Wednesday, July 17, 2002

PERMALINKS BROKEN, POSTS GONE MISSING, PUBLISHING UNAVAILABLE, I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore. The new, Moveable Type-powered site is here: please change your links, bookmarks, etc. and if you're a blogger yourself you might want to consider mentioning the switch and helping me out.
JONAH GOLDBERG DOES SOME NICE lightly-humorous France bashing but then says that the real trouble is the enemy within — France-loving left-wing American intellectuals:
I've grown tired of these French-bashing columns because there's not much left to say about a nation of 200 cheeses and one kind of toilet paper. Besides, the real threat isn't the frogs across the pond. The real threat is their fellow hoppers here at home.
I, for one, love the French for all their flaws but frankly don't have much good to say about the goofy radical professors stalking the humanities departments at Harvard except to note that there aren't really as many of them as you'd be led to believe.
JASON RYLANDER (PERMALINKS FUBAR) discusses plans to divide the 9th Circuit:
The Ninth Circuit, which serves some 54 million people, is immense--almost 60 percent larger than the next biggest circuit. There may be legitimate arguments for dividing the court. But as Murkowski's statement makes clear, this proposal isn't about balancing workloads or improving efficiency. It's about punishing the judiciary for voting the way it did on the Pledge of Allegiance. That's unconscionable.
Well, based on this it sounds to me like there is a legitimate argument for dividing the court — it's almost 60 percent larger than the next biggest circuit. I agree that being upset about the Pledge decision (which was totally correct in my book) is the wrong reason to do it, but in politics, especially when you're dealing with a boring procedural issue like the size of judicial circuits, bad reasons are often the only reasons you can get. If a good idea happens to come to the forefront for any reason, I say seize on it.
THE BUSH PLAN TO DEAL WITH corporate accountability — pretend to favor tough measures and get the House Republican goon squad to water down the bill. This is a common tactic we've seen Bush employ when faced with popular legislation like the Patients' Bill of Rights or McCain-Feingold — work, work, work behind the scenes to get friendly legislators to kill the thing and then sign it if it gets through.
DEMOSTHENES IS SKEPTICAL of the merits of populism and I tend to agree. There's a difference between finding policies that will really benefit the weak and the underprivileged and finding policies that will appeal to the various resentments out there in the world.
JOSH MARSHALL READS NEWSWEEK's interview with Halliburton CEO David Lesar and says Cheney is toast. To think, this was supposed to be the guy who gave the administration gravitas.
THE IRA SAYS THEY'RE SORRY for all those dead civilians. It's sort of easy to mock this as too little too late, but it is progress and it shows both that Clinton's peacemaking efforts and Bush's stigmatization of terrorism are paying some dividends. I think it's unfortunate that partisanship has tended to create a dichotomy between the foreign policy orientations of our two most recent presidents when I think a combination of Bush's tough moral line and Clinton's intensive engagement in global problem-solving would be both possible and highly desireable.
THE RITTENHOUSE REVIEW QUOTES Alan Greenspan at length on the evils of sloppy fiscal policy and points out that times of war, with their attendant increased government expenditures, have traditionally resulted in either tax increases or else the horrors of the 1970s:
For decades Republicans have chastised the long-since-buried former President Lyndon B. Johnson for his failure to raise taxes to support the Great Society programs and the Vietnam War. Actually, they usually criticize Johnson for failing to fund the Great Society specifically, ignoring the war (apparently a self-funding endeavor) and forgetting, at least for a moment, that money is a fungible asset.

And now, facing an expensive war on terrorism of indefinite, perhaps permanent, duration, not only will no one raise the verboten issue of tax increases, no one will consider the idea of rolling back even the most reckless elements of the tax cuts enacted last year -- namely the eventual repeal of the estate tax. (Surely the 10,000 families benefitting from the repeal could be asked to sacrifice just a little.)

It's not quite the same since we seem to be at a different point in the economic cycle than the country was during the mid-1960s, so I think you could make the case that actually raising taxes to pay for the war would be a bad idea, but it seems like cancelling the planned Bush tax cuts would be the way to go.