Blogoshere Helps Reduce Pork Barrel Spending

There’s two types of stories I’m a sucker for reporting on: stories about the blogosphere actually doing something worthwhile, and issues in this hyper-polarized age in which left and right can agree. This story contains elements of both. USA Today reports on how the Blogosphere’ spurs government oversight:

When watchdog groups that monitor federal spending wanted more information on 1,800 “pork barrel” projects buried in a House appropriations bill, they listed them on the Internet and asked readers to dig deeper. Within days, details began pouring in.

The same thing happened when enlisted readers of its website to find out which senator had blocked legislation that would create an online database of federal grants and contracts. One by one, senators were eliminated until Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., were uncovered.

The two episodes illustrate the latest trend in government oversight: More light is being thrown on Congress, not just by the media and public interest groups, but in the “blogosphere” where Internet users meet.

The Agonist applauds “hyperlocalization.”

One thing blogs can do is what I call “hyperlocalization” which is taking a national issue, feeding it into the local blogosphere and having it come back out the national blogosphere-media complex amplified in a way the local news could never do it, with the focus and stamina the national media can never maintain.

Captain’s Quarters is also supportive of the article and reducing pork. The same post criticizes an article which actually supports pork-barrel spending at The New Republic. My only objection to the argument at Captain’s Quarters is that they suggest that TNR is representative of liberal thought (or has much relevance at all lately).

Maureen Dowd: Time For a Good Scrubbing For Dick Cheney

Maureen Dowd believes that Dick Cheney should have hosed himself down after his appearance on Meet The Press, or at least should have washed his hands:

“In one of several experiments among Northwestern undergraduates, the researchers had one group of students recall an unethical act from their past, like betraying a friend, and another group reflect on an ethical deed, like returning lost money,’’ the article said. “Afterward, the students had their choice of a gift, either a pencil or an antiseptic wipe. Those who had reflected on a shameful act were twice as likely as the others to take the wipe.’’

If Dick Cheney didn’t try to hose himself down after his outlandish performance on “Meet the Press,’’ he may be so deep in denial he doesn’t even know he’s ruining America and needs a symbolic moral superwash.

In case you need a recap as to what Cheney said:

On “Meet the Press,’’ Mr. Cheney warned that America cannot let its adversaries “break our will’’ and show we “don’t have the stomach for the fight.’’

“It was the right thing to do,” Vice insisted of the war in Iraq, “and if we had to do it over again we would do exactly the same thing.”

After all the miscalculations and billions wasted, projects screwed up, lives and limbs lost, foreign enemies made, American stature squandered, Taliban strength regained, North Korean bombs and Iran-Iraq alliances built (visiting the American-hating, Holocaust-denying Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq called Iran “a good friend and brother’’) Dick Cheney wouldn’t do anything differently?

Part of leadership has to be retooling, saying: “You know what? This hasn’t worked. This is making things worse. What else can we do?’’

Break out the Wet Wipes, Mr. Cheney. Time for a good scrubbing.