Warm weather and warm updates:
There’s A Blond Wondering Around Georgetown
Warm weather and warm updates:
There’s A Blond Wondering Around Georgetown
Filed under Smatterings Of Nothing
The United States Court of Appeals has ruled that three Seattle police officers were justified when they tasered a pregnant mother three times when she refused to sign a traffic ticket. Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle’s African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for doing 32 mph in a school zone. When she refused to get out of her car to be arrested, one officer tasered her repeatedly despite (she claims) knowing that she was pregnant.
The officers – Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones – hit her in the thigh, shoulder and neck and then hauled her out of the car and laid her face-down in the street.
While the baby was born two months later without injury, the mother has permanent scars from the taserings.
Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall and Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain ruled that the officers were justified in making an arrest because Brooks was obstructing them and resisting arrest. The judges insisted that, while surrounded by police and the car turned off, she still was a danger: “It seems clear that Brooks was not going to be able to harm anyone with her car at a moment’s notice. Nonetheless, some threat she might retrieve the keys and drive off erratically remained, particularly given her refusal to leave the car and her state of agitation.”
Note, she was arrested after going 32 mph.
Ben at Infinite Monkeys:
Judge Marsha Berzon, a very liberal Bill Clinton appointee and the one dissenter, called the decision “off the wall.”
“I fail utterly to comprehend how my colleagues are able to conclude that it was objectively reasonable to use any force against Brooks, let alone three activations of a Taser, in response to such a trivial offense,” she wrote in her dissent.
Berzon pointed out that under Washington law, the police had no authority to take Brooks into custody: Failure to sign a traffic infraction is not punishable by arrest, as it turns out, and it isn’t illegal to resist an unlawful arrest.
Berzon also noted in her dissent that to obstruct an officer, one must obstruct the officer’s official duties, “and the officers’ only duties in this case were to detain Brooks long enough to identify her, check for warrants, write up the citation and give it to her. Brooks’ failure to sign did not interfere with those duties.”
It’s rare that I find myself agreeing with the liberal side of the 9th Circuit, but this is one of those cases where the default “conservative” position on the supposed side of “law-and-order” is not justified. This is an sickening decision that grants far too much deference to police, promotes the us-vs.-them mentality pervasive in far too many law enforcement agencies, and may endanger police officers and members of the public alike.
Oh no, she needed to be electrocuted and arrested because there was a chance that she might drive off erratically. Or shape-shift into a lizard and levitate. You just can’t be too careful. In any case, what these judges seem to be saying is that there is no lawful reason that an officer cannot taser a citizen as long as he is barking some order and they fail to comply quickly enough. No reason of any kind, not even the fact that the officers had no right to issue that order at all. That’s scary.
BTW: where are all the anti-authoritarian libertarians now? It seems as if they only care about the constitution when it comes to taxes and guns. Someone else’s right not to be electrocuted for refusing to sign a traffic ticket? Not their problem.
Eric at Classical Values, responding to Digby:
The blogger does not provide any link to the story, and the Memeorandum link was the first mention I’d seen of the incident. If the facts are as described, what happened was outrageous. The woman sued and won in the trial court, and then the Court of Appeal reversed the case and held 2-1 that the officers were immune from suit. Officers should not be tasering people over trivial offenses, so I agree with the stinging dissent.
What I do not agree with is the blogger’s ridiculous attempt to scold libertarians:
...where are all the anti-authoritarian libertarians now? It seems as if they only care about the constitution when it comes to taxes and guns. Someone else’s right not to be electrocuted for refusing to sign a traffic ticket? Not their problem.That is such a crock. I’ve lost track of the number of posts I’ve written complaining about police abuses, and I’m not even going to dignify his argument by supplying links.
As to the “right not be be electrocuted” he does not know what the word means. This woman was tasered. Shocked with electricity. Stunned, not killed.
The word “electrocute” is not complicated, and I think most people know that it means killed:
1. to kill as a result of an electric shock
2. (Law) US to execute in the electric chair
[from electro- + (exe)cute]So, while I believe that people do have a “right not to be electrocuted for refusing to sign a traffic ticket,” that is not what happened here.
I don’t know what is more shocking: the underlying story itself or its mischaracterization and gratuitous smear of libertarians as people who “fail to care about the constitution [except] when it comes to taxes and guns.”
I’m going to stick my neck out here and venture that if there is a “right not to be electrocuted for refusing to sign a traffic ticket,” then it follows that libertarians also have a right not to be electrocuted for allegedly remaining silent about a police outrage they might not have known about — mainly because it was only reported yesterday.
I’m shocked! Stunned!
But I’m about as surprised as I am electrocuted.
Sadly, I’m not surprised at the ruling. Judges have been, for going on four decades now, loathe to second guess police officers and the principle of Terry v. Ohio, that officers have a right to briefly violate the Constitution if they are scared (I paraphrase) has been stretched beyond belief. Judges and other public officials, not unreasonably, want to give officers a wide berth because their jobs are indeed dangerous and the prospect having their instincts questioned ex post in the calm light of day might make them take excessive risks.
But this is a clear cut case. This wasn’t some 220-pound man hopped up on meth but rather a pregnant woman accused of driving 7 miles per hour over the speed limit. Yes, her refusal to sign a ticket after being told (and it being printed on the ticket) that signing is merely acknowledgment of receipt and not an admission of guilt, is annoying. But, clearly, this was a case of officers frustrated that a citizen dared question their authoritay, not an overreaction to reasonable peril.
It hasn’t happened yet but, mark my words, something like this will happen in Britain soon. Why? Because when you arm the police with Tasers you cannot be surprised when they start being used and, of course, used when they need not be.
As I say, this sort of thing will be happening in Britain soon. The woman in this instance may, as James Joyner says, have been less than 100% co-operative and stroppier than was perhaps wise but that hardly warranted electrocution.
And, as more and more police forces start to arm their officers with Tasers it’s only a matter of time before these things kill someone. Nor should anyone be surprised if, having given the police more tools with which they may, at no cost to themselves, use force that there’s an increase in the number of occasions in which the police get to play with their fancy new toys. A few dead bodies and an increasingly alienated public are, doubtless, a tiny price to pay.
Filed under Crime, The Constitution
Daniel Foster at The Corner:
The Obama administration will today propose ending a moratorium on new offshore drilling in the United States. The administration’s plan would open up large swaths of the Arctic Ocean — totaling some 130 million acres — to new drilling.
It would also open a massive segment of the eastern seaboard south of New Jersey, along with the Gulf of Mexico region, to exploration.
Drilling would still be restricted around military installations in Virginia and Florida, as well as in the commercial fishing waters of Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska.
For a Democratic president, this is a pretty gutsy move to open the public debate about an energy bill. Or, well, maybe it’s not: it’s high-reward, low-risk; environmentalists will complain, but then again, environmentalists complain. Aside from the substance, which is beyond our ken, the politics of this move is easy: with one fell swoop, Obama deprives Republicans of the major talking point they’d use to object to more expansive government-based climate remediation and energy prospecting policy.
Republicans will quibble over details: why is he not opening up more places? Why is he excluding Bristol Bay? Why is he excluding parts of the Gulf of Mexico? His steps are too slow, too limited…
The Republicans sort of have a point, although it’s not the point they’re comfortable with: estimates of how much oil can be extracted are very old — decades old — and, as the New York Times notes, “[i]n many of the newly opened areas, drilling would begin only after the completion of geologic studies, environmental impact statements, court challenges and public lease sales. Much of the oil and gas may not be recoverable at current prices and may be prohibitively expensive even if oil prices spike as they did in the summer of 2008.”
To which the White House responds by pointing to the headlines: “Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time.” Grist, the environmentalist news website, considers the move a “stunning concession to fossil fuel companies.” It shows that the president has a sense of urgency about energy and the environment, etc.
Jonathan Hiskes at Grist:
This is … stunning. Baffling. With the new policy Obama appears to be taking a major step toward siding with carbon-polluting industries in the battle to defend the energy status quo.
I’m holding out hope that things appear worse than they are. Because the key isn’t how much offshore drilling is allowed. The crucial issue is whether oil and gas companies decide it’s worth their money to go out, find, and retreive the stuff. And things could be brighter on that front, because, as Joe Romm explains, the payoff in these reserves may not be worth the trouble. (Nobody knows precisely how much oil and gas are in these places.) GOP politicians like John McCain and Sarah Palin have used offshore drilling as a rallying cry, but energy companies need to keep clear heads, crunch the numbers, and decide if a given project pays.
If this were a sincere change of heart and an honest, stand-alone effort to wean America off foreign oil, it would be worth heralding.
But as always with this administration, there’s a catch, via the American Energy Alliance:
“One major flashpoint in the negotiations has been whether to share drilling revenue with states and to allow states to opt in or out of drilling along their coastlines. It was unclear late Tuesday whether Obama endorses revenue-sharing for states. “It appears the Northern Atlantic and entire Pacific Coast will now be under a de facto ban” for drilling, said Patrick Creighton, a spokesman for the Institute for Energy Research. Even if drilling is ultimately allowed in part of the Atlantic, Creighton said, revenue sharing is an essential incentive for states. The administration’s plans could meet resistance from at least 10 Senate Democrats representing coastal and Great Lakes states who last week raised concerns about “unfettered access to oil and gas drilling” that could jeopardize fishing, tourism and military exercises. The Interior Department retooled the current schedule of offshore leases governing 2007 through 2012 after a federal appeals court last April ruled that the second Bush administration had not done a sufficient environmental review of expanded drilling off the Alaskan coast.
GOP Rep. Mike Pence adds:
“As usual the devil is in the details. Only in Washington, D.C., can you ban more areas to oil and gas exploration than you open up, delay the date of your new leases and claim you’re going to increase production.
“The President’s announcement today is a smokescreen. It will almost certainly delay any new offshore exploration until at least 2012 and include only a fraction of the offshore resources that the previous Administration included in its plan.
“Unfortunately, this is yet another feeble attempt to gain votes for the President’s national energy tax bill that is languishing in the Senate. At the end of the day this Administration’s energy plan is simple: increase the cost of energy on every family in America and trade American jobs oversees at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.”
Vladimir at Redstate:
But don’t mistake oil and gas leasing as a green light for an oil operator to “Drill. Baby, Drill”. An oil and gas lease is full of all kinds of “subject-tos”. Most significantly, an operator’s ability to drill and explore a lease is subject to his ability to secure the requisite approval from the various government agencies that issue permits for that activity.
So, theoretically, the Feds could issue a lease, but if one of the regulatory bodies refuses to issue a permit, there’s no drilling.
But that would never happen, would it?
Well, it did, less than two weeks ago.
Montana oil leases suspended
BILLINGS – A federal judge has approved a first-of-its-kind settlement requiring the government to suspend 38,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Montana so it can gauge how oil field activities contribute to climate change. …
[Note: These are leases that have already been sold by the BLM. Operators have put up their money but have done no drilling pending resolution of this case. – ed.]
Under the deal approved Thursday by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula, the Bureau of Land Management will suspend the 61 leases in Montana within 90 days. They will have to go through a new round of environmental reviews before the suspensions can be lifted.
“We view this as a very big deal, if a modest first step, in the BLM addressing climate change in oil and gas development,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Erik Schlenker-Goodrich. “It’s quite a dirty process, but there are ways to clean it up.” …
A parallel lawsuit challenging 70,000 acres of federal lands leased in New Mexico remains pending. …
A BLM spokesman, Greg Albright, said reviewing lease sales for climate change would be a first for the agency. How it will be done was still being worked out, and it was unclear if the BLM would adopt such reviews as a standard requirement.
Bear in mind that these two cases represent 108,000 widely dispersed acres in areas that have been under oil and gas development for decades. These permits are make-work for the bureaucrats and their consultants and allow the environmental “stakeholders” to drag out developemnt and make it easier for the interested operator to pull up stakes and go elsewhere.
If it’s this easy in Montana and New Mexico, offshore areas will be a piece of cake.
I guess this makes me a bad environmentalist, but I’ve never really had a big problem with opening up these offshore tracts as long as (a) the affected states are OK with it and (b) oil companies don’t get sweetheart deals. But here’s what I don’t get. When it comes to energy, conservatives are crazy about two things: nuclear power and offshore drilling. Now Obama has agreed to both. But does he seriously think this will “help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation”? Wouldn’t he be better off holding this stuff in reserve and negotiating it away in return for actual support, not just hoped-for support? What am I missing here?
Obama could see this concession to conservative and industry pressure as a means to have them relax their opposition to cap-and-trade. However, that bill will have devastating effects on the energy sector, and trading off for domestic resources isn’t going to be a good deal for them in any case. The effort to produce that raw material will cost billions, and if Obama and Congress impose a cap-and-trade system on energy production, it will be a money loser for them in the long run. In fact, cap-and-trade is specifically designed to make carbon-based energy production a red-ink affair in order to force industry towards so-called “green” energy alternatives, even if those alternatives can’t possibly keep up with our energy needs.
A trade-off seems unlikely. It seems much more likely that Obama has realized that without cheap and plentiful energy, the American economy is not going to get off the floor and start expanding. That would explain his recent push for nuclear power stations, a welcome change in attitude, as well. Freeing up the coastlines for oil and gas production will add close to a million jobs, most of them high-paying union positions, in the first couple of years of expansion, which will be appealing to an administration that has proven itself inept at job creation.
Zaid Jilani at Think Progress:
During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former Bush official Dan Bartlett said that the move is unlikely to get any Republican votes for an energy bill. While saying that he thinks it is a “shrewd move” that will “demonstrate…that the Democratic Party doesn’t just cater to the extreme aspects of their base,” Bartlett conceded that it will likely not win any Republican votes because “Republicans have made a calculation that cooperating with this administration at this time is not necessary for them to pick up seats“:
BARTLETT: This is a shrewd move by the White House this announcment they’re doing on energy and offshore oil drilling. … These are the things they need to demonstrate to their constituents that the Democratic Party does not just cater to the extreme aspects of their base … Now, do I think that this measure here will help grease the path for a climate change bill and bring Republicans on board? No. Republicans in the Congress have made a calculation that cooperating with this administration at this time is not necessary for them to pick up seats. So if this is more of a legislative maneuever in order to get a broader bill on climate change, unfortunately this is going to come up short.
Brad Plumer at TNR:
Back in 2008—during peak “drill baby drill” season—Congress let the federal moratorium on offshore drilling expire. Now this move pushes drilling slightly closer to reality. So what’s Obama thinking here? One possibility is that he’s looking ahead to the climate-bill debate in the Senate. A number of conservative Democrats and even some Republicans like Lisa Murkowski have said that new drilling has to be a key part of any big energy legislation that tackles carbon emissions. (A separate bloc of coastal Democrats, meanwhile, has warned that drilling would be a dealbreaker for them.)
Still, it seems bizarre to fork over this bargaining chip before the bill is even released. What kind of negotiating tactic is that? Especially since this move is going to infuriate environmentalists—the folks you want pushing for your climate bill. Note that the administration did the same thing with nuclear power, another item that could lure swing senators. Back in January, the White House proposed a massive expansion of the nuclear loan guarantee program without getting anything tangible in return from pro-nuke Republicans. John McCain still wanders around complaining that the administration’s not “serious” about nukes. Now, maybe that’s the point—offer an olive branch and watch Republicans swat it down and look unreasonable. Right on cue, John Boehner’s already whining about Obama’s drilling plan. Not sure that strategy makes sense, though.
Another possibility, meanwhile, is that this move isn’t focused on the climate-bill debate and is geared more toward public opinion. According to the EIA, gas prices are expected to go up quite a bit this summer (probably shooting north of $3/gallon), and the administration may want to step out ahead of the inevitable teeth-gnashing and garment-rending over the issue. So this could be more about the midterms than rounding up votes in the Senate. Though, granted, this drilling announcement won’t affect summer gas prices in the slightest.
And that leads to the separate question of how much oil will ever come out of these areas. After all, it’s not like companies can just start drilling tomorrow. As The New York Times reports: “In many of the newly opened areas, drilling would begin only after the completion of geologic studies, environmental impact statements, court challenges and public lease sales. Much of the oil and gas may not be recoverable at current prices and may be prohibitively expensive even if oil prices spike as they did in the summer of 2008.”
Filed under Energy, Environment, Political Figures
Correction: Newsmax’s cover story “The Jesus Question” is from April 2009.
The editors of Newsmax might be getting a little impatient for the second coming of Christ.
The conservative magazine’s latest cover story, “The Jesus Question,” is about the son of god’s return to earth as prophesied in the Bible.
Jesus is no stranger to newstands. Biblical history interests plenty of readers. Just ask a few magazine editors. But the text accompanying Newsmax’s Jesus cover story (“Will He Ever Return?”) seems to strike a more plaintive, are-we-there-yet tone, that differs from those of the general interest magazines.
While the article is posted online, a search of the magazine’s web site yields a bulleted outline that will tell many readers what they want to know.
Obama’s armageddon-inducing health care bill isn’t mentioned, but the president’s “globalist” ways are panned in a section devoted to biblical prophesies
I think it’s the hint of exasperation that makes this wonderful.
Radley Balko thinks it’s the note of (mild) exasperation that makes this cover splendid. I agree. Jesus: Disappointing You for 2000 Years.
As the man put it:
Estragon: He should be here.
Vladimir: He didn’t say for sure he’d come.
Andrew Stuttaford at Secular Right
Filed under Bloggy Funnies, New Media, Religion
Darleen Click at Protein Wisdom:
Oh I know I’m going to get called names on this. But I’m not going to play that game anymore. Like the sign at one of the TEA parties that said “it doesn’t matter what this sign says, you going to call it racist anyway.” When even the lawsuits now being brought by 30 plus state AG’s is considered racist, it is time to stop playing that game.
I’m flipping outraged even more so by Obama’s “victory lap” where he pretends this crap-sandwich is what “The American People were begging for”. Not one bit of graciousness in his “victory” but that nose up arrogance as his Social Democrats were literally breaking out the champagne.
I expect this will also flush out the usual Stockholm-syndrome “conservatives” who wring their hands and say “oh you can’t say that! People will take offense!”
Heck, I want to shake them up. This is supposed to be a post-racial era? Then deal with the fact that the President of the United States is the head of a gang that just raped our American principles.
I made it a cartoon and not a photoshop and the “woman” is green. Deal, people.
Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom:
I’m getting a bit fed up with the insistence by statists that because they populate the arts and the academy, they have some kind of death grip on “hip.” For instance, here’s Nishi, whose only hope of ever really touching cool would be to pay somebody to fuck her once with an ice dong:
Doughy Pantsload aka Jonah Goldberg is the antithesis of cool …. .he doesnt even get that there is NO CULTURE WAR …. there is only an evolution of culture event like glaciation or the extinction event at the K-T boundary. And the “classic liberals” are trying to build a snowfence out of pitchforks and torches to hold off a cultural glacier of liberal memes.
Where are the conservative professors, filmmakers, comics, scientists, actors, artists?
they don’t exist.
So. Let me give this “argument” a go.
Where are the conservative professors, filmmakers, comics, scientists, actors, artists? They’ve been out learning to shoot, honey.
But you’re right: Those punk rock “liberal memes” we buttoned-up dorks are trying desperately to hold back are the epitome of hepness and popularity — the “glaciating” endpoint of cultural evolution as it pertains to maintaining a permanent hold on (the oxymoronic notion of) mainstream hipster culture. I mean, what teen in his rebellious stage isn’t going to embrace the edgy cries of, “all our shower heads are uniform in pressure!”, or “hell no, we won’t go (to restaurants that cook with table salt)!”. Why, it’s just like following the Dead around the country!
Face it, Nishi. The statist scolds — offering soulless progressivism repackaged in the language of freedom — will only hold power so long as they can maintain the euphemisms.
SEK at Lawyers, Guns and Money:
What do you do in the wake of a crushing political defeat?
If you’re Jeff Goldstein, you declare yourself to be way cooler than everyone else; if you’re Darleen Click, you draw a cartoon in which the President rapes a woman, then tells her that he and friends will be back to rape her again later. In the clinical sense, Click is the more interesting case because she thinks that the only problem with her cartoon is that it’s racist. I repeat: she drew a cartoon in which the punch line is a gang rape and the only potential problem with it she can see is that it might be racist. Don’t misunderstand me: it’s plenty racist—plays into tropes as old as slavery and everything—but the punch line is that the President and his associates are going to gang-rape the Statue of Liberty with, I kid you not, immigration reform.
In service of the cheapest of laughs, Click asserts that the statue that symbolizes America’s commitment to the tired, poor, huddled masses of the world is about to be raped because of the President’s commitment to those selfsame masses-yearning-to-be-free. Talk about your industrial grade ideological incoherence—and I would, except for the fact that Goldstein, never one to be upstaged on his own blog, told a woman that the only way she would ever be cool was if someone raped her with an icicle. That’s not true, though. Goldstein never said that. What he said, and I quote, was:
For instance, here’s Nishi, whose only hope of ever really touching cool would be to pay somebody to fuck her once with an ice dong.
Such are the depths to which Goldstein sinks to maintain the illusion that he’s cool, which is sad, you know, because he’s a middle-aged man worried about whether people think he’s cool. Then, in yet another example of just how over me he is, he declares me to be the exemplar of uncool. Far be it for me, a 32-year-old blogger who sports a backwards Mets cap and is currently writing a scholarly book about comics, to complain when someone says I’m not cool, because honestly, I’m not cool. I grew up, got a job, and am working for the Man; however, forty-something bloggers who alternate between whining about how poorly jobs they don’t have pay and writing 10,000-word-long semiotic screeds about Alinksy and catch-wrestling? Not cool. Doesn’t matter how many people whose favorite film is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington say otherwise, because them? Also not cool.
James Wolcott at Vanity Fair:
In a desperate, ghoulish plea for attention (now that even right wing sites are no longer linking to it), Protein Wisdom has published an editorial cartoon portraying President Obama as a gloating, unrepentant rapist with Lady Liberty his weeping victim, her torch lying broken at the foot of the bed. Rapist Obama tells Lady Liberty to stop whining, get herself cleaned up, and promises he’ll be back later with “friends,” i.e., a gang-rape.
For those slower cowpokes among Protein Wisdom’s armchair outlaws, the cartoon is helpfully titled “Rape of Liberty,” to ensure they won’t miss the message over the sound of their own chewing.
The perpetrator of this tawdry little exercise, a flagrant offender named Darleen Click, doesn’t care if you think this cartoon is racist because conservatives get called racist no matter what we do and we’re sick of it and besides “I made it a cartoon and not a photoshop and the “woman” is green. Deal, people.”
I find the logic of that statement somewhat elusive, though I suppose we should be grateful that it’s a symbolic green statue being shown forcibly violated in that Psycho room and not, oh, the Virgin Mary, virgin no more. With Easter coming up, perhaps Protein Wisdom will favor us with Lady Liberty hanging from the cross as Obama drives in the last nail–I wouldn’t put anything past those “desperadoes.”
Goldstein responds to SEK and Wolcott:
Two things. First, and for the record, I never declared myself to be “way cooler than everyone else.” I declared myself way cooler than Nishi — which is like declaring myself more handsome than a cadaver, or more Jewish than a Kennedy.
I will, however, happily update my declaration to include Scott Eric Kaufman, who couldn’t find cool were he to stumble pantless into a caribou orgy.
Second, only someone who has sex solely with his own beard could see in Darleen’s comic a “gang rape.” Me, I see a political metaphor. As for those subtextual slave tropes that so horrify Kaufman, all’s I can say is it’s a good thing Darleen didn’t draw a tree outside the window, or else we’d be treated to Scott’s erudite observations about monkeys.
Of course, I’m not “writing a scholarly book about comics.” Which, if Kaufman’s interpretive performance tells us anything, must require that one first become a cartoon. So take my criticisms with a grain of salt.
Meantime, two words, Scott: ice. dong.
update: I see that a freshly-moistened James Wolcott once again defied gravity’s odds and managed to jowel his way from divan to keyboard, where with fat pink powdered fingers he pecked out this description of Darleen’s comic: “a desperate, ghoulish plea for attention (now that even right wing sites are no longer linking to [protein wisdom])”. I can’t say that I agree with Mr Wolcott’s rather overwrought assessment of Darleen’s work, but on the second point I can’t offer much of an argument.
Frankly, I’m just glad someone besides me noticed.
Jeff Goldstein again:
This will be an especially personal post, but as it brings into sharp relief many of the ideas I’ve spent years writing about here, I figured it’s worth sharing.
As many of you know, a few evenings ago I received the following email from one of my old creative writing professors:
Would you mind taking my name off your “about” page on Proteinwisdom? I’ve always liked you and your fiction, and your and [name redacted] impetus to make that conference happen, at that moment in time, did a great deal to speed this program along. I was also simply grateful to have you in the program when you came along, because you were–and are–a very smart and intellectual fiction writer, a rare commodity still, to this day. But I am more and more alarmed by the writings in this website of yours, and I do not want to be associated with it.
Here’s the context of that mention on my “about” page: “Some of the writers Jeff studied under are Rikki Ducornet, Beth Nugent, Brian Kiteley, and Brian Evenson.
My reply was terse:
Are you asking that I pretend I never studied under you?
And what, precisely, are you so “alarmed” by?
Me, I’m increasingly alarmed by the number of academics — in particular, those who teach writing — who find speech alarming. But then I guess I’m old fashioned that way.
As I first noted after receiving the email and thinking on it a bit:
This is, in effect, a repudiation of everything I’ve done here. And yes, it hurt me very much. I checked over my recent entries, and I saw a discussion on the expansion of the commerce clause by Scalia; a discussion of “process” and how it dovetails with the content of thought; a bit on language; a repudiation of the idea of cultural evolution as a move toward some progressive singularity; a discussion of the potential longterm political ramifications — particularly, the growth of a client class — that could arise in the wake of a law that nationalizes healthcare; a short fiction; a Leif Garrett post; and a couple of Corey Haim dispatches from the after life.
No doubt people like SEK will see such a note as befitting a person so foul as me. They will rejoice that others in academia see me as they do. Me, I see the email as a rebuke to everything I try to stand for — especially, that last ditch effort to engage in debate as one of a number of would-be public intellectuals.
Instead, what I write is evidently a cause for “alarm”; it represents some sort of worrisome disease of the mind and the soul that good righteous academic folk must necessarily distance themselves from — to the point that even someone who praises me for my intellect fears the taint of my name and words.
Presumably, academics like Mr Kiteley will continue to associate themselves with intellectualism. “Pragmatic” conservatives will continue to push GOP talking points, and secure their places as influential voices on the right. For my part, I am a pariah on both sides of the divide.
Since receiving that email, I’ve been mulling all this over, and today I decided to contact Brian Kiteley directly; after all, I’ve been to his house, we’ve had drinks together, and we’d always gotten along just fine — and though I hadn’t spoken to him in years, I figured the best way to discuss this would be as close to face-to-face as I could manage.
So I dialed him up and he answered. When I told him who was calling, he let out a forced “laugh” — I presume to show his bemused exasperation with my gall at having contacted him — and, when pressed, he called me a “jerk”.
His position seems to be that allowing Darleen’s comic to stand — the President raping lady liberty “is not a political cartoon and you know it,” he told me — was sick and irresponsible, the abetting of a civil evil that is far worse than, say, drawing Bush as Hitler, or insinuating an American President manufactured a war and sent men and woman off to die so he could exand his portfolio.
When I countered that I thought we were taught to believe that the best way to answer speech is with more speech (I also noted that I found the specific question of how exactly the cartoon was “racist” an interesting one, and that I found the rather heated discussion on that point intellectually useful), he reacted as if I couldn’t possibly believe such idealistic tripe. Finally, he cut me off, told me that I have his phone number and that he doesn’t have mine, and that we should keep it that way (whatever that means). And he hung up.
In between all this , his argument seemed to be that joking about owning guns and the President raping liberty is playing into the hands of the “extreme right wing”-types, many of whom presumably still live in the hills and marshes of “the deep south” and want to do the President real physical harm. When I pointed out that those same types likely wouldn’t frequent a “Goldstein”-run blog, he agreed, at least momentarily, before returning to the theme of the danger my ideas represent: this idea of a (soft) “civil war” revolted him, even though it was clear that I was speaking of a kind of culture war in which the power of the federal government is challenged by states based on concentrations of voters — a kind of libertarian idea for how those who believe in smaller government and the Constitutional directives for states rights over and beyond the ever-growing reach of federal government bureaucracies can bring an effective challenge. In fact, I pointed out that we are seeing that dynamic at work in the lawsuits states are threatening over Obamacare — precisely the reason I reintroduced that original 2005 post as (perhaps) prescient.
Let me now say this: when Brian first wrote me, I was hurt. Now, I’m just angry. And indignant. This idea — coming from a fiction writer, a creative writing program director, and a university professor who instructs on creative endeavors — that a political cartoon or comic he found distasteful should have been removed by me as potentially incendiary and harmful, flies in the face of everything we have ever been taught about free expression, art, political speech, and the exchange of ideas (often heated) in the public square. It is the reverse of tolerance masquerading as a claim to the moral high ground.
It is an Orwellian world in which we live when fucking novelists want to distance themselves from those who criticize the government. Were Kiteley’s disgust over the comic purely aesthetic, I could at least entertain his point. But that isn’t the case: instead, Kiteley objects to the content, and sees Darleen’s cartoon as the online equivalent of shouting fire in a crowded movie theater.
When I noted that people were free to comment on the site and voice their opposition, Kiteley told me of my propensity for stifling opposition — which would come as a surprise to the commenters who visited to call Darleen a racist, etc. Or to the number of people on the left — from Nishi, to SEK, to Jeralyn Merritt — I’ve invited to guest post here over the years.
This is our modern academy, distilled to this singular objective correlative. And make no mistake: the university where Kiteley teaches is NOT on the far left, by university standards.
SEK at Lawyers Guns and Money:
Goldstein’s old professor listed “a propensity for stifling opposition” as one of the reasons he wanted to distance himself from the site, but as Goldstein notes, that’s nonsense. Consider, for example, the condensed verion of the the rational arguments with which he and his commenters engaged my argument the other day:
Scott is a cartoon, a hack; a clearly clueless and remarkably dishonest bracketing brackety bracketer who stands on the sidelines cheering while Lady Liberty takes it in the cornhole. This pretentious character is a lying cock, a fucking pussy, and a fucking retarded scrotumless fuck wearing a hot-pink thong, or maybe white lace boyshorts, and he would not stop a rape in progress, but would instead go home and be so turned-on he’d write a paper about it. Effete attention whores like Scott Eric Robespierre are routinely beat up by bread and, like all leftist twatwaffles lusting for power, he is a haughty apparatchik with a lisp and a pedo beard who couldn’t find cool were he to stumble pantless into a caribou orgy. He roots for the Mets and is truly a prick.
Why wouldn’t an English professor want their name associated with the above? It’s a dazzling display of Oulipian restraint. After all, anyone can write a novel without the letter “e,” but writing in a way that attracts people who argue ad hominem and only ad hominem? That requires true literary talent.
JEFF GOLDSTEIN: “It is an Orwellian world in which we live when fucking novelists want to distance themselves from those who criticize the government.”
Now, I happen to find Click’s cartoon both amateurish and distasteful. Further, I disagree with its hamhanded message, both literally and philosophically. (That is, while I voted against Obama and oppose his health care plan, the process by which he got it passed into law was legitimate. Further, I tend to be Burkean when it comes to matters of representative government, so the election of November 2008 is indeed all the mandate Obama needs until the election of November 2010.)
That said, I’m in full agreement with Jeff about university professors — much less professors of English — having this reaction to the expression of ideas. Neither he nor Darleen Click are political leaders, who have some tangential responsibility to think about the impact of their words on their followers. Rather, they’re public intellectuals applying their creative talents to expressing their frustrations as best they can.
It’s debatable whether blogs constitute “the modern academy.” But it’s indisputable that it’s possible to live the “life of the mind” via blogging and I would argue that, in the main, Jeff is an outstanding case study.
Beyond that, professors rightly go to great lengths to protect academic freedom. As outlined over the years by the American Association of University Professionals, it “comprises three elements: freedom of inquiry and research; freedom of teaching within the university or college; and freedom of extramural utterance and action.” So it’s bizarre, indeed, for an English professor to argue so passionately for the suppression of speech.
It would, frankly, never occur to me to contact a former student and, in a huff over some cartoon, demand that they remove my name from their biography page. If I were, however, of a mind to criticize, I would engage the specific idea or utterance rather than try to hide our former relationship. There is, after all, plenty of history of teachers engaging former students (and vice versa) in rigorous intellectual debate. Indeed, it’s in the finest tradition of the academy. Calls for removing offensive speech? Not so much.
Filed under Art, Education, The Constitution
American Enterprise Institute: Now With 100% Less Frum
The Lead Is Buried, But Tucker Carlson Still Wins The Internets Today
Filed under Smatterings Of Nothing
Bill Carter at NYT:
CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year.
The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.
CNN had a slightly worse quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, but the last three months have included compelling news events, like the earthquake in Haiti and the battle over health care, and CNN, which emphasizes its hard news coverage, was apparently unable to benefit.
The losses at CNN continued a pattern in place for much of the last year, as the network trailed its competitors in every prime-time hour. (CNN still easily beats MSNBC in the daytime hours, but those are less lucrative in advertising money, and both networks are far behind Fox News at all hours.)
About the only break from the bad news for CNN was that March was not as bad as February, when the network had its worst single month in its recent history, finishing behind not only Fox News and MSNBC, but also its sister network HLN — and even CNBC, which had Olympics programming that month.
Steve Krakauer at Mediaite:
We’re now one month away from Fox News becoming the #1 cable news channel for the 100th consecutive month based on total viewers, and this quarter FNC expanded its reach into the cable market as a whole – finishing 2nd in prime time on all of cable, behind just USA Network. It also had the top 13 programs on cable news in both total viewers and the demo.
As for the programs, their two main news shows saw their best quarters ever. Special Report with Bret Baier and FOX Report with Shepard Smith at 6 and 7pmET respectively. Of course, the entire line-up was up – in demo, Glenn Beck was up the most (50%).
While CNN continues to decline in prime time (as detailed today in the New York Times) and MSNBC’s signature programs fall off as well (post coming), Fox News remains unaffected. In fact, with health care passing, there’s no reason to doubt the second quarter of 2010 will be any different. With midterm elections just around the corner, Fox News could conceivably be headed for another year of stronger ratings than the one before.
Whether you’re a fan of the ‘fair and balanced’ or not, it’s an amazing feat.
Michael Calderone at Politico:
CNN executives have long talked about the network’s prime time strategy of going against the grain of increased partisan commentary in the evenings, instead offering up hosts down the political center.
For major news events this year, such as the earthquakes in Haiti or Chile, CNN has excelled in pulling its vast international resources to cover the story from a variety of angles. Both Fox and MSNBC, by comparison, have focused more on hot-button political issues and debates, a strategy that seems to be working better in pulling prime time viewers.
Adrian Chen at Gawker:
Let’s look at the competitors throwing around Larry King—who is apparently valued by CNN enough that they provide him access to their private jet: Rachel Maddow. OK, forgivable. Larry King is of an earlier time. (Somewhere between late Victorian and Prohibition, according to our calculations.) Rachel Maddow is fresh and new, and lesbian. No way can Bones McGee hope to compete with Maddow when he is so out of it, demographically speaking. (Although he has gamely adapted to Twitter, and is attempting to disguise how old he is by tweeting pictures of himself with Snoop Dogg. Sorry, Larry, maybe in 1998. Try interviewing random people on Chatroulette or something)
But Hannity? This show’s trademark segment—”The Great American Panel”—seems to only feature NASCAR drivers and fishing guides talking about American foreign policy. The set looks like a chain family restaurant about three notches below TGI-Fridays, and Hannity himself has all the incisiveness of a piece of shale someone wrapped a suit around and somehow passed off to Fox Execs as a television news personality. And the fact that Joy Behar “threatens” this old man is very sad indeed—almost to the point where we feel bad commenting on it. Like, don’t kick the guy when he’s already being punched in the balls by Joy Behar, right? Let’s just say we are confident that if someone gave us a Flip camera, $100 an episode, and an old panel van to tool around in, we could beat Joy Behar in the 10pm slot.
This would be different if Larry King was in some way redeemable. He is not. He functions basically as a human wall onto which disgraced politicians and worthless celebrities can fling their shit and smear it around while dozing seniors try to remember what they’re watching long enough to realize they hate it. Larry King’s contract runs out June 2011. Bye Larry King! And if there’s anything to speculation that Anderson Cooper might move onto King’s turf: Yes, please. But only if he does the entire show while swimming with sharks.
They can certainly keep telling themselves that their hosts don’t align with a “partisan point of view,” but the viewers obviously think otherwise. Anderson Cooper helped popularize the “teabagger” slur used against Tea Party activists, which certainly would have alienated that demographic. Larry King isn’t exactly known for his welcoming attitude towards conservatives, and neither for that matter is Campbell Brown or Rick Sanchez. When conservative points of view are expressed by guests, the CNN hosts display a lot more skepticism for them than with the expressions of liberal points of view. (Full disclosure: I’ve been on with both Campbell and Rick and they’ve treated me fairly.) It’s not hostility, like one sees on MS-NBC, but if CNN thinks that equates to not having a partisan point of view, then small wonder they haven’t been able to stanch the bleeding.
That’s not to say that CNN is the worst in class, either. CNN picked up Erick Erickson of Red State as an analyst, and they do better at balancing points of view in prime time than MS-NBC, which has become a lunatic asylum after about 11 am ET. But Fox has done a better job over a longer, consistent period of incorporating serious left-of-center analysts like Juan Williams, Mara Liasson, Kirsten Powers, and more in both its talking-heads shows and its news analysis than any of the other cablers. Being better than MS-NBC is, in any case, damning with extremely faint praise.
What can CNN do to right the ship? They need to take a much more clear-eyed view of the way they come across to their viewers. CNN has more assets in the field for news gathering than its competition, but loses credibility when it mixes editorializing with reporting. With MS-NBC so far on the Left that it can barely be seen and Fox News Channel leaning right, they might do better by actually playing it down the middle and sticking to nonpartisan analysis. They’ll need to shake up their lineup to do that, and maybe get away from the talking-head concept altogether and instead break the prime-time lineup into focus areas such as foreign affairs, politics, domestic policy, and so on. They need to make themselves useful and unique — at which they have only succeeded with their headline news.
UPDATE:Derek Thompson at The Atlantic
Ross Douthat in NYT
Douthat on Rosen
Glenn Greenwald on Douthat
Douthat responds to Greenwald
Rod Dreher on Douthat
The Rachel Maddow Show’s blogger Laura Conaway responds to Douthat
UPDATE #2: Troy Patterson at Slate
UPDATE #3: Douthat responds to Patterson
Conor Friedrsdorf at The American Scene
Filed under Mainstream
David Sanger and William Broad at NYT:
Six months after the revelation of a secret nuclear enrichment site in Iran, international inspectors and Western intelligence agencies say they suspect that Tehran is preparing to build more sites in defiance of United Nations demands.
The United Nations inspectors assigned to monitor Iran’s nuclear program are now searching for evidence of two such sites, prompted by recent comments by a top Iranian official that drew little attention in the West, and are looking into a mystery about the whereabouts of recently manufactured uranium enrichment equipment.
In an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency, the official, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ordered work to begin soon on two new plants. The plants, he said, “will be built inside mountains,” presumably to protect them from attacks.
“God willing,” Mr. Salehi was quoted as saying, “we may start the construction of two new enrichment sites” in the Iranian new year, which began March 21.
The revelation that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, now believe that there may be two new sites comes at a crucial moment in the White House’s attempts to impose tough new sanctions against Iran.
Marty Peretz at TNR:
Actually the news was deliberately leaked by Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, when he told Iranian Student News Agency that the president of the country “had ordered work to begin on two new plants” that “will be build inside mountains.” Is this meant as a challenge to the U.S. or as a dare to Israel?
The aforesaid “previous story” about the hidden site at Qom was actually revealed by Obama in September in the hope that the news would evoke international support four more stringent sanctions. It didn’t. Russia and China knew already that the president would pull back as, of course, he has.
Scott Lucas at Enduring America:
After weeks of silence, the Iran Nuclear Beat of The New York Times (reporters David Sanger and William Broad) are back with two pieces of fear posing as news and analysis. The two, fed by dissenting voices in the International Atomic Energy Agency and by operatives in “Western intelligence agencies”, declare, “Agencies Suspect Iran Is Planning New Atomic Sites”.
The leap from their sketchy evidence to unsupported conclusion — Iran is not just pursuing an expansion of uranium enrichment but The Bomb, bringing a climactic showdown — is propped up by Sanger’s “Imagining an Israeli Strike on Iran“.
Iran has an interest in spreading out its nuclear program to make it more difficult to destroy that program. The West really doesn’t know what Iran has. Russia and China are still unwilling to go along with sanctions against Iran.
What could go wrong?
Jennifer Rubin at Commentary
John McCormack at The Weekly Standard
Filed under International Institutions, Middle East
Mark Kleiman at The American Interest:
Not all drugs are equally risky or abusable. But since different drugs are abused in different ways and have different harm profiles, there is no single measure of “harmfulness” or “addictiveness” by which drugs can be ranked. Moreover, the overall damage caused by a drug does not depend on its neurochemistry alone; the composition of the user base and the social context and customs around its use also matter. Alcohol, for example, constitutes a major violence-and-disorder problem in Britain, but not in Italy.
And alcohol is a drug, one that ranks high along most dimensions of risk. Among intoxicants (that is, excluding caffeine and nicotine), alcohol abuse accounts for more than three-quarters of total substance abuse in the United States, and for more death, illness, crime, violence and arrests than all illicit drugs combined. A drug abuse control policy that ignores alcohol is as defective as a naval policy that ignores the Pacific.
Some pairs of drugs are substitutes for one another, so that making one more available will reduce consumption of the other. (Brands of beer compete; beer competes with wine; heroin competes with morphine.) On the other hand, some pairs of drugs are complements, so that making one more available will increase consumption of the other (any depressant is likely complementary with any stimulant, as illustrated both by rum-and-Coke and by the heroin-and-cocaine combination known as a “speedball”). We know much less about these relationships than we should; it isn’t even clear whether making beer more expensive and less available to adolescents would reduce their cannabis use or increase it (and vice versa).
The average excise tax (Federal plus state) on a can of beer is about a dime. The average damage done by that can of beer to people other than its drinker is closer to a dollar. Those costs consist mostly of crimes, accidents and the health care costs redistributed through insurance—and the one-dollar figure doesn’t count the costs to the families and friends of drinkers.
Of course, not all drinks are created equal; a dollar per can would be too high a tax on the great majority of drinkers whose drinking does no harm, and too low on the dangerous minority. But in the words of an old Chivas Regal advertisement, “If the extra money matters to you, you’re drinking too much.” (Note that the optimal tax level would fall if we denied alcohol to bad drunks.)
Kleiman says that this would be a particularly effective way of controlling over-indulgence by teenagers (who, after all, barely have any money) and would allow us to get rid of the not-really-enforced minimum drinking age and eliminate the culture of fake IDs and casual law-breaking that it encourages.
In distributive terms, data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey indicates that an alcohol tax is pretty progressive for a consumption tax, and certainly far less regressive than taxes on tobacco (which, to be clear, I also favor):
The poor consume a much larger share of their income than the rich. Indeed, total expenditures from the bottom quintile exceed the income of the bottom quintile. So all consumption taxes are regressive with respect to income. But you can also look at different categories of goods as a share of expenditure, and you see that the richer you get the larger the share of your consumption going to alcoholic beverages becomes.
Daniel McCarthy at The American Conservative:
Matthew Yglesias seconds a very bad idea mooted by Mark A.R. Kleiman in an old article on booze ‘n’ drugs: Raise the tax on alcohol, especially beer. “The average excise tax (Federal plus state) on a can of beer is about a dime,” Kleiman claims, while “The average damage done by that can of beer to people other than its drinker is closer to a dollar,” and what’s more “Raising taxes is also among the best ways to reduce heavy drinking by teenagers, for whom price is often a major consideration.”
Just about every word of this is wrong. Does anyone buy the assertion (unfootnoted in the original) that that a can of beer does, on some “average,” a dollar’s worth of damage to “people other than its drinker”? Every bar and restaurant would turn its neighborhood into downtown Beirut circa 1980 if that were true. Kleiman produces this risible estimate by averaging out all the harm done by louts, drunk drivers, and dipsomaniacs with failing livers, but raising the price of beer isn’t going to stop any of that — in fact, it will make matters much worse, for teenagers as well as adults. Kleiman’s article reflects some understanding of the monstrosity of the drug war, but one of the fundamental lessons of that war, and of earlier efforts at alcohol Prohibition, is that raising barriers to the procurement of weak intoxicants incentivizes the production of stronger ones. That was the case during Prohibition, when bootleggers brewed the strongest stuff they could (the better to get drunk on less, and the more profit per pint), and it’s been the case with the War on Drugs, leading to more potent marijuana, crack being developed out of cocaine, and crystal meth becoming an epidemic. Raising taxes on beer make hard liquor relatively more attractive; it does not much dampen underlying demand. (Least of all among teenagers, who contrary to Kleiman are willing to pay a good deal more than other people for their beer because that’s often the only way they can get it.)
Josh Barro at Reihan Salam’s place:
Matt’s analysis does not account for the fact that wealthy people tend to buy more expensive alcoholic beverages than poorer people. Since alcoholic beverage taxes are generally specific excise taxes (levied by the ounce, not as a percentage of price) the effective tax rate is highest on cheaper products. And from a perspective of trying to offset the social costs of alcohol consumption, that makes sense: an ounce of Grey Goose isn’t more socially problematic than an ounce of Popov.
Back in 2004, the Tax Foundation released a paper that estimates the distributional effects of major taxes levied by state and federal governments. They found (see page 42) that the average household in the top income quintile spends 0.09% of its income on state and federal alcohol taxes, while a bottom-quintile household spends 0.16%. Essentially, people in the bottom income quintile spend a 78% larger share of their income on alcohol taxes than people in the top quintile.
This makes alcohol taxes less regressive than cigarette taxes (where the difference between effective rates in the top and bottom quintiles is a whopping 583%). They are also not as regressive as public utility taxes or insurance taxes. But they are still more regressive than general sales taxes (which have a gap of just 32%), as well as gasoline taxes, diesel fuel taxes, air transport taxes, severance taxes, import duties, “other excise taxes” and “other selective sales taxes.”
So, while they are not an outlier like tobacco taxes are, I don’t think it’s true to say that alcohol taxes are “pretty progressive for a consumption tax.” It looks to me like they are much more regressive than broad-based consumption taxes and also more regressive than most taxes aimed at specific kinds of consumption.
E.D. Kain at The League:
Second, beer – unlike soft drinks – is a social drink. High taxes on beer in the UK have led to many pubs shutting down and more and more people staying home to drink. This may be good for drunk driving (I don’t know if that’s true or not) but it certainly isn’t good for fostering more community. We have to be wary of taxing ‘sin’ when so much of what we consider sin is actually a great way to bring people together as a community. Indeed, much of what busy-bodies consider sin is a great economic benefit to many communities. The sin of destroying jobs because some people might get drunk seems much greater than the sin of drink itself.
Third, the very logic behind sin taxes is flawed. We tax what we believe is unhealthy to society in an effort to punish bad or socially destructive behavior, but if our devious plan works and people stop buying and consuming these unhealthy things, then our revenue stream dries up. Then what? The problem with revenue streams drying up is that new revenue streams must be found, so new reasons to levy taxes must be conjured. Sin taxes, therefore, are simply unsustainable taxes and serve a prohibitionist purpose more than a reasonable alternative revenue source. It is social engineering plain and simple and will – as McCarthy notes above – lead to grave unintended consequences. Namely, people turn to untaxed, unregulated substances that are cheaper but often result in a much more destructive social cost.
A much more sensible approach would be to quit raising taxes on already-regulated substances and instead break up the black markets on at least one of the drugs we now criminalize: marijuana.
Mark Thompson at The League:
I’m actually less opposed to sin taxes than one would expect me to be, at least under the right circumstances. In the context that Mark Kleiman is proposing the liquor tax, for instance, I think a liquor tax makes a decent amount of sense as a legitimate Pigou tax that need not be dependent on an “increased-cost-to-social-programs” rationale. In other words, the negative externalities would exist independent of any social programs. In the context that Matt Yglesias proposes such a tax, however, I firmly disagree with the rationale for the reasons stated above.
Filed under Economics, Food, War On Drugs
“Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?”
Jennifer Rubin at Commentary:
Jonathan Chait at TNR:
Adam Serwer at Tapped:
Daniel Halper at The Weekly Standard:
UPDATE: Marty Peretz at TNR
Filed under Political Figures, Religion
Tagged as Adam Serwer, Brad DeLong, Commentary, Daniel Halper, Jennifer Rubin, Jonathan Chait, Marty Peretz, Matthew Yglesias, Political Figures, Religion, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard