I'll Start Paying the Cost of the Print Edition to the FT If It Will Can Chris Caldwell...
Winston Churchill Liveblogs World War II: May 22, 1940

links for 2010-05-21

  • EM-S: "His past caught up with him... the extreme libertarian fringe of the Republican party. And, as we found out this week, that means he has baggage. A lot of it. First, Paul told NPR that he took issue with parts of the Americans With Disabilities Act (as well as federal regulation of mining and the environment.) Then came the doozy -- a 20 minute discussion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the Rachel Maddow Show.... Friday morning, Paul claimed that the way President Obama has been criticizing BP for helping to cause one of the largest oil spills in the nation's history was "un-American."... The week that began with Paul triumphantly bursting out onto the national stage ended with him slinking away from it. Perhaps not willing to take his still-green candidacy to broadcast journalism's most revered stage, Paul backed out of a long-planned interview on Meet The Press late Friday afternoon."
  • DL: "Congress and the White House have completed 16 months of activity that rival any other since the New Deal.... First... stimulus bill that... aimed... at ending a deep recession... the nation’s educational system... expand scientific research. Then President Obama signed a health care bill that was the biggest expansion of the safety net in 40 years. And now Congress is in the final stages of a bill that would tighten Wall Street’s rules.... If there is a theme to all this, it has been to try to lift economic growth while also reducing income inequality.... It is far too early to know if these efforts will work. Their success depends enormously on execution.... By focusing on long-term problems, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have given less than their full attention to the economy’s current weakness and turned off a good number of voters.... Democratic leaders said... they had finally reached agreement on a bill that would send aid to states
  • MBS: "Rand Paul cancels out national tv appearance to spend more time with his family."
  • And he hasn't even gotten to the NAFTA Superhighway yet... ER: "Rand Paul keeps on giving. 'What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,’” Paul said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.' This is yet another thrilling episode pitting the modern Republican Party against the scientific community. 'Tensions between the Obama administration and the scientific community over the gulf oil spill are escalating, with prominent oceanographers accusing the government of failing to conduct an adequate scientific analysis of the damage and of allowing BP to obscure the spill’s true scope.' We can also file this under “I Miss Republicans,” and the enduring mystery of why academics don’t vote Republican more than they do."
  • EA: "A few hours ago, the Senate did something truly amazing: it clobbered Wall Street and the banking industry, defying armies of overpaid lobbyists and passing genuine reforms for our run-amok financial system.... For all its compromises and omissions and special exceptions, this is a strong bill that will make life a lot less free-wheeling and lucrative for the big banks and, with a little perserverence, a lot safer for consumers and the economy as a whole. This is a victory for the good guys.... [B]efore all the armchair pundits begin carping and tut-tutting, let us first appreciate how much the Senate bill actually does accomplish and how difficult it is to do anything at all when the full force of the financial industry is against you."
  • LG: "the Military Commissions Act of 2006.... Senator Specter, then a Republican and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, denounced the jurisdiction-stripping provision as unconstitutional. “What the bill seeks to do is set back basic rights by some 900 years.”... Then... Specter went ahead and voted for the bill. But wait, there’s more. A few months later... Specter filed a brief urging the justices to accept the case and declare the law unconstitutional in order to “avoid an incongruous legal ‘black hole’ at Guantánamo.”... The jurisdiction-stripping provision was “anathema to fundamental liberty interests,” he declared. This from a man who voted for the bill! I found these briefs so remarkable that I have kept copies of them alongside my desk for more than three years.... I don’t regard myself as naïve..... What I mean to convey by these reflections on Senator Specter’s trajectory is not surprise so much as sadness — sadness because he knew better."
  • PK: "What’s good? Resolution authority, which was sorely lacking last year; consumer protection; derivatives traded through clearinghouses; ratings reform, thanks to Al Franken; tighter capital standards for big players, although with too much discretion to regulators. What’s missing? Hard leverage limits; size caps; not much in the way of restoring Glass-Steagall. If you think that too big to fail is the core problem, it’s disappointing; if you think that shadow banking is the core, as I do, not too bad. Now, the truth is that we won’t know how good a reform this is until the next crisis (which is very different from health care, where there will be ample opportunities to learn from experience.) And the new system clearly won’t be robust to really bad leadership: once President Palin appoints Ron Paul as Treasury Secretary, all bets are off. But I still think this counts as a qualified win."