Today's Blogs

Nancy’s Choice

Bloggers ponder Nancy Pelosi’s endorsement of John Murtha for House majority leader. They also theorize about the Baker commission and riff on a new T-shirt.

Nancy’s choice: Nancy Pelosi has thrown her weight behind John Murtha for House majority leader over his competitor, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Given Pelosi’s declared opposition to corruption and pork-barrel spending and Murtha’s allegedly spotty ethical record, Pelosi is drawing flak from both sides of the aisle. Bold opening salvo? Political suicide? Bloggers weigh in.

Josh Marshall at liberal Talking Points Memo declares himself “stunned by this move”: “She’s staked her authority and credibility on a Murtha victory. And since she represents the caucus, to a degree she’s putting the caucus’s authority and credibility on the line too, just after the Dems have taken power.”

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters thinks Pelosi is just “repaying the debt” after Murtha finagled a land deal in San Francisco that helped Pelosi’s nephew, Laurence: “This should raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle, especially since Pelosi successfully ran an election by decrying the ‘culture of corruption’ in Republican ranks. The power of earmarks to distort American politics raises its ugly head once more, and voters who somehow thought they elected a cleaner government will understand that they put porkers in charge of the trough once again.”

Liberal blogger Ezra Klein figures that the contest is now “less about the Majority Leader than the Speaker”: “[T]his particular contest comes down to how powerful you think Speaker Pelosi should be. In essence, a vote for Murtha is a vote for Pelosi. A vote for Hoyer is a vote against her.”

Arianna Huffington at the liberal HuffingtonPost floats Murtha for majority leader (and Time Person of the Year) because of his strong stance on Iraq in the election run-up: “If it weren’t for Jack Murtha, they’d be voting for Minority Leader.”

Troy University political science professor * Steven Taylor at PoliBlog points out that Pelosi must now navigate the twin issues of “the war and corruption.” She also seems to “have a character trait in common with President Bush: loyalty. Part of the argument for Pelosi favoring Murtha over Hoyer is that Murtha helped her in an earlier leadership race and Hoyer opposed her.”

Read more about Pelosi’s endorsement.

Baker’s dozen (or so): As pressure builds to change course in Iraq, President Bush met Monday with the Iraq Study Group, the 10-person commission headed by James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton, longtime colleagues of George H.W. Bush. People expect the commission’s recommendations to include an emphasis on stability over democracy and dialoguing with Syria and Iran. Bloggers wonder how much the panel will really accomplish.

Christy Hardin Smith at liberal Firedoglake scoffs at the commission’s bipartisanship: “Wake up. … This commission, for Baker and his surrogates anyway, is about saving face for the Republican party, and about GHWB not having to hang his head in shame that his son is an utter failure at his job. Again. Whatever loyalties James Baker has, they are not to W — let’s just acknowledge that up front and be done with it — and they certainly aren’t to some kum-bay-ya bipartisanship cooperation-fest.” Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice cites another going theory about the commission, namely that it “will give ‘political cover’ to a White House that feels admitting error is worse than having two root canals uplled — without anesthetic.”

Conservative Blue Crab Boulevard figures the commission’s “experienced political operatives” will offer more of “the same old ‘realism’ that produced the situation that we are in today. Said ‘realism’ also produced the last bad situation and the one before that, and on and on.” Swopa at liberal Needlenose opines that, given the administration’s failure to succeed in Iraq, the Baker commission “doesn’t matter”: “The Baker commission’s only reason for existence is to provide a formal channel for telling the President that there’s no pony in Iraq – that failure/defeat is not only an option, it’s basically the only one left.”

Conservative Mary at Freedom Eden finds something off-putting about the group’s name: “Doesn’t it sound like a gathering of political science students trying to get through a challenging class? It seems like there should be pizza at the group sessions or lots of empty Starbucks cups tossed in the corners of the room.”

Read more about the Iraq Study Group. Slate’s Michael Kinsley argued that the Baker commission won’t fix Iraq.

Wear guitar: The blogosphere is agog over a newly developed air-guitar T-shirt. Motion sensors in the “wearable instrument shirt” detect the user’s elbow movements to simulate the experience of rocking out.

Paul Miller at tech blog Engadget guesses that among “inventions most likely to end civilization,” this one falls “right between nuclear weapons and reality television.”

Writing for the New Scientist’s Technology Blog, Tom thinks it “far more likely to be used for physiotherapy or sports coaching than as a virtual instrument.”

Nicholas Deleon at Gizmodo jokes that scientists plan to adapt the technology for “more useful functions, like improving coordination or asking out girls. What the world needs now is a device to allow for air blogging: that’s where the money’s at.”

Read more about the air-guitar T-shirt. Check out a video demonstration here.

Correction, Nov. 16, 2006: This article originally identified Steven Taylor of PoliBlog as a law professor. He is a political science professor. (Return  to the corrected sentence.)