Today's Blogs


Bloggers spar over President Bush’s new move to increase oversight in federal agencies. They also pour one out for Barbaro and look forward to profiting from YouTube.

Regulator-in-chief: President Bush has signed a directive expanding the White House’s ability to oversee regulatory agencies like the EPA and OSHA. Consumer, labor, and environmental groups see the move as executive overreaching; Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman called it “great news for special interests.” Bloggers are split along the usual lines.

Joe Gandelman at the Moderate Voice interprets it as yet another “legalistic tool” used to “reshape the constitution” and “neuter” Congress: “It continues to boggle the mind that Republicans who were once so ferciously protective of how the United States was set up can remain silent with what has now become a pattern with the Bush administration.”

Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias sarcastically hails the power boost for political hacks: “You, too, were probably sitting at home thinking ‘government regulations are proffered with too much professionalism and deference to expert opinion, our lobbyists paid for this administration and yet we don’t have 100 percent control over the process.’ Then came Bush ready to save the day.”

Conservative Mick Wright argues that the directive doesn’t actually constitute a power grab at all, for a few reasons: “1. These agencies are part of the executive branch. The President typically has authority over the executive branch. 2. Because of the nature of their positions, political appointees are more accountable to the public than other career bureaucrats. In a democracy, that’s a good thing. 3. This order … simply amends a previous order and deals mostly with procedural matters for agencies you’ve probably never heard of before.” At Captain’s Quarters, conservative Ed Morrissey agrees, arguing that it’s really just a way to hold agencies accountable: In the past, “[m]ost of them have used a workaround called ‘guidance documents’, which get issued within the bureaucracies and have the force of policy. These documents never get public scrutiny, nor does OMB get a chance to review them before they go into effect.”

Democratic consultant Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report blasts the plan for replacing experts with “inexperienced political hands” and deems it a transparent appeal to business interests: “Wow, who would have thought it? Corporations who contribute generously to the GOP, are thrilled that they’ll have even more direct influence in shaping federal policy and regulations, far from public view and/or scrutiny, in order to help boost their bottom line. … You don’t say.”

Read more about Bush’s directive.

Finish line: Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby champion who broke down at last year’s Preakness, was euthanized Monday after a dramatic eight-month battle to survive a broken right hind leg and subsequent laminitis infections. Bloggers get surprisingly emotional.

Mary Wehmeier at Hello Mary Lu speculates as to why the owners spent tens of thousands of dollars on rehabilitation: “Knowing the reputation of the Jackson’s it wasn’t for the money. … No, trying to save Barbaro’s life was done because his doctor’s and owners’s pure love of a horse.”

Will Leitch at Deadspin collects some of the blubberingest Barbaro tributes, including this gem from a racing message board: “These were the first six songs that played on my ipod in shuffle mode after I heard about Barbaro: 1) The Fallen 2) Let the Four Winds Blow 3) Shine It All Around 4) You’re the Reason I’m Leaving 5) All the King’s Horses 6) Thank You. Completely random? Somehow, I think there is a connection…Trying not to cry as I write this.”

At science blog Frontal Cortex, Seed Magazine editor-at-large Jonah Lehrer calls to the litany of Barbaro overtures “just silly”: “Let’s not get carried away. Barbaro ran because he was being hit with a stick. We’ve bred racing horses to the natural limits of their body, so that the bones in their elegant legs are too fragile for their muscular mass. One false step and every bone is shattered, which usually means automatic euthanization. In other words, thoroughbred horses are freaks of nature—like gigantic chihuahuas—and not the epitome of natural design.”

Read more about Barbaro.

Money shots: YouTube is preparing a new system that will share ad revenue with users and “reward creativity,” in the words of co-founder Chad Hurley. Bloggers have finally found a way to feed the kids.

Michael Calore at Wired blog Monkey Bites wonders how the revenue sharing might work: “[O]ne of the options might be pre-roll ads, but hopefully that won’t be the case. Arguably one the keys to YouTube’s success thus far is that it has eschewed in-stream ads.” Kassia Krozner at Media Loper speculates that the new setup “might appease some of the major players who are reluctant to ‘share’ their videos with the YouTube nation. Once their eyes grow glassy with visions of millions of passive dollars flowing into their company coffers, surely they’ll open the vaults o’content, eager to offer more, more, more to make more, more, more.”

Hurley says the system will pay only users who own the “full copyright” to their video. John Gillilan at Pwned sees trouble defining the meaning of “full”—say, when a user posts a video of someone wearing licensed apparel: “How will the entertainment industry react to individual users profiting from videos they deem as infringing?”

Read more about YouTube’s revenue sharing plan. Watch Chad Hurley explain the idea at the World Economic Forum.