KIVA microlending Update II: Integrated Internet Development Policy Revisited

In my last article on this topic, I reintroduced KIVA and showed how 1.) what they do really can help create successful small businesses in East Africa and how those businesses help the community in which they exist, and 2.) how our efforts on the blogsphere have helped KIVA become so successful that they cannot keep up with the outpouring of help. But they are also bringing on the businesses in need of loans faster than ever, so jeep checking back. Congratulations to all who are making this such a success.

In this diary I want to reiterate the context in which KIVA works and how we also have to help that context. This will partly be a reiteration of diaries I have written before, explaining why I am calling for an "integrated" approach to development that we in the blogsphere can participate in. This is my vision of how you and I can change the world from the bottom up.

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SCOTUS And The Clean Water Act

A great deal of attention is being paid to the fact that the Supreme Court is set to hear a case regarding the constitutionality of a ban on some abortions. It's understandable, as it will be the first high-profile test of Bush's new Supreme Court on the question of choice. However, having already resigned myself to the idea that the Roberts court will likely chip away at the right to choose, I think there's another case that will also tell us quite a bit about the direction of the court.

It's long been a tenant of many on the judicial right that the federal government does not legitimately have the authority to regulate the environment. So I'm particularly interested to see how the court will rule on these challenges to the Clean Water Act. In both cases, Carabell v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos v. U.S., developers (of condominiums and a shopping mall, respectively) are claiming that the Clean Water Act cannot be applied to wetlands that feed tributaries of the "navigable waters" expressly protected by the law. The rightist talking point on this is that the Clean Water Act can't be applied to "every wet spot in the nation." Unsurprisingly, that language comes directly from the Federalist Society. But as Jim Murphy, of the National Wildlife Federation says, the argument is akin to "saying that you cannot cut down a tree, but are free to poison its roots."

As of yesterday, with Roberts and Scalia vigorously mocking the scope of the Clean Water Act, Alito had only asked one question. It fit in with the line of questioning coming from his colleagues on the right, questioning what would constitute a tributary. Now, one probably can't glean too much based on one question. But if Alito's record tells us anything, it's that he's likely to side with the deregulators on this issue.

A sure sign of the importance of Alito and Roberts is that one anti-regulation brief, by the conservative Washington Legal Foundation, pointedly cites appeals court writings by both justices that support a narrow view of the commerce clause.

The brief reminds Alito and the rest of the Court of his 1996 dissent as a 3rd Circuit judge in United States v. Rybar, the so-called machine gun case, that Alito was repeatedly quizzed about at his hearing. Alito argued that Congress did not have authority to ban possession of machine guns, and the foundation hopes he will rule the same way on Clean Water Act coverage.

It's worth noting that Sandra Day O'Connor also skewed slightly right on the Clean Water Act. In 2000, in Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services she agreed citizens could sue for enforcement of the Clean Water Act. But then in 2001, in SWANN v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers she sided with the majority in an opinion that limited the act. In both cases, Scalia and Thomas lined up against the Clean Water Act. I'm expecting the worst here from Alito and the increasingly rightist Supreme Court. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

Fitzpatrick gets a D- on the Environment

As Chris Bowers elegantly wrote last year, Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) is really a hard line, right wing conservative, who parades around as a moderate based on his supposed great environmental record.  Well Mike's house of cards came tumbling down today as Fitzpatrick got a D- from the League of Conservation Voters.

Check out these votes by the supposed "environmentalist:"

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Wyoming, Montana, and a few real people that probably cast a vote or two

I just got back from a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone National Park.  You might wonder what this has to do with politics.  I'll tell you.  Its about the little people, real people.  Its about a few small businesses and the many people that serve them and the towns that thrive or fail because of that connection.  And since I'm a bit on the wordy side I'll leave the rest below the fold.

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A Veteran runs for Congress against Tancredo

My name is Bill Winter and I am running for Congress in Colorado's Congressional District 6 against Tom Tancredo. I'd like to take a minute to let you know a little bit about me and a little bit about my opponent.
I have been a strong supporter of environmental causes my entire life. Mr. Tancredo wants to sell all of our National Forest lands and open them to development for profit. He is a strong supporter of drilling for oil in Alaska. I am a strong supporter of ending our dependency on oil and developing alternative sources of energy. Mr. Tancredo was one of only 4 members of Congress to vote AGAINST the Violence Against Women Act. What kind of person votes against an act designed to stop violence against women? I am a strong supporter of women's rights, women's equality, and women's safety!
Tancredo tours the Country grandstanding about immigration. Let me address the immigration issue, because even there I do not believe that Tancredo wants real solutions. He only wants the publicity that goes with being contrary. Tancredo and I both believe that our immigration system is broken and must be fixed. The difference is that I will actually work hard to form coalitions to make sure it happens. Mr. Tancredo will simply continue to call people names and make no progress on this issue.
We've had the same party in control of the White House and all of Congress for five years now, and we haven't seen any immigration reform at all. Why do you suppose that is? I believe it's for the same reason why we have so many problems in other areas today--corruption and cronyism. The people in Washington right now have been seduced by money and power and they are controlled by the same big businesses that hire undocumented workers. Tancredo is hip deep in this mess. He has $28,000 from Tom Delay and thinks it is okay.

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