Monday, July 15, 2013

Cruising the Web

You know how we're supposed to be feel so relieved that Eric Holder has come up with new guidelines to prevent the Justice Department doing to the media what Holder has already done to AP and Fox's James Rosen? Well, now we can feel comforted that Holder is in charge of making sure that the federal government complies with the open government law, yet the Justice Department was a year behind in compliance with the law that Holder is supposed to be enforcing. It's all very convenient how this works out for them, isn't it?

Interesting - Alan Dershowitz says that the DOJ cannot pursue civil rights violations in the Zimmerman case because such violations have to be the actions of local, state, or federal government. But he does have some very harsh criticisms of the Florida prosecutor.

I've been fascinated with the proposition that no one has the standing to stop Obama's postponement of the employer mandate even though it is clearly not what the law required. It seems such a major flaw in our system that a president could violate a law and no one would have be able to stop him. What's the point of having checks and balances. But David Rivkin and Lee Casey make the argument that anyone required to buy insurance through the individual mandate would have standing to challenge the postponement. I'm not so sure, but it does seem time for the Court to weigh in on the power of a president to unilaterally suspend enforcement of a law duly passed by Congress and signed into law.

Megan McArdle explains why she thinks the GOP have a good chance to win the White House in 2016 based on how rare it is for presidents to be succeeded by a president of the same party. It has only happened four times since WWII, as she points out, and for the two Democrats it happened because the president died in office. For the two Republicans, Nixon had to resign. Reagan was the only one to be followed by a Republican. And that might not have happened if Dukakis hadn't been such a terrible candidate. McArdle then goes on to predict that the GOP will probably also keep the House and take the Senate. While I might hope she's right, I'm never big on basing an argument by extrapolating from what has gone before. The sample sizes are too small for presidential elections and there are just too many other factors. Remember all those analyses saying that no president was going to be reelected with such high unemployment. It won't happen until it does. But I agree with her that it is unlikely for either party to have anything like the permanent dominance. Whichever party gets control then ends up making mistakes and causing people to yearn for a change. But Harry Reid and the Democrats should be paying attention to this part of her analysis.
But that’s why I wouldn’t get rid of the filibuster if I were Harry Reid. Even if you think the chances that you lose the Senate and the White House are 50% it’s not a good gamble. For that matter, even if you keep the Senate and lose the White House, it’s not a good bet. Eventually you’ll lose the Senate, because control of that august institution seems to be pretty unstable. And in the meantime, since you don’t have the White House, you can’t actually do much with your new, filibuster-less power.
But that would entail the Democrats to take the long view and to forfeit a short-term victory for long-term losses. I don't know how good they'll be at doing that.

Jay Greene examines research to test whether going to a religious school affects students' tolerance for others.

Oh, no! A pizza shortage for Argentinians.

Robert Wargas destroys the weird logic that argues that, although George Zimmerman is partly Hispanic, his actions were white because only whites would behave with such terrible racist motivations. But this is the sort of logic that permeates Whiteness studies, a field quite popular in some parts of academia.

Peggy Noonan contrasts the stories of two whistleblowers.

Gosh, don't you hate when this happens: you get elected governor of New York, then have to resign from office because of your practice of hiring prostitutes through a madam and then later you decide to run for office again and then that madam decides to dish to the media all about your rough behavior with the hookers. Yeah, this must really be the pits.