Today's Blogs

Abramoff Goes Down

Bloggers mull over the indictment of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff for fraud, discuss a Guardian report on a thawing Siberian peat bog, and wonder who might be lining up to purchase Technorati.

Abramoff goes down:Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff was indicted Thursday for conspiracy and fraud in the purchase of a fleet of gambling boats.

“[T]he surprising aspect about this particular indictment,” writes committed liberal Jack K. of RuminateThis, “is that it isn’t even on the same map as the one being used by all those folks trying to chart the trail that leads from Abramoff to Tom DeLay. … You can’t help suspecting that there may be more than one shoe left to drop.” Like many on the left, Jack thinks those shoes might just belong to Texas Rep. Tom Delay.

At Talking Points Memo, liberal Joshua Micah Marshall has been following the story. Unlike his readers, Marshall thinks it’s unlikely that the indictment will turn Abramoff against vulnerable GOP leaders. “I hear Abramoff has already tried to do that, and been rebuffed,” he reports. “Why would he be rebuffed? Decisions like that go right to the top. And since Abramoff’s shenanigans are closely tied—to be generous—not just to members of Congress (DeLay, Ney, Burns, et al.) but to key GOP power players (Norquist, Reed, et al.) and quite probably Karl Rove himself, you can see why he (i.e., Abramoff) might have a harder time than your usual perp cutting a deal to implicate those above him.”

Conservative bigwig Michelle Malkin takes the high road. “Other Beltway conservatives better untie their tongues, get over their swamp fever, and call a sleazebag a sleazebag,” she warns. “This stinks. Big time.” North Carolina civics teacher Betsy Newmark seconds that emotion. Greenie Ken Sain sees third-party opportunity where others simply see scandal and disgrace.

“The thing I hate fourth-worst about the Bush regime—after the way they’re screwing up the country, dishonoring the flag, and making the world a more dangerous place—is all the ammunition they supply the tin-hat brigade,” writes UCLA professor Mark A.R. Kleiman, who thinks the Abramoff scandal belongs in a spy novel. “How am I supposed to convince my students not to believe in elaborate wicked conspiracies when we’ve got an elaborate wicked conspiracy running the damned country?”

Read more about Jack Abramoff.

Permathaw:A million square kilometers of permafrost has begun to melt in Siberia, the Guardian reports, pointing out the area is the size of France and Germany combined. The thaw of the peat bog could accelerate the effects of global warning by releasing billions of tons of methane, “a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”

“This is truly ominous news,” submits Jonathan, a liberal, at Past Peak. “It’s all happening very quickly, much more quickly than anyone had supposed. As these feedback loops kick in (warming leading to feedback effects that increase warming that increases the feedback effects) the process may continue to accelerate rapidly, producing truly drastic changes on the scale of years rather than decades or centuries.”

Energy enthusiast SW is one environmentalist still waiting to pass judgment. “The climate is a complex nonlinear dynamic system. Our models are primitive,” he cautions at Energy Gap, adding that uncertainty should be an injunction rather than a license for environmental exploration and exploitation. At Mobjectivist, specialist blogger WHT agrees we should be pulling in the reigns.

At World Changing, Jamais Cascio writes the situation is dire but not irreversible. Bacteria that consume methane, called methanotrophs, he writes, could be genetically modified to survive in the harsh Siberian climate and perform there as they have elsewhere—as a sink-hole for as much as 80 percent of methane found in oceans. “Our choices are few, and the risk of not acting is (potentially) immense. We may well be on the brink of a new era in planetary management. Let’s hope we’re up to the challenge.”

Read more about the Guardian report.

Selling Out?: This morning, B.L. Ochman reported rumors that blog aggregator Technorati is set to be sold to a major search engine within a week.

“While Ochman places her money on Yahoo!, the general consensus seems to be that Google is taking the reins,” writes Mark Wilson of Escape from Obsession. “I would argee that Google probably has more to gain from the purchase of Technorati. For the love of God, I hope MSN doesn’t think it can hold court in the blogosphere.” BuzzMachine’s media critic Jeff Jarvis, on the other hand, hopes it’s not Google.

John M. Evans of SYNTAGMA thinks the buyer might well be Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., reportedly in negotiations to purchase a search engine. “Frankly, this might not be a good idea,” John writes. “Technorati would lose all the credibility and respect painfully built up over time. The business would be asset-stripped of its useful kernel in the pursuit of much wider, mainstream media-based goals. Apart from the money, why do it? I still hold that Google has a greater synergy with Technorati, but, as we all know … money talks!”

Read more about the possible sale.