• Why? Me Worry?

    This article , detailing the results of a simulation focusing on oil crises, is worth reading for an idea of why people are concerned about peak oil. My excellent guests from the Oil Drum gave you a nice rundown this week, but hearing it from Gene Sperling and former CIA directors James Woolsey and Robert Gates has an authenticity that's hard to match. Incidentally, what really worries me are the arguments from folks like Tim Lee who seem to think that just because the worst case scenario is unlikely, everything will be fine. Their answer to peak oil is that prices will rise, people will stop using so much oil, and we'll figure out other ways to power our economy. Simple. And like most simple things, it's been thought of. The reason we're all still worried is that the alternate ways of powering our economy are all far more expensive and the long-term solutions are still decades from technological maturity. Tim quotes a comparison of oil markets with a pistachio-loving kid whose...
  • Screw the Market (It's What the Market Wants)

    Henry Farrell and Matt Yglesias have launched into a fascinating discussion on the relative merits of market taking and market making political approaches. Market taking is identifying a current and understood desire and exploiting it. When Microsoft jumped into the video game sector, it was a market taking move -- they knew folks wanted video game consoles, they thought they could worm into that niche, and so they did. By contrast, market making is (to use Matt's example), Starbucks. No one knew there was a large market for upscale, comparatively expensive coffee drinks, but the expansion of Starbucks created one (and now Peets, Diedrichs, Seattle's Best, and others have entered as market takers). All this is being used to argue which strategy is best: the current method of constant polling used to identify hot issues and direct campaigns at them (market taking), or a more long-term, visionary strategy that tries to predict what needs aren't being fulfilled and create the...
  • What A Rove Wants

    It's been nice to see Democrats respond to Rove's remarks in much the same way Republicans responded to Durbin's. That Rove unleashed a smear with treasonous implications certainly helps, but the bulk of the credit has to go to a party newly uninterested in being smacked around. This, however, was not all our idea. It was Rove's. Ann Coulter would have to snort a bucket-full of Adderall and spend a few hours focusing her mind in order to compose a speech so perfectly aimed to offend. The question, then, is why Rove wanted this. Shortly after the 2004 election finished, Newsweek released a special issue filled with an 80-some page narrative from inside the campaigns. There was little of note within the Bush camp, save for one tidbit from the race's beginning. Early on, the Bush campaign released a commercial with 9/11 firefighters in it and quickly came under fire for exploiting the day. Democrats were pretty pleased, it seemed an amateurish move. But so, according to Newsweek's moles...
  • And Now, Back To Me.

    Thousand thanks to the wonderful guestbloggers who filled in this week. You can find them at their normal haunts, Scott Lemieux at the excellent Lawyers, Guns and Money , Prof Goose at The Oil Drum , Shakespeare's Sister at her eponymous site , Matt Holt at The Health Care Blog , and the Jew at the Jewish Blog . Also, a belated thanks to Neil Sinhababu from The Ethical Werewolf for helping out last weekend. All were great, and you should keep up with your favorites.
  • The Jewish Blog

    Thanks Ezra for the opportunity to post here for a while along side such talented guest bloggers. Read my stuff at The Jewish Blog . Check out some of my past posts if you’re interested in understanding: The Solution to Oil Shocks Why the West had the industrial revolution instead of the East Why Ancient Piracy is almost just like Terrorism The Real Problem with Walmart The Definition of Terrorism What’s the deal with Gen Y Why Being Religious is Hard The Key to Message Control I was thinking about doing another post about the Borg possibly being the good guys in Star Trek, but you’ll have to check it out on my blog on Monday. See you then. - The Jew Update: The Jew's got a further post on Rove he wanted me to direct you all to. So off you go . Ezra
  • Judicial Review And Democracy II: The Legislative Source of Judicial Power

    In my last post , I noted that the idea that courts are “counter-majoritarian” is not a useful basis for a critique of the courts. This is not to say, however, that there are no potential objections to judicial review from the standpoint of democratic theory. The first set of objections is strictly normative. On can concede—like John Hart Ely did—that Roe is not “counter-majoritarian” and still believe it was incorrectly decided, and the same is true for any other case. Jeremy Waldron’s objections to judicial review—which I actually find problematic in a number of respects—fall into this category. Allow me bracket those type of objections for the time being; I don't have any grand theory of constitutional interpretation to offer anyway. Instead, I’d like to focus on something else: the fact that courts and legislatures are not always locked in a zero-sum struggle for power, as most critiques of judicial review assume. I want to suggest, rather, that the courts and legislatures are in...
  • Learn, Damn You Learn!

    Let me state this a bit more clearly: This whole Rove thing is a trap intended to paint Democrats as whiny hippies. If we respond by getting all pissed off and indignant, this will happen . Or we'll let them invade another country just to prove we're not hippies. First, there is a proposal to withdraw from Iraq from Kucinich among others. Then Durbin says the word “detainee” in a way that does not express complete contempt. Now we are just continuing the narrative and allowing the Republicans to shift the public discourse back to the War on Terrah’. By whining about this we are just giving the media an excuse to do a news cycle about “Who is really more dedicated to giving money away to defense contractors: Democrats or Republicans?” instead of Abramoff or the missing billions scandal . Because make no mistake, that is how it is being framed. If this were a Democrat quote, the media would ask questions like “Doesn’t this undermine your base of support?” suggesting that it would...
  • Wanted: Party With Ideas Seeks Packaging

    So I said I'd be gone Monday to Friday. But I didn't say what time Friday. So think of this as a practice post, not evidence of a blogging obsession that won't allow me a full week's vacation. I'm just stretching out, limbering up, preparing to jump off the bench and get back in the game. That, or I've been aching to get back on the blog and tap something out and am truly, totally addicted. Matt's spent much of the week calling bullshit on the scores of lazy journalists unwilling to label the Bush administration's policies as bankrupt without sniffing that the "Democrats clearly have no ideas of their own." As Matt notes, the Democrats have no end of ideas and, if those journalists, like me, had resolved to read every policy proposal CAP, the PPI, and The Century Foundation put out, they'd know full well how staggeringly many ideas Democratic think tanks have kicking around. But they haven't, instead, they ignore the e-mails and push this tired storyline. On the bright side, since the...
  • CP Stuff

    So these guest-bloggers, pretty sweet, huh? They'll be here through the end of the day, but I'm parachuting in for two posts here. The first is in response to popular demand (well, a few e-mails) asking me to link to the Get a Job pieces I do for Campus Progress. Ask and ye shall receive, this week's profile is of Peter Koechley, the youngest staff writer for The Onion. Enjoy . And while you're there, check out the dispatches from CP's undercover reporters at the College Republicans Annual Convention. Fun stuff.
  • The Truth About Beavis and Butthead

    Thanks to Karl Rove I was thinking about hippy-dippy self-esteem psycho-babble last night . He’s pretty clearly trying to link us to the Effeminate Hippy Stereotype. And when I think of Effeminate Hippy Stereotypes, I think of Mr. VanDrisen from Beavis and Butthead. And this is the truth about that show: