Thursday, December 29, 2011

Justice Carter?

Gregg Easterbrook calls YLS prof Stephen Carter "the nation’s leading public intellectual" and says he's "a fine candidate for a Supreme Court opening."

Carter was one of my favorite professors at Yale, in part because he was one of the few who seemed to take his job as a teacher seriously. I don't agree with every policy position he's taken, and I think his novels, while well-crafted, are ultimately unsatisfying. But there's no denying that he'd bring to the bench a serious work ethic and deep regard for the rule of law.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Lie

Ramesh Ponnuru on PolitiFact:

The reason we have politics at all is that we disagree, sometimes deeply, about how to promote the common good, and we need a peaceful and productive way to resolve or at least manage these disagreements. We disagree about how to improve U.S. health care, and we disagree about how each other’s proposals to change it should be characterized. The pretense of PolitiFact, and other media “fact checkers,” is that many of our political disputes have obvious correct answers on which all reasonable people looking fairly at the evidence can agree -- and any other answer is “simply not true.”

This pretense really is false, and like dishonesty, it is corrosive.

Glenn Greenwald makes essentially the same point here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"The Most Successful Cult in the World"

Are North Koreans really mourning one of the vilest tyrants in history? Daniel Foster thinks so:
North Korea can be looked at as the most successful cult in the world, and after bribing the military and other key allies, the vast majority of the state’s resources were dedicated to (1) raising the Kims to divinity and (2) hermetically sealing the state to outside discourse. After nearly three-quarters of a century of wholesale brainwashing, it is highly likely that a huge swath of the population of North Korea is in the grips of a kind of mass psychosis.
More links on North Korea here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

High Stakes

Daniel Foster on Mitt Romney and the $10k bet:
If Mitt walked around with a platinum scepter and a coat of Dodo feathers I could see calling that a gaffe, but things have gotten silly if one of the things we're looking for in a candidate is his ability to consistently condescend to us about the basic, verifiable facts of his existence, just to make us feel like he's "one of us."