Opinion: In today’s pages: the Wall Street bailout, U.S. attorney firings and energy policy
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The Times’ editorial board and columnist Jonah Goldberg typically view the world in very different ways, but they see eye-to-eye today on the House vote against the Wall Street bailout plan. The board blasted the White House, top administration officials and congressional leaders for failing to sell the public on the urgency of the credit crisis and the necessity to take extreme measures. Goldberg spends a bit more time on the roots of the crisis -- not surprisingly, he sees regulatory excess where Democrats see regulatory failure -- but he, too, spreads blame widely for the plan’s demise:
The bill failed on a bipartisan basis, but it was the Republicans who failed to deliver the votes they promised. Some complained that Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi drove some of them to switch their votes with her needlessly partisan floor speech on the subject. Of course Pelosi’s needlessly partisan. This is news?
Elsewhere on the op-ed page, children’s librarian and teacher Regina Powers laments the state public school system’s fixation with rating books by how hard they are to read -- a straight-jacketed, enthusiasm-sapping approach to literacy. And Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, co-founders of the Breakthrough Institute think tank, argue that Democrats hurt their own chances in November by heeding the greens’ opposition to expanded oil drilling:
The most influential environmental groups in Washington -- the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund -- are continuing to bet the farm on a strategy that relies on emissions limits and other regulations aimed at making fossil fuels more expensive in order to encourage conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. But with an economic recession likely, and energy prices sure to remain high for years to come thanks to expanding demand in China and other developing countries, any strategy predicated centrally on making fossil fuels more expensive is doomed to failure.
The editorial board also welcomes Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the decision by his, shall we say, detached predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, to fire nine U.S. attorneys. And it calls on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign four bills passed by the legislature: AB 2447, which would limit development in fire-prone areas; SB 974, which would impose a container fee at the ports to help clean up their emissions; AB 1945, which would bar health insurance companies from retroactively canceling policies to avoid paying for care; and SB 375, which would allow state transportation funds to support plans to limit sprawl.