Constitutional Gridlock And Presidential Dictatorship
July 20, 2007

By Sanford Levinson I'm about to go off to New Zealand, one of the last countries in the world not to have a written constitution and to be firmly committed to parliamentary sovereignty (though some judges are reasonably forceful in enforcing the relatively new Bill of Rights (that, however, explicitly denies the power of what we call "judicial review," i.e., the ability of courts to invalidate legislation).

Yo Ho Ho
July 19, 2007

By David A. Bell Along with all the records to be set by the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Saturday is one that the authors and publishers are not going to be happy about. Already, even before publication, it is certainly the most widely-pirated e-book of all time.

All The Rage
July 16, 2007

It is not a virus. It is a plague. A few days ago, I posted in this space a note about some political science professor at the University of Minnesota who was eager to talk about Cindy Sheehan challenging Nancy Pelosi for her House seat. The announcement of this hot news came from the university itself, and it is apparently part of a rage whereby institutions of higher learning seek to prove to the "public" that teaching employees do, well, "public service." This morning I received an e-mail from the State University of New York at Albany.

Politicizing Science
July 12, 2007

To be called "anti-intellectual" is for a certain genotype of Republican not especially insulting. After all, George Bush's father, Poppy, gave us J. Danforth Quayle as vice president, and he probably couldn't spell the word. Quayle's boss was no great brain either, and TNR once published a book of the aphorisms of malapropisms of George H.W. It was a scream and, sort of, a best-seller. The current president is not a heavy thinker. A lot of other presidents have also not been heavy thinkers. But they appreciated and listened to men and women who knew more than they did.

Dueling Civil Liberties
July 11, 2007

I read this article in the International Herald Tribune. By Eric Pfanner, it dealt with the press coverage of the principals in the London/Glasgow "Doctors' Plot." Did the newspaper and television outlets violate the law in displaying images of the suspects? The police said yes. But there are two civil liberties at stake here. The rights in British law of individuals under suspicion or indictment not to have their pictures or articles about them appear publicly. This meant to prevent prejudicial information from be seeing by potential jurors.

Life Imitates "the Thick Of It"

Back at his own blog our friend Alex Massie catches a gem from Alastair Campbell's newly-released diaries. Writes Campbell of one dreary meeting: War Cabinet. [Secretary of State for International Development] Clare Short rabbiting on more than ever. I slipped Tony a note about the time Saddam shot his health minister at a meeting because he was annoying him and did he want me to get a gun? 'Yes', he scribbled. --Michael Crowley

Sisterhood, Uninterrupted
July 09, 2007

by Linda Hirshman, Courtney Martin, and Deborah Siegel Linda Hirshman: Last week I went to the Twenty Sixth Annual Women's Studies Association Convention. It was my first such meeting since some law professor thing I attended in 1987, where the food was all vegetarian and there were no hangers in the dorm room closet. "Never again," I muttered, driving away in my (liberal) limousine. But here I am, with Get to Work out in paperback and dying to convince the women's studies teachers to teach its eponymous message to their young students. Before, as the new jacket copy says, it's too late.

More Libby
July 07, 2007

At least two friends have criticized me for defending Scooter Libby against the ravages of political justice. One being Jonathan Chait whotakes me on for saying that I know that Libby has not profited--i.e., retained cash--from the Libby Defense Fund. He complains that I recite no facts. Well, I get my facts from the Libby Defense Fund on whose board I sit. His grievance is really against Chris Orr who first made the charge on this web-site and who I wrote hadn't the slightest idea of the finances of the Libby case and still accused Libby of making financial gains from his troubles.

Jogging Imperialism:

Meanwhile, the French are focusing on an issue of great importance: is it acceptable for Nicolas Sarkozy to a) be so keen on jogging and b) flaunt that enthusiasm so publicly?

Gordon Brown's Burden?

One of the consequences of the unfortunate developments in Iraq is that intervention anywhere else anytime in the future is going to be a tougher thing to sell. Many will welcome this of course. Still, there is one small country where at least some people would welcome the arrival of the Royal Marines: "ZIMBABWE'S leading cleric has called on Britain to invade the country and topple President Robert Mugabe.