Bloggers are discussing congressional lobbying reform, a new audio tape purportedly by Osama Bin Laden, and the deaths of top al-Qaida brass. They're also logging the highs (and lows) from the new season of American Idol.
Lobbying for reform: Dueling proposals for lobbying reform emerged from Congress this week, with Democrats looking to out-reform Republicans with more stringent rules against gifts and rules to curb cronyism.
Ben, the Last Liberal in Central Florida, doesn't trust either plan. "No matter what they come up with, they will make sure there are plenty of loopholes to get through and do as usual," he writes. He goes on to recommend that Congress adopt Nancy Regan's credo and "just say no" to extravagant perks and illegal gifts.
Progressive Chuck at BlackWednesday goes further, claiming that measures such as publicly financed elections and a complete ban on lobbying are necessary. But, he says, "There is no independent watch-dog group that will ensure compliance. Do we trust our elected officials to police themselves? I certainl don't." The blog of nonpartisan-accountability advocate Common Cause is "encouraged" by the news but "is strongly advocating for an independent ethics commission to monitor Congress."
The realist behind The Glittering Eye sees corruption on all sides: "Until and unless they're proposing that no Congressman or Senator or Congressional or Senatorial staff person can accept anything from anybody for any purpose whatsoever and put a Grand Inquisitor in place to ensure the rule is enforced, there's going to be corruption in office and lots of it."
Punditron recommends that reform start with pork-barrel spending. "If our politicians really want to do some good, get rid of all the wasteful spending that lobbyists push for in the first place. That would be some real reform!"
Bloggers discuss proposed lobbying reforms here.
Bin Laden's back: An audio tape recorded by Osama Bin Laden was played by Al Jazeera Thursday. Hints at further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and a possible truce lead bloggers to question Bin Laden's confidence. Meanwhile, bloggers are heartened by the reported deaths of top al-Qaida operatives in the U.S. airstrikes on Pakistan.
The Tension's Steve Moyer, a D.C. blogger, draws a link between Bin Laden's words and those of anti-war Americans. "I am not comforted in the fact that the liberal-left and many Democrats use almost verbatim the same anti-war rhetoric as Bin Laden and his pals."
At conservative Power Line, John Hinderaker says, "It doesn't take a genius to see that things are going very badly for Bin Laden and al Qaeda" and his colleage Paul Mirengoff doesn't buy Bin Laden's rhetoric, but he does "believe the part about al Qaeda preparing to attack the U.S."
On Right Thinking From the Left Coast, pro-war blogger Lee asserts that Bin Laden wouldn't mention a truce if he felt he had the upper hand. He points out that "OBL knows his audience, and there are comments in here for everyone. For those of us who support the war, he's telling us that the only reason he hasn't struck is because he hasn't had the time to do it yet. For the Muslim world, he's taking the spiritual high road, claiming that a truce isn't a position of weakness, it's actually a strength. And for the radical left-wing asshats, he's playing to their deep emotional nature, by claiming that the truce is just to help the people of Iraq and Afghanistan."
Conservative Andrew Sullivan seems to be taking the truce talk seriously. He opines: "I'd like to think it's a sign of the pressure he's under. The latest attack on his henchmen seems to have been pretty successful, and one of the real achievements of this administration has been its determination to take out the old al Qaeda leadership. Except Osama, of course."
Right-wing blogger Jay Reding claims that the death of chemical weapons expert Midhat Mursi and other al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan struck a mighty blow to the group. "Al-Qaeda flourishes in the disconnect between many in the Muslim world and the autocratic governments they live under. Kill a member of al-Qaeda and you degrade their operational capability. End that autocracy and you end the organization itself."
Read more blogger commentary on al-Qaida.
Law blogger Ann Althouse was moved to verklempt-itude by a flummoxed cowboy's performance. "If you think the show is just a lot of deluded, narcissistic Americans, you need to see Garet Johnson, a cowboy, who's never sung in public, who sings Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," and who has no money for lessons and doesn't even have a place in a church choir to learn something. It's heartbreaking."
A set of twins featured Tuesday who were invited to continue the competition in Los Angeles are suspected of using someone else's identity to buy a car. One twin is in police custody, and the other is expected to turn himself in. Just a Girl's says, "I don't guess we'll be seeing these two idiots in Hollywood, after all … unless that's where the prison is they're sent to."
Bloggers take on the talent show here.
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