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Not Making The Case

[ 0 ] August 17, 2007 |

My favorite part of the VDH rant that d. links below:

First is fiscal sanity. For most Americans piling up debt is as much an emotional and spiritual crisis as it is an economic one. [Most Americans? Evidence? –ed.] An indebted America makes all of us feel collectively lousy—weak, dependent, and self-indulgent. Who likes to be lectured by the Chinese, Germans, or Japanese that we are spendthrifts? Tax cuts are great and really did bring in more gross revenue, but who cares if we still spent far more than we took in? The first four years of this administration did more to discredit the sound policy of tax cuts that any other: had they just kept spending rises to the level of inflation, the ensuing surpluses would have proved that budgets can be balanced through the stimulation of less taxation.

The thing is, I think there is considerable value in reading the classics. But when the lessons you draw from them include laughably incorrect supply-side crackpottery, you’re not a very effective spokesman for the position. I particularly like the apparent assumption that large federal spending increases have no effect on federal revenues, a hack classic.

Max Roach, 1924-2007

[ 0 ] August 17, 2007 |

Remarkably, Sonny Rollins’s sublime “St. Thomas” came up on my I-Tunes shuffle about 10 minutes before that I read that the incomparable drummer who played on the track had passed away. R.I.P.

Darcy has more.

"A Hell Exists On Earth? Yes. I Won’t Live In It."

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

I suppose it’s my job to report on such things, but seeing that Robin Givhan and the extremely desperate homeless person’s Robin Givhan are discussing Camille Paglia discussing Hillary Clinton’s decolletage, all I can say as that I’ll get to it just as soon as I watch every film in the oeuvres of Michael Bay and Tom Shadyac 10 times followed by a 24-hour loop of Yankeeography: Derek Jeter.

Sometimes, You Have To Return to the Classics

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

Fourteen-star general Ralph “Blood N’ Guts” Peters actually dusts off the “our inability to prevent massive gas truck suicide bombings that kill hundreds of people proves that…Al Qaeda is in its last throes and we’re winning” routine. And merits an approving link and quote, of course, from the most popular conservative blogger. These people really have no dignity. Or shame.

You Have The Right To Never Be Let Alone

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

I’m not sure why Gary is so worried that a broad array of federal and local officials will have access to satellite survey data with virtually no safeguards in place. After all, if the blogosphere is to be believed even “classical liberalism” now requires that branches of the government be self-policing and statements of state officials be taken at face value. So what’s the problem?


[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

It’s funny because it’s true!

Creeping Originalism

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

It’s bad enough that we’re saddled with “originalism” as a theory of constitutional interpretation. But it takes Fred Hiatt & Co. to advance the argument that Congress should be bound by the “original intent” of past laws. What the hell?

Mark Tushnet argued in The New Constitutional Order that the key domestic norm of post-Great Society American constitutionalism was not so much “government can’t solve any problems” as “government can’t solve any more problems.” This would seem to be the reductio ad absurdum of this — Congress gets one crack at the civil rights apple, and if they want to adapt to new problems made clear by the bad judicial decisions of (WaPo-approved) justices, too bad! Bizarre.

The Death Penalty: Arbitrary in Application

[ 1 ] August 15, 2007 |

Texas is about to execute someone for a murder he did not commit and was only peripherally involved with. During every discussion of the death penalty around here, at least one commenter will recount an anecdote of an especially horrible crime committed by someone who was executed, which would be relevant if the states systematically limited the death penalty to very worst crimes, but of course it does no such thing. Foster deserves some jail time, and carries some measure of moral and legal responsibility for the killing he didn’t commit, plan, or intend, but he obviously doesn’t deserve to be executed even if you support the death penalty.

On the other hand, I’m sure getting Fredo Gonzales involved in state death penalty prosecutions will make the system much more fair. In case you had any illusions that reducing the habeas power of federal courts was about “states’ rights…”

Manliness Is For the Wealthy Exurban

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

Jane and BT note Dr. Helen’s bizarre claims in her Pajamas Media advice column that “manliness” means that you should “get The Dangerous Book for Boys [wow, Insta or Mrs. Pundit plugging that book, what a surprise!] and build a treehouse, make a go-cart…” One strain that runs through both Reynolds and Smith is they apparently have never even considered that not every single person in the country lives in a massive house in a dreary exurb somewhere, and hence everyone has plenty of space to build go-karts. Anyway, given that I’m not sure where I’d put a treehouse in my apartment or who would use it, and that her hubby’s “manliness” seems to be instantiated primarily by advocating killing lots of foreigners in ways that also undermine American security interests, I think I’ll take a pass on having them evaluate my masculinity.

I do wonder when she’ll get a tenured position at Harvard, though…

Well, He Brings Nice Wine To Jack Welch’s Parties!

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

OK, Chris Matthews is is a creepy sexual harasser. And his show contains virtually no useful content (well, unless Ezra is on.) But on the other hand, he has to stay on the air because he gets such incredibly high ratings! Er, maybe not. (Maybe Glenn Beck stays on the air to make every crappy, low-rated reactionary talk show host look better by comparison.)

Scooter 1917-2007

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

Phil Rizutto has passed away; in an ironic twist of sabermetric fate, cutting edge defensive statistics suggested that his election to the HOF wasn’t the pressure-politics travesty it always seemed to be. He was certainly an NYC icon if nothing else. And he did contribute some subtle single-entendres to some classic pop cheese:

He was glowin’ like the metal at the edge of a knife! R.I.P.

The Dead Ender’s Dead Ender

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

No matter what else happens in this world, it’s oddly reassuring to know that you can always count on Fred Barnes to be the most abject administration lickspittle imaginable. (In its own perverse way, it shows more intergrity than people who acted like him for 5 years and are now deserting the ship because it’s crashed through the bottom of the ocean.) Perhaps my favorite part is, after Barnes has lavishly praised Rove for pulling of the miraculous feat of getting a wartime incumbent a narrow victory over a less-than-compelling opponent by mobilizing the conservative base, he says that “And it was Bush’s dip in popularity, not anything Rove did or didn’t do, that wiped out any White House influence on immigration.” Um, since when is the president’s popularity somehow entirely independent of his chief political consultant? What exactly is Rove’s job? Just kinda sitting there being the “greatest political mind of any generation” while unpopular policy initiative drag down the president’s popularity entirely independent of his influence, I guess…

I do wonder why the greatest political mind in world history thought it was a good idea to expend tons of resources in an expensive, unwinnable state during a razor-thin campaign, though…

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