Monthly Archives: April 2009

Souter To Retire

Souter Dedication

NPR broke the story:


Katy Kattenburg at Moderate Voice:

First Read at MSNBC:

Opus Hussein X at TPM:

Real Weird Politics:

Still not on NYT yet. Or WaPo. Will update.


BLT (Blog of Legal Times):

Ben Smith of Politco has it:

Mark Hemingway at The Corner:


Michelle Malkin:

Allah Pundit:

WaPo is breaking it. What is Times waiting for?

UPDATE #3: McJoan at Kos


No Times.

UPDATE #4: Marc Ambider is wondering who will replace him:

CBS now reporting the news:

NYT finally stopped watching the Celtics/Bulls 242nd overtime and is breaking the story.

UPDATE #5. Bulls finally won. Souter still retiring.

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With Ears Wide Shut


Blogosphere Does Not Want!

Powerline A.D: “Who The Hell Wants A Creed Reunion Anyway?”

Andrew Winistorfer: “Creed Announce Reunion and Album, Even God Isn’t Vaguely Interested.”

Marianne Dowling lists other reunions that are not asked for. Also: “Aside from contracting swine flu or unknowingly chowing down on a chicken salad sandwich left out in the sun, I can’t think of a better way to upset my stomach than a Creed reunion.”

But TBogg wins, of course

Frankly, the locusts and the oceans of blood will be a relief

By: TBogg Wednesday April 29, 2009 8:59 am

digg it


Worldwide economic depression, massive unemployment, swine flu pandemic, terror planes in the skies of New York,  and now this.

Either God is testing us or he is dead

If you want the straight story, here’s the Rolling Stone link:

UPDATE: Jonah Weiner in Slate

And on the Slate piece, Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias and Scott Lemieux

UPDATE #2: Off we go a’#slatepitches. The Slate article on #slatepitches by Juliet Lapidos.


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Who needs the WHO?

What’s the best response to a global pandemic? Local responses, international organization responses, or a combination of the two?

Mickey Kaus and Robert Wright debate this at Bloggingheads. Robert Wright argues that neocons often posit that international governing institutions are weak, but then refuse to back changes that might make these institutions stronger. He posits that necons don’t want these institutions to be stronger:

They fisk two articles, one by Anne Applebaum in Slate, which posits that WHO shouldn’t deviate from their general mission to focus on social and economic factors:

And David Brooks column in the New York Times, where he argues that the local apporach is better than the global approach: If the response were coordinated by a global agency, those local officials would not be so empowered. Power would be wielded by officials from nations that are far away and emotionally aloof from ground zero. The institution would have to poll its members, negotiate internal differences and proceed, as all multinationals do, at the pace of the most recalcitrant stragglers.”

Eric Posner at the Volokh Conspiracy: “Brooks writes as though we could have a centralized agency if we wanted but that we have wisely opted for a more decentralized approach. In fact, it is doubtful that we could have such an agency but if we could it would be better if we did. Our current system is very much a second best, and it’s wrong to treat this failure of international cooperation as though it resulted from wise, conservative self-restraint on the part of nation states rather than the limits of the state system.”

Posner ends with: “This is a happy story of the success of international organizations but it also illustrates the limits of international law. An optimal system—the system that would exist if states could fully resolve collective action problems and overcome their conflicting interests—would be far more intrusive. It would have stringent laws and feature an agency that resembles domestic authorities that have draconian powers to quarantine and otherwise interfere with people’s freedoms when a disease outbreak strikes. And in international regimes where science does not provide an objective grounding for states’ interests, even the minimalist type of international cooperation illustrated by WHO won’t be possible.”

Two others posts that Posner cites:

Kenneth Anderson in Opinio Juris:

David P. Fidler at the American Society of International Law:

David Brooks cites G. John Ickenberry in his column. Daniel Drezner happens to have Marshall Mcluhan G. John Ickenberry right here (no, literally, he does and he makes the joke, too) and Ickenberry says Brooks is falsely positing an either/or situation where they are not in fact alternatives:

The Wonk Room at Think Progress also has a reply to Brooks:

“Why do you need those international architectures, like, in this case, the World Health Organization (WHO)? There are many reasons, but to name a few:

1. To track the spread of the flu globally, and see how it is mutating as it goes, you need flu samples from around the world. Some countries, for political reasons, would not offer them freely to the US. Only a politically neutral body like the World Health Organization can collect those (and sometimes, not even it can).

2. The WHO helps create and foster the very networks among scientists and government officials around the world that Brooks cites as useful.

3. Some countries don’t have the capacity to mount what Brooks calls a “bottom-up, highly aggressive response.” Some organization needs to help create that capacity and call attention to its absence as a weak link in the global chain. If every country had a CDC like ours, there would be less reason to worry. But they don’t. Not even close.”

And finally, The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog’s Anupam Chander:

Anything else about this topic? Put it in the comments.

UPDATE #1: Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy.

UPDATE #2: More Bloggingheads, with Henry Farrell and Daniel Drezner.

UPDATE #3: John Boonstra against Brooks.

UPDATE #4: Marc Siegel in Slate

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They Did/Did Not Torture: The Guardian Article Debate


Did the UK under Churchill torture? Did Obama tell a whopper last night?

Britain did torture, as Michael Tomasky points out in the Guardian, pointing to a Guardian article about The Cage, which was “run by MI19, and specifically by a fellow called Alexander Scotland; it was of course a closely guarded secret; and — most shockingly — it operated until two or three years after the war ended, still mistreating captive Germans.”

The original Guardian article:

Micheal Scherer’s post in Swampland in Time:

And Ben Smith in Politico:

Smith notes that Obama may be reading Andrew Sullivan. Here’s Sullivan’s original Churchill V. Cheney post:

Sullivan’s post today on the matter says that if Churchill knew, Churchill was guilty of war crimes:

Michael Goldfarb in the Weekly Standard: “As far as I’m concerned the Guardian is no more credible than a veteran of the SS, which is to say not at all. I don’t believe Churchill ordered the torture of Germans captured on the battlefield, but these were uniformed combatants, and what could they possibly have told their captors anyway — there’s a bunch of planes headed to London tonight? When Germans or their agents were caught operating without a uniform, they were turned or shot — no trial, no habeas, no nothing.”

Ed Morrissey asks “Does anyone in the White House actually do research?”

Scott W. Johnson at Powerline has a post up that doesn’t involve the Guardian article, but makes other points. “What about Churchill? When the Allies first deliberated over the fate of the highest ranking members of the Nazis and German military who were ultimately tried at Nuremberg, Churchill supported their summary execution. He didn’t think they deserved their day in court as a matter of right.

Churchill was the leader ultimately responsible for the firebombing of Dresden. He was not particularly constrained by high minded liberal notions of wartime restraint, though late in the war (after Dresden) he opposed “the bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror.””

Jonah Goldberg at the Corner also has questions about using WWII Britian as an example:

Liberals react, too. Steve Clemons at Washington Note:

Democratic Underground:×3855690

UPDATE #1: Sully has a new post up:

UPDATE #2: Two more posts from Sullivan:

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Notes From Bradlaugh

Bradlaugh at Secular Right (which is The Derb, which is John Derbyshire), has two posts up arguing “The Secular Right Case Against Gay Marriage:”

There’s an old Free Republic post from 2004 by Adam Kolasinksi that also makes the secular case against gay marriage:

Faith in Honest Doubt argues with Derbyshire:

Rod Dreher has a post up about this and excerpts a part of the Derbyshire piece, including this:

“There really is a slippery slope here. Once marriage has been redefined to include homosexual pairings, what grounds will there be to oppose futher redefinition — to encompass people who want to marry their ponies, their sisters, or their soccer team? Are all private contractual relations for cohabitation to be rendered equal, or are some to be privileged over others, as has been customary in all times and places? If the latter, what is wrong with heterosexual pairing as the privileged status, sanctified as it is by custom and popular feeling?”

David Hume (Razib Khan) looks at the numbers concerning religion and gay marriage support:

Andrew Sullivan links to one of the comments of the piece, which includes this part:

“Last – “people who want to marry their ponies, their sisters, or their soccer team?” I thought equating homosexuality with bestiality and incest was limited to the religiously motivated. Disgusting. As for polygamy – marriage used to be that way in many cultures. Perhaps you had better ask historians why we changed away from it rather than ask the gays why they should have to preemptively defend against something for which they’re not asking.”

UPDATE: Lots more posts on Secular Right:

Andrew Stuttaford

Razib Khan

Derb responding

Heather MacDonald

UPDATE #2: Sully responds to MacDonald.

UPDATE #3: Now the conversation has taken a new subject. Will Wilkinson:

I agree that our conservative impulses aren’t going anywhere. So, what if people with conservative impulses reproduce at a greater rate? It’s interesting to think about what happens when the cultural parameters of the liberal-to-conservative continuum shifts in a liberal direction faster than dispositional conservatives can breed. And maybe something like this is Razib’s idea. If the stipulated demographic trend continues–conservatives keep reproducing faster–then conservative dispositions will become relatively common and liberal ones relatively rare. At some point, this stalls further liberalization, even if it had a lot of momentum behind it. And then you’d think maybe we slide back in a “traditional,” communitarian, family-centric direction. But I guess this depends on what a native “conservative disposition” comes down to. If it’s a kind of conformist hesitancy to alter the social order, then a preponderance of conservatives may do little more to lock in liberalization, just as today’s conservatives praise to the Heavens the timeless verity of a bunch of extremely radical 18th-century liberal ideals.

Khan responds.


Filed under Gay Marriage

Chrysler Goes To 11

Dealbook in NYT has the story of the behind the scenes of the Chrysler bankruptcy:

Conor Clark at The Atlantic comments:

And Marc Ambinder looks at the political fall-out:

Two sides of the small lender question. The Corner’s Stephen Spruiell has the statement from the small lenders saying they were shut out of the negotiations in favor of the UAW.

Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic argues they were holding out for more money:

Naked Capitalism agrees with Cohn. They also note: “So Treasury cannot win, If it calls the banks’ bluff, it risks a slow motion Lehman. The Times says “people briefed at the negotiation” believe Chrysler would emerge from Chapter 11. But bankruptcy, like war, has uncertain outcomes, and no automaker has emerged from bankruptcy (they have either been liquidated or sold in pieces or entirety).”

Dday on the small lenders:

Matt Y. on the whole deal:

UPDATE #4: Steve Verdon:

Verdon refrences this post by Greg Mankiw:

UPDATE #5 On The Corner, Henry Payne:

UPDATE #6 Via Ezra Klein, Tyler Cowen on the auto industry as a whole:

And Ezra:

UPDATE #6: John Hinderaker at Powerline:

He links to Michael Barone:

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We’ve Got Your Gaffes Right Here, Part #2

And now something that the liberal blogs celebrated and the right-of-center and libertarian blogs smacked their foreheads over yesterday. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) blames FDR for the Hoot-Smalley Act. Maybe she was just tired.

As they said at Reason magazine, “watch it and weep:”

Matt Y: “It’s true that Bachmann is making an unfortunate error about the names of Messrs. Smoot and Hawley. But her contention is simply that Roosevelt, though he took office in March 1933, was actually able to cause events in the past precipitating the very years-long Depression that led to his election. It’s a bit confusing, yes. And somewhat metaphysically controversial. But not at all something she deserves to be mocked for.

[no, not really—she should be mocked]”

It is possible she got the info from this Associated Content piece, which calls it Hoot Smalley, but correctly attributes the President at the time of passage as Herbert Hoover. (As you can see, it discusses “The Forgotten Man” by Amity Shlaes.

Dday has some fun with the whole thing:

Steven Benen notes that Smoot-Hawley was championed by Republicans.

Go to John Cole for the artwork liberals have been passing around to commemorate this gaffe:

Alex Knapp points out, as Keith Olbermann did last night, that Smoot-Hawley was actually discussed in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” in a scene with Ben Stein. He further notes:

“And the worst part about the whole thing is that by being such a blithering idiot for all the world to see, Bachmann has probably put quite a few dents in the credibility of free trade arguments. There’s nothing I hate worse than to see an idea I agree with (in this case, free trade) being horribly defended.”

Ben Stein explains it all in “Bueller”

Any more? Put it in the comments.


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We’ve Got Your Gaffes Right Here, Part #1

The video is from TPM TV. Joe Biden tells us his family is staying off public transportation, because one sneeze can travel the whole plane.

He also called Matt Lauer “Sam.” Here’s Karen Tumulty of Time, with Biden’s clean-up effort:

“Even Amtrak?” K-Lo asks:

“Utter irresponsible stupidity,” says Yuval Levin:

Michelle Malkin:

Anyone else talking about Biden’s gaffe? Let me know.

UPDATE #1: Marc Ambinder notes that the airline lobby is pissed at Biden:

UPDATE #2: Ed Morrissey:

UPDATE #2: Jennifer Rubin in Commentary:

UPDATE #2: Mary Katherine Ham in Weekly Standard. “I’m assuming the White House will now be giving the administration credit for another “profuse” apology from the White House for scaring the mess out of people, for the second time this week.”

UPDATE #3: Ezra Klein defends Biden:

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The Phrase of the Day is “Minaret-Shaped Candies”

Major hoopla over 100 days. Ignoring, for now.

The Daily Beast had Reihan Salam give a 100-day essay. He doesn’t give a grade or a smiley-face. He talks about paranoia:

Matt Y gave 100-day essay, too. He wants to affiliate himself with Salam’s remarks:

Salam follows up to his piece at American Scene with this paragraph he snipped out of the original piece:

“So despite the fact that Obama has been a church-going Christian for most of his adult life, more than a tenth of the country believes that while roaming the streets of Jakarta as an elementary schooler, Obama met some wily bearded imam who lured him into his roving Muslim-mobile with delicious minaret-shaped candies and converted him to radical Islam. Dazzled by his obvious intelligence, and convinced long before David Axelrod that Americans were itching to elect a half-Kenyan youth as president, he also sold young Obama on the idea of keeping his Islamic zealotry under wraps. That way he could transform America into a radical Islamic caliphate without anyone ever noticing.

I’m sorry, but I just find the idea of minaret-shaped candies extremely amusing. Let Reihan be Reihan!”

Larison rejoinders to the idea of finding the idea of minaret-shaped candies extremely amusing with a “Who wouldn’t?”

UPDATE #1: Alex Massie gives Salam kudos:

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Posts That Are Getting All Radical


Larison has done this for me, but this is what this site is all about: following arguments in the web. So we’ll give you a play by play of the conversation between Larison, Poulos, and Millman concerning Andrew Bacevich’s introduction to William Appleman Williams “Empire as a Way of Life.” I am not as smart as these men, so I may summarize their arguments tritely or even incorrectly. Point out my mistakes.

Noah Millman’s first post is called “How Radical is Your Critique.” Millman argues that even if the radical critique of American empire is correct, the institutions cannot be thrown out. He notes that Williams is sympathetic to those Presidents who tried to tame the empire, but wonders what good taming ever did.

A key part later excerpted in Larison’s answer:

“Late in life, George Kennan speculated that the United States had simply got too big to be a functioning democracy and a responsible international actor. To preserve the Republic, the Republic would have to be destroyed, broken up into ten to twelve smaller states. Suppose Bacevich became convinced of something similar – what on earth would he do with such knowledge? No one would call Kennan “anti-American” – he was profoundly patriotic, greatly in love with and greatly loyal to his country. But his was not, ultimately, a critique of this or that policy of the American government – it was a radical critique of America itself. And once you are critiquing the very nature of your country, what’s the practical difference between an argument from love and an argument from hate if both arguments end in a similar conclusion?”

Millman ends with stating that some central tenants of American foreign policy as practiced through-out the years (such as supremecy and exceptionalism) are not “crazy”and wonders, even if one believes the critique, whether the ship can change direction.

Daniel Larison takes exception to the above quotation about Kennan. He argues that there is a difference between country and polity. Larison argues that love of country may indeed require a critique of the polity.

An excerpt contained in Poulos’s answer:

“In a less extreme way, Kennan’s patriotism and his common-sense recognition of what Montesqieu and Antifederalists knew over two centuries ago–that an extended republic cannot survive as a genuine republic–required him to question the status quo of a continental nation-state that had grown too large for the kind of self-government that had once been ours. This is not a “critique of America itself,” but a critique of a kind of polity, one that is actually far removed from much of the American experience. “America itself” is different from and more than its polity. The nature of America is not in its government, or at least not entirely or primarily in its government. Indeed, “America itself” contains the elements of many different Americas that found greater expression in a more genuinely federalist system, and which might once again find full expression in a more decentralized political order. It is natural that regimes would want to define loyalty to country as disloyalty, because loyalty to country threatens the regime’s monopoly on loyalty, but it is not required that we go along with it.”

Larison ends with defending Kennan from anti-patriotism charges.

James Poulos argues that there is not a connection between an aggressive national policy and an aggressive foreign policy (in other words, the forms of “empire” one sees on a domestic or international level are separate phenom, to some extent.)

A sentance that Larison later exerpts:

” I would daresay that it is precisely incorrect to see empire as destructive to the reification of imperial society and culture.”

Poulos states there is often a confusion as to what empire is. Hegemony may be a better word for the current American situation.

To quote Poulos again, for he sums up his argument well:

“In short, to spin Daniel’s remarks, a republic can ‘extend’ itself out of existence quite well without becoming either a domestic or international empire, although of course it can cease to be a republic in the process of doing both. Then again, simply because the United States ceased to be a ‘real’ republic does not mean that it ever became an empire. Of course, the United States did become an empire, complete with colonies, and from the perspective of the supposedly far more corrupt and imperial era we are now living in, it actually turns out that America is less of an empire now than it was then, which is to say not really an empire at all.”

Millman comes back to Larison with a post so meaty I will not summarize, because that would require quoting almost the entire thing. Millman looks at varied historical examples (Marsall Petain, René Lévesque) and whether they, in their actions or critiques, could be considered patriots. He states in the beginning:

“I’m less clear, though, that one can be a patriot while radically critiquing the very definition of one’s country’s polity.”

And ends with:

“This whole discussion started with the question: if one’s critique of America as it is gets so fundamental that one winds up saying that America should cease to exist as a polity, then in what sense can one consider oneself a patriot – or, let’s say, an American patriot (presumably one could still be a patriotic Vermonter or Texan or what-have-you). Patriotism means “love of country” – the land, the language, the customs, the people, the history, the traditions, the ethos: any and all of these are a reasonable basis for love, but the object is a country. What one’s country is, how it is defined, can be contested – is, in different ways and to different degrees, in all of the examples I gave above. But if you say, “America has gotten too big for its own good; the best thing for Americans, and for those things that I love about America and Americans, would be for the country to be broken up into a dozen smaller states” that is as much as to say, “America has gotten too big for its own good; it will die, one way or another. Better we kill it ourselves, by splitting it up, and preserve much of what we love about America and Americans in new and smaller polities, than see it die by turning into a corrupt and decadent empire empty of those virtues for which I most love it.” The latter sentiment is a sentiment born of love; I can even say that what is loved is America, the posited speaker’s country. But it is still really strange to call it a patriotic sentiment. Or so it seems to me, anyway.”

Larison responds to both these posts. First, to Poulos:

Poulos’s quote (same as above): “I would daresay that it is precisely incorrect to see empire as destructive to the reification of imperial society and culture.”


“But Bacevich isn’t talking about “imperial society and culture.” If, as Williams argues, empire turns “a culture away from its own life as a society or community [bold mine-DL],” the existence of an “imperial society and culture” is the proof that this is true. As much as historians of certain empires might not like to admit it, “imperial society and culture” are parisitic things and thrive at the expense of local and regional societies and cultures.”

Larison points out that empires require talent to relocate to large metropolitan areas. It requires high taxes and great centralization of power in few hands.

Larison’s response to Millman is to argue that country exists before polity. While Millman argues that Petain may have been patriotic but wrong, in believing he was doing best for France by surrendering and collaborating, Larison says no way:

“Petain may have been a patriot before the surrender, and even as the head of a collaborationist regime he may have believed he was doing what was best for his country, but if there is a red line that must separates patriots from traitors it is whether or not one collaborates with an invader. It really makes no difference why the invader is there. I might go so far as to say that even if one lived under a monstrous regime that cruelly misruled one’s own country, it would not be a patriotic act to aid its foreign enemies”

Larison finishes with the idea that our natural patriotic attachments are more regional and local than national.

If you need a little help with the names and faces:




UPDATE: Millman responds to Larison:

UPDATE #2: Two posts from The Gentlemen, Here’s Freddie:

“Here is what imperialism is: we come to your country, and we exert our control over it, and if you try to stop us, we kill you. Our justifications, real and professed, are always changing. Our means are always evolving, and every new military technology carries with it the promise of its use to subjugate more people, a little better, a little faster, a little more shock-and-awe inspiring. We want what you have, or we don’t want someone else to get it, or we want a “presence” in your region, or we want to move your country’s poor pawn to check the king of our rival. We want to make your life and your country a means to whatever particular end we happen to have at that time.”

And Chris Dierkes:

“My sense is mostly we have to ask here what is really possible and (from Deudney) how to maintain as best as possible republicanism.  The omni-violence abroad does impinge upon domestic republicanism (what I take to be Noah’s point)–not being prepared to deal with it has lead to over-reaction in the form of  Torture, broad surveillance, etc.   The furthering of imperial agendas abroad does weaken the republican foundations at home (what I take to be Daniel’s point).  But the two don’t necessarily grow in size simultaneously (what I take to be James’ point).  Plus of course never to forget the real  human cost (Freddie’s point).”

UPDATE #3: Larison responds to Millman:

UPDATE #4: Millman responds to Larison. He’s wrong that no one is enjoying this:

UPDATE #5: Alex Massie responds to the Millman/Larison debate on Petain and deGaulle:

“So, in other words, I think one can argue that in the circumstances of 1940 both Petain and de Gaulle were patriots but that their patriotism was operating on different timetables. That is, Petain’s was a patriotism for 1940, saving what could be saved, whereas de Gaulle’s was a patriotism that took a longer view, hlding out for an improbable victory some time in the future after which France and the Idea of France could be revived.”

UPDATE #6: Post from E.D. Kain at The Gentlemen responding to Poulos.

UPDATE #7: Poulos has a new piece up on the subject of empire.

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