Saturday, July 13, 2013

What Mattered This Week?

The Senate confrontation really does matter, so I'll go with that even though they just moved forward mostly as expected this week. Note that Mitch McConnell did say that the Labor and EPA picks will get 60...the question now is whether they can find a way to strike a deal on the rest, or...well, there are a few different possible outcomes.

I'm not sure what didn't matter, although I suppose I could link to a Ignore Those Polls! post I did about early 2016 election polls.

So that's what I have. What did you notice? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. I think Janet Napolitano stepping down could certainly matter. Both to UC and to the Dept of Homeland Security. It will be interesting to see who Obama selects as her replacement. I have to believe he would have preferred that she stay on until the end of his term.

    1. I agree. As an AZ resident I was very impressed with the job Napolitano did as governor, although it seems she did jump ship when the economic sh*t was about to hit the fan. Not good for us, but maybe just another example of how smart she really is.

      She works hard and knows the details. (I can see in the photos of her, however, that she looks tired!) I'm similarly impressed that she's managed DHS for all these years without a major embarrassment. Obama could only hope that might continue!

      Replacing her is going to be a real pain, both because of the loss of her management capabilities, but also how the GOP will rake any nominee over the coals no matter how qualified, dragging out the process and adding to the likelihood of some leadership gap.

    2. UC is smart to hire someone who knows how to handle billion dollar budgets.

      Other things that matter: the Texas and North Carolina bills restricting abortion access will matter in the long run for each state. They will greatly increase poverty.

    3. I certainly hope she's not pulling down a half mil like the former UC regent was. While the UC system is huge, these guys haven't been managing it at all responsibly and the compensation was way out of line compared with how they were gouging their base employees.

  2. Early polls can actually be surprisingly accurate (just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, as long as it's an old-fashioned analog clock...) Look at this one from 1997, showing GW Bush and Al Gore within one percentage point of each other.

  3. I suppose this "doesn't matter", but HuffPo has a poll up asking about the Zimmerman jury's verdict.

    Keep in mind that, in order for Zimmerman to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury had to be absolutely certain that

    a) Zimmerman lied,
    b) Zimmerman inflicted his own wounds (including a broken nose), and
    c) Neighbor John Good (owner of the condo outside which the scuffle occurred) purposely exposed himself to significant legal jeopardy in lying for the sake of a complete stranger, George Zimmerman.

    Though the threshhold for "beyond reasonable doubt" is ostensibly staggering in this case, the results of that poll are more staggering still. Throw in the fact that HuffPo readers probably have more education than your average bear, and, well...

    ....we let these people elect our leaders?


    1. On the other hand, some would say that the verdict was structured by the requirement that the jury examine that specific clash in isolation from the argument that Zimmerman acted unnecessarily in ways that made him responsible for the clash occurring in the first place.

      I don't know whether I'm fully convinced. Zimmerman was part of a neighborhood watch and could believe he had a responsiblity to see who was sneaking around. But then the police--who apparently had received 46 similar calls from him in the past--did advise him not to pursue Martin, and I have to think that they might have had an outcome like this in mind. I doubt we've heard the last of this case. Personlly, I've tried not to follow it, but I find that hard to do.

    2. The defense attorney's comment that Zimmerman never would have been arrested if he had been black isn't going to help either.

    3. Scott, those are great points, and I think they really get to the (mostly overlooked) heart of this case: is it cool to have armed dudes like George Zimmerman doing his Hawaii Five-O routine in such neighborhoods, as evidenced by the 46 calls?

      That's a very serious concern. Separate though from the quality of the jury's conclusion that Zimmerman's life was plausibly in danger when he shot that kid.

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    5. Scott, the prosecution used the events preceding the encounter as circumstantial evidence that Zimmerman initiated the attack. Of course, leaving the car and following Martin are not themselves crimes, so they don't by themselves make the shooting that followed a crime.

      The fact that Zimmerman had called the police 46 times prior to this case and was never once accused of threatening or attacking someone makes it harder for me to believe that he attacked Martin for no reason on that night.

      Truthfully, I have no idea who initiated the attack. But the prosecution's theory was, at best, not more believable than that of the defense -- and so it is far from meeting the legal standard of reasonable doubt.

      CSH, I'm actually rather encouraged by how well the system worked, in spite of heated public opinion and political pressure from the President on down.

    6. Couves, I agree with your last completely. It is entirely possible that Zimmerman is guilty as charged, but his broken nose plus Good's testimony make that a 50/50 proposition at best.

      As you note, its good to know that our legal system seems to have acknowledged that, tremendous outside pressures notwithstanding.

  4. I think the House vote on the Farm Bill mattered. It will matter even more if, having done that, the GOP caucus (with Boehner riding its tail) decides there's little incentive to even pretend to pass a SNAP bill.
    We will probably go into September with f-all legislating done, a message from the House Republicans that poor people matter 0.0%, and a debt "limit" hostage situation that will make the past few cycles look like a tricycle parade.

  5. A new poll shows increased public support for civil liberties on security issues:

    It also shows that most Americans consider Snowden a whistleblower. That makes this an interesting case in which there's insufficient leadership to direct public opposition at a president who is intent on retaliating against the whistleblower.

    Also, it sounds like we will be delivering a shipment of F-16's to post-coup Egypt.


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