Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Ron Glass, 68. As I've said, I was never really a big Barney Miller fan; of course, I am a huge fan of Shepherd Book.

The good stuff:

1. Will Wilkinson on the security state and democracy. Several good points here. On the final question he asks -- what happened to Barack Obama? -- I suspect he has the answer mostly wrong, or maybe it's the question that he gets wrong. I strongly suspect it's not so much about what Obama "really" thinks; my guess is that what we've seen is a president getting rolled by a combination of the bureaucracy and, to a lesser extent, a combination of the out party and the president's political advisers. Yes, I'm guessing here, and we probably won't know the answer for a long time, but that's my fairly strong guess.

2. Abby Rapoport on the likely next governor of Texas, Greg Abbott.

3. Even more from Scott Lemieux on Shelby County.

4. Dan Drezner on Rand Paul and foreign policy.

5. What Jennifer Victor learned at the Political Networks Conference.

6. Seth Masket on this summer's movies and higher education.

7. And the best thing of all: Vital Statistics on Congress is now on line and available.


  1. I'll confess to being disappointed that the domestic surveillance is/was going on, and I expected better of Obama, but I think I understand how and why it happened. It was already going on. And if Obama stopped it, and then there was a successful attack, even a small one, the political blowback would have been enormous. A president has to use all the tools in protecting the nation, and leaving tools unused is going to have political consequences.

    1. The other thing to consider is that Obama could well be slightly (or even significantly) more pro-civil liberties than the median Dem congressperson. Whatever else you could say about him, he's not standing athwart a tide of civil liberties legislation, from either Dems, Repubs or a bipartisan coalition, yelling "Stop." I wish he were, or rather, I wish there were enough votes in Congress to rein this stuff in. If Obama pushed back against that, he'd deserve all the criticism we could throw at him.

      I'm happy to deprive Obama of the benefit of the doubt with respect to areas where he has more control - in other words, I'm willing to believe that he's worse than he needs to be given institutional constraints and all the stuff none of us on the outside can know, but even if that's true, he's a small part of the problem.

    2. After Obama had his ass handed to him over Gitmo by his own Democratic Congressional colleagues at the outset of his presidency, it was clear that the locus of resistance to improving civil liberties protection wasn't the presidency, but rather median/moderate Democratic and Republican congressional members. And arguably one could say their disappointing but accurate read of their own constituents' indifference to civil liberties. It remains the case: only a minority of Democratic senators, for example are interested right now in pushing for tighter oversight of the NSA; after all they just re-authorized all the rules 1-2 years ago.

    3. The most plausible explanation is that Obama just isn't a civil libertarian. After all, we now know that he's lied to the American people about the extent of domestic surveillance and is now moving heaven and earth to catch and prosecute the man who exposed the lie. It's hard for me to imagine that this is all just a political calculation to appease the security state bureaucracy. If so, that's a rather chilling revelation as to our President's character.

  2. Yglesias and Krugman have lauded Argentina's expansive monetary policy, but have been queerly silent about its effects. Does anyone wonder why?

    Oops. Hyperinflation, anyone?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?