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Showing posts from February, 2013

Stop the deficit hysteria

I was reading this post from Andrew Sullivan today when this caught my attention and prompted the email I have copy and pasted below the quote:

The committee failed; the elections loomed. Ezra’s right, I think, to see the elections as an endorsement of a mixed approach: raise revenues, reform taxes, and cut entitlements. Now some revenues have been raised – but only because without some modest concessions from the GOP, even more revenues would have been raised, tipping the economy into recession. But the implemented tax hikes, as the GOP has consistently and rightly argued, are nowhere near enough to tackle the debt. So we still do need real spending cuts in the medium and long run, especially in Medicare, and we do need defense cuts, to reduce a military-industrial complex now costing twice as much as it did a decade ago; and we desperately need tax reform and simplification. In that last option – tax reform and simplification – lies the least damaging way to raise essential revenues.

The Hagel filibuster

Republicans in the Senate have filibustered the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. This has never happened before. While there isn't an explicit rule that would prevent Republicans from doing this, it does violate the norms of the Senate's role as the advisor when it comes to cabinet nominations. The reason this is interesting is because the language in the constitution is pretty vague.

It just says that the Senate should advise and consent on these nominations. It gives no further guidelines. So what should be the defined role of the Senate here? I'm not going to research the entire history of this issues. In all my readings about the constitutional convention I don't recall this specific issue coming up. But in having a framework for what the different factions at the constitutional convention wanted, I think we can come close to figuring out what they meant the passage to mean.

Many of the founders were worried about giving the executive too much p…

Community returns for season 4

It's finally October 19, kind of. Not really. That's when season 4 of Community was supposed to come back. But because apparently NBC doesn't have much faith in the show they decided that Oct19 is going to be moved to February 7. Since then, and since NBC didn't bring back Dan Harmon, we've all been wondering whether we are in the darkest timeline. Will we ever seen more Community? If we do, will it be as good without it's creator and show runner?

Tonight we started to get some answers. I wouldn't call this the darkest timeline since the show is back. But I wouldn't exactly call this the brightest timeline, the one in which we all join Britta singing and dancing to Roxanne while Jeff gets the pizza. Having said that, I enjoyed the season opener. I think it hit most of the right notes in a fairly funny way. And they did a good job of setting up an arc for the season. Spoilers to follow.

The new show runners wasted no time trying to accommodate Community…

Racial resentment and conservatism

A ton of talk since the election has been about what is wrong with the GOP and what can be done to fix it. And much of that talk has been about the party's relationship with racial minorities since they get absolutely crushed by Democrats (though not as much has been said about women, the GOP doesn't lose this group as bad as racial minorities, but being less sexist would help its cause). I read a few posts on one reason the GOP has a hard time getting, or even deciding to try and get, more racial minorities to vote for them. Here are those posts by Jamelle Bouie and Kevin Drum.

What I wanted to briefly talk about is something Kevin brings up from an email he quotes:

I'm open to hearing arguments that bigotry is not an intrinsic value of the conservative ideology (and God knows Goldberg, Lowry, Ponnuru, Douthat, Brooks, Frum and others breathlessly try to advance this argument despite actual and continuing evidence to the contrary), but that's a big sales job. But a ne…

My top 10 favorite Community episodes

My favorite tv show is coming back for its 4th season this Thursday, Feb 7. And to honor Community's return, I felt like partaking in the time honored blogging tradition of making a top 10 list. Needless to say, I love every episode. But several stick out above the rest. And among those that do there isn't much variance between them.

10. Beginner Pottery

This is one of the first times that we see the dark side to Jeff's personality. He takes a pottery class because he thinks it will be an easy class in which he won't have to do much work. (Say what you want about him, but Jeff is always trying to be efficient in achieving his goal of becoming a lawyer again.) But driven by his need to satisfy his ego, he tries really hard to be better than Rich, the doctor everyone loves. The sets up a lot of good stuff in later seasons. And to be honest, this episode won a tie-breaker with Epidemiology because of Annie molding clay. Sorry, but I love Alison Brie.

9. Comparative Reli…

The narrative on Chuck Hagel

I like to talk about narratives. Sometimes I don't mention them because they can be hard to pick up on. You have to actively read into things and be on the lookout for clues. Often times my brain just isn't working in that mode. But every once in a while a topic comes up in politics where the narrative is about as clear as you can get. And Chuck Hagel being nominated for Secretary of Defense is one of those instances.

I'll direct you here for reasons why he should be nominated. He's not exactly my ideal candidate. But he has many strong qualities that should make him a competent leader. You would think his qualifications and what he thinks about the wide range of topics the job encompasses would be the focus of the narrative. But it hasn't been. It's been about his thoughts on Israel. Specifically, the narrative has been how his previous thoughts regarding Israel and US policy toward Israel either make him anti-Semetic or an open-minded person who doesn't …