October 24, 2008
A Spine In Which I Boast
Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House of Representatives oversight committee, said on Wednesday that the three ratings agencies (Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poor's) had "broke a bond of trust" in their evaluation of...well, just about everything: mortgages, government bonds, corporations, etc. The report by Waxman is detailed in the Financial Times on Thursday. It is a fact now widely accepted. But the calamitous damage has been done and the damage yet to come will point to theculpability of these firms in the process.I said I'm going to boast, and I am.
October 23, 2008
Mark Feest is doing all he can to get John McCain elected. Unfortunately, the McCain campaign hasn’t always made that easy. Feest is the chairman of the GOP committee in Churchill County, a rural region of some 26,000 people in northwestern Nevada. Feest complains that the campaign doesn’t seem to understand the nature of rural areas. “Early on, his campaign was sending materials to Las Vegas, hoping we would pick it up,” Feest laughs. “That’s an eight hour drive!” Feest isn’t alone.
No, Obama Is Not A Marxist
It's one hundred and sixty years since Karl Mark published The Communist Manifesto. Communism had a long run, much longer than fascism. But it is long since dead. Yes, there are less than a handful of communist dictatorships: "People's" China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea. The first two of these are still run by the Party. But the economies are about as rapacious capitalisms as there are in the world. Fidel Castro's Cuba was a cruel joke on its own people: unproductive, impoverished, unequal, tyrannical. Raoul is the intermittent ruler before...God knows who and what will succeed him.
Obama Channels Michael Pollan
You don't see this everyday. Obama chats with Time's Joe Klein and serves up some critical thinking on food policy, laying out the web of incentives and subsidies that distort our agricultural system: I was just reading an article in The New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector.
October 22, 2008
The resentments of Sarah Palin.
Mickey Mouse Operation
We were supposed to be beyond this. In 2000, George W. Bush’s freakishly thin margin of victory over Al Gore once more thrust the twin problems of voter access and voter legitimacy into the national spotlight.
WASHINGTON--A rebellion is beginning to take place among American conservatives, many of them influential commentators who are denouncing the takeover of the Republican Party by a mixture of anti-intellectual populists and political extremists.Novelist Christopher Buckley, the son of the founder of modern American conservatism, has endorsed Barack Obama for president. Columnists Kathleen Parker and Peggy Noonan have questioned John McCain's judgment in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a nice meditation on Madelyn and Stanley Dunham: I was looking at this picture of Obama's grandparents and thinking how much he looks like his grandfather. And suddenly, for whatever reason, I was struck by the fact that they had made the decision to love their daughter, no matter what, and love their grandson, no matter what. I'd bet money that they never even thought of themselves as courageous, that they didn't give much thought to the broader struggles in the the world at the time.
October 21, 2008
Bush Is No Hoover
At various points throughout his administration, George W. Bush has been likened to Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, to Teddy Roosevelt and William McKinley. But during his second term, a consensus has been forming on the president he most brings to mind. As early as the fall of 2006, historian Douglas Brinkley wrote that Bush “has joined [Herbert] Hoover as a case study on how not to be president,” and the comparison has only become more commonplace since then.
Federal appellate judge Richard A. Posner, from the Seventh Circuit, recently wrote in The New Republic ("In Defense of Looseness,” August 27, 2008) that the Heller decision striking down the D.C. gun ban constituted inappropriate judicial activism. Another conservative-leaning appellate judge, the Fourth Circuit’s J. Harvie Wilkinson, takes the same position in an article scheduled for publication in the Virginia Law Review.