Sunrise (1/28/11)

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SENATE ENDS SECRET HOLDS

The Hill: “The Senate kicked off a series of stacked votes that would alter the Senate rules for the 112th Congress with a 92-4 vote to end the practice of secret holds. … “This legislation deals with a sweeping, almost unparalleled power,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said on the floor prior to the vote. “If you want to exercise that extraordinary power, you ought to do it in the sunlight.”

Sunlight: “If a senator objects to a bill their name will be published in the Congressional Record and in a new part of the Senate Calendar. If a senator objects on behalf of another senator the objecting senator will have their name printed in the Congressional Record and the Senate Calendar so long as the senator for whom they are objecting on behalf of does not come forward. … David Waldman has repeatedly made the case that the public needs to treat the objecting senator, whether they are objecting on behalf of someone or not, as the senator with the hold. By printing the name of the objector, even if the hold is on behalf of another, the new process treats the objector as the senator with the hold. We should all treat the person who objects to a bill as the person with the hold on the bill. … Congratulations to the Senate for ending this terrible practice. Now the rest of us need to do what David Waldman said and treat the person whose name winds up in the Congressional Record or the Senate Calendar as the person holding the bill up, no matter what they say.”

NEW YORK TIMES CONSIDERS ITS OWN WIKILEAKS

–Are they terrorists too? Knight Center for Journalism: “After falling out with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the New York Times now reportedly is considering launching its own WikiLeaks-esque system to accept large amounts of leaked information, reported The Cutline. … “A small group from computer-assisted reporting and interactive news, with advice from the investigative unit and the legal department, has been discussing options for creating a kind of EZ Pass lane for leakers,” said NY Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, as quoted in The Cutline.”

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Wall Street Journal: “Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) introduced U.S. Senate legislation Wednesday to audit the Federal Reserve while his father, long-time Fed critic Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas), re-introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House. … Sen. Paul said the bill would eliminate the current audit restrictions placed on the Government Accountability Office and mandate a complete audit of the Federal Reserve by a deadline. Sen. Paul joined the Senate as a freshman lawmaker in January. His father, Rep. Paul, has been in the House since 1997 and previously was a member of Congress in the 1970s and 1980s.”

EGYPT & CORRUPTION

–One year ago Transparency International issued a report on the worsening state of corruption in Egypt. BusinessWeek reported: “Inadequate regulations and law enforcement are impeding Egypt’s efforts to combat corruption, thwarting laws passed in recent years to strengthen governance and accountability, Transparency International said. … The organization said there is political interference in the work of anti-corruption agencies, lack of effective “whistle-blowing mechanisms” and access to information, “coupled with excessive limitations on civil society freedoms and the media.”

–Transparency International’s country report on Egypt can be found here (pdf).

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