A while back, the Obama administration tried to convince Joe Sestak not to run in the Democratic primary against Sen. Arlen Specter, suggesting that it might give him some sort of position on an unpaid commission. Republicans have been torn by the question of whether this rather mundane bit of political deal-making was just worse than Watergate, or might actually be one of history's greatest crimes. Jonathan Chaitmakes a good observation about this issue:
Jon Stewart has a riff about how some people think that adding "No disrespect" to something they say can make even the most offensive statements acceptable. "Your mother's a whore -- no disrespect." That's essentially the position Newt Gingrich is taking. On the one hand, he has a new book out, which is all about how Barack Obama's "secular-socialist machine" is a greater threat to America than Hitler or Stalin were. On the other hand, he still wants to remain a member of polite political society. So we get this (from Think Progress):
The Sunlight Foundation just announced the winners of its Design for America contest, in which they asked designers to come up with innovative visualizations of government data, and things like redesigns of government websites. Not every one will change your life, but there are definitely some great ideas there. For instance, look at the proposal for a redesign of the IRS website by a design firm called A Good Company; then look at the big bag of nothing that is the actual IRS website. The difference shows just how useful, informative, and generally pleasing government websites could be, and how bad they often are.
When the House passed a defense authorization bill last week, the big news was that an amendment providing for the repeal of the ban on gays serving in the military was included. But there was something else notable about it too: the price tag. The bill came to $726 billion. In a break from the Bush years, it actually provides for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of declaring those to be "emergency" spending, as though we didn't see it coming. But here's what I'd like to know: Where are all those "fiscal conservatives" who said that it just cost too darn much to extend unemployment benefits? That we have to live within our means, and stop borrowing money?