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The F-22: Can’t Even Shoot Down Iron Man

[ 9 ] May 7, 2008 |

Redbeard writes in an e-mail:

The F-22 is all over Iron Man. Probably gets as much screen time as the Audi driven by Tony Stark. Wonder if that will get Congress to buy a bunch of them.

I don’t know; the F-22 also got tooled pretty badly by a dude in a homemade metal suit. If I were Congress I’d just buy the suit….

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Worth Repeating

[ 0 ] May 7, 2008 |

Mike Lux:

  • That the Clinton people need to get used to the fact that Obama is the nominee. All the hyperbolic “he can never win the general” and the “it’s not fair” stuff needs to stop right now unless you want a 100-years-in-Iraq, pro-life, pro-Roberts/Alito Supreme Court, 22% lifetime LCV rating, economic right-winger as President. To spend any time or energy at all nursing your resentments is the most fundamentally selfish thing you can do right now. I hate losing elections, I know how badly you feel, and how hard it is, but there is too much at stake to be selfish right now.
  • That all the avid Obama people who have been so obsessed with beating Hillary pat yourself on the back, and then get the hell over it. You’ve won the first round, get ready for round 2 because just winning the primary doesn’t count for anything in the end. Gloating feels great, but it doesn’t help Obama in any way, so put off gloating until he’s actually won the real election. Keep giving to Obama, but help the DNC and VoteVets and other groups that are working on beating McCain, too. And be a big person, and reach a hand of friendship to all the Hillary people who you have been saying mean things to for a year now. We need them.

I know all of this is obvious, so apologies for that and for the preachy tone, too. But I just had to say it. We have a candidate. Now let’s figure out how he wins.

Obvious, yes, but a reminder never hurts.

Also, proposition; if Barack Obama had continued to refer to himself as “Barry”, he never would have won the nomination, because Americans don’t cotton to damn dirty nerds.

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Worst Graduation Ever

[ 20 ] May 7, 2008 |

I thought I’d seen seen some awful graduation ceremonies in my day, but Jeebus! At Wash U. in St. Louis, Chris Matthews will give the commencement address, and Phyllis “Rape Cannot Exist in the Confines of Marriage” Schlafly will receive an honorary doctorate.

The good news, of course, is that graduation robes are good for smuggling pies.

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Good News on the Gas Tax Follies

[ 34 ] May 7, 2008 |

As Hilzoy notes, the gas tax pander seems to have failed utterly, perhaps even costing Clinton a substantial number of votes. I take some comfort in the notion that voters aren’t as stupid as Jerome Armstrong would assume…

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Still Over

[ 17 ] May 7, 2008 |

As Sam said, tonight conveyed no new information. Clinton had pretty much no chance before tonight, and she still doesn’t. They have the same coalitions they’ve had for most of the race, and Obama’s is somewhat but decisively bigger. Clinton was never going to be able to use the vote totals from North Korea Michigan to go over the top unless you think the superdelegates are mostly complete idiots; after tonight, it’s just that Clinton can’t win even under her campaign’s own silly ad hoc metrics.

What it does seem to change is that the media may give up any pretense that Clinton could win the nomination. And given Clinton’s cancellation of appearances, you have to wonder if she’s finally going to concede the inevitable.

this seems to confirm my speculation about the media.

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Just A Break From Primary Coverage…

[ 0 ] May 7, 2008 |

I’m guessing Moises Alou isn’t the oldest player ever to steal home (Carew? Cobb?), but I suspect he may have the oldest back and knees…

I continue to regret the fact that my Moises-signed softball glove was lost forever on the swampy University of Washington softball fields.

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Lake County

[ 24 ] May 7, 2008 |

Normally I leave this sort of thing to my betters at sites like Openleft. I don’t really know much of anything about this stuff. But:

Playing around with the current Indiana vote totals by county….

The vast majority of outstanding votes are in Lake county.

IF all other counties with outstanding precincts continue to vote as they’ve voted so far,

and Lake County turns out in the same volume relative to population and votes for Obama at the same rate as Marion county (Indianapolis), which is a 2:1 margin, Obama will gain in the ballpark of 41,000 votes. Clinton’s current margin is….41,000 votes. The two counties have virtually identical racial democraphics (25% AA), and of course Lake County is part of the Chicago media market.

Here’s hoping…oalqfb

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You Sure You Wanna Do That?

McCain, again trying to shore up his conservative credentials, is heaping criticism on Barack Obama for voting against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts (Hillary Clinton also voted against Roberts). I’ve gotta say, for anyone even remotely concerned about the integrity of the Supreme Court, this is not a smart criticism. Roberts has been among the least forthcoming nominees ever — a reality that became too clear over the last two terms, in which the Court has disingenuously gutted precedent without admitting to it and has had more 5-4 decisions than ever before (despite Chief Justice Roberts’ promise to unify the Court). Obviously, though, McCain is preaching not to the sane here, but to the wingnut right.

McCain also noted that his model justice would be Alito — hates women’s rights and (unlike Scalia) hates criminal defendants’ rights too, even though those are explicit in the Constitution! He’s a home run!


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[ 0 ] May 6, 2008 |

Another academic year is now officially over. I’ve submitted all my grades, and now — as usual — I’m overcome by an enormous sense of panic as I wonder how I can possibly have enough time this summer to complete my research and prepare for next year’s courses.

For the next few minutes, however, I will permit myself to celebrate.

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Presidential Statement of the Day

[ 9 ] May 6, 2008 |

Andrew Jackson, in a message to the Senate, 6 May 1830, three weeks prior to the passage of the Indian Removal Act.

It is certainly desirous . . . that some agreement should be concluded with the Indians by which an object so important as their removal beyond the territorial limits of the States may be effected. In settling the terms of such an agreement I am disposed to exercise the utmost liberality, and to concur in any which are consistent with the Constitution and not incompatible with the interests of the United States and their duties to the Indians.

. . . The great desideratum is the removal of the Indians and the settlement of the perplexing question involved in their present location–a question in which several of the States of this Union have the deepest interest, and which, if left undecided much longer, may eventuate in serious injury to the Indians.

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If I Were a Betting Man…

[ 14 ] May 6, 2008 |

The predictions part of my diavlog was lost, but I think I predicted Clinton +10 in Indiana, Obama +7 in NC. Overs? Unders?

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The Least Powerful Branch

[ 0 ] May 6, 2008 |

Like Josh Patashnik, I’m puzzled by Anna Quindlen’s claim that the judiciary is the most powerful branch of the federal government. Patashnik notes the relatively narrow scope of the recent decisions Quindlen cites, which is terms of their impact are obviously dwarfed by, say, the Iraq War or Bush’s series of budget-busting upper-class tax cuts, both areas in which the courts have virtually no influence. In addition, many of Qundlen’s examples are hardly example of the unilateral power of the courts. The decision to uphold Indiana’s voter ID law was, in my judgment, a bad one — but it also would have been beside the point had the legislature not passed the bad law in the first place. Similarly, Ledbetter was bad, but the Court has been able to establish a new status quo because 1)the President vetoed corrective legislation, 2)a Republican minority in the Senate the filibustered, and 3)the Equal Pay Act didn’t allow for punitive damages in the first place, making the statute of limitations provisions of Title VII relevant in the first place. The court certainly matters, but in most cases its shaping of the policy generated by the other branches is marginal. And even where the progressive impact of the court is arguably the most important — abortion rights — such rights have substantial support among both the public and among elected officials, and indeed Roe could not have survived even in its current watered-down form if this wasn’t the case.

An additional point is that — as I think I’ve said before — Quindlen’s claim that “[h]istory tells us that virtually all presidents get blindsided by their court choices” is also not really true. Almost all alleged “surprises” were either selected for reasons other than ideology (Warren, Brennan, O’Connor, Souter) or were third choices reflecting the constraints of the Senate (Blackmun, Kennedy.) And even the extent to which Blackmun crossed Nixon has been overstated; there’s very little reason to believe that Nixon cared about abortion when making Supreme Court appointments. On the stuff that Nixon actually cared about, even Blackmun was pretty reliable vote for his first decade. All four Nixon appointees joined the 5-4 decisions that effectively gutted Brown by permitting states to maintain schools that were both de facto segregated and unequal as long as this was done by through district boundaries and funding rather than direct pupil assignment, for example. And no Nixon appointee ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional until is was again well-established. In general, voters are actually perfectly rational in assuming that a President they otherwise support will appoint judges with more congenial constitutional views and using presidential ideology as a proxy.

None of this is to say that the public wouldn’t benefit from knowing more about the courts and what they do, but you can say that about almost any aspect of government. Regulatory decisions are also an extremely important part of modern government and will tend to be very different depending on who occupies the White House, but they attract if anything less public attention.

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