An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Method to the Madness

In a news flash that will come as no shock to anyone, the General Accounting Office (GAO) is reporting that the energy task force led by VP Dick Cheney relied heavily on energy and other corporate interests and virtually ignored environmentalists, unions, academics, and others: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44891-2003Aug25.html The GAO report also cited an overwhelming lack of transparency and accessibility. Whether you like the task force's energy policy or not, the closed process that developed it strikes this reader as undemocratic.

On a completely unrelated note, Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail: "Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and ... when they fail to do this purpose they become dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress."

There is an interesting, though rather lengthy, article about the Federal Communications Commission's recent rules and Rupert Murdoch in the September edition of the Atlantic Monthly and one about Rep. Curt Weldon's efforts at international diplomacy in The New Republic: http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030901&s=crowley090103. Michael Crowley's article on the Pennsylvania Republican is entertaining as it describes Weldon's exploits going around the globe, often against the wishes of both the Clinton and Bush administrations, but fails to mention one key point. The last Member of Congress who made a habit of travelling to dictatorships and other challenging locales trying to improve the world was appointed Ambassador to the UN and Energy Secretary; now Bill Richardson is Governor of New Mexico, chair of the Democrats' 2004 convention, and someone being talked up for an even bigger job in the future. Might Weldon see an angle?