Shorter Obama: You guys better not belatedly object to the day I chose to give this speech, or else I'm going to give the speech on a completely different day, as long as that's more convenient for you.
A few months ago, liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accused her conservative brother Justice David Prosser of putting her in a chokehold during an argument.
After an investigation, Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett announced that she has "determined that no criminal charges will be filed against either Justice Bradley or Justice Prosser for the incident." (Emphasis added.)
Good to know Justice Bradley won't be charged for getting herself into that chokehold.
Shorter John Yoo: The Obama administration's misbegotten decision to assassinate rather than apprehend Osama bin Laden was the ineluctable result of the administration's overly fastidious compliance with due process.
According to this New York Times piece, a meta-analysis by Sara Konrath purports to find that "college students today are 40 percent less empathetic than those of 30 years ago, with the numbers plunging primarily after 2000." This claim somewhat dovetails with previous studies that supposedly document "an increasing narcissism among college students since the late 1980s."
Conceding the point that kids today are just awful people, I still think we really should try a little harder to see things from their point of view. (We're the ones with all the empathy, after all.)
Anyway, the article ends by noting the practical implications of this "rapid deterioration" (Bruce Perry, quoted in the article) in empathy: "Low empathy is associated with criminal behavior, violence, sexual offenses, aggression when drunk and other antisocial behaviors."
Thing is, after the late 1980s, the rate of violent crime began to decline.
Must be that lacking empathy takes all the fun out of being cruel.
Christopher Edley thinks he’s one of your “betters.”  According to Edley, rubes like us should want our “betters” in
important posts, like the post in which Kagan will serve:
The tension between elitism and populism is embedded in our national
DNA because America rejected the model of a monarch ruling by divine
right in favor of an iffy experiment in democratic self-governance. So now you are responsible for choosing your leader. Do you want someone like you or someone better than you?
an astonishing framework! But so it goes when people like Edley spends
decades inside institutions like Harvard, convincing themselves that
they and their peers are “better” than all the rest of us rubes.
Not fair. What Edley meant, of course, was merely to ask whether in choosing your leader you would want someone better than Yoo.
Orin Kerr indulges in his worst habit - straining mightily to find partisan equivalences where there are none:
If you took the public outcry over the Patriot Act in 2001, replaced
“police state” with “socialist state” and replaced “privacy” with
“freedom,” and then replaced the claims of violating the Fourth
Amendment with claims of violating the Commerce Clause, you would
pretty much have the public outcry over the health care law today —
except from the Right not the Left.
But Orin hedges: "Of course, I’m not saying the two laws are the same. [Of course not.] But I’m struck by
the rhetorical similarities of the case made by the laws’ outspoken
It's a good thing that Orin hedged, there. It would really have been stupid to compare the laws substantively (police powers versus healthcare) or procedurally (the one passed with a single Democratic "no" vote, the other without a single Republican "yes" vote). Idiotic even. So kudos to Orin for carefully marking that distinction. His readers might otherwise have gotten the wrong idea.
The real point Orin wants to make, then, is about the many "rhetorical similarities." Which of course there are. Thing is, they are similarities between what you hear now from congressional leaders and what you heard then from some guy on the Internets. (Okay, and maybe Randi Rhoades.)
So I guess I'd just want to suggest that the analogy is perhaps one not worth making.
I keep meaning to do a long, thoughtful post on scientific pseudoscandals like "Climategate" and the fatal socio-epistemological problems for lay skepticism about consensus theories. But...time and all that, you know.
In the meantime, this post at the Economist captures the spirit of the problem:
[W]hat am I supposed to do the next time I wake up and someone
whose name I don't know has produced another plausible-seeming account
of bias in the climate-change science? Am I supposed to invest another
couple of hours in it? Do I have to waste the time of the readers of
this blog with yet another long post on the subject? Why? Why do these
people keep bugging us like this? Does the spirit of scientific
scepticism really require that I remain forever open-minded to
denialist humbug until it's shown to be wrong? At what point am I
allowed to simply say, look, I've seen these kind of claims before,
they always turns out to be wrong, and it's not worth my time to look
Well, here's my solution to this problem: this is why we have peer review. Average
guys with websites can do a lot of amazing things. One thing they
cannot do is reveal statistical manipulation in climate-change studies
that require a PhD in a related field to understand.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to brandish assault rifles near the president shall not be infringed. Or so the usually (but unfortunately not this time) excellent Will Wilkinson argues.
A TPM reader makes a funny: "Isn't it awfully convenient that a man with no discernable British
accent suddenly claims that he is British just after it's pointed out
the the UK health system would have euthanized him as a child?"