April 03, 2007
Good Americans And Torture
by Sanford Levinson Many Germans protested that they had "no idea" that untoward things (beyond ordinary and presumably "acceptable" levels of anti-Semitism) were occurring during the years of the Final Solution. These have come down to history as the "good Germans," who preferred not to know what was going on about them (assuming, of course, we credit their sincerity with regard to their claims of ignorance).
Kyle Sampson, Cub Attorney
by Christine Stansell Not enough has been said about the dream of Kyle Sampson, Cub Attorney, to be U.S. attorney for Utah. Sampson graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996. After a brief stint at a white-shoe law firm, he joined the right-wing stampede to Bush's Washington and landed a White House job via a friendship with Liz Cheney. By my calculations he was a little over 30 when he started axing career attorneys. But that wasn't enough for Sampson. After firing so many grownups, he thought he could be a grownup, too. And why not?
This is interesting. At the very moment the White House is attacking Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria, it turns out that three Republican Congressmen are there, as well. Funny that you don't hear the White House terming their Damascus sojourns a "really bad idea." --Jason Zengerle
April 02, 2007
These days, as politicians tend to furiously distance themselves from the Iraq war, it's hard to remember back to 2003, when everyone wanted a piece of it. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz weren't the only ones, after all, itching to give Iraq an ideological makeover. Some celebs seemed disappointed they had missed the chance to lead the invasion themselves, and, after Saddam Hussein's statue fell, more than 50 of them poured over the border with the USO. Arnold Schwarzenegger pumped the troops' adrenaline with a screening of Terminator 3.
Freaks and Geeks
One of the few papers I actually read as a grad student was written by a pair of economists named Josh Angrist and Alan Krueger. In the early '90s, Angrist and Krueger set off to resolve a question that had been gnawing at economists for decades: Does going to school increase your future wages? Intuitively, it seemed obvious that it did. When you compared the salaries of, say, Ph.D.s with those of high-school dropouts, the grad-school set almost always did better. The question was whether education accounted for the difference.
L'etat C'est Moi
by Linda Hirshman Cass Sunstein has done us all his usual good service by bringing some old-fashionedcivic republican analysis to the newer phenomenon of the blogosphere. That similar trends have been observed in satellite TV and radio reflects, I fear, that the blogosphere at most, reinforces the polarization of the society.
Supreme Court And Climate Change
by Cass Sunstein Just out: The Supreme Court has ruled against the Bush administration in the climate change case. It is too soon to know whether this is a major development in terms of climate change, but it is a remarkable outcome in terms of the law. The plaintiffs faced several serious obstacles: It was not clear that they had standing, it was not (entirely) clear that EPA's decision was reviewable under the ordinary standards, and it was not clear that the EPA's decision was inconsistent with the Clean Air Act.
by Cass Sunstein One of the most interesting questions raised by today's decision is the likely aftermath. In a nutshell, the EPA said that it lacked the legal authority to regulate greenhouse gases from motor vehicles, and also said that it would decline to regulate greenhouse gases even if it had such authority. The Court ruled (1) that the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and (2) that it did not adequately explain why it declined to do so.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Henry Waxman started his reign cautiously, probably for fear of going all Dan Burton. But methinks one consequence of the blowing-up of the U.S. attorneys scandal -- a gift that just fell out of the sky into the Democrats' lap -- is that it gives Waxman the opportunity to open the floodgates without seeming unjustly inquisitorial (hey, this administration already demonstrated it's a rats' nest of corruption and hackery, right?). Check out the rapidly accelerating rate of requests and invitations to come before his Waxman's committee.
Spouse In The House
Elizabeth Edwards declares she has no interest in attending her husband's cabinet meetings if John is elected president. This of course is a response to Rudy Giuliani's (now mostly retracted) suggestion that his wife might. Far more interesting to me is how Hillary Clinton will handle this question. Will Bill attend cabinet meetings? Weigh in on foreign policy crises? Will he keep running his foundation--and if so how much time will he spend in the White House? Hillary has said he'll be "ambassador to the world," whatever that means.