STORY #1: It’s baaaack (kinda)
When the Internet was abuzz with talk of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), my 18-year-old brother, who has never exhibited an interest in public policy in his life, repeatedly wished for its grim death. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), considered a successor to SOPA, may revive his interest. Already privacy and civil liberty advocates have declared war on it, including President Obama, who has promised to veto it until it includes specific measures to protect personal information.
And, really, how hard would it have been for its House authors, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), to include them? Nobody is going to argue against giving the government tools to defend the nation’s Internet systems from cyberattacks. But those tools have to be counter-balanced with rules, and hopefully the Senate will add them now that the bill is in their hands.
STORY #2: New year, new renewal
As we discussed earlier this week, after going over the Democratic proposal for the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), I disagreed with the Republican contention that it would expand the powers of the federal government; however, I did favor some elements of their version. The former prevailed in the Senate on a 68-31 vote. Much of the coverage discusses the need to avoid a political fight.
Obviously, anything that gives the impression that you don’t want to combat domestic violence with every fiber of your being will be, to say the least, politically risky. But the Republicans ignored an opportunity to get some of what they wanted, and the Democrats failed to clarify exactly how their proposal (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual identity/orientation) would work. So neither party won the message war the way they should have.
STORY #3: Home on the range
This isn’t quite “getting stuff done,” but it is an introduction to stuff the Department of Labor should have gotten done: consulting with the people they’re meant to protect before trying to protect them. That’s the situation with a proposed rule requiring child labor laws to apply to farm kids. Does that seem fair on the surface? Read what the farm kids say. You may change your mind.
Vacation update: Quiet morning in the hotel for me while Adam went to another meeting in St. Paul. (He brought me breakfast in bed, because he’s the best boyfriend ever.) Later, went to the Timberwolves game. They lost.