First, the economy
. Last Thursday at the office I listened to an alarming lunchtime presentation from two very good economists (Vince Reinhart and Des Lachman) arguing about whether the U.S. and global economy is heading for total catastrophe or merely disaster over the next few years, complete with the Woody Allen gag about hoping we have the wisdom to choose wisely. Then I went back to my desk to see that the stock market had suddenly plunged 1,000 points, and thought--"Gee, I didn't realize we were webcasting that panel!"
Now this morning's paper brings news of the $1 trillion bailout of Europe engineered in haste over the weekend. Wall Street loves bailouts; I note that as of this early morning writing time, stock market futures are way up. I wonder if the market will hold up all day. I'm doubtful.
The Supreme Court. So it's going to be Elena Kagan. A solid pick from Obama's point of view, and I expect she will be confirmed fairly easily. I think she may be overrated in her ability to swing Justice Kennedy, and may represent another botched pick in the fullness of time, like Sotomayor. But it is increasingly apparent that in the Obama administration, the Supreme Court may as well have a sign up: White men need not apply. What must someone of Cass Sustein's stature think about this state of things?
The Utah Senate. So Sen. Bob Bennett has been shown the door by the state GOP, with a strong shove from the Tea Partiers, for his heresy of cavorting with Democrats on health care and voting for the TARP program. Perhaps unfair on both counts, but on the other hand conservatives are right to have lingering disappointment with Republican profligacy in the Bush years, and some new blood is not a bad thing. What is more noteworthy is the media reaction. The Bennett ouster is taken as another sign of the dubious dominance of the extreme right wing, don'tchaknow, and obviously bad for America. This precious line might have more credibility if the media mavens had made the symmetrical point about the left netroots ganging up on Joe Lieberman in 2008 for not toeing the leftist line, or for Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln right now, facing a challenge from the left for her reluctance about the Obama agenda. If anyone in the MSM made this point about either of those instances I missed it.
Finally, climate. The Wall Street Journal gives me a nice shout-out in its editorial this morning about the decline in CO2 emissions last year, an artifact of the recession, and goes on to mention the meaning of the Obama/Congressional target of an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2050:
Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute estimates that the last time U.S. emissions were that low, William Howard Taft was President. On a per capita basis, the U.S. population of 420 million projected for 2050 would be held to the same overall emissions as the 40 million Americans in 1875.
Now, one coda about this factoid is that I have been pointing this out for more than two years now, both in print and in testimony before several congressional committees. Normally the climate campaigners challenge any claim or fact contrary to the climate narrative, but no one has challenged my conclusion. Typically the climate campaigners change the subject. Must be an inconvenient truth.
O, seer: If Specter loses his primary, will he run as an independent?
Sunstein: The author of Nudge--hired at Harvard by Kagan, no?--knows the politics of these nominations. Obama doesn't want more trouble, Jewish voters are having doubts about him, and he wants more women on the Court.
I've heard some express the "fear" that Kagan is a closet conservative. I don't believe it. Unfortunately for the right, there is very little precedent for left-leaning judges or politicians becoming conservative once in office. On the other side both Souter and Stevens were appointed by Republican presidents yet became staunch liberals once placed on the Court. Winston Churchill famously "ratted" and then "re-ratted" between parties but in America it seems "ratting" only goes one way.
"But it is increasingly apparent that in the Obama administration, the Supreme Court may as well have a sign up: White men need not apply."
Funny, I don't remember conservatives uttering a peep of protest during those many years when the rule was obviously "ONLY white men may apply."
Now that there are a few exceptions to that rule, the most disgusting and shameless sort of faux-victimhood whining kicks in.
Thus far, I don't see how the make-up of the SCOTUS has deviated from that of the US as a whole - unless one imagines the country is composed solely of white males.
I'm just curious. Is your name pronounced "anus"?
I just got a GOPUSA email saying that Kagan is a lesbian, which to me is primarily an argument that she will not be ruling as a conservative. Although, if she were a closet conservative the fact of her sexual orientation would bother me less.
I don't really care that she has not been a judge, nor that she is not white male nor anything but that her political record seems to indicate she will rule with the current liberal illiberality. That bothers me quite a bit.
I think it's a pretty sure bet that she is a lesbian and iwill never be a conservative in any meaningful sense. Moreover, we'll be paying the price for a very long time, given her age. In general, any product connected to Harvard is bad news.
As for reflecting America, there will now be no Protestants on the court. I will admit, however, that given the flaky multicultural nonsense spewed by many mainstream Protestant denominations, this may be a good thing.
The thing that surprises me the most is that in his second opportunity to appoint someone to the SCOTUS, Mr. Obama has again neglected to choose an African-American. I am astonished! Where are all the Jacksons and Sharptons crying “racist” ??? There were already two liberal women on the court, but only one black, and a conservative at that.
Oh, please, Mechelle: Obama has to placate gays and Jews right now, because of having offended them with previous policies. Just you wait, by the next appointment, he will have some other necessary type in mind for the job. A black, Protestant evangelical of the sort who is both pro-life and pro-choice, with the latter inclination winning out in the political end, is just what will be needed by then. If he/she also has an Hispanic heritage or last name, but grew up in the right sort of ghetto, we will truly be all set.