Friday, July 29, 2011

Morning Brief: The Economy and Rep. Boehner stall; House committee moves on bill to force ISPs to track and store data on its customers web activity for 12 months

The NYT is reporting this morning that the economy, well, sucks – in case you didn't know that. GDP grew at a 1.3 percent pace, not exactly robust, though not official at recession levels.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House delayed a vote on a debt ceiling bill because many members did not believe it embraced austerity enough. Of course, in the U.K., where the Tories have adopted the same strategy, the economy has slowed even more than in the U.S., growing at only 0.2 percent this spring. I guess this is what we can all look forward to.
House Speaker John Boehner planned to bring his perpetual debt crisis bill up for a vote yesterday early evening before things started to fall apart. Following instructions from the philosophical oracle of the right, Sarah Palin, who reminded freshman Republicans that they were sent to Washington to destroy Washington, Boehner discovered that he did not have the votes necessary to pass his bill.

No matter, the President had already said he would veto the bill and the chances of it getting through the Senate have always been zero.

Note: The markets opened a few minutes ago and the Dow is currently down triple digits.

So while the House could not get itself in a position to take a vote, the House Judiciary Committee did, passing a measure and moving it to the full house that would force Internet service providers to save logs of all their customer's online activity for 12 months.

Passed with mostly Republican support, though some Democrats apparently voted for the measure (I could not find a record of the yeas and nays), the bill was designed, supposedly, to assist law enforcement with tracking child pornographers.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) disagrees, however. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes,” Conyers said, according to a report from DigitalTrends.

At first the bill would have only include IP addresses, but a late rewrite of the bill made it so ISPs would have to store customers’ names, bank account numbers, IP addresses, credit card numbers and home addresses.

The party of small government, indeed.

It appears that Jefferson County, the Alabama country that includes the city of Birmingham, may avoid filing for bankruptcy after all.

The county owes $3.2 billion thanks to the county following the advice of consultants who recommended that the county issue bonds to build its new sewer system that were linked to derivatives. Great advice.

Now the county will have to file for bankruptcy unless it can reach a new agreement with its creditors. Yesterday the NYT reported that the creditors have made a new proposal, leading the county to delay filing.

See, newspapers aren't the only ones dying because they follow the advice of consultants.