Sunday, May 27, 2012

Last Call

BooMan asks:

Why Pick on Chief Justice Roberts?

Indeed, that's what George Will seems to be doing in his WaPo column this weekend.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is generally considered today’s swing vote, but his acerbic first question to the administration’s lawyer during the second day of oral argument changed assumptions: “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?”

Concluding that Kennedy might be disposed to overturn the mandate, some Obamacare defenders decided that Roberts’s vote will be decisive. They hope to secure it by causing Roberts to worry about his reputation and that of his institution.

BooMan goes on to comment on Will's premise:

I feel like the two most likely results are a 6-3 decision to uphold, with Thomas, Scalia, and Alito dissenting, or a 5-4 decision to strike down the mandate, with all the liberals dissenting. I don't see a scenario where Kennedy votes to strike the mandate but Roberts saves it.

That's why I think George Will's premise is stupid. But maybe he doesn't want the embarrassment of losing this case by more than a 5-4 split. 

There's more to it then that.  Recall Karl Rove's law:  If conservatives are accusing liberals of doing something, conservatives are the ones actually doing it and it's projection.  Period.  From that we can assume that the pressure here is being put by conservatives on Justice Roberts.  But why?  BooMan has a point that it's Kennedy they should be pressuring, not Roberts.

I can think of at least two reasons.  One, they are going after Roberts to convince Kennedy.  Two, they are setting up a scenario where a 5-4 decision where Kennedy upholds the law and mandate and Roberts doesn't as illegitimate because Roberts is Chief Justice.

Pretty sobering thought.  But yes, Will is clearly scared that the law will be upheld here and that conservtives will miss their "chance to rewire the entire country" regardless of who ends up President in January.

Keep an eye on this line of attack from the Village.

Luke, Alex Pareene Is Your Father Now

Salon's Alex Pareene is probably not going to become Luke Russert's friend anytime soon as he rightly gives the Village's poster boy for useless nepotism a sound spanking (not to mention snark worthy of myself.)

On the basis of his impressive reporting and ease in front of the camera still being named Russert, Luke was promoted, after the election, to congressional correspondent. That’s the contempt with which NBC News views the occupation of journalism. To make Luke Russert a congressional reporter is to say, “We believe that this job requires no particular knowledge, training or skills. If a German shepard could be trained to speak, it could perform this work.” (That’s true of most cable news work, granted, but it really doesn’t have to be.) Proper reporting on the House of Representatives is actually difficult and largely thankless work, generally done by very hardworking and underpaid reporters. The assignment was transparently NBC’s attempt to help Russert develop chops, and what it has yielded thus far is the time Charlie Rangel called Luke dumb, which MSNBC turned into a two-day story.

NBC seems to be keeping Russert employed in the hopes that he’ll eventually develop an ability to simulate gravitas. Hopefully “Meet the Press” will still be on the air by the time Luke has mastered his serious face.

His Twitter feed presents a perfectly dull person with perfectly banal thoughts. When he drifts into attempted solemnity it’s usually more amusing than his actual attempts at humor. (More quality insight, right here.) It’s precisely what you would imagine the result would be if the elite Beltway press somehow collectively raised a child from birth — which is, in effect, what actually happened. He subscribes to every shibboleth of Washington conventional wisdom and shows fealty to all the proper institutions.

And yes, Luke Russert is precisely everything wrong with the DC press rolled into one obnoxiously banal little package.  When I think of all the correspondents and reporters who should have Luke Russert's job as NBC's Capitol Hill correspondent it makes me scream.

And make no mistake, there's a lot wrong with our media other than Russert.  He's a symptom, not a cause.  The cause is corporate ownership, period.

You think if NBC was worried about journalistic integrity that Russert would be anything more than an intern?

A Ballsy Tale

Mao Sugiyama, a self-described "asexual" from Tokyo, cooked up, seasoned and served his own genitalia to five diners at a swanky banquet in Japan last month, Calorie Lab reported.
Sugiyama sparked a firestorm of interest on April 8 with one tweet:
"[Please retweet] I am offering my male genitals (full penis, testes, scrotum) as a meal for 100,000 yen …Will prepare and cook as the buyer requests, at his chosen location."
To show you just how naive I am, I never thought anyone would pay for the privilege, so when I read the headline (come on, I knew even then I was going to write about this) my initial expectation was that this was a trick pulled on unknowing victims.

Nope.  He served them with  mushrooms and parsley.  I mean hey, if you're going to eat that, a little fungus should be a-okay, right?

I'll have the crocodile, thanks.

Zombie Invasion

This is a completely legit news article, but OMG zombies was all I could think while reading it.

(AP) MIAMI - Miami police say that an officer has fatally shot a naked man who was chewing on the face of another man on a downtown expressway off-ramp.
The Miami Herald reports that gunshots were heard at about 2 p.m. Saturday on the MacArthur Causeway off-ramp, which is near the newspaper's offices. Witnesses said that a woman saw two men fighting and flagged down a police officer, who observed a naked man mauling the other man. The newspaper quoted witnesses as saying that the officer ordered the naked man to back away, and when he ignored repeated demands, shot him multiple times, killing him.
If that guy gets up and starts walking, I'm going to the middle of a desert with a lot of ammo.  You're welcome to join me, but know I'll shoot anyone who is bitten.

The Pain In Spain Continues

The decay is starting to accelerate now in Spain's continued banking mess, with Bankia, Spain's biggest mortgage lender, now saying it needs almost 20 billion euros to stay afloat.

The government is trying to head off a collapse of the bank, which could threaten the Spanish banking industry and reverberate through the financial centers of Europe and beyond. The fear is that it will not have the money to save its banks, and their $1.25 trillion in deposits, and will need a rescue by the rest of Europe — even as political and financial leaders struggle to resolve Greece’s debt debacle. 

Bankia’s announcement came as Standard & Poor’s, the credit ratings agency, downgraded Bankia and two other banks, Banco Popular and Bankinter, to junk status and lowered the ratings of two other Spanish banks also staggered by mounting bad loans. A junk rating could make it even harder for Bankia to borrow its way out of trouble. 

The rising fear now is that the recent steady outflow of deposits from Spain’s banks, which are suffering from the bursting of Spain’s real estate bubble, to institutions outside the country could eventually turn into the sort of bank run that almost brought the financial world to its knees after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. 

Spain’s debt crisis is also playing out on another front. As its banks shudder, heavily indebted regional governments are also running out of money. On Friday, the government of the Catalonia region warned that it might no longer be able to finance its debts and called on the central government for help. While other regions have also sounded budget alarms, Catalonia is the biggest so far; it represents nearly one-fifth of Spain’s economy. 

The acceleration is beginning again, and it's starting to look like another bailout of Spanish banks will be needed just like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal got.   We'll see where it goes, but my guess is things will come to a head pretty soon in Europe.
Related Posts with Thumbnails