Why the Filibuster Isn't Going Anywhere
There is a great deal of frustration with the filibuster at the moment, but it tends to be unpopular across the political spectrum - and we're probably stuck with it for the foreseeable future.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Defining Transparency Down
The government has an increasingly free hand in deciding what information it releases to the public, and its response has unsurprisingly been towards less disclosure.
Saturday, December 12, 2009(1 comments)
Thomas Hoenig For Fed Chairman
With the renomination of the current Federal Reserve chairman meeting some opposition, now is the time to start thinking about who might be a good replacement.
Through the Looking Glass With the DOJ
Recent actions by the Department of Justice in the case of a GuatĂ¡namo detainee are more suited for the Queen of Hearts than a court of law, and the most plausible explanations are corruption or incompetence.
Saturday, November 21, 2009(2 comments)
The Long Climb Back
The damage done by the Bush administration to the rule of law occurred over a few years - relatively quickly in legal terms. Repairing it will be a much longer task, as repairing always is.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009(3 comments)
On What Planet Does Barney Frank Spend Most of His Time?
Barney Frank has become something of a darling on the left because of his feistiness. That quality seems to work best for someone who will go down with the ship on principle... someone like Dennis Kucinich, who voted against the House health care bill under just that circumstance. It does not work so well with someone who appears to be at least half in the pocket of the interests he ostensibly oversees.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The Real Cost of Guantanamo
The president perhaps revealed more than he intended this week when he criticized other countries for avoiding any involvement with Guantánamo. They did so for entirely sensible reasons, and by now the soundest legal resolution to it for the U.S. may also be the most politically unpalatable.
Monday, January 12, 2009(1 comments)
Rockefeller and Feinstein: Preserving the Bush Legacy
Some key players in Washington are about to start life without their favorite scapegoat. If the early signals are any indication they may have a lot more to lose by breaking with his policies than continuing them.
Saturday, January 3, 2009(1 comments)
Preparing the Ground
The administration's legacy is already being debated, and the biggest events of it may have too many variables for a definitive consensus to be settled on. Some of the less well known stories may provide a great deal of clarity, however.
Saturday, December 20, 2008(8 comments)
A Policy Subject To Interpretation
The Senate released an extraordinary document last week, containing the kind of accusations that once would have brought Washington - and the nation - to a standstill. Instead it received a muted response, and the reasons are not hard to see.
Saturday, December 13, 2008(3 comments)
The Theory of the Idiot Actor
The Attorney General recently asserted that no pardons are necessary for any of the actors in the administration's torture regime. Whether or not that is true as a political strategy his reasoning for it hints at a disturbing attitude towards the system he is supposed to represent.
Saturday, December 6, 2008(3 comments)
The Latest Threat to Domestic Security
The latest encroachment on basic freedoms arrived this week with the usual packaging: The need to keep us all safe. But domestic deployment of tens of thousands of soldiers would do no such thing, and in fact would only serve to further aggrandize the Pentagon.
Saturday, November 29, 2008(1 comments)
Breaking the Bailout
The collection of furtive shenanigans we've come to call The Bailout took an extraordinary turn at the start of the week when we guaranteed hundreds of billions of dollars for yet another diminished ex-titan of Wall Street. The proper response is not resignation but redoubled activism.
Saturday, November 22, 2008(4 comments)
In Defense of the Electoral College
The Electoral College, when it is noticed at all, is usually dismissed as an anachronism at best and a foe of democracy at worst. But some of our current problems might be more manageable if we made more use of it, not less.
Saturday, November 15, 2008(1 comments)
Why the Final Nine Weeks Still Matter
Now that the election is over and we can look forward to a new administration on January 20th it is very tempting to be satisfied with counting down the days left in the current one. Doing so will allow some dangerous precedents to be set, though, and can only have negative consequences.
Saturday, November 8, 2008(1 comments)
(Mis)information Laundering as a Presidential Prerogative
One of the White House's favorite questionable practices is the use of foreign media to import stories that cannot originate domestically. Congress urgently needs to investigate, not despite the brief time left to do so but because of it.
Saturday, November 1, 2008(4 comments)
Who Needs a President, Anyway?
America was founded and existed for a short time without a president. As we prepare to elect our next one it may be useful to look back to when we didn't have one at all, and to the very limited role envisioned for it by its creators.
Monday, October 27, 2008(1 comments)
Staying the Course in Guant-namo
Our extranational shadow justice experiment has been a failure on virtually every level. The clear response would seem to be closing it, but circumstances inside the Beltway may trump the obvious.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The Inconvenient Existence of Abdel al Ghizzawi
A court ruling this week put new pressure on the administration to release seventeen noncombatatants held at Guantánamo. Their plight, and that of others similarly held, hint at the magnitude of the injustice there - and suggests why those responsible for it are so eager to keep them locked away.
Friday, October 3, 2008(3 comments)
A Wonderful Failure
The House rejection of the bailout on Monday was also a rejection of incompetent officials and questionable lawmaking processes. And even if the worst nightmares threatened on us come to pass as a result we will, believe it or not, get along.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The Right Abandons the Field
The crisis on Wall Street has demonstrated that conservatism has not a single idea remaining. No one attempted an ideological explanation or way forward, and those who tried to frame it in partisan terms just looked foolish.
Saturday, September 20, 2008(2 comments)
The Republicans' Disdain For Democracy
Republicans and their surrogates have made a great show of concern over elitism on the left, but the overwhelming evidence points to hostility on the right for democratic institutions and processes.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Living In the Shadow of the Bomb Thrower
The legacy of the contemporary Republican party is that of a corrosive pessimism about the government's ability to work. Its primary inspiration is still on the scene but doesn't get the credit he deserves.
Saturday, September 6, 2008(5 comments)
The Doctrine of Preemption Comes Home
Lawlessness is typically associated with Molotov cocktail-throwing anarchists, but a far more threatening variety has been methodically implemented at the top levels of our government
Saturday, August 23, 2008(4 comments)
Those Who Did Not Go Crazy
The all-but-certain criminality at the top of our government has been getting more coverage lately, but we shouldn't lose sight of those who have at times taken substantial risks to oppose it
Saturday, August 16, 2008(4 comments)
The Hippie White House
Some seemingly long-settled issues didn't go away, they went underground. This time around some of the key players are acting a lot like those they once disdained.
Saturday, August 9, 2008(3 comments)
Truth, Justice, and the American Way
We may be confronted with some unpleasant choices when we finally have to address the full range of wrongdoing in the White House. It won't take a superhero to set it right, but it may require a cast iron stomach.
Sunday, August 3, 2008(3 comments)
The Ongoing Awfulness of Michael Mukasey
The Attorney General has done little more than parrot talking points and make excuses since his appointment. His latest performance may be his most disgraceful yet.
Saturday, July 26, 2008(1 comments)
Afflicting the Comfortable
Challenging the established parties and conventional wisdom in Washington is often considered an exercise in futility. The degree to which that is true may depend on the goals of the challenge.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Giving Up The Third Habit
Recent changes in the newspaper industry have prompted me to reconsider a daily routine that I thought would be with me for life.
Sunday, July 6, 2008(6 comments)
Time To Create Some Martyrs
Congress has been timorously asking for the President to observe our systems of checks and balances to little effect. It is now time for action, even if it means some big names on the right become lauded as fallen heroes.
Saturday, June 28, 2008(5 comments)
The Democrats' Risky Strategy
In an election year when the clamor for change is more than just a slogan, playing it safe may be the biggest gamble of all.
Saturday, June 21, 2008(1 comments)
A judge working for a weaker judiciary
This week a federal judge issued a decision that must have been arrived at in a hermetically sealed vault. There is no other way to explain its profound ignorance of current events.
Saturday, June 14, 2008(1 comments)
Going Out With A Bang
Most outgoing Presidents limit themselves to workaday concerns when they enter the twilight of their terms. There are good reasons for this, but our current President is once again showing just how singular he is.
Saturday, June 7, 2008(3 comments)
The Continuing Rule Of Fear In Washington
Scott McClellan has ignited a number of different conversations, but the conventional wisdom in the capitol still will not acknowledge the uncomfortable source they all share.
Saturday, May 31, 2008(3 comments)
Bad Luck All Around
Sometimes things go wrong because no one could have anticipated how events would unfold. Sometimes they do because of severely stunted powers of anticipation.
Saturday, May 24, 2008(1 comments)
The Other Kind Of Congressional Oversight
The House and Senate have been unwilling to exercise one of their most important responsibilities, which suggests they may be looking at a different part of the dictionary than the rest of us.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
How Actual Journalism Works, Part 2
This week saw a claim of how reporting is supposed to work along with an example of the same. It should surprise no one that the latter was more impressive.
Saturday, May 10, 2008(1 comments)
Leading The Elephants To The Slaughter
The Republican party is facing another bad election cycle. Some of the reason is simply the stars aligning against it, but the larger reason is the miserable results of its policies.
Saturday, May 3, 2008(4 comments)
Congress Makes A Bold Move (Or Doesn't)
A recently filed lawsuit could initiate a dramatic assertion of Congressional authority. It could also be just more hot air, and the inscrutable nature of Congress doesn't help figuring out which.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Words Concealing Bodies
Last Sunday the New York Times detailed how the administration has used retired military offices as a "Trojan horse" to sell the Iraq war. We owe it to the soldiers serving there to ask some hard questions in response.
Saturday, April 19, 2008(6 comments)
The Handmaidens of Torture
Last week's torture news received little attention because of the combined effects of decorous politicians, indifferent media and the administration's reflexive defenders. To change these dynamics we may need to change how we approach the issue.
Sunday, April 13, 2008(3 comments)
The Administration's Newest Spy Agency
The benign-sounding National Applications Office is another example of an objectionable expansion of executive power, and once again it comes in the guise of protecting us from terrorism.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Legislate In Haste, Repent At Leisure
We rushed to pass a bad law in the wake of 9/11. The unsurprising consequences are bad enough, but if we can't learn from them it will be even worse.
Saturday, March 29, 2008(3 comments)
Tribal Conflict in America
Political discouse seems to have degraded recently and the real culprit may have nothing to so with current events.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Break Out the Shovels
The President's political career will soon end, and he is eager to determine what people will remember about him and what they won't.
Monday, March 17, 2008
How Congress Could Lead On Iraq
The President continues to act as though Congress has no role in foreign policy. It does, and it could easily assert it in a couple of recent developments.
Monday, March 10, 2008
The Train Rushes By
Primaries were held in my state this week. Executive power wan't part of the discussion, and neither was anything else of substance.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Poisoning the Well
The President has made politicization of previously well-regarded institutions a high priority. While it serves his purposes nicely it isn't such a good deal for the rest of us.
Saturday, February 23, 2008(6 comments)
Our highest court showed once again this week that despite its protestations to the contrary it is very much a politicized body
Sunday, February 17, 2008(2 comments)
The worst of the President's executive power grabs have obscured some smaller problems we'll have to deal with as well
Saturday, February 9, 2008(7 comments)
The New Authoritarians
There has been a radical turn towards antidemocratic attitudes by some and we need to start calling it by its true name.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
A Moment For Leaders
The Protect America Act expires next Friday, and what happens between now and then will tell us a lot about who our leaders really are.
Sunday, January 20, 2008(1 comments)
Play, pause and explain
We've come to approve of torture by a number of different ways, but perhaps the most insidious is our willingness to look at a distorted picture of it.
Do Away With the State Secrets Privilege
We have more to lose from our representatives frightening us into letting them obscure their activities than from legally requiring them to disclose those activities as a matter of course.