Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The good, the bad, the ugly, from Washington, D.C.

The good:

Republicans declare war on federal regulations.

The Republican-led House this week will push through legislation aimed at making government rules and regulations less burdensome for business, setting up a standoff with President Obama over some of his key initiatives, including the new health care law, and testing Obama's efforts to appear more business friendly. The House measure, scheduled for a vote Thursday, would require committees "to inventory and review existing, pending, and proposed regulations" and the rules' effect on jobs and economic growth.
They can't begin soon enough. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds.

The bad: $53 Billion for High Speed Rail. As Nancy Pelosi said in another context, "Are you serious?"

The ugly:
A proposal to amend the First Amendment. Rep Donna Edwards (D-MD) has introduced a proposed amendment to the Constitution. The text:

`Section 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.

`Section 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.'.

Amazingly, it has picked up 26 cosponsors. All the names I recognize on the list are Democrats.

The text seems to to call for, or to allow, specific statutes aimed at specific "entities." The built-in special exemption for the press takes care of the problem with McCain-Feingold noted by Ann Althouse in Why is the New York Times just noticing this? She says:
Liberals (including President Obama) think the Supreme Court was wrong in Citizens United to say that corporations have free speech rights, but newspaper and book publishers are corporations. For some reason, the NYT is acting like it took a year to notice this hitch (which has been perfectly evident since the Citizens United litgation began in the lower courts). I guess the excuse for pretending not to see what was obvious is that it has been hoping to rely on the notion that some corporations have more rights than others.
Democrats used to like freedom of speech. Maybe they were just claiming to like it.

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