Saturday, May 28, 2011

What Mattered This Week?

I'll tell you what I'm looking at: it's one more month that the US couldn't get through without troops dying in Iraq. Deaths there have returned to "normal" after spiking way up last month...still, we're still waiting for the first goose egg. US death in Iraq, January through May 2010: 33. This year, with a bit of May remaining: 24. And the last five months of 2010? Just 15. What matters? Whether the Obama Administration is really on course to be entirely out of Iraq, on its way out of Afghanistan, and closing things out in Libya, or not. I agree with those who emphasize that whenever American troops finally leave, there's a good chance that critics will say it was just a bit too soon. Can this president stand up to that? We'll see.

OK, that wasn't a perfect fit for "what mattered this week", but it's one of the things I'm looking at. A fair amount of shuffling in the GOP presidential field, with the possible entrance of Rick Perry certainly worth taking seriously. More stuff on appointments/confirmations. Some budget votes...I'm on record as not thinking that it's a big deal whether or not Republican Senators actually took a vote on the House (Ryan) budget, so I'm not convinced that one matters a lot, but others disagree. We had PATRIOT renewal...certainly important legislation, but not exactly a surprise (to me, at least).

I don't know -- what do you think mattered this week?


  1. Egypt opening the border with Gaza.

    Massive storms. Since conservatives tell us it's not global climate change, I'm thinking they must be caused by the vortex created by either Romney's hair or Palin's bus tour.

    Some medical studies; AIDS antiviral meds help stop the spread of AIDS and medication-raised good cholesterol doesn't protect against stroke.

  2. Rand Paul leading opposition to a Patriot act championed by a Democratic leadership and President -- not surprising, but yet another reminder that the Democratic party can not be counted on to protect your liberty. Politically, this probably won‘t make a big difference, as long as the Dems are better on “god and gays” culture war issues. But it’s nonetheless interesting that Republicans like Gary Johnson and Ron Paul better represent the progressive position on a range of issues than Obama does. Heck, even Alan West voted against the Patriot Act…

  3. Climate change mattered this week and every week. There is a connection between the severe storms that ravaged the midwest and the South and the 90 degree temperatures and the droughts and wildfires and the fact that our U.S. congress refuses to do anything about it while Europe moves forward with carbon trading. But you know, let's pretend that Adam and Eve rode around the Garden of Eden on their pet dinosaurs.

  4. Supreme Court approves AZ immigration laws that are tough on employers.

  5. What could be more important in American politics than having 42 Republican Senators vote for the Ryan plan, especially after Jack Kemp's old district went to the Democrats? As Ezra Klein may have said (or someone else) this is crystal clear evidence that the Republican base matters much more to the incumbent Senators than the rest of the electorate (or even the broader Republican party). The implications for the 2012 election and resolution of the debt ceiling problems and anything else involving trade-offs between being seen as a strict adherent to what is the right bottom line versus some flexibility couldn't be clearer. It also implies that the Republican presidential nominee will either be outspoken in opposition to many things he/she stood up in favor of prior to the Obama Administration or that there will be more dissonance than we've witnessed in a long time between one of the two party's nominees and the party's base.

    Kind of ironic that while the enforcers of this strict adherence to particular approaches argue that its vital that the America people and American business decision-makers feel as free as possible to make choices that many think affect everyone else (like whether or not to get health insurance or whether or not businesses are permitted to profit while subtracting from the well-being of the community they operate in), they consider it unacceptable if the people's collective decision-maker feels free to have a mind of their own.


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