Archive for July, 2012


New Senate Record Set for Blocking Judicial Appointments

Nicole Flatow, writing for the American Constitution Society:

There are 76 vacant federal judgeships, 32 regarded as emergencies because cases are overwhelming the existing judges. Fifteen consensus nominees are pending now.

No wonder the average American lacks confidence in the government. Even our courts are too understaffed to be efficient.


Jason Alexander on Aurora

Jason Alexander (@IJasonAlexander), penning the best thoughts on Aurora I’ve read. 

But this is not the time for reasonable people, on both sides of this issue, to be silent. We owe it to the people whose lives were ended and ruined yesterday to insist on a real discussion and hopefully on some real action.

Such a calm, sensical plea. A must read. 


We’ve Seen This Movie Before

Roger Ebert, in a thoughtful piece for the New York Times.

That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection.

Death should never present an opportunity for political gain. But at what point does an idea become nonpartisan? Surely, we can all agree that insane people should not be permitted the same right to bear arms as law abiding citizens. But then again, maybe not.

When did pragmatic solutions to real problems in our real society become so overshadowed by blind idealism?

UPDATE: And it’s not just the Courts wearing the idealist’s glasses. The gun lobby’s influence is so vast it even led to the to the failure of a bill intended to restrict those on the Terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.


The Geography of Gun Violence

Richard Florida for The Atlantic, back in 2011,

It is the nature of the culture of honor itself and the way it acts on and through marginalized young males, just like Loughner. The culture of honor, as Nisbett describes it, sees violence as an “appropriate response to insults” and as “a means of self-protection.”

Be sure to read his follow up this morning over at The Atlantic Cities which discusses correlation of state policies to gun violence.

A sad day indeed for both America and Colorado.


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Putting On their US Olympic Uniforms and Wearing Them Too

US Olympics uniforms and the responsibility of ownership

Olivier Blanchard from The Brand Builder Blog:

And right there and then, I realized something that, in my initial disgusted outrage, I had missed completely that the U.S. Olympic Team is privately funded. Ah. Well, that changes everything.

Here’s an idea: if you want American-made uniforms (which is totally understandable, we all want that) then write your congressman and demand that the Olympic program receive adequate funding from the federal government. Then, as owners of the US Olympic program, we the people can legitimately have a say as to where the uniforms are made (hopefully right here in the US).

Naturally, Policitians from both sides voiced their outrage over the news that US outfits would be manufactured in China. Yet no one, acknowledge the fact that American Taxpayers aren’t footing the bill anymore. In today’s tax-adverse-let’s-privatize-everything era, we have to learn to accept the consequences of that choice.

If you want to have your say, then fund the program. Own it. Nurture it. Grow it.


First Tier Reporting, Second Tier Status

Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog, discussing the media’s hits and misses on the morning the Supreme Court announced the Healthcare Decision. If you recall, CNN and Fox News originally reported that the Court struck down the mandate.

I am not a media critic. I’m not even a journalist. But here are my “takeaways” from that morning.

Everyone involved in the process worked diligently to distribute information quickly and correctly….

But both CNN and Fox exposed themselves to potential failure by

  1. treating the decision as a breathless “breaking news” event, despite the fact that everyone knew when the opinion was going to be released (and the mandate won’t take effect until 2014), while at the same time
  2. not putting sufficiently sound procedures in place to deal with the potential complications, and
  3. not placing more faith in the consensus view of the wire reports.

Those errors were avoidable, and were in fact avoided by others.

Goldstein politely mentions the fact that SCOTUSblog did not have press credentials at the Court except for a staff member who also reported for WBUR Boston, despite the fact that all major media outlets (and the White House) relied upon SCOTUSblog when they finally reported the facts correctly.

Despite the establishments negative view of blogs, blogs must be doing some things right.