Thursday, August 23, 2007

Taking Care of Business

Nan Aron cuts through the slimy lens of Republican (right wing? "conservative"? ) spin to show how that party's philosophy translates into actual practice. More tax cuts anybody? [N.B. Mr. Lee Iacoca says he'll give his tax cut back; well, only that he doesn't need it] :

The Post is wrong. Why are so many unions opposed to Southwick? Because Southwick voted against the interests of injured workers and consumers in divided decisions 89 percent of the time. Why are civil rights groups opposed? Because he also voted overwhelmingly -- 54 of 59 times -- against defendants alleging juror discrimination. That prompted his own colleagues on the Mississippi Court of Appeals to accuse him of "establishing one level of obligation for the State, and a higher one for defendants on an identical issue." Southwick, they charged in a dissent, placed his "stamp of approval on the arbitrary and capricious selection of jurors."

Southwick got achance to explain these decisions. Sen. Richard Durbin asked Southwick whether he could think of one example of an unpopular decision he had made in favor of the powerless, the poor, minorities or the dispossessed. The judge said he could not.

The opposition doesn't stem from anecdote but analysis, analysis that reveals overwhelmingly one-sided patterns. The Post said that opponents of Southwick "haven't made their case." But this argument doesn't reflect the most substantive points that opponents raise.

A nominee's record is the best predictor of what he or she will do on the bench. Southwick's record predicts that those in the 5th Circuit's jurisdiction have much to fear regarding their legal rights and protections. Moreover -- and overlooked by The Post -- the patterns in Southwick's record fit this administration's pattern of behavior. For with the assistance of conservative activists, allies in the Senate and in well-funded interest groups, and the amen chorus of commentators such as Will, George W. Bush has appointed a succession of appellate judges who will serve his administration's ideological agenda long after he has left office.

We cannot let this administration pack our courts with judges who share its disrespect for law and lack of compassion for the powerless. These nominees have turned their backs on our most fundamental rights and freedoms. The Senate should turn its collective back on Leslie Southwick and those like him.

WHEW! I LIKE IT. YOU GO, GIRL. Aron is president ofAlliance for Justice, an association of liberal advocacy organizations.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ode to US (two)

Interesting, just as I was comparing notes, specifically on adjectives to describe the United States now, versus then perhaps, I came upon this:
Harold Nicolson wrote this condescending characterization of the United States (“a giant with the limbs of an undergraduate, the emotions of a spinster, and the brain of a pea-hen”) -- it now reads like postimperial sour grapes.

The United States in 1945 was a giant, all right, but with the wealth of a Harriman, the altruism of a Marshall, and the sheer dedication of men like Clayton, Vandenberg, Hoffman, and Bissell, it was surely a benign colossus.
Niall Ferguson -- New Yorker Magazine

PS. Do Republicans do more "mortality exercizes"? Or are they just more susceptible to subliminal messages about death? Learn more about "mortality salience" here, from Judis, "Death Grip"at The New Republic.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Where Is "The Center?" (Political Center)

True or False? Source.

By early 2006, so-called centrism had offered up Iraq, a tax regime that puts the burden on the middle class, bankruptcy reform that gave away the farm to irresponsible credit card companies, an outdated physical infrastructure, legalized torture and a crippled disaster-response effort in New Orleans. The American people, infinitely smarter than Washington insiders, had had enough. Unapologetic, muscular Democrats swept into office in dramatic numbers in state and local races nationwide.

A new day is dawning for the progressive movement. The distrust between Net-roots activists and more traditional progressive players in the party establishment and issue groups has given way to respectful cooperation as we all adjust to new technologies and the promise they hold for institutional change.

Last week, at the YearlyKos convention, all these players came together to celebrate our newfound unity and to organize for the coming battles in 2008 and beyond. The DLC was nowhere to be found -- unless you looked in Nashville, where its members continued to preach, in empty halls, about the "vital center." Even the Democratic presidential candidates have figured out where the heart of the party now lies: with the new, unashamedly progressive movement.

The DLC had two decades to make its case, to build an audience and community, to elect leaders the American people wanted. It failed.

Susan Gardner is a contributing editor to and holds a fellowship with the Web site Daily Kos. Markos Moulitsas is founder of Daily Kos.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Taking Stock of SCOTUS

A new poll: source

About half of the public thinks the Supreme Court is generally balanced in its decisions, but a growing number of Americans say the court has become "too conservative" in the two years since President Bush began nominating justices, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly a third of the public -- 31 percent -- thought the court is too far to the right, a noticeable (12 point) jump since the question was last asked in July 2005. That's when Bush nominated John G. Roberts Jr. to the court and, in the six-month period that followed, the Senate approved Roberts as chief justice and confirmed Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

WONDER OF WONDERS, people are starting to notice and none too soon. In fact, it did not take very long at all. The thirty or so percent who think the Court is now "too conservative" probably overlaps with the fraction who are likely paying attention. Less than half of respondents thought the Court was "generally balanced" (47 % -- a drop of 8 points from before). Really, nobody pays any attention to the Court, or do they?

And there's this, concerning equal pay for women, horror of horrors! ! ! Backed only by Democrats under peril of a mightily under-employed Presidential VETO! Who else would like to know what Laura thinks about that???