The news and views fit to be consumed during your morning grumpy.
1. Do you think Congress isn’t doing much this year? You’re absolutely right.
An analysis of GovTrack data shows only 66 bills and joint resolutions were enacted this year. The last time the number was even close to this low was in 1995, the year Republicans took Congress under the Democratic administration of President Clinton, when 88 bills were enacted. Then, like now, the Congress and the Presidency were split between the parties.
2. If Ron Paul turns out to be the tortoise in a GOP field of hares in Iowa, what happens next? Dave Weigel postulates that all hell will break loose and we’ll see if Ron Paul is ready for prime time.
Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican wheel of random candidate surges has finally click-clack-clicked over to Ron Paul. What if he wins?
The candidate, already in the high teens in New Hampshire polls, would fly into the state as the best hope to beat Mitt Romney locally. Jon Huntsman would keep playing, but Gingrich, Perry, and whoever else was left would have start pivoting to a South Carolina/Florida strategy. And Paul would find himself targeted, for the first time, by a hostile, tackle-the-front-runner media.
Paul is in a curious place—a three-time presidential candidate who has barely been vetted by the media. He’s been the GOP’s proudest anti-war, anti-torture voice for four years. That position has earned him soft interviews with Jay Leno, and countless segments on The Daily Show. If Paul wins Iowa, that stops.
Ron Paul will be attacked from all sides, can his populist support sustain and grow through a full vetting of his controversial positions and past? People like his singular positions, (End The Fed, End The Wars, Legalize Drugs, etc.) but when they see the whole platform, will they feel the same? Will the defensiveness and bitterness of his most vocal supporters turn off those who might be interested in his candidacy? No candidate has a tougher road to the nomination.
3. Rick Perry demands to see the science! While conservatives like Perry ignore reams of peer-reviewed science on climate change as quackery and rely on anecdotal hunches to formulate their policies, when it comes to DEFENDING oil and gas companies, they want to see the science.
“No ma’am,” Perry said, “We can have this conversation, but you cannot show me one place where there is a proven, not one, where there is a proven pollution of groundwater by hydraulic fracturing.”
Alrighty then, here you go. Or you could read this one. Or this one. Of course, any science or reports that conclude something other than what Mr. Perry and his ilk already believe are dismissed as “political”.
Perry’s tone began to betray his frustration. “I am truly offended that the American public would be hoodwinked by stories that do not scientifically hold up,” he said, his voice rising. “ If that was true it would be on the front page of every newspaper, it would be on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, everybody would be running that story.
Wow. Billions are being spent by the natural gas industry in marketing and lobbying to convince us and elected officials that hydraulic fracturing is completely safe, even though they don’t have “the science” to back up their claim. Efforts to quantify the risks of the process are fought at every turn and the reports that are produced are dismissed as unreliable by the lobbied masses in state legislatures and Congress. America, Fuck Yeah!
4. Glenn Greenwald would like to disabuse you of any misconceptions about the “indefinite detention” controversy.
Condemnation of President Obama is intense, and growing, as a result of his announced intent to sign into law the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
It is very worthwhile to briefly examine — and debunk — the three principal myths being spread by supporters of this bill, and to do so very simply: by citing the relevant provisions of the bill, as well as the relevant passages of the original 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), so that everyone can judge for themselves what this bill actually includes (this is all above and beyond the evidence I assembled in writing about this bill yesterday).
Fact Of the Day: Candy canes were designed and sold to keep children quiet in church on Christmas.
Quote Of The Day: “Many conservative bankers regard it as more consonant with their cloth, and also as economising thought, to shift public discussion of financial topics off the logical on to an alleged ‘moral’ plane, which means a realm of thought where vested interest can be triumphant over the common good without further debate.” – JM Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform.
Song Of The Day: “Free Money” by Patti Smith
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