Category: Dave Brockington
If Clarence Thomas were a Democrat, it’s not too difficult to imagine that this would result in a Congressional inquiry. Combined with the involvement of Virginia Thomas in Liberty Central, there’s just enough smoke here to suspect some sort of ethically-challenged inferno.
Certainly more smoke than William O Douglas was generating in 1970. But then, Republicans have a different set of rules that they get to play by.
UPDATE[SL]: And Fortas was forced to resign for doing indistinguishable things, with substantial historical consequences.
In response to Leicester City Council’s egregious lack of a Zombie Attack Preparedness Plan, over 200 intrepid citizens will stage a mock zombie attack on Leicester in a public-spirited demonstration of the risks involved. Hopefully Leicester get off their collective asses and put a plan in place as soon as possible. This is serious.
Prime Minister Cameron has been called “arrogant” and certain remarks of his made on Wednesday rejected as “mediocrity and stupidity”. Ed Miliband certainly doesn’t have this degree of chutzpah; rather it was Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, responding to Cameron’s statement during PM’s questions that “I would say this: as long as the Falkland Islands want to be sovereign British territory, they should remain sovereign British territory – full stop, end of story.”
I agree with Cameron so far as democratic self-determination should be the governing principle. Of course, should Argentina plan a reprise of the 1982 war, the British are in a much weaker position than 30 years ago. Lacking any aircraft carriers, and with only four Typhoons based at RAF Mount Pleasant, it’s difficult to see how the Falklands could be defended.
Consistent with the theme of self-determination in British overseas territories or “provinces”, the new Life and Times survey, commissioned by the office of first and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, reports that 73% of respondents want to remain part of the United Kingdom rather than united with the Republic. This isn’t surprising. Nor is that 52% of the Catholic community feel the same.
Saturday night I had a friend over my house in England as a goodbye (and for goodbye, he brought a bottle of single malt which did not survive the evening). We’re broadly like minded on Northern Ireland, save that he’s closer to the republican end of the spectrum and I’m nationalist. I argued, as I do, that if there were ever to be a united Ireland, the only way that this could be legitimately achieved is through a plebiscite, and a mere 50%+1 yes vote would not be enough. We discussed what would happen if such a plebiscite were held today, and he was shocked at my suggestion that a significant share of the Catholic community would vote to remain in the UK.
My ad-hoc reasoning behind this was economic (Ireland is barely on the good side of the Iceland – Greece club) and generational. It’s been nearly 90 years since partition, the vast majority of which clearly sucked for the Catholic community, but also 13 years since the Good Friday agreement. While that night I suggested a lower percentage (not the presence) of the Catholic respondents favoring remaining with the UK than the 52% reported, I am surprised that 4% of the Protestant community favors a united Ireland.
I’m at the tail end of a LHR-ORD-SEA-PDX itinerary, on which I can happily state I have not paid for a single drink.
That said, as I was (sadly soberly) meandering my way through the warrens that is Heathrow about . . . 20 hours ago, Heathrow seemed to serve as a perfect metaphor for the development of British democracy. Built sporadically, incrementally, muddled through without vision. Might be fine for a glacier, but not something designed to get people places.
Or designed at all, really.
Also, my rosary caused some bother in security at ORD. I took delight in that, being the morally relativistic trailblazer that certain uptight Catholic segments of wingnutia believe I am (so uptight she had to point out that one of her own allies is a — gasp – Protestant).
I posted a piece on the Milifeud yesterday, and since new data have been released on his relative popularity both in the electorate and in the Labour Party. Suffice it to say, he ain’t, and the writeup at UK Polling report is, as always, quite informative.
A couple excerpts:
“What we can be more confident about is that public perceptions of Ed Miliband are not encouraging (and, of course, that will to some extent be due to the media portrayal of him, but that’s part of the game). Miliband’s approval rating today is down to minus 23, his lowest since becoming leader. Only 19% of people think Labour made the right decision in choosing him as leader, with 51% thinking he was the wrong choice.”
While Labour are leading in the polls, his approval at -23 is not a good thing, regardless of the Labour six point lead. Note, in looking at the crosstabs of the data, I’m seeing a net -19, not -23. Nick Clegg is on -56, and David Cameron only -3. Compared to Cameron, Miliband’s numbers aren’t encouraging, and that he’s sliding, not growing, in stature is also troubling.
More damning that while “responses to questions like this are largely partisan, Conservative and Lib Dem supporters naturally don’t tend to be impressed by the performance of Labour leaders”, it would appear that he finds no solace amongst Labour supporters:
“However, Ed Miliband’s ratings are mediocre even amongst his own party supporters. 41% of Labour voters think he was the wrong choice. 45% of Labour voters think that David Miliband would be a better leader than his brother. Labour voters are evenly split (48% to 47%) on whether Ed is providing an effective opposition, only 43% say they are clear what he stands for (54% not clear), and only 39% of Labour voters think he has a credible policy on the economy (26% do not and 35% are uncertain).”
Of course we can expect Tories to be luke warm towards a Labour leader, even Tony Blair. But his own tribe? I can’t see Labour doing what the Tories did to IDS, but if I were in the party in a position to influence opinion, I’d give him a year at most. Given that Labour have a six point lead in the polls, over half the Liberal Democrat support is up for grabs (and should naturally gravitate to Labour; those pleased with the coalition would remain with the Lib Dems), the net rating of how well the coalition are “working together” is -28%, and worse, -31% on the question “Do you think this coalition government is good or bad for people like you?”, the Leader of the opposition should be both more popular than he is, and at least articulating something . . . anything . . . in response to the Government’s policies.
I’m a Bruce fan. In the late ’90s, when he finally got the band back together, I once went to back-to-back shows in Seattle and Portland. The set lists were different enough to make it feel like two entirely different concerts.
but life would be a lot easier to digest if I were. Thankfully it is simple in its own way, seeing as how “Brockington has a Ph.D. in political science, which means he assumes himself to be the intellectual superior of anyone who might disagree with him”, I can relax in the comfort knowing that I’m never wrong. God bless you, University of Washington Department of Political Science.
Seriously, the NYT has a piece today on how standards somehow seem to be different for female pols. Shocking, I know. The article itself is unfocused, but there are a few nuggets of interest. The suggestion that female politicians are held to a much higher standard is one. Following up on that is this:
“Of course, it is a big leap to suggest that voter expectations and an “extra level of seriousness” among women in public office translate into an absence of sexual peccadilloes. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers, said her studies on adultery show that, at least under the age of 40, women are equally as likely to engage in it as men. She theorizes that perhaps women are simply more clever about not getting caught.”
Inspired by the thoughtful commentary on yesterday’s post, I’m curious as to what people think of the various disorganized thoughts in today’s piece. I don’t doubt that female politicians are held to different standards, but is this a causal factor in the lower likelihood of women politicians having a sex scandal? Is there really a lower likelihood of a female politician being involved in a scandal?
Does any of this really matter at all?
As for the honorable member representing New York’s 9th District, while I characterized his behavior as irrelevant in moral or governance terms, I never said that he didn’t screw up. He did. Duh. Had he not made these choices, his life, and the life of his party, would be a bit simpler today. However, assuming that it was all consensual (and we don’t have enough information to know whether or not it was), the only sphere where he screwed up was with his family — assuming of course that his wife was unaware and theoretically unsupportive of his actions. What if she knew and didn’t care?
Now that’s moral relativism, kids.
I’m surprised that it took this long, but a story in The Independent today suggests that David Miliband is highly critical of his brother Ed’s leadership of the Labour Party, and is waiting in the wings for Ed’s ineluctable failure.
David is not alone in allegedly suggesting that Ed is perhaps not doing the best of jobs (I agree, for one). There are two valid critiques. First, Labour have yet to articulate an alternative vision or concrete policy proposals about, well, anything. There is a certain rationality to this. With the coalition not exactly popular, and Labour leading in the polls for close to a year now, an argument can be made that it’s best to not have a precise alternative, as precision crystallises opinion. Second, Ed Miliband has not been at all effective during PM’s Questions on Wednesdays. This is unfortunate as the coalition have a lot to answer for, and their policies should be effectively exploited for electoral and public opinion gain. Instead, Ed is making David Cameron look even more prime ministerial.
All this said, I don’t think there’s much at all to this story. Journalists would love for there to be a Miliband rift, as it would fill the long obsolete Blair v Brown narrative that drove coverage of the Labour Party since 1994. Indeed, a series of stories came out late last week about the Brown plot to oust Blair; the supporting cast included Ed as a chief architect in the Brown camp, with David a leader of the Blair forces. Hence now we have
Blair David Miliband exacting revenge on Brown Ed Miliband.
This tells us something that we already know, sociologically and culturally, about the mindset of (some) Americans regarding the behavior of the honorable member representing New York’s 9th District. However, it does so with an eloquence seldom seen on the issue:
America’s sex scandals (not the behavior, the “scandals”) are dangerous because they’re always about an interest in non-authorized sex. And because the lesson we’re always told they teach is that “too much” interest in sex, or “too little control” over our sexual impulses, or “too unusual” sexual desires are dangerous. And that the other kind of sexuality—one loaded down with guilt, shame, terror, and frigidity—is merely inconvenient, rather than a menace to society.
h/t Andrew Engelson of Only OK.
I’m not going to elaborate on the irrelevance of his behavior beyond the effect on his relationship with his wife and family in moral or governance terms. However, he has become a minor political liability for my preferred party. Nate Silver has a clever response. New York will lose two districts in the reapportionment for 2012. NY-9 has progressively become less Democratic, from 67% voting for Gore in 2000 to 55% for Obama (down one point from Kerry’s 56% haul in 2004). As it would seem New York is set to lose one Republican and one Democratic district, just redistrict the extant 9th away.
It could be worse for the moral fascists. It could be this guy. It’s the same as George W Bush, only with underage sex as well. [UPDATE: as commenter Kate points out below, it is quite clearly not "'moral fascism' if people are concerned over the accusation that he payed for sex with a minor?" I greatly appreciate the observation.]
No, really? The President makes the first “state visit” to the Commonwealth since JFK in 1961, and oddly the final disposition of Puerto Rico is somewhat on the agenda. Regarding this, apparently there are two referenda on the agenda by the end of 2012. The first will force the choice to be between full independence and remaining a part of the United States; the second to offer more options based on the results of the first.
Last I heard (and I’m not exactly up-to-date) public opinion on the issue in Puerto Rico is roughly split evenly three ways, though this is inconsistent with the results of the three plebiscites held over the past 45 years (and when given a choice between retaining the existing commonwealth status, independence, and statehood, just what the hell does a majority result for ‘none of the above’ mean?)
If current public opinion is split evenly, the strategy behind a two-round referendum is plain; else what options exist to further refine an independence victory in the first? Unlike the District of Columbia, it’s not immediately obvious that Puerto Rican statehood would automatically benefit the Democrats either, although I’m sure there are acres of wingnuttery that firmly believe otherwise.
There’s plenty more on the debate to be found here [UPDATE, link actually added now], some of it of dubious quality. My favorite reason to vote against statehood from a Puerto Rican perspective:
“There are several arguments against statehood on the social structure of Puerto Rico. The first is that Puerto will no longer have a representative in their Miss Universe Pageant, which they have won on three occasions.”
Well, damn. Which is more than balanced by the clear winner against statehood from a ‘mainland’ perspective [shorter]: adding a 51st star would irrevocably fuck with American identity.
“Puerto Rican statehood would require changing the US flag. It would require changing the American flag by re-arranging the stars. While 50 stars can fit into the rectangular space, 51 cannot. For this reason, proposed new flags could include a circular arrangement of stars. But, changing the flag is regarded by many as changing American identity in a significant way. And this is, for some, a source of concern.”
Which could be solved by simultaneously adding the District as a state. Or England, which is as likely. Or maybe combining the two Dakotas into one with the admission of Puerto Rico.
“Members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless” in some city park.
It seems that the enlightened municipality of Orlando recently passed an ordinance that requires a permit to serve food to the homeless if there’s more than 25 of said homeless, and any given group with the temerity to encourage homelessness is limited to two permits per year per park. This city law made it as far as the 11th Circuit, who unsurprisingly supported the constitutionality of the law. While I’m no expert, I could see such a law easily passing constitutional muster (especially in the 11th Circuit), but that’s not the point. It’s a ludicrous law.
I’d be interested to hear the public statements regarding the need for this law, and more revealing, the private motivations. The latter are pretty easy to imagine: feeding the homeless en mass creates an incentive for these citizens to congregate and remain in the area, and that’s bad for business. Or something. (Or maybe the fine city of Orlando is just vindictive.) Publicly, I’d guess the arguments went along the lines of requiring assurances of public safety and sanitation. But why limit the permits per group to two per year? The city doesn’t have the money to allow a volunteer organization serving donated food to do so more than twice per year?
At least the cops, demonstrating some PR savvy, “waited until everyone was served to make the arrests, said Douglas Coleman, speaking for Orlando Food Not Bombs.”
Is this ordinance anomalous, or are there other examples of the same throughout the US?
h/t Victoria Shineman