Adam Serwer

The ACA Mandate Isn't "Unprecedented"

The latest health care ruling from the 11th Circuit, striking down the individual mandate, uses the word "unprecedented" to describe the mandate more than a dozen times*. The opinion concludes that "It cannot be denied that the individual mandate is an unprecedented exercise of congressional power." The 2-1 ruling is significant in that it marks the first Democratic appointee to vote to strike down the mandate, and the second Republican to vote to uphold it. It also upheld the rest of the law, striking down only the mandate. 

Relitigating Torture

I have to admit I'm confused by this reader email posted by Ben Wittes on the recent Donald Rumsfeld torture civil cases, which he says " totally represents my own uncertainty" on the matter.

Due Process In Last Night's Debate

Debates are often a decent barometer of ideology, since candidates fall all over themselves to ingratiate themselves to their respective bases. Republicans have long since coalesced around a position of denying individuals accused of terrorism due process, but it's still remarkable to watch Republican presidential candidates reject due process out of hand.

Here's Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, disagreeing with Texas Rep. Ron Paul about trying suspected terrorists in civilian court:

Bachmann And Lincoln

There's a pretty vigorous discussion thread on my Bachmann post, but I want to follow up with a couple of points. Some folks argued that the fact that Bachmann endorsed the authors in question doesn't inherently mean she shares their distorted view of slavery. This is a mistake, as Ryan Lizza explains that to whatever degree she agrees with each individual point, she certainly agrees with the idea that slaveovers who refused to free their slaves might do so for "benevolent" reasons.

Obama's Iftar Message

President Obama hosted an Iftar dinner celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan yesterday, and used it as an opportunity to urge tolerance and recognize the contributions of Muslim Americans. At one point in his speech, he pointed out that, contrary to conservatives claiming that Muslims collectively attacked America on 9/11, there were Muslim Americans on the plane that crashed into the towers:

All Communism Everything

Matthew Yglesias wonders if Jonathan Podhoretz is too stupid to understand that North Korean style communism and American style democracy are the only political systems available:

Perry's Pals: Neocons And Sharia Panickers

Josh Rogin takes a look at Rick Perry's foreign policy brain trust, and quotes a Perry adviser who says he'd be a "hawk internationalist."

"He will distinguish himself from other Republicans as a hawk internationalist, embracing American exceptionalism and the unique role we must play in confronting the many threats we face," one foreign policy advisor with knowledge of Perry's thinking told The Cable. "He has no sympathy for the neo-isolationist impulses emanating from some quarters of the Republican Party."

Here's the list Rogin compiles:

Tomming, Ctd

Following up on yesterday's conversation about Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, Randall Kennedy reviews Touré's new book urging an embrace of "post-blackness," meaning "we are [like President Barack Obama] rooted in, but not restricted by, Blackness."


As you can probably tell from my twitter feed, I was following Tavis Smiley and Cornel West around earlier today so I wasn't able to post as much. But here are some end of the day links:

Superman, New Deal Liberal.

The AJC loses Cynthia Tucker.

Conservative blames British riots on diversity, but America is much more diverse.

Pajamas Media Documents Change At DoJ

In the latest in a series of conservative unintended advertisements for change at the civil rights division of the Justice Department, Pajamas Media have announced that through the results of a Freedom of Information Act Request, they've determined that "There are so many aggressive attorneys who previously worked at the ACLU, NAACP, Legal Aid, or at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights that it is a wonder these organizations have anyone left on their staffs." 

Sympathetic Plaintiffs

Dahlia Lithwick looks at the plaintiffs in one of the Donald Rumsfeld torture civil suits and writes:

Not Tomming

Comedian Steve Harvey has words with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West:

The Original King of Comedy, Family Feud host and suit designer didn't stop there. After reading Smiley's request that Obama join him for "a roundtable for two or three days on poverty," Harvey joked, "Who in the hell got 2-3 days for your ass? I ain't got time to sit down with your monkey behind for two, three days, let alone the President of the United States. We got three wars going on, the economy crashing and we going to sit down with Tavis ass for three days?"


Nostalgia as a species of laziness.

Texas closes a prison for the first time ever.

Conservatives mad DoJ is hiring civil-rights lawyers to work on civil rights.

Feminist societies have more fun.

"Let Britain Burn"

John Derbyshire may have had a few before deciding to comment on the riots in Britain:

Why does the British government not do its duty? Because it is the government of a modern Western nation, sunk like the rest of us in trembling, whimpering guilt over class and race.

Through British veins runs the poisonous fake idealism of “human rights” and “sensitivity,” of happy-clappy multicultural groveling and sick, weak, deracinated moral universalism — the rotten fruit of a debased, sentimentalized Christianity.