The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President discussed climate change and how the most ambitious climate agreement in history is creating private sector partnerships that are advancing the latest technologies in clean power.":

Hill: "President Obama will send a budget to Congress that increases the amount of funding toward clean energy research and development by about 20 percent, he said Saturday."

White House Live Video
February 5

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Timess: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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Thursday
Jun072012

The Commentariat -- June 8, 2012

** "The Triumph of Radical Individualism." Paul Waldman of American Prospect: "Conservatives have succeeded in convincing working- and middle-class people not just that they shouldn't feel solidarity with other members of their class, but that they shouldn't feel solidarity with anyone at all. It required a lot of work, particularly when you consider how much they rely on encouraging feelings of tribalism in other realms, like nationhood, religion, and region. But the conservative message on economics has always been brutally individualistic, essentially arguing that in the economic realm, no one is meaningfully connected to anyone in any way."

Robert Burns of the AP: "Suicides are surging among America's troops, averaging nearly one a day this year -- the fastest pace in the nation's decade of war. The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan -- about 50 percent more."

Paul Krugman: "... if you want to see government responding to economic hard times with the 'tax and spend' policies conservatives always denounce, you should look to the Reagan era -- not the Obama years.... Reagan may have preached small government, but in practice he presided over a lot of spending growth -- and right now that's exactly what America needs."

** Linda Greenhouse, in Slate, calls for a Constitutional Amendment limiting federal judges -- including the Supremes -- to 18-year terms.

David Lightman of McClatchey News: "Five months before Election Day, Republicans are poised to retain control of the House of Representatives and inch close -- and perhaps win the majority -- in the Senate. The outlook is driven by local factors rather any kind of wave for or against either major political party. Indeed, the lack of a national tide could help the Republicans hold the House, where they're expected to lose seats but not enough to cost them the majority." Thanks to James S. for the link. I think.

... Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal analyzes the results of California's new "top two" primary election system, which was supposed to general more centrist candidates. Pretty interesting. Bottom line, so far: "... the rules also create the likelihood of some very unconventional campaigns with Republicans appealing to Democrats, and Democrats courting Republicans. That doesn't mean that, once candidates get elected, they'll become more moderate and change their voting behavior. It does mean they'll pander as much as possible to win."

Kevin Drum: "Conservatives have made a big deal out of the fact that 38% of households with a union member voted for the union-busting Scott Walker in Tuesday's election.... For better or worse, about 37% of union members [usually] vote for Republicans, both nationwide and in Wisconsin. On Tuesday they did it again. So whatever lessons there are from Tuesday's election, the idea that union members are somehow abandoning their own cause isn't one of them." ...

... Alex Seitz-Wald, writing in Salon, provides an overview of what a right-wing rock star Scott Walker is now. Seitz-Wald sees the recall effort as a big blunder. CW: I don't.

Adam Liptak & Allison Kopicki of the New York Times: "Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and three-quarters say the justices' decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News."

If Right Wing News can be believed, Obama reneged on his campaign promise to push for the importation of cheap, safe drugs in a secret deal with Big Pharma in 2009.

Advice from the Career Corner. If you aspire to a career as a diplomat, especially if you aspire to be confirmed as Ambassador to Iraq, do not have sex with someone other than your spouse on the roof of the roof of a Saddam Hussein palace. People have video cameras. Jim Inhofe (R-Crazy) likes to watch.

Kevin Drum zeros in on Obama's biggest mistake of 2009. And Drum fingers just the right guy -- Tim Geithner: "Although Obama didn't have the leverage to get more stimulus spending even if he'd wanted it, he could have done more on the housing front, [which]... was quite feasible and would probably have made a noticeable difference in keeping the recovery on a stronger track.... Tim Geithner just didn't like the idea of pressing harder on the mortgage relief front, and Obama went along."

Presidential Race

Nate Silver: "The first look at the 2012 FiveThirtyEight presidential forecast has Barack Obama as a very slight favorite to win re-election. But his advantage equates to only a two-point lead in the national popular vote, and the edge could easily swing to Mitt Romney on the basis of further bad economic news."

Joan Walsh of Salon: Romney didn't just dodge the draft; he lied about it. "Romney's dissembling here, all captured in newspapers in real time, should be a real problem for him."

** Andrew Sprung of Xpostfactoid lays out the Romney Rules, as defined by Willard. I think he should add a coda, "It's our turn now," as defined by Mrs. Willard. ...

... Jonathan Chait analyzes a Romney lie. Well, lies. CW: I'm beginning to think Romney cannot construct a truthful sentence with the name "Obama" in it.

What's the matter with Bill Clinton? John Dickerson of Slate ticks off six theories that are making the rounds. Pick your own. You can choose more than one. ...

News Ledes

President Obama held a press conference on the economy today:

     ... New York Times: Republicans went ballistic when Obama said, as part of a response to a reporter's question, "the private sector is doing fine." He had to clarify later.

New York Times: "The NATO and United States troop commander in Afghanistan flew to the eastern part of the country on Friday to apologize personally to surviving family members for a coalition airstrike earlier this week that local officials said killed 18 civilians. The apology by the commander, Gen. John R. Allen, was the first admission by coalition forces that the strike on Wednesday had killed civilians...."

New York Times: "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday assigned two United States attorneys to lead separate criminal investigations into recent disclosures to the news media of national security secrets, saying they were authorized to 'follow all appropriate investigative leads within the executive and legislative branches of government.'"

Crackdown. New York Times: "President Vladimir V. Putin signed into law on Friday a measure that will impose heavy fines on people who organize or take part in unsanctioned demonstrations, giving the Russian authorities powerful leverage to clamp down on the large antigovernment street protests that began six months ago and seemed to be re-energized after Mr. Putin's inauguration last month."

Reuters: "The Federal Reserve rejected pleas by the U.S. banking industry in releasing on Thursday a rigorous interpretation of an international agreement on higher capital standards for banks, known as Basel III.... The new capital standards would force banks to rely more on equity than debt to fund themselves, so that they are able to better withstand significant losses."

New York Times: "With the Syrian conflict escalating perilously after government troops and civilian supporters prevented unarmed United Nations monitors from investigating a massacre, fresh fighting was reported elsewhere on Friday as the authorities sought to extend their writ in an area under stubborn rebel control." ...

     ... Update: the story has a new lede: "Confronting a scene of congealed blood, scattered body parts, shelled buildings, bullet holes and the smell of burned flesh, United Nations monitors in Syria quietly collected evidence on Friday of a mass atrocity in a desolate hamlet, more than 24 hours after Syrian forces and government supporters blocked their first attempt to visit the site."

New York Times: "Senior inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog renewed talks with Iran on Friday aimed at securing access to restricted sites where the agency believes scientists may have tested explosives that could be used as triggers for nuclear warheads, officials at the agency said."

Guardian: "The department of justice is reviewing the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy, following demands by campaigners who say the tactic is unconstitutional and racially discriminatory." CW: in case you're wondering why I didn't link the New York Times story on this, it's because there isn't one.

AP: "Britain's media ethics inquiry says Prime Minister David Cameron and his predecessor Gordon Brown will both appear to give evidence at [Leveson inquiry] hearings next week. The inquiry also said Friday that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Treasury chief George Osborne will both appear." Guardian story here.

Reader Comments (17)

I know we are focused on contraception but I wonder if any politicians noticed that the March to May US temperature was the warmest on record, 5.2 degrees above average. Of course it is just a coincidence but let's be honest, its a hell of a lot easier to deal with a pill than climate change. And besides the purpose of life is to make more humans even if we can't figure out how to feed them.
Oh, and congratulations to the mosquitoes, they are going to have a really great year.

June 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I'm responding to the suggestion Akhilleus put forward in yesterday's commentary that we think about the idea of delegating voting responsibilities to a small group of randomly-selected "electors" who dedicate a few days to listening to experts for both sides debate the merits of a candidates or issue, then vote. The article by Joshua Davis of Wired -- which lays out the plan -- is here.

P. D. Pepe stated some objections, and I agree with those, but I have another. What you would get, if the proposed model was in effect, is experts Karl Rove and Bob Reich presenting their cases. Who would be listening to these two? People just as dimwitted as the general electorate, people unable to judge whether or not Karl Rove was telling the truth (assumption: he would not be). Moreover, you would not have whatever small benefit accrues from our Fourth Estate's evaluations of Rove v. Reich.

To some extent, of course, we already have a system like the one proposed: we have, after all, a representative democracy. We elect people who are supposed to understand the nuances of issues & make wise, considered decisions -- based on expert opinion -- on how best to address problems or improve conditions. We know how that has worked out. Too many of the "representatives" are buffoons and most of the "experts" are lobbyists carrying cash to stuff in the buffoons' pockets (or freezers).

Our country was founded on the principle of paternalistic aristocracy -- a small group of wise, landed white men would make decisions for all of us. That brought us slavery, 140 years of high-handed, careless Supreme Court justices & a string of presidents and legislators best not remembered.

As Winston Churchill and others have said (more or less), "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." On the other hand, Churchill did say, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." I'm glad people keep trying to come up with a better system; I do think ditching the Constitution or radically revising it would be a good idea, but I wouldn't do it now, as I sure as hell don't want to live under Eric Cantor's or John Roberts' idea of a Constitution.

Marie

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Akhilleus's toss out on voting. Those of us that vote are already voting for the forty percent that don't. Who is going write the code to pick the randomly-selected voters? And if the results are not satisfactory to the non-selected citizen, then what? I don't know if it would change things much. I would rather see a gender-requirement to vote, rotating every two hundred years; and fellas, it's the womens turn. OR name me "Grand PooPaw" and I will make some changes, by god. It was WC Fields that came up with the socks full of manure plan, right?

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Marie: It's hard for me not to agree with Alex Seitz- Wald that the Wisconsin recall was an ill -advised "misadventure," given the time-line, the massive differential in contributions/spending, and the distaste of many Wisonsonites for the whole recall process. One other factor the author doesn't mention is that the Democrats apparently did not have a strong, consensus candidate going into it.
You stated your disagreement with this premise, Marie, and I would be most interested in your reasons (which are no doubt persuasive ones).

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Marvin: But that means Canada is getting warmer, too. Have often looked longingly at it just across the border and thought no, it's just a mite too cold to be an acceptable refuge but now, repelled equally as I am by our political climate and the Canadian government's tar sands extraction at any cost policies, a warmer Canada might just be enough to tip the balance in favor of Oh, Canada and the Loon.

But then there are all those darn mosquitoes you mention... and the damn liberals have outlawed DDT...so I guess I'm still undecided.

Does that make me one of the growing hordes of Independents I've been reading about?

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@ Marie: Re: your response to Akilleus about the voting business. I agree with your assessment, but would like to add in regards to being represented by those sitting in Congress. Does it make any sense to have two senators from each state when we have teeny tiny ones whose population is more than half the size of the larger states? One could argue we take care of this by the representatives, but we all know it's the senate that has the teeth.

The article by Paul Waldman is good. Ayn Rand is smirking and twisting in the wind.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Marie, what part of the Constitution would you ditch? The Bill of Rights? Like welfare, it's not the idea that's wrong, it's all in the implementation and enforcement, which is flawed.
And, while I too find the intellect of the average vote to be horribly depressing, by assuming that "we know better", aren't we being paternalistic also? I agree with JJG, let's put the women in charge.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercakers

Quite a number of questions today, & I'll try to answer each.

@ Victoria D. You actually answered your own question. I think the Democrats' disarray was a lesson to be learned. Passion is great, but discipline is a must. As @Kate Madison mentioned here weeks ago, the Democrats blew any chance they had -- and I always thought the chance was weak -- when they couldn't get in a back room & agree on a candidate. Even using Akhilleus' shit-hurling method would have been preferable to a primary. But back rooms have their place.

Also, it was fundamentally stupid to arrange the recall when students -- a big Democratic constituency -- were away.

But another lesson to be learned -- not just in Wisconsin, but I hope everywhere -- is that having 10 times as much funny money as your opponent matters. I think a lot of Americans will view this not as a victory for Scott Walker but as a win for the Koch brothers & other special interests.

Conservatives are running around crowing, but they haven't -- in my opinion -- got much to boast about. They spent millions of dollars to keep a guy in office who may spend the rest of his term huddled with his criminal defense lawyers. They are touting Walker as the new Reagan. If that's all they got -- great! The guy is a moron. Moreover, if the one district vote holds, the recall elections gave Democrats control of the state senate, and that should make a huge difference in Walker's ability to run over the state. Without the recalls, that would not have happened (and it still may not -- Walker's board of elections supervisors have a way of "finding" thousands of Republican ballots when things don't work out the first time).

Of course all this is easy for me to say. I looked at this election from a distance; I wasn't out there demonstrating or trudging through the snow gathering signatures. I might be disheartened if I had more skin in the game. As it is, I see this as a setback, not a horror story, though I admit it will be more of a horror story if the Republicans regain control of the state senate.

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@ P. D. Pepe. No, our Senate doesn't make any sense, and especially with the Senate rules as they are, Senators who represent a fractional minority of Americans can wreak havoc on the entire federal government. During the healthcare debate, Gail Collins pointed out that Senators who represented something like .03 percent (not 3 percent, .03) of the population headed the two committees who drew up the plan. And we wonder why people don't like it. These guys don't have to please anybody but a few farmers in Some Dakota & Montana. That's no way to run a government. Which brings me to ---

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@ cakers. I hope I didn't imply I would ditch the Bill of Rights, though there are two Amendments I would lose: the 2nd & the 3rd, & I would rewrite the 10th to leave out the part I've struck out here:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Having been reared in the part of the country that brought us slavery & Jim Crow & is still fundamentally backwards, I have a low opinion of state's rights.

To follow up on my reply to @P. D. Pepe, I think a parliamentary form of government would work better than Washington D. Gridlock. Checks & balances -- as they operate now -- are highly overrated. For more changes worth considering, this op-ed piece, titled "Our Imbecilic Constitution, which I linked a few days back is helpful.

The Founding Fathers never meant the Constitution to last forever. Jefferson thought we should have a new one for every generation, & Madison was sick of the one he helped write by the time he retired from public life.

I also would, as Linda Greenhouse suggests (linked today), term-limit federal judges. I think other limits on their power are in order, too. Levinson suggests a major one. And of course I'd make clear that corporations aren't people and money isn't speech, so doofus justices would know that.

But just exactly what occurs to me off the top of my head isn't important. What is important is for people to get over the idea that God (who ain't mentioned in it) wrote the Constitution, & we should bow down to it (apparently that's actually Mormon doctrine). The Constitution was a good start, but it's sell-by date has expired.

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

The sell-by date on a lot of our superstitions--capitalism, tax-exemptions for religious quackery to mention two--has expired. But I doubt they'll be pulled from their shelves in my lifetime.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

One thing that hasn't been mentioned much in the Walker recall:

The Unions would have been smarter to follow the Ohio model a la referendum. My understanding is that state law disallowed that option. Therefore they may have felt the recall was the only option. In light of that I don't think it was such a bad choice. They did retake the senate and it signaled they weren't going down without a fight. Republicans are celebrating for the wrong reasons, no matter how much bloviating David Brooks did on NPR tonight. We'll see how much they stand by their man if he gets indicted in the john doe investigation. The walker win wasn't as much an endorsement of his policies as it was a a misguided smackdown of union tactics.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Maybe I'm incorrect, but the WI senate win is meaningless. The senate was adjourned mid-May and will not re-convene until after the November elections.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon

Ken Winkes: Those Canadians with the funny spots on their legs are a demonstration of an affliction much worse than skeeters Black Flies will make you cry. Be sure to ask about them before picking a place to live in Canada.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

@ Haley Simon. You're right. The next regular session of the Wisconsin state legislature isn't till next year. But if you look at the calendar of the state legislature, they have special sessions all the time. If Sir Walker Scott doesn't control the senate, he isn't likely to call one.

Marie

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Carlyle. Thanks. I will heed your advice, offered in the same spirit I'd guess as my threat to slip on North, tho' I remember--in real, true, honest to goodness fact-- black flies swarming along the Nation River, so thick I spooned them in with my food, and so ravenous themselves that I watched my blood running down my legs into the water as we lined our canoe through a shallow stretch of clear and cold---but, perhaps because the water was so cold, their bites didn't hurt. I've always tried to avoid the ones that do. But bad as the biting ones might be, living in Ronmeydom--after eight years of Bushdom I cannot forget-- might well be worse.

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Recovering from my strenuous efforts to recall Scott Walker, I want to comment on some of the comments. First, we had little control over the timing of the election. The overwhelming surge of Wisconsin residents eager to sign recall petitions meant that we couldn't delay much it beyond the legal starting date. It was the Republicans who, with their court cases, filings, and other delaying tactics, managed to just push the election to the first week in June when students had left. Second, if we hadn't had more than one candidate, the Republicans would have run a "fake Democrat" to ensure a primary (although I agree that uniting behind one candidate early would have been preferable). Third, retaking the State Senate is a huge deal. If Walker still could count on majorities in both houses of the legislature, we would be seeing an immediate call for a special session to ram through more of his extreme agenda. Because of his successful efforts to consolidate power in the governor's office, he can still do some damage, but not as much.

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNadd2
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