Ten Second News

If You Can't Win the Argument, Pretend it Doesn't Exist

If You Can’t Win the Argument, Pretend it Doesn’t Exist

Spencer Ackerman on the Obama administration’s legal justification for drone strikes: In March, the State Department’s legal adviser gave a speech asserting that the strikes are legal, not demonstratingwhy they are. The closest that Harold Koh came to articulating his case was to say: The administration doesn’t intentionally kill civilians (“…attacks [are] limited to military objectives and…

Virtually crime free

Virtually crime free

I was discussing Kevin Drum’s post on falling crime rates in America and the old Freakonomics argument came up – that the only possible explanation for this phenomenon is the after-effects of Roe v. Wade. The fewer unwanted pregnancies, so the argument goes, the fewer potential criminals. Interestingly, alongside falling crime rates, we also see…

I’m not Harriet Tubman either

I’m not Harriet Tubman either

I don’t think the pro-choicers and the pro-lifers are going to agree on this one. But I do think that Ta-Nehisi is either missing what I’m trying to say here, or he – and the commenters at his blog – are incapable of seeing how this analogy might look different if they held different assumptions…

No, I am not Frederick Douglass

No, I am not Frederick Douglass

[updated] Okay. Perhaps I stirred the pot a bit too vigorously. In any case, let me clarify a few things. Ta-Nehisi Coates – whose work I admire greatly, too!* – has quite a lot more to say about the abortion/slavery analogy. I described it as ‘bulky, awkward, creates more heat than light, etc.’ whilst still…

Abortion, slavery & personhood

Abortion, slavery & personhood

So several of Andrew’s readers disagreed with my post on abortion and slavery. And at least one of my readers had some particularly colorful things to say to me in an email after it was posted. Let’s tackle Andrew’s readers first and then move on to Ta-Nehisi Coates (via Sullivan, who is keeping the discussion…

If.  And If.

If. And If.

“If Kagan is gay, but is being closeted about it, then I don’t trust her on gay issues… About the only people who seemed convinced that being gay is a major insult or slander are the juvenile morons on the Right and the White House.” Yep. This could really turn into a train wreck if…

Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast

From TNR’s excellent review of The Killer Trail, a history of  one murderous French expedition into the heart of 19th century Africa (emphasis mine): The Europeans, Taithe notes, never recognized African kingdoms as states, and never interpreted the Geneva Convention as applying to these colonial wars. “Against the uncivilized,” the historian writes, “‘no need to…

The Alito Brouhaha

The Alito Brouhaha

I’m fairly annoyed by the brouhaha that has erupted over President Obama’s deeply inaccurate attack on the Citizens United decision.  One of the weird aspects of my annoyance, though, is that I find myself in deep disagreement with one of my favorite libertarian legal minds, Randy Barnett, and one of my favorite liberal legal minds,…

The Boss Tweed-ization of national politics

The Boss Tweed-ization of national politics

“Reformers should be focusing on lifting limits on the flow of money from parties to candidates and restoring the role of the parties as the funders of campaigns. Instead of Candidate Smith asking Donor Gonzalez for money – and Donor Gonzalez asking for a favor in return – party chairman Robinson will ask thousands of…

No Fear of Citizens

No Fear of Citizens

Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down its own precedent in order to overturn campaign finance laws prohibiting corporations and unions from making “independent expenditures” relating to political campaigns within the weeks leading up to an election.  The opinion is certainly significant.  For those of us of a more libertarian mindset, it is a huge blow…

Roger Ebert, Ben Stein, and the culture war

Roger Ebert, Ben Stein, and the culture war

Ever since Will posted about Roger Ebert earlier I’ve been reading Ebert’s blog (which is fantastic) and came across this explanation of why he never formally reviewed the Ben Stein mockumentary (er, documentary) Expelled.  For those of you who don’t know the premise of that film, it’s basically Stein’s extremely dishonest propaganda exposé on Intelligent Design.  Here’s…

Taxes: Where Political and Constitutional Expediency Collide

Taxes: Where Political and Constitutional Expediency Collide

I’ve been out of pocket from the political realm for a week and a half, but President Obama’s claim that a health insurance mandate is not a tax strikes me as marginally good politics and absolutely terrible lawyering.  I think Jason Kuznicki (also here) and by extension Will, are absolutely, 100% correct that an individual mandate…

The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

Well, this is the trajectory of the modern Christian right.  Its leaders have signed this declaration, further entwining religion and politics, and further entrenching the culture wars in the useless “us against them” language that has proved so ineffective for so long. I prefer the Nicene Creed, myself. But we’d have to be naive or…

That Horse? It Left the Stable Long Ago.  We Called Him Seabiscuit

That Horse? It Left the Stable Long Ago. We Called Him Seabiscuit

David Rivkin and Lee Casey take to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to claim that any individual insurance mandate would “likely” fail to pass Constitutional muster under even a modern understanding of Constitutional law and the commerce clause.  Whatever my thoughts on the value of an individual mandate, this is a shoddy piece of legal commentary…

Let's Review

Let’s Review

Attorney General Eric Holder has announced a preliminary investigation into abusive interrogation tactics. This investigation was recommended by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The scope of the investigation is limited to people who ignored the Bush Administration’s own guidelines for interrogating captives. David Broder still thinks this is too much. Broder’s unique brand…

Was it worth it?

Was it worth it?

As I understand it, nobody suggests that torture is an ideal policy option. Most people who defend the Bush Administration argue that the unique threat of international terrorism justifies the use of certain otherwise-reprehensible techniques. I’m frankly appalled by this crude utilitarian calculus, but I can at least understand the logic (and surface appeal) of…

Correctly Political: Wealth Care, a Historical Note

Correctly Political: Wealth Care, a Historical Note

~by jfxgillis Okay. So here’s the thing about the health care industry in the USA, especially the insurance sector. It stinks. Everyone knows it. Everyone feels it. We pay more for what we get, and we get less for what we pay for, than virtually any other developed country by any systemic measure. Even people with gold-plated…

How I would have written Scalia's dissent

How I would have written Scalia’s dissent

Troy Davis, originally convicted of murdering an off-duty cop under questionable circumstances, will now have his case reviewed by order of the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia dissented, however, and his opinion isn’t exactly a model of human empathy: “This court,” Scalia pointed out, “has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted…