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[ 45 ] April 25, 2008 |

in the Sean Bell case (Bell, who was unaramed, was killed and two of his also unarmed friends wounded after 50 shots were fired by officers in Jamaica, Queens.) And the acquittal was on all charges. Disturbing, to put it mildly.

…as ogged points out (I missed it), the linked post says that “three people” were killed. To reiterate, this is inaccurate: only Bell was killed, although two of his friends were wounded.



[ 36 ] April 25, 2008 |

Walter Shapiro asks “Whose fault is the Clinton-Obama stalemate?” The article then more or less argues that although Clinton’s campaign has been egregiously incompetent, Obama’s campaign has also had a significant share of “substantial misadventures.” But shouldn’t we consider the possibility that the race has reached a quasi-equilibrium with Obama in a relatively narrow but decisive lead because both of the candidates are really, really impressive? That the core supporters of both aren’t moving because they, I dunno, really like their preferred candidate? Doesn’t this seem considerably more likely?

This is especially true since the examples Shaprio offers are either trivial (anyone want to make a case that the race would be significantly different if Clinton kept the same slogan?) or projection (I certainly think it’s outrageous to push to try to seat delegates based on a straw poll with one major candidate on the ballot, but I’d love to see evidence that this has been a factor for a significant number of actual primary voters.) Even the one really consequential Clinton blunder that Shapiro identifies — allowing Obama to run the table in the February caucuses with nearly token opposition — was the outgrowth of a strategy that was reasonable (invest resources to end it on Super Tuesday) that just didn’t work out.

I know we’re trained to be cynical, but at some point you have to consider the possibility that the race has gone on because the Democrats have two broadly ideologically similar candidates with, in different ways, formidable political skills. All campaigns make mistakes, but that’s the key dynamic here; the race wouldn’t be close for so long if both candidates didn’t have a lot of strongly committed supporters.

McCain: I Support Women’s Rights…As Long As They’re Meaningless

[ 19 ] April 24, 2008 |

A Republican minority in the Senate has thwarted attempts to repair the damage done by a bare majority of the Supreme Court in Ledbetter, which determined that companies should be able to engage in pay discrimination without the threat of punitive damages as long as they’re able to to keep employees in the dark about it for 180 days after it starts. John McCain, although he didn’t show up to the vote, applauds the Senate’s decision to help companies pay women unequal wages:

“I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what’s being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems,” the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. “This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.”

In other words, McCain favors women’s rights…as long as they can’t actually sue to enforce them. People who, affected by the bitterness of the primary, are tempted to think that the parties are indistinguishable may want to consider the votes in both the Senate and on the Supreme Court.


[ 9 ] April 24, 2008 |

To follow up our recent threads, Megan has an invaluable summary of the evidence.

Waste of Space

[ 8 ] April 23, 2008 |

You will be shocked to learn that Maureen Dowd’s column today says that a male Democratic candidate is really a woman, and a female Democratic candidate is really a man/castrating bitch. And this crackpot nonsense is expressed entirely through witless cliches only Camille Paglia or Ann Althouse could find clever. (Note: this post may be applied to all past and future Maureen Dowd columns about Democrats.)

Penn Primary

[ 16 ] April 23, 2008 |

I don’t have much to add, and watched about as much coverage as Ezra, because the result is clear: Obama remains a near-lock, and Clinton’s not going to drop out after a 10-point win. I would like to second what should be an obvious point from Isaac Chotiner: claims that Obama “has to” start winning or seriously cutting into Clinton’s core constituencies in upcoming states are silly. He already has a majority coalition for the primary, and as far as the general election poor people and older women aren’t going to suddenly turn into a Republican constituency.

Give Us This Much

[ 9 ] April 23, 2008 |

Hey, at least unlike certain cities I could name, my old hometown was certainly devoid of rioting!

(I really shouldn’t joke about this, since I was in Montreal for the Gucci Riot following the Habs winning in ’93, which came a few block from my apartment; fortunately, I was one of roughly 14 people at the 12-inning Expos game that night, so they were over by the time I got home…)

Ace in the Hole

[ 10 ] April 23, 2008 |


Ang Lee speaks out against proposed Tory legislation that would deny the usual Canadian tax credits to “films and videos deemed offensive to the public.” (In fairness, if it would have stopped Lost and Delirious from being made it would prove that even social conservatism has its upside.) More important tonight, however, is that he can serve as a good luck charm, as he shows good judgments about both Western Canadian cities and hockey teams:

Lee captivated his audience with his friendly, unassuming demeanour.

His next movie, he disclosed, is “a comedy about the sixties,” but he would also love to make a film one day in Vancouver.

“I think this is the most beautiful city in the world …. I hope it’s a hockey movie. I want to make a movie where Canadians win, not always Americans,” said Lee, who became a fan of the Calgary Flames during the filming of Brokeback Mountain.

Hopefully Game 7 will be a little more suspenseful than tonight’s primary. (For some reason, I’m guessing some LG&M readers care more about the latter, so this can serve as a Primary Open Thread.)

…ugh, this fiasco has been much more The Hulk than The Ice Storm…

In-the-Tank Hack of the Day

[ 7 ] April 22, 2008 |

Mr. Richard Cohen, ladies and gentlemen!

Pandering We Don’t Need

[ 0 ] April 22, 2008 |

Seriously, Obama needs to stop with this public-health-damaging nonsense immediately.

…what Megan says in comments is worth elevating here:

And to second (third, fourth, whatever) those above – the science is not inconclusive. But I am willing to concede that this is one of those times when the precise language of scientists (and in particular, statisticians) can become misconstrued. In particular, no study can ever ‘disprove’ much of anything. All it can do (and many, many studies consistently have, in this case) is fail to find a link. In statistical terms we always call this ‘failing to reject the null hypothesis of no relationship.’ It’s a weird double negative, but it’s careful for a reason – we always set up our experiments assuming the thing we’re trying to disprove is true. Our conclusion options are to reject the null (and conclude that a relationship exists) or fail to reject the null. We typically shy away from clearly stating that this means conclusively that no relationship exists, since as scientists we’re always open to the possibility of being wrong – perhaps another study will come along with better/different methodology and contradict our findings, perhaps someone will have more money and more time and collect more data and contradict our findings, etc. However, all that hemming aside, just like a scientific theory is treated with more confidence than the layman interpretation of the word ‘theory,’ when numerous studies consistently fail to reject the null hypothesis, most reasonable scientists are comfortable assuming that this means that no relationship exists.

Clinton too, ack.

This Thing Isn’t Over Yet?

[ 13 ] April 22, 2008 |

I guess my prediction today will be…Clinton by 13.

"Elitism" Without Economics

[ 0 ] April 21, 2008 |

What Frank said:

“Elitism” is thus a crime not of society’s actual elite, but of its intellectuals. Mr. Obama has “a dash of Harvard disease,” proclaims the Weekly Standard. Mr. Obama reminds columnist George Will of Adlai Stevenson, rolled together with the sinister historian Richard Hofstadter and the diabolical economist J.K. Galbraith, contemptuous eggheads all. Mr. Obama strikes Bill Kristol as some kind of “supercilious” Marxist. Mr. Obama reminds Maureen Dowd of an . . . anthropologist.

Ah, but Hillary Clinton: Here’s a woman who drinks shots of Crown Royal, a luxury brand that at least one confused pundit believes to be another name for Old Prole Rotgut Rye. And when the former first lady talks about her marksmanship as a youth, who cares about the cool hundred million she and her husband have mysteriously piled up since he left office? Or her years of loyal service to Sam Walton, that crusher of small towns and enemy of workers’ organizations? And who really cares about Sam Walton’s own sins, when these are our standards? Didn’t he have a funky Southern accent of some kind? Surely such a mellifluous drawl cancels any possibility of elitism.

I was also amused by the Crown Royal mistake; I hate to tell this to wealthy pundits pretending to be populists, but very few dive bars have Crown Royal in the well…

I don’t always agree with him, but Frank will make a much better token lefty at the WSJ than Al Hunt or Alex Cockburn…

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