Thursday, May 12, 2011

No Ride Zone

Sen Schumer's notion of a no ride list is beyond silly. The last thing train travel needs is to make the getting  on and off trains more like the getting on of planes. Especially as the idea is based on the ravings of Osama's journal.

Jonah Goldberg: Still Dumb

Jonah Goldberg complains that Obama was too quick to tell the world of Osama's death because by so doing he ruined the "actionable" intelligence. He compares the information that the Navy Seals gathered to a stolen NFL playbook and suggests that by admitting to Osama's death Obama alerted our opponents to the fact that we have the playbook. The analogy holds true only if we add that Green Bay stole the Jets' playbook by flying into Rex Ryan's back yard and shooting him in the head in front of family and associates and then dumping the body in the sea.

I mean really, does Goldberg actually think that Osama's associates, on hearing that he had been assassinated, didn't know that whatever information Osama had on any pending or other operations was compromised? I understand, as of course, that Goldberg and the rest of the Conservative punditocracy cannot allow Obama even so much as a smidgen of credit for Osama's murder but still this is the weakest of weak and lamest of lame attempts. It is, in other words, a nearly perfect encapsulation of Jonah Goldberg's continuing argument against nepotism.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

This Does Not Bode Well

During the Roman Republic there was the office of dictator, who -- in a time of great crisis -- was granted all political and military powers for a period of 6 months. One example is Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who  saved Rome and resigned his powers as he ought, or so we are told. George Washington is often depicted as Cincinnatus because he voluntarily gave up the presidency. Right this moment, the maniacs in the Republican party want to create
new language [for the AUMF that] eschews references to September 11, and instead centers the authorization on "armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces," though "associated forces" is not defined. It replaces the authority to target "organizations" and "persons" domestically with the power to target "all entities that continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad."
Call me a pessimist if you will, but I cannot think of a moment in the history of the world since there was a USofA in which there was not someone who posed some kind of a threat to the USofA.

Why do Republicans hate democracy, freedom, and people? I ask you.

History Matters

For a very interesting discussion of why few historians take originalism serious see here. A key point
Historians devote their lives to understanding the past, so one would surmise that they, above all others, would be drawn to the theory of originalism. One might attribute the resolute anti-originalism of most historians to the fact that they are generally more liberal than the population at large and thus oppose originalism for political reasons. Although political orientation may account for some of this animus, their hostility to originalism has less to do with politics and more to do with questions of historical interpretation and method. When most historians look closely at originalist arguments, what they usually find is bad history shaped to fit an ideological agenda—what historians derisively call “law office history.”
The author does a really fine job of destroying Yoo, of which activity there ought to be more.