Monday, August 28, 2006

The Blogosphere at Its Finest

A pending Senate bill would create a national online database allowing the American public to research spending in the federal budget. This "full disclosure" showing how our tax dollars are spent is a huge step forward for open government. It should also lead to pressure for reduced spending, as the public is able to look at specific items included in the budget and identify "pork" and waste.

As Brit Hume explains at the above link, one of the senators has placed an anonymous hold on the legislation, stopping it in its tracks.

That's where the blogosphere comes in. Individual senators are being asked to go on the record and deny that they placed the secret hold, and the data is being compiled at Porkbusters and Muckraker. So far the number of denials is up to 53.

As the denials increase and the number of "suspects" shrinks, the pressure is going to build on the senator who placed the hold. Although the senator might have preferred to hide the ball when it comes to federal spending, being known as the person who attempted to stop this legislation may not be good for his or her career.

Mary Katharine Ham points toward evidence that the senator in question might be Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Isn't it interesting that the mainstream media is willing to spend its time on obviously worthless wild good chases, such as the Plame leak and the recent Jon Benet Ramsey phony "confession," yet when it comes to a legitimately newsworthy mystery, most of the media looks the other way?

A Google News search, as of late Monday evening, shows just a handful of articles, including stories in The Washington Times, The Modesto Bee, and a Cox News Service story by Rebecca Carr carried in a few papers such as The Contra Costa Times. The "old media," including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, seem to be uninterested in publishing the story as of the time of this post.

Captain Ed weighs in on why secret Senate holds and secret government spending should not be part of an open society.

Tuesday Update: Ed Morrissey has interviewed Majority Leader Bill Frist on this topic and updates the story. Frist plans to talk to everyone and if there is still a hold, have them object publicly from the floor.

Senator Frist says there is also a way to maneuver around the hold without it being released, but as Ed points out, there aren't many days left in the legislative session for that option. Hopefully pressure from the blogosphere and constituents will see to it that this bill comes up for a Senate vote.


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