It’s only Tuesday but another week of obstruction and political hostage-taking by American conservatives is well underway. As I noted in last Wednesday’s Weekly Briefing column  on the far right’s nullification/secession movement, however, there’s a heck of a lot more than just the Affordable Care Act these folks want to repeal. Ari Berman at The Nation has more on this subject in a new article published online today .
And speaking of obstructionism, conservatives in the U.S. Senate continue to block numerous qualified individuals from even receiving up or down votes on their nominations by the President – whether it’s half-year long blockade on Congressman Mel Watt’s nomination to serve as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency  , Richard Burr’s stonewalling of Jennifer May-Parker’s nomination  to serve as a federal judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina or the ongoing filibuster to prevent three highly-qualified Obama nominees from serving on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals . Happily, Senate Majority Leader Reid has filed a cloture petition on the filibuster of D.C. Circuit nominee Patricia Millett. Let’s hope it works.
And speaking of maddening delays of the kind that would make cable providers proud, the New American Foundation has a new report out about the “genius of the market” in the American cable industry . The report, which is entitled “The Cost of Connectivity 2013” finds that, as the BBC reports , “The price of basic broadband, TV and phone packages – or bundles as they are known – is much higher in American cities than elsewhere.” The reason – not surprisingly: ruthless American communications companies have rigged the rules to limit competition.
And speaking of important new studies from good guy national groups, check out this one from the Roosevelt Institute  about the critical importance of Title X – the nation’s badly underfunded but nonetheless remarkably effective family planning program. The report explains why the program is more important than ever.
And finally, speaking of things that are more important than ever, reminders arrived today about two upcoming events in the Triangle that might help to improve the future of our fragile natural environment (and improve the quality of life on the planet): #1 is the 2013 “Making Energy Work” conference  sponsored by the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association  scheduled for Nov. 5 and 6 and #2 is the “Transit Makes $en$e Community Summit”  sponsored by Wake Up Wake County, Capital Area Friends of Transit and Advancing Women in Transportation. Add them to your calendars if at all possible.