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Archive for July, 2008

Laugh of the Day

[ 22 ] July 31, 2008 |

The audacity of hope:

Stevens’ lawyer had requested that the trial be held as soon as possible because Stevens is up for re-election in November.

“I want to make a request if at all possible that the trial be in October so that he can clear his name before the general elections,” said the attorney, Brendan Sullivan, adding light-heartedly that it was the first time he had ever asked for a speedy trial.

He also proposed moving the trial to Alaska because a majority of the witnesses are there and the events in question took place there.

And because an Alaskan jury, Stevens assumes, would be as likely to convict him as a jury in Maycomb, Alabama, would be to acquit Tom Robinson.



[ 19 ] July 31, 2008 |

…apparently a Dodger. Seems like the Sox will still get Bay; at a glance seems like an OK return for the Bucs, although I’m not sure what Moss’s upside is.

D.C. Circuit District: No "Absolute Immunity."

[ 5 ] July 31, 2008 |

Lederman: “It is an extraordinarily thorough, scholarly and thoughtful opinion — surely one of the best opinions ever written on questions relating to executive/congressional disputes. It is also, IMHO, correct on the merits, of virtually all of the many legal questions it discusses. It is important not only for its holding on the immunity question, but also for its holding and analysis on congressional standing, and for its unequivocal rejection (pp. 39-41) of one of the Administration’s principal arguments with respect to all of these privilege disputes in the U.S. Attorney matter — the notion that because the subject matter of the investigations is presidential removal of the U.S. Attorneys, Congress has no legitimate oversight function at all. The court quite correctly rejects this view.”

Must . . . not . . . blog . . . about . . .

[ 22 ] July 31, 2008 |

Resistance is Futile.

Yes this whole saga is super annoying, what with Chris Mortensen’s hourly reports from his location inside Favre’s ass, but I’m getting intrigued by the game theory aspects.

My understanding is that the Packers don’t have to pay Favre anything if they release him once he’s reinstated. So why would they offer him millions to stay retired? The answer seems to be because they think it would really hurt them for Favre to sign with somebody like Minnesota. But if Favre is still that valuable (and he was really good last year after some mediocre seasons) why not spend those millions to have him be your starter for another year? Because Aaron Rodgers would demand a trade? But Rodgers has no leverage as far as I can see. Yeah you would like to keep the guy you want to be your future QB happy, ideally, but there’s no ideal solution at this point. Why not just take Favre back?

Another option would be to trade him to somebody in the AFC. But that’s tricky because everybody realizes Green Bay is in a bind, so nobody wants to give them anything to bail them out, plus if they release Favre somebody could sign him for considerably less than what’s left on his current contract I suppose.

In any case unless you’re a Mongolian goat herder you’ll be finding out how this saga ends whether you want to or not.

Well, It’s A Start…

[ 0 ] July 31, 2008 |

Kate Klonick notes that the ayes have it:

The House Judiciary Committee has just voted to hold Karl Rove in contempt for failing to respond to a subpoena to face questioning from the Committee on the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

The final vote was 20 ayes and 14 nays. With Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) voting “absolutely, 100% aye.”

Rejecting the ad hoc legal doctrine of “absolute immunity” would seem to be the minimum the Committee can do, but it’s an advance from nothing…

More on the bogus Siegelman prosecution here and here.


[ 6 ] July 31, 2008 |

I, for one, hope McCain takes this advice

Triumph of the Race-Baiters

[ 21 ] July 31, 2008 |

The new McCain ad is indeed remarkably disgusting.

It is a very detestable, grotesque argument that has never been made with so little evidence or reason.

[ 0 ] July 31, 2008 |

I don’t have much to add to this appropriately purple reaction to Herr Pantload’s latest trip to the Diaper Genie. I will, however, draw attention to Goldberg’s atrocious implication that John Carlos and Tommie Smith are somehow responsible for the massacre of Israeli wrestlers and their coaches at the ’72 Munich Games:

China is using the Olympics to paper over the brutality of its repressive regime, just as Hitler did in 1936. In 1972, Palestinian terrorists — grateful for 1968’s lesson in the propaganda value of Olympics media attention — slaughtered Israeli athletes. Nations are political entities, so you can’t take the politics out of national rivalries.

And you can’t take the doughnuts out of Jonah Goldberg’s hands, lest he jam them back into his pants again.

But seriously. That just might be the most abject stream of fuckuppery ever to appear under the Doughboy’s byline.

Libertarians: Sometimes Right

[ 32 ] July 31, 2008 |

To push the points made by Matt further, [update: and to disagree with Ezra], I have to say that libertarians are right about regulations banning further fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles. First of all, I object to the ends of the legislation, because I don’t think for the most part it’s the job of government to make basic health/pleasure tradeoffs involving food for its citizens. This isn’t to say that I’m a strict libertarian. I have no objection at all to NYC-type regulations requiring restaurants to inform customers about the nutritional content of their food: allowing customers to make informed choices is a necessary and desirable function of the state (and I would think that even a sophisticated libertarian should see these regulations as acceptable.) I also support the recent bans on trans fat bans in New York and L.A. because they represent a substantial benefit for public health while having a trivial effect on consumer choice (indeed, in most cases using alternative fats will make food not only healthier but better.) But these goals are going to far; I don’t think suppressing the market for fast food like this makes much sense.

But even if I thought that the end was a legitimate function of government, as Ezra says there’s the additional problem that it’s not clear if the policy has any chance of accomplishing its ends. It would be nice if a lot of Burger Kings and Carl’s Jrs. got replaced by cheap, high-quality, low-margin grocery stores, and it would also be nice if I had points on The Dark Knight‘s gross, and the policy in question is equally as likely to accomplish both. And there’s no magical health or even taste advantages that derive from having sitdown service; I’d rather have a Wendy’s near me than an Applebee’s or Denny’s. Suppressing one type of business in the hope that a better one will spring up in its place is not a plan, and the food policies that encourage fast food chains over good indpenedent restaurants and good food stores need to be addressed at the federal level.

Manny Being Marlin

[ 6 ] July 31, 2008 |

Whoa–this would be something if it happens. My initial impulse was to say that this is making Boston’s season look all the more 2005ish, but it’s not that bad. It helps the Red Sox in the future because Ramirez was pretty clearly gone after this year anyway, and when you factor in defense Bay’s probably not actually much worse. A lot depends on Bay’s defense, which his hard to read; his numbers are all over the place. If he does the job in the field, it could work out well even this year.

It’s also an interesting move by Florida, who seem to be doubling down: having an good offensive team with poor defense, they’ve added…a world-class hitting butcher. Their lineup becomes pretty fierce, although Manny playing a left field of that size is pretty frightening.

Political Culture, or Feckless Political Elite?

[ 28 ] July 31, 2008 |

Houston has a problem:

Houston recycles just 2.6 percent of its total waste [30th among the 30 largest American cities], according to a study this year by Waste News, a trade magazine. By comparison, San Francisco and New York recycle 69 percent and 34 percent of their waste respectively. Moreover, 25,000 Houston residents have been waiting as long as 10 years to get recycling bins from the city.


“We have an independent streak that rebels against mandates or anything that seems trendy or hyped up,” said Mayor Bill White, who favors expanding the city’s recycling efforts. “Houstonians are skeptical of anything that appears to be oversold or exaggerated. But Houstonians can change, and change fast.”

Ooh, an independent streak! But wait…

Even largely blue-collar Milwaukee and the rival Texas metropolis of Dallas, both with larger recycling budgets and smaller populations, have significantly higher recycling rates than Houston.

Dallas’ rate is roughly five times that of Houston. I guess the people of Dallas-Fort Worth don’t have an independent streak.

But city officials say the biggest barrier to recycling in Houston is cheap landfill fees. It only costs $32 to dispose of a ton of waste here, compared with $70 in the Northeast, according to the National Solid Wastes Management Association’s latest survey, in 2005.

Some reject that argument, however, citing other cities with even lower landfill fees.

“Blaming landfills is a completely flawed argument, old-fashioned thinking that is really just laziness,” said Eric Lombardi, the director of Ecocycle, the nation’s largest nonprofit recycler, in Boulder, Colo.

Mr. Lombardi’s operation claims a 60 percent recycling rate, despite landfill fees of $15 a ton — less than half of Houston’s costs. With commodity prices at a record high, he said, if recycling can be profitable “in my landlocked state without easy access to buyers like China, then it can be profitable anywhere.”

What we seem to have here is a city political class that’s unwilling to make the effort to make the case for recycling. This political class would appear to be using political culture (“we rebel against anything trendy or hyped up”) as an excuse not to invest more in the infrastructure necessary to maintain a recycling program. It doesn’t help, of course, that the state of Texas seems utterly uninterested in pushing Houston to do anything useful. Here’s a critical line:

About 25,000 households are on the waiting list for the bins, but the city says it cannot afford more bins. Those without the special bins must cart their recyclable garbage to one of just nine full-service drop-off depots in the city.

Right. The problem isn’t that 7% of the city’s households are being denied recycling bins because of lack of funding; instead, it’s all about the independent streak. Makes it seem more democratic if you put it that way.

Hurlburt-Farley Death Match

[ 1 ] July 31, 2008 |

Heather Hurlburt and I have an entirely-too-cordial discussion at Bloggingheads…

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