Larry Summers' suggestion that the foreign central banks of developing countries begin to unload some of their huge dollar holdings. As someone who has been writing on this issue for almost five years (see here, here, and here), I am glad to see that it is now getting attention from some prominent economists.
SOMEBODY CALL A BLOGGER'S ETHICS PANEL. I have my problems with Kos, but this sort of gotcha journalism is silly. The story, as intrepid reporter Jason Zengerle has uncovered it, is this: After the news about Jerome's settled SEC case broke, Markos sent an e-mail over a closed list saying he thought the story was worthless and the best way to respond was to deny it oxygen or impact. And so he, and others, did. The e-mail could have been sent to a private CC list of the biggest bloggers, but he instead transmitted it through a semi-private message board with hundreds of members. One of the many hundreds of members forwarded the note to Zengerle, who breathlessly posted it up on the Plank. Butwaittheresmore!
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE DEFEATED. It needed 60 votes, it got 52, so for the moment, the minimum wage increase is dead. Of the eight Republicans who voted for it, four are up for reelection this year. Congrats to The New York Times, by the way, for accurately diagnosing the state of play: "While Democrats depend on organized labor to win elections, Republicans are closely aligned with business interests that oppose any increase in the federal wage floor or would like changes in the current system." Ted Kennedy has promised that the minimum wage will be among the first bits of legislation Democrats consider if they retake Congress this fall.