June 30, 2008
Bobby Jindal Watch
On the heels of his recall petition, this from the Times-Picayune: Gov. Bobby Jindal's legislative director has resigned after serving fewer than six months with the new administration, which is embroiled in a controversy over the Legislature's large pay raise. ... Williams' resignation comes at a moment of intensely strained relations between Jindal and the Legislature, which adjourned last week from its third lawmaking session this year.
June 29, 2008
Bush 1, Un 0
"Africa presented with biggest test yest." So reads a headline over an article in Saturday's FT. Actually, I'm not sure what exactly has been Africa's "biggest test yet." A case can surely be made that it is Darfur. But the slaughter there is being done by Arab Muslims and against black Muslims.
Seymour Hersh's latest piece on the Bush Administration and Iran has some good reporting on the Democratic Congressional leadership's clumsy attempt to juggle an agressive executive branch, their own oversight responsibilities, and Obama's vow to negotiate with Iran. There is also some new information on the administration's increasing support for opposition groups within Iran. However, the sexiest anecdote in the article is mentioned almost off-handedly: The former official said that, a few weeks later, a meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office.
June 27, 2008
Deutschland Unter Alles
Don’t try to pretend that you thought it would end any other way. Don’t kid yourself--or the rest of us--and say that you thought Turkey had a chance in Wednesday’s European Championship semifinal. Even when the Turks equalized with just four minutes left, you knew, deep down, that Germany was the more likely side to score in extra time. And as for penalties, if it came to that, well, the Germans had not missed with 21 consecutive spot-kicks in previous shoot-outs. Sure, Turkey had beaten Croatia on penalties. But Germany?
Coal: The Other White Meat?
The Economist warns us this week that coal is going to become an increasingly tempting energy substitute as oil prices continue to hit new records. Why? Because the alternatives to coal--natural gas, fuel oil, and diesel--are all tied to oil.
There Goes The Sun
What abysmal timing for the sun-starved moles deep in the Bureau of Land Management--no doubt acting in cahoots with the intransigent bureaucrats of the EPA--to flex their muscle when it comes to solar power: Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.
There seems to be a lot of hand-wringing this morning about whether the sum total of Obama's recent pronouncements and maneuvering--on the FISA bill, on the Supreme Court's child rape decision, the DC gun-ban decision, his campaign-finance opt-out, his joint forums stiff-arm--is turning him into a typical Washington pol and undercutting his appeal. But while there may be something substantively disconcerting about these developments--all things equal, you probably want a president who isn't as comfortable behaving so expediently (he's certainly more comfortable than I'd pegged him to be)--I do
June 26, 2008
Can the President Ignore Congress?
In the final days of the Supreme Court’s term, it is not surprising that other lawsuits are not receiving much attention. However, this past Monday, there was a hearing before District Judge John Bates in a case that could have more far-reaching consequences than any on the Supreme Court’s current docket: U.S. House of Representatives v. Harriett Miers. The dispute arises out of claims that the Administration brought partisan politics into decisions about enforcing the criminal laws.
WASHINGTON--In knocking down the District of Columbia's 32-year ban on handgun possession, the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court have shown again their willingness to abandon precedent in order to do whatever is necessary to further the agenda of the contemporary political right.The court's five most conservative members have demonstrated that for all of Justice Antonin Scalia's talk about "originalism" as a coherent constitutional doctrine, the judicial right regularly succumbs to the temptation to legislate from the bench.
Let A Thousand Mitt Romneys Bloom
Today's opinion in the DC gun-ban case is getting all the headlines today, but Phillip Carter makes a compelling case that its practical impact will be limited--there just aren't that many gun laws out there nearly as restrictive as DC's draconian version, and Justice Scalia's opinion (pdf) goes out of its way to emphasize its compatibility with more tempered efforts at gun control (assault weapons bans, waiting periods, etc.). It's also worth paying attention to the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Davis v.