Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: JUDGED DRED.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: JUDGED DRED. Scott Lemieux assesses Mark Graber 's new book on the Dred Scott case, and considers its lingering shadow over subsequent constitutional debates: Graber�s analysis gives us at least two lessons that are relevant to contemporary debates. The first is that, because of the symbolic significance of its opinions, the Supreme Court generally gets too much retrospective credit for the things it does right and too much blame for the things it gets wrong. The Supreme Court -- the Taney Court emphatically included -- generally represents the center of elite opinion, and its decisions rarely conflict with the priorities of the governing coalition of the time. To blame the Civil War on a rogue Supreme Court is an easy way out that allows us to ignore a fundamental problem: the extents to which the 1787 Constitution was compromised by slavery and Jacksonian political culture was saturated with white supremacy. The Supreme Court can be justly criticized for...
  • WHITHER THE PRICE OF OIL?

    WHITHER THE PRICE OF OIL? Newsweek's Leonardo Maugeri seems pretty confident that oil prices are staying down for the time being, even as OPEC is discussing possible cuts in supply (there are conflicting reports about this, but there will at least be a meeting to consider the possibility). Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), my go-to guys on oil pricing issues, disagree with Maugeri: they see that demand will continue to rise through 2007 faster than new refining capacity can keep up. Much hinges on Chinese growth and growth in oil consumption, specifically. Maugeri asserts that China has been hyped, that growth is slowing, and that the phaseout of gasoline subsidies that China plans to implement, combined with a substitution of other sources of energy for oil in other parts of the Chinese economy, will ease the pressure. China's consumption growth did slow last year, but I'm inclined to agree with CERA on this one. It's not just China that is projected to grow, but other...
  • Thomas Friedman: Radically Ill-Informed Protectionist

    To its credit, the New York Times can occasionally present substantially diverse viewpoints. Today�s paper includes an excellent piece by Paul Krugman, one of the country�s leading economists, about Wal-Mart plans to reduce its wage bill by hiring more part-time workers. Part-time workers get lower pay and fewer benefits. Right next to Krugman�s column, it has a piece by columnist Tom Friedman (sorry, both Times Select and not linkable). In this column, Mr. Friedman proclaims himself a �radical free trader� and criticizes the people who oppose a new WTO treaty and the other trade agreements being pushed by the Bush administration. It�s great to hear that Mr. Friedman is a �radical free trader,� it�s too bad he has no idea what the term �free trade� means. If the United States really had free trade, the Wal-Mart Times would be able to hire all the reporters/columnists it wanted from India, Mexico, and other developing countries and pay them a small fraction of the pay that the New York...
  • HUZZAH! Could Mark...

    HUZZAH! Could Mark Foley be turning the right... liberal ? -- Ezra Klein
  • LOUIE, LOUIE, WHOA,...

    LOUIE, LOUIE, WHOA, BABY. If you ask Tony Perkins , president of the Family Research Council, the reason former Rep. Mark Foley hit on teenagers was specifically because Foley is gay . (In fact, you don't even have to ask Tony; he'll spout this stuff without solicitation.) If you ask Mark Foley why he hit on teenagers, he'll have his lawyer tell you it's because he was molested -- by a clergyman, no less -- when he was a teenager. If you ask House Speaker Dennis Hastert why people are so upset that he did nothing about Foley's lecherous overtures to congressional pages even though he apparently knew about it , he'll tell you it's Bill Clinton 's fault -- no, wait; it's George Soros 's fault . Rest easy, Brother Pierce. Now sources are telling MSNBC -- at least, that's what the "Breaking News" banner said until about a minute ago -- that frickin' Louie Freeh , the self-important former FBI director who gives puffed-up Jersey boys a bad name, won't take on Hastert's proposed...
  • Suppose There Was a Market for CEOs

    David Leonhardt sought to make amends for some of his recent columns by posing a very simple question , if corporate CEOs face a normal market, how come they never end up quitting jobs because of a pay dispute? He points out that the cases of CEOs just quitting for another job, as opposed to retiring or being dumped, are few and far between. The obvious explanation for this is that CEOs don't face a real market. For the most part, they are negotiating with their friends and business associates, who don't have any real interest in holding down CEO pay. This would seem to be a clear failing of the rules of corporate governance. Basically, they do not give shareholders enough power to effectively place a limit on the pay of top executives. The libertarians who want to run for cover at this point in the discussion have missed the boat. Corporations are a creation of the government. A corporation is a legal entity that the state allows individuals to establish in order to advance a social...
  • THE CARE CRISIS...

    THE CARE CRISIS Over at TPM Cafe, Ruth Rosen has a stirring post on the glaring absence of child care and family issues from the national agenda, and the total inadequacy of the currently family support net. Reminds me of something Jacob Hacker said in his book The Great Risk Shift : "U.S policy treats families almost entirely as a personal responsibility, not a social priority." He's right, and it's weird. If you want to dive into this a bit depper, Barack Obama 's policy director Karen Kornbluh has spent the last couple of years thinking hard about a truly pro-family agenda, and her mini-manifesto in the latest issue of Democracy offers some powerful ideas, ranging from small tweaks to Social Security to a new social insurance program that combats the economic instability that buffets families. -- Ezra Klein
  • FREEH LOUIE! ...

    FREEH LOUIE! Well, this certainly seems like a terrible idea on so many levels. Now, there will be no comments from the GOP leadership because of the "ongoing investigation," which likely will be "ongoing" until long after the elections in November, and which will be placed into the hands of an Opus Dei fellow-traveler who's never made a mistake he couldn't blame on someone else. Just the chap you want investigating a sex scandal the most important part of which is the failure of important people not named " Bill Clinton " to take responsibility for their own blunders. But then there is the truly hilarious fact that a sex scandal involving sleazy cybersex is being investigated by an arrogant bluenose who doesn't believe in using e-mail . Good thing Kissinger's advising the White House on Iraq or he might've gotten the gig. UPDATE : And if you think Freeh's a terrible choice, check out the rest of the finalists . Holy mother of God, these people are shameless. -- Charles P. Pierce
  • NEW WAR, JUST...

    NEW WAR, JUST LIKE THE OLD WAR (BUT WITH LESS TROOPS). This post of David Frum 's asking whether Rumsfeld was actually wrong about some of his ideas reminds of a point I've been meaning to make: Rumsfeld's initial attempts to reform the defense procurement process and create a lighter, faster, more adaptable force were right . Many of the ideas, in fact, had been around since Gary Hart 's bipartisan Military Reform Caucus, and some were directly adapted from those reports. Unfortunately, those ideas relied on a new conception of American power: One that eschewed occupation. A smaller, lighter fighting force could intervene quickly and nimbly -- but it couldn't occupy a country. And, if you go back to the Bush administration's rhetoric before we invaded Iraq, it's clear they didn't think it'd have to occupy the country. Instead, the military would swoop in, decapitate Hussein , unshackle a grateful populace, and wander out after the newly liberalized democracy threw them a fine parade...
  • WHY YOU DON'T...

    WHY YOU DON'T CROSS A KENNEDY. Those of us who despaired of Weepin' Joe Lieberman (I-Green Room) years ago have not been surprised by anything he's done over the past six months. He's always been a puling, mewling opportunist who'd sell his grandmother to the Malay pirates for a pat on the head from a jackleg preacher, or 15 minutes of banter on Don Imus 's Wrinkle Farm, where he recently made giddy fun of the demolition of the Geneva Conventions. He's never breathed a political moment in which he was not John Breaux in a hairshirt. However, what happened to him here is not to be minimized. I can't remember another time in which Senator Edward Kennedy summoned up the family iconography in order to beat another Democrat over the head with it, even a putative Democrat like Weepin' Joe who, rejected by the Democratic voters of his state, now finds himself cast out of The New Frontier by the most important member of the Membership Committee. He's had his problems, God knows, and he wouldn...

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