Sunday, July 24, 2016
Re Connecting the dots: Why I continue to despair
The new issue of The Nation, a magazine to which I've subscribed for at least 35 years (and have published in over many of those years) has a "special convention issue" with the overall title, on the cover, "We Still Need a Future to Believe in: How to Build the Political Revolution," which involves relatively short pieces by 24 "activists and leaders." Today's New York Times Magazine has a very interesting article about what sounds like an altogether admirable group pushing a left-wing agenda on Hillary Clinton. The key document of the group, the Roosevelt Institute, is a document "Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy," one of shoe major authors is the completely commendable Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stieglitz. So far so good.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Rendering unto God and Caesar: Reflections on the Republican Platform
From the Republican Party Platform:
Trump and American Moral Leadership
Mary L. Dudziak
It has been a staple of presidential rhetoric, on both sides of the aisle, to hold up the American example as a model for others (even though there is of course disagreement about the degree to which the United States lives up to its own values). So it was striking this week to read Donald J. Trump's response in a New York Times interview to a question about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's detention of tens of thousands of Turkish citizens.
Friday, July 22, 2016
The peculiar Mr. Pence (and the notion of "conscience")
Two other things are worth noting about the strange ticket embraced by the Republican Party. First, Trump, though acknowledging and appreciating his support from Evangelicals, didn't even both to pretend that he himself takes religion remotely seriously. He did not, for example, give any support to James Dobson's assertions that Trump had in fact found Christ and was now a "baby (saved) Christian," since I assume that his baptism as a Presbyterian 70 years ago, assuming that occurred, wouldn't be enough to establish him as properly reborn.
Donald Trump as anti-conservative (and anti-constitutionalist) authoritarian
There is so much that one could say about last night's fear-filled diatribe. No FDR there! If we're not already fearful, we ought to be! Fortunately, though, there's a would-be authoritarian leader who is volunteering to relieve our fears by doing whatever is necessary (though I was a little surprised that he didn't mention his desire to waterboard at will, given that the central theme of his candidacy is the "triumph of the will").
Shakespeare's Take on Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech
Gerard N. Magliocca
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Trump as President (Part I)
UPDATE: Zubik remand developments: (i) Federal Govenrment notifies Zubik petitioners' insurers and TPAs they must begin providing contraceptive payments; and (ii) agencies promulgate Request for Information on whether other alternatives might also work
Today, in each of the courts of appeals to which the "nonprofit" contraception cases have returned from the Supreme Court after the Court's remand in Zubik, the Department of Justice notified the courts that, in the cases involving insured plans and self-insured, nonchurch plans, the government will now proceed to notify known insurance issuers and third-party administrators, respectively, that they have an "obligation to make or arrange separate payments for contraceptives, without cost to or involvement by plaintiffs." [The link is to the Zubik notice in the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; but they're all materially identical.]
Will the U.S. Survive the 2016 Election III
Can anyone who has looked at any of the hatefest of the past three days--which has been comparable, depending on your taste in metaphors, to the Salem Witch Trials or a lynch mob (led by the ostensible "prosecutor" Chris Christie--believe that the Republican Party as an institution is read to make peace with President Hillary Clinton? It would be bad enough were we a parliamentary system, with an opposition party that not only opposes, but regularly refers to their desire to jail or execute the lawfully elected prime minister. But, of course, we're not blessed with such a system. Instead, we have one, courtesy of the Framers of 1787, in which the opposition party has all too much ability to torpedo any programs of the purported "party in power," as captured in the Republican use of the filibuster. As I have written many times before, Mitch McConnell is not a raving ideologue; he was simply behaving "rationally" in his desire to deprive Barack Obama of a second term and believing that the most effective way to do it was to deprive him of any accomplishments. He learned that Ted Kennedy had disastrously miscalculated by enabling George W. Bush to claim victory on two key aspects of his own domestic policy, i.e., No Child Left Behind and the prescription drug bill, and McConnell was not going to make the same mistake. As it turned out, thanks to Mitt Romney's inept campaign (and Sheldon Adelson's providential financing of Newt Gingrich's campaign for at least a month longer than any rational analysis would have predicted), it didn't work. But that doesn't mean that McConnell was irrational. To be sure, he wasn't very Publican; he preferred factional Party interest to any notion of the "public interest," but of course, the Publican vision, even if you think it attractive, ultimately makes very little sense empirically, as illustrated by the rise of the two-party system by the mid-1790s.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
"A Newer Originalism: Book History and Constitutional Interpretation"
Jeremy K. Kessler
The Society for U.S. Intellectual History has posted an interesting, short essay on the historiographical methods best suited to an originalism rooted in public meaning rather than intent. Specifically, the authors argue that the "history of the book," rather than more traditional "intellectual history," might be of greatest salience to new originalists looking for firmer empirical footing. The publishing history of The Federalist is offered as an example. The authors are Drew Starling, a PhD candidate at Penn, and Sean Nadel, a JD candidate at Columbia. A brief excerpt follows:
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Two Acquittal Crises
Will the United States survive the 2016 election (II)
People may think I'm being my usual hyperbolic self in asking this question, but I suggest they may be somewhat myopic and overly addicted to a strange form of American exceptionalism. As to the latter, one cannot overestimate the extent to which secession is as American as apple pie. Our "revolution" was in fact a secession from the British Empire. Our second largest state seceded from Mexico (and then, of course, with ten other states, attempted to secede from the United States in a struggle that ultimately cost 750,000 lives (for starters)).