In a way, I admire the rationality of the voters in SC-1 (although their political goals are wrong.) And the thing is, I don’t think anybody really believes that being a good spouse has anything to do with being a good public official. Do you think George W. Bush was a better president than FDR? Would you vote for Goldwater over Lyndon Johnson? Me neither, so I don’t think this vote is all that odd either.
Author Page for Scott Lemieux
You may remember Niall Ferguson from such incidents as “making isolated spontaneous homophobic comments that he’s also been committing to print for decades.” Now that he’s been criticized for his attacks on Keynes — which were not merely gay-baiting but involved egregious misreadings of his work– he wishes to note that even when he’s acting as a buffoonish sixth-rate reactionary pundit he’s also a Serious Scholar, so you filthy unnamed “bloggers” should show some respect.
The first part of the argument is a definitive use of the tu quoque fallacy — Keynes also made some objectionable remarks, neener neener! Since nobody is saying that Keynes should be beyond any criticism (as opposed to criticism that botches his work or attacks him based on his sexuality), this is just an irrelevant diversion. Then, the Great Scholar engages in some classic whining:
What the self-appointed speech police of the blogosphere forget is that to err occasionally is an integral part of the learning process. And one of the things I learnt from my stupidity last week is that those who seek to demonize error, rather than forgive it, are among the most insidious enemies of academic freedom.
This is absolutely pathetic stuff. Arguing that somebody should be fired for expressing political views you disagree with is a threat to academic freedom. Criticizing academics when they say foolish things, or calling gay-baiting what it is, does not make one an enemy of academic freedom. Given how remarkably shoddy Ferguson’s work in pundit mode is I can understand why he wants to invent a right to be exempt from any criticism he doesn’t like, but academic freedom means pretty much the opposite of what he’s pretending to think it means.
A humble public servant is finally able to trade up from one of his modest vacation homes:
It’s good to be a wildly successful head coach of athletes who don’t get paid. Nick Saban will make $5.6 million in base salary this year, so it’s time to trade up from his North Georgia vacation home. Because sometimes, an $11 million house with a freaking lighthouse isn’t swank enough.
Via the Atlanta Business Chronicle, “The Pointe on Lake Burton” is up for auction next month, originally listed at $10.95 million, but selling without reserve. It’s a lovely little waterfront property in Clayton, Ga., nestled on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Burton, “the queen of the southern lakes,” as the listing puts it.
In conclusion, if one of Saban’s players received a free pair of shoes or an extra Big Mac on a recruiting visit, the Noble Ideals of Amateurism would be destroyed forever.
Kirsten Powers attempts to advance the argument that the Gosnell case means that we should shut down abortion clinics that don’t act illegally. She inevitably fails miserably:
Abortion rights advocates have argued that there is nothing to see here. Move along. This is what illegal abortion looks like, they say.
But Gosnell’s clinic was not illegal. It was a licensed medical facility.
Uh, what? The fact that Gosnell worked in a “licensed medical facility” doesn’t mean that everything he did in the clinic is therefore legal, or that he was in compliance with his license. By the same logic, the dentist who exposed his patients to AIDS and hepatitis couldn’t have violated the law, because after all he had a license. If Gosnell performed medically unnecessary third-trimester abortions, or committed infanticide, or put his patients at risk by not properly maintaining his facilities, these things all violate Pennsylvania law even if he had a license.
And from this non-sequitur to another:
Gosnell was not forced to operate in the dark because of anti–abortion rights regulations. It’s the opposite: he was able to flourish—pulling in $1.8 million a year—because multiple abortion rights administrations decided that to inspect his clinic might mean limiting access to abortion
This is all nonsense. First of all, one of the administrations in question was famously opposed to abortion rights. (Who can forget when the Democratic Party did the worst thing in American history by denying Saint Robert Casey the chance to denounce a core party principle without even supporting the party’s candidate for president at the party’s convention? His son, of course, didn’t and doesn’t favor abortion rights either.) And while the Ridge administration was nominally pro-choice, its failure to inspect abortion clinics was a result of its Republicanism, not its pro-choice principles.
How is this OK? Even liberal Europe gets this. In France, Germany, Italy, and Norway, abortion is illegal after 12 weeks. In addition to the life-of-mother exception, they provide narrow health exceptions that require approval from multiple doctors or in some cases going before a board. In the U.S., if you suggest such stringent regulation and oversight of later-term abortions, you are tarred within seconds by the abortion rights movement as a misogynist who doesn’t “trust women.”
First of all, you can’t just look at laws on the statute books and determine how accessible abortions are. The fact that permission is required from doctors after 12 weeks tells us very little about what standards are applied in practice, and as the Supreme Court of Canada explained in great detail 25 years ago the availability of abortion under such laws varies wildly. And, again, you can’t abstract these statutory requirements from the larger context of abortion politics that determines the general accessibility of abortion. I would gladly take French abortion policy over Pennsylvania’s, because inter alia this would mean repealing the Hyde Amendment and making abortions easily accessible at public hospitals, as well as doctors making decisions without being harassed by a lobby that opposes the availability of safe abortions (for the wrong kind of women.) Virtually no American anti-choicers (including, it’s safe to say, Powers) would agree, of course.
Additionally, there is no upside in our media culture to challenging this sacred cow.
Yes, except for the fact that advancing these views mean there will pretty much always be room for you on our nation’s op-ed pages, or its virtual equivalents like The Daily Beast. Will people stop silencing Kirsten Powers already?
- Dahlia Lithwick’s Supreme Court reporting has earned a richly deserved National Magazine Award.
Not that this is surprising, but there’s yet more data demonstrating the pro-business tilt of the Supreme Court:
But the business docket reflects something truly distinctive about the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. While the current court’s decisions, over all, are only slightly more conservative than those from the courts led by Chief Justices Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist, according to political scientists who study the court, its business rulings are another matter. They have been, a new study finds, far friendlier to business than those of any court since at least World War II.
Whether the Roberts court is unusually friendly to business has been the subject of repeated discussion, much of it based on anecdotes and studies based on small slices of empirical evidence. The new study, by contrast, takes a careful and comprehensive look at some 2,000 decisions from 1946 to 2011.
Published last month in The Minnesota Law Review, the study ranked the 36 justices who served on the court over those 65 years by the proportion of their pro-business votes; all five of the current court’s more conservative members were in the top 10. But the study’s most striking finding was that the two justices most likely to vote in favor of business interests since 1946 are the most recent conservative additions to the court, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., both appointed by President George W. Bush.
And lest you
believe in the Easter Bunny that this represents technical applications of black letter law, consider, say AT&T v. Concepcion, a Scalia opinion using the kind of statutory analysis that Scalia would write books making fun of if it reached an outcome he didn’t like.
When you consider that, according to the data in Epstein et al.’s book, Alito and Roberts are also among the most reactionary justices on civil liberties of the post–WWII period, those nominations are a real prize. The clear lesson here, I think, is that we need more Republicans in office because these days a Republican president is likely to nominate zombie William Brennan.
Wrong. The key measure you want to look at is the ratio of debt to G.D.P., which measures the government’s fiscal position better than a simple dollar number. And if you look at United States history since World War II, you find that of the 10 presidents who preceded Barack Obama, seven left office with a debt ratio lower than when they came in. Who were the three exceptions? Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes. So debt increases that didn’t arise either from war or from extraordinary financial crisis are entirely associated with hard-line conservative governments.
And there’s a reason for that association: U.S. conservatives have long followed a strategy of “starving the beast,” slashing taxes so as to deprive the government of the revenue it needs to pay for popular programs.
The funny thing is that right now these same hard-line conservatives declare that we must not run deficits in times of economic crisis. Why? Because, they say, politicians won’t do the right thing and pay down the debt in good times. And who are these irresponsible politicians they’re talking about? Why, themselves.
And, again, this is why trying to achieve a “grand bargain” on the deficit, even if there wasn’t mass unemployment, is a terrible idea.
Not that the polling this far out means a lot, but running McAullife against Cuccinelli really will test whether you can beat something with nothing if the something is odious enough.
Apparently, Ferguson has been making these “off the cuff” remarks about Keynes for more than a decade.
However, Jonah Goldberg notes that once an argument has been made by a conservative it can therefore never be criticized when it’s later made by another conservative. [Via Edroso.] So apparently we’re not allowed to consider defenses of Jim Crow beyond the pale either.
Finally, I present a point made by Kieran Healy in matching quiz form:
Number of kids:
A. Karl Marx
B. Adam Smith
If I understand correctly, nobody had less concern for the future than Immanuel Kant.
…as Jeet Heer notes, “What does it say if your best argument against Keynesian economics is homophobia?” And Keynes’s wife had a miscarriage! Although, in fairness, Keynes was so effette and unmanly he wasn’t willing to walk out on his wife and three kids, which really proves you care about future generations.
…The origins of a smear. Kathy has more.
…As noted in comments, to his credit, Ferguson has issued that increasingly rare thing, an actual apology — not “I’m sorry that you were offended” but an apology.
Shorter* Andrea Tantaros: The Obama administration eliminated arbitrary obstacles for women 15 or over who want to obtain emergency contraception because he HATES FREEDOM. The federal government should get out of our lives by imposing my bizarre views about human sexuality on everybody.
*Note: any attempt to summarize this ludicrously incoherent chain of buzzword non-sequiturs is to vastly overstate their coherence. The editors regret the excessive charity, also reflected by not even getting into the most offensive part of the idiotic rant in question.