The Spectacle Blog

The Sad Decline of the New York Times, Part CCXIV

By on 7.17.06 | 6:42PM

Reading through Bob Herbert's column, diatribe, screed today, I was struck by this line:

The court said, in effect, that this is not the American way, that ours is not a Marx Brothers republic. Not yet, anyway. (It most likely will be if Mr. Bush gets to appoint one or two more justices to the court.)
The "Marx Brothers republic" is a state in which we no longer have any due process rights. Of course, the idea that we aren't going to be able to confront witnesses against us, examine the evidence, have counsel present, etc., is absurd and paranoid.

I suspect that 10 years ago (maybe even 5), the editor of the opinion page would have at least struck those last two lines.

Not anymore.

Scarborough Tonite

By on 7.17.06 | 2:16PM

I'll be on Scarborough Country tonight on MSNBC about 9 pm debating Pat Buchanan on the Israel-Lebanon fight. Should be fun.

The Good Rockefeller

By on 7.17.06 | 12:23PM

Condolences to the family of Win Rockefeller, the Lt. Governor of Arkansas, who died Sunday way too young, at 57, of a blood disorder. I worked 14 months in Little Rock, and by ALL accounts -- I mean every single time I heard his name, from any source -- Win Rockefeller was praised as a gentleman, a man of principle, and a great philanthropist. And he was a solid Republican. May his family know the Lord's love, and may Mr. Rockefeller rest in God's peace.

War Warning, Part 5, in haste

By on 7.16.06 | 11:53AM

1. The fighting in Lebanon is the opening to the September-October attack by Iran. (See War Warning Parts 1-4)

2. The United Nations Security Council is divided along continental lines. Russia and China refuse to endorse Chapter 7 for North Korea. Russia and China refuse to endorse Chapter 7 for Iran. North Korea is an agent of Iran.

3. Iran knows that Jerusalem is the weak point in the US defense. Iran will attack Jerusalem.

4. The Gulf States have been told that they will burn if they assist the US. The Gulf States will assist the US. They will burn.

5. Iran wants the US attack on its facilities to begin by November. Iran knows the winter months of cloud cover are poor for tactical air strikes because it will make it hard to avoid civilian casualties.

6. Iran knows the price of oil is panic. At $100-110 per barrel, the US economy will stagger.

7. The end game is a grand bargain in which the US will quit Iraq in defeat and Iran will assert itself as the regional hegemon.

8. More soon.

Everybody Loves Justice!

By on 7.15.06 | 1:56PM

Via Reason's Dave Weigel we learn of this Madison Record story which begins thusly: "To spiff up its image, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America is considering changing its name to the American Association for Justice."

One respnse to the potentially triumphant new name:

"If a shark called itself a kitten fish I would still not put my daughter in to play with it," said Victor Schwartz, president of the American Tort Reform Association.

Sharks, apparently, need a new PR agency. When you're being compared to trial lawyers, it's fair to say the image has taken a bit of a hit. Conversely, I also believe kitten fish should stop whining and learn to snag their own multi-million dollar settlements.

More Voting Wrongs

By on 7.14.06 | 4:07PM

As the story in today's WSJ by the excellent David Rogers notes, the just-passed House bill extending certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act doesn't MERELY extend provisions; it actually adds to the old law. (Passed, it must be noted, after Speaker Dennis Hastert came down like a ton of bricks against conservatives of his own party, as is becoming increasingly his habit.) And what it adds makes things even worse. For one thing, the bill tries to effectively make an end-run against the Georgia v Ashcroft decision that helped put limits on the enforced racial segregation of voting districts. What the House bill does is re-establish a form of electoral apartheid, and tries to guarantee election outcomes by assuming that all minority voters have readily identifiable "preffered candidates of choice." The "right" to elect said candidates is then assumed to be sacrosanct. The great conservative lawyer Ted Olson has criticized this new provision, and Rep.

RE: Obnoxious

By on 7.14.06 | 4:07PM

Quin, Jack Kemp has thought for some time that he is morally superior to the rest of us on the right. Recall this exchange between Kemp and Al Gore in the 1996 vice presidential debate:

Drug Bill Not As Costly

By on 7.14.06 | 3:52PM

The CMS this week reported that the cost of the Medicare Drug benefit is

now projected to be $34 billion lower over 5 years (2006-2010) than in the President's Budget, and $110 billion lower than in the Mid-Session Review one year ago. The average Part D premium is almost 40 percent lower than had been projected a year ago as a result of strong competition.
Now, before everyone pummels me for supporting Part D, understand that I'm not. Rather, I'm pointing out that government programs that rely on the market to operate work better than those that do not, as the Medicare Drug benefit.

I suppose the success that Part D is having is why the Drug Bill Debacle is no longer one of the headlining blogs over at TPM Cafe.

Making Cents of Wilson-Plame

By on 7.14.06 | 3:51PM

Byron York today reports on the economic incentives possibly motivating the Wilson-Plame gang, particularly now that Valerie's book deal has gone kaput.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post's in the tank coverage of the Wilson-Plame press conference this morning makes much of the possibility that discovery in any court case could embarrass Administration figures -- without citing a word about the possibility that discovery could be hugely embarrassing to the Wilsons themselves.