Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tribal knowledge vs actual knowledge front: Yesterday, about half of all Republicans thought Obama was foreign born, and therefore an illegal occupant of the White House. How many Republicans will think the same thing one week from now? My guess is: about half. We've reached that stage on just about everything. It's probably been true of human beings throughout time, but is more obviously significant in politics now, that generally people don't act like scientific investigators, or judges in moot-court competitions, when parsing the logic and evidence behind competing arguments to come up with political views. They go on loyalty, and tradition, and hope, and fear, and self-interest, and generosity, and all the rest -- as the second half of my recent article on the new media discussed.
Here we have a wonderful real-world test: if "actual knowledge" mattered, the number of people who thought Obama was foreign-born would approach zero by next week -- with exceptions for illiterates, the mentally disabled, paranoid schizophrenics, etc. My guess is that the figures will barely change.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Peking University law professor He Weifang has issued an open letter decrying the "strike hard" crime control campaign in Chongqing. He is concerned about excessive use of the death penalty, and an unnecessary harshness in the anti-crime campaign generally.
Friday, April 15, 2011
"We contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, those with disabilities. We're a better country because of these commitments. I'll go further. We would not be a great country without those commitments." - Barack Obama, April 13, 2011, George Washington UniversityHERE is James Fallows analysis of the rhetoric of the President's debt and deficit speech at George Washington Universityon April 13, 2011. HERE is the insufferable David Brooks conceding that Obama will be re-elected. HERE is the transcript. And this is the video.
The Republican Party has just gotten carried away by their hostility to government and celebration of private enterprise. It's a popular idea. Nobody likes to go to the DMV. But private enterprise also makes us very nervous. Downsizing, plant closings, higher health insurance deductibles, real estate bubbles and crashes - all make people worry. "And now they want to take away Medicare" is the line the Republican Party just handed to the Democratic Party. They have crossed the Rubicon.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
"I believe we have a duty to care for our parents so that they can live their lives in dignity. That duty includes securing Medicare.” He also warned that the GOP’s budget “violates our values.”And when Clinton vetoed the GOP proposal, he held up Johson’s pen. “Three decades ago, this pen you see here was used to honor our values when President Johnson used it to sign Medicare into law,” Clinton said, adding: “I am using this pen to preserve our commitment to our parents.”Contemporaneous press accounts indicate that it was only after Clinton adopted this strategy of fighting that he began to rise in the polls.
Monday, April 11, 2011
S.B. 1070, Arizona
“Any person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released.”The 2 -1 decision includes a bitter dissent by Judge Bea who ridicules the majority with the predictable reference to Humpty Dumpty "“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
Sec. 1. Intent
The legislature finds that there is a compelling interest in the cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona. The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona. The provisions of this act are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.
Judge John Noonan, concurring, makes the most powerful argument, to my mind. Determining immigration status is a federal job. Aliens are, by definition, the subjects or citizens of foreign countries. The United States, not the states regulates our relations with foreign nations. Federal preemption operates to supplant Arizona's own foreign policy, Noonan says:
The foreign policy of the United States preempts the field entered by Arizona. Foreign policy is not and cannot be determined by the several states. Foreign policy is determined by the nation as the nation interacts with other nations. Whatever in any substantial degree attempts to express a policy by a single state or by several states toward other nations enters an exclusively federal field.Arizona's drive them out, attrition through enforcement, etc. law certainly appeals to one sort of common sense. Not the "common sense" that is most pronounced here - where the Statue of Liberty resides. The dilemma of immigration is that we have the right and need to control our borders; but now that so many millions are here, with families of mixed native born and immigrant enmeshed in our society, sorting it out, rather than driving them out seems to me to be the common sense of it.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Yglesias » The Success Of Hostage-Taking Highlights The Importance of Elections
"Details on the appropriations deal are still hard to come by, but you don’t need the details to know that substantial short-term cuts in domestic discretionary spending will hurt the poor while harming macroeconomic performance. The problem with not agreeing to the deal, of course, is that a government shutdown would also hurt the poor while harming macroeconomic performance. If you genuinely don’t care about the interests of poor people and stand to benefit electorally from weak economic growth, this gives you a very strong hand to play as a hostage taker. And John Boehner is willing to play that hand."
"I hope people remember this year next time large Democratic majorities produce an inadequate stimulus bill, a not-good-enough health reform bill, a somewhat weak financial regulation bill, and fail to deliver on their promises for immigration and the environment. It’s easy in a time like that to get cynical and dismissive about the whole thing. But there’s actually a huge difference between moving forward at a slower-than-ideal pace and scrambling to reduce the pace at which you move backwards. Now we’re moving backwards."
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Rep. Ryan's Plan to Make America a Third-Rate Nation - Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality with All Ten Tentacles
Moment of Deceit: A few years ago, Mark told me that it’s easy to be a blogger on the west coast: wait until 9 pm Pacific time, look at David Brooks’ column, and point out how idiotic it is. He was right; it IS easy. But today, it’s necessary. Today (or tomorrow?), Brooks, who favored the extensions of all Bush-era tax cuts, and opposed the Affordable Care Act because it didn’t cut costs enough although he also opposed its cost-cutting measures, now hails Paul Ryan’s new budget in a column ironically entitled “Moment of Truth.” The column praises Ryan as “courageous” and “setting the standard for seriousness.”Where do you start?How about in the first paragraph, which lauds the Simpson-Bowles plan and conveniently neglects to mention that Ryan opposed it. Then:The Ryan budget will put all future arguments in the proper context: The current welfare state is simply unsustainable and anybody who is serious, on left or right, has to have a new vision of the social contract.No, that is not the proper context. The proper context is 1) that if we ended the Bush tax cuts, bringing us back to the socialistic 1990′s; and 2) stopped fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we could get a great deal of the budget under control. Moreover, every other advanced democracy is able to cover its entire population and control costs better than we do. That is the proper context.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Leading Israelis push for two-state solution with new peace initiative | World news | guardian.co.uk
Monday, April 4, 2011
Attorney General Eric Holder unsealed the indictment and announced today with genuine regret today that he will be unable to bring 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to trial in a civilian court.
|Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Bin-Laden|
I have written that wanted to be a KSM juror. It is we who were attacked. I think we should pass judgment on our attackers, not soldiers at Guantanamo - a military base seized in a colonial operation a century ago, as I have written.
Chinese Rule of Law: The Rhetoric and The Reality - China Real Time Report - WSJTwo recent law-related events — a harsh conviction and a lofty statement by a leader — reflect basic tensions in Chinese law and governance that will likely continue to grow.A dedicated Chinese democracy activist, Liu Xianbin, was sentenced on March 25th by a Beijing court to 10 years in prison for “slandering the Communist Party.” His conviction came just weeks after Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), presented a report at the legislature’s plenary session in early March in which he stated that China has attained the goal set in 1997 of establishing a “complete set of laws” — that is, “a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.” Wu warned that China must “never waveron key fundamental issues of principle such as the fundamental system of the state.”...
Saturday, April 2, 2011
|Palestinian men pray to protest land confiscation near Nablus - NYT|
Friday, April 1, 2011
Just a thought: why don't email signature blocks say "before you start your car, consider the environment"?
People from far-flung places (I am thinking of a Swedish China law expert; and the director of an conservation law program and others) decide to carry a "green" spot. It's common to see "think before you print", etc. Isn't wood a renewable resource? Why is it never "before you start your car think about the environment"?
|The low number is the federal poverty line|
The high number is the money needed to meet basic needs.