James Fallows on How the Republican Party Hurts America
Winston Churchill Liveblogs World War II: May 30, 1940

links for 2010-05-29

  • T-NC: "[W]hat Davis cites is the inverse of reality. Davis's conjured Rand Paul is a libertarian. The actual Rand Paul told TIME, "I'm not a libertarian." Davis's conjured Rand Paul is pro-choice. The actual Rand Paul wants a constitutional ban on abortion. Davis's conjured Libertarian party nominated Rand Paul's father, Ron Paul, for president. The actual Libertarian party nominated Bob Barr. The conjured Rand Paul favors the decriminalization of "the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes." That one may be true.... But according to TIME, Paul holds no such position... Actual opinion-journalism, the kind practiced by Rachel Maddow, is concerned with the actual positions of actual politicians and the actual parties they belong to. Science fiction opinion-journalism, the kind practiced in this instance by Lanny Davis, is concerned with the theory of parallel worlds."
  • W: "The Mexican Repatriation refers to a forced migration that took place between 1929 and 1939, when as many as one million people of Mexican descent were forced or pressured to leave the US. (The term "Repatriation," though commonly used, is inaccurate, since approximately 60% of those driven out were U.S. citizens.)[1] The event, carried out by American authorities, took place without due process.[2] The Immigration and Naturalization Service targeted Mexicans because of "the proximity of the Mexican border, the physical distinctiveness of mestizos, and easily identifiable barrios." [3]... These actions were authorized by President Herbert Hoover and targeted areas with large Hispanic populations, mostly in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and Michigan."
  • CD: "As currently envisioned, the robots that will land on the lunar surface in 2015 will be 660-pound behemoths equipped with rolling tank-like treads, solar panels, seismographs, high-def cameras and a smattering of scientific instruments. They'll also have human-like arms for collecting rock samples that will be returned to Earth via rocket. The robots will be controlled from Earth, but they'll also be imbued with their own kind of machine intelligence, making decisions on their own and operating with a high degree of autonomy. Those initial surveyor bots will pave the way for the construction of the unmanned moon base near the lunar south pole, which the robots will construct for themselves. That base will be solar powered and provide a working/living space future robot colonizers, as well as -- presumably -- a jumping off point for future human moon dwellers."
  • ED: "The legal status of pay-for-delay deals is murky. In the early years after passage of Hatch-Waxman, they were considered anticompetitive per se, and very few such deals were made. Then, beginning in 2005, federal appeals courts determined that the deals were legal, after all. The number of such deals increased rapidly. Now there is a push to end pay-for-delay deals once and for all. They are under attack both by the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. In addition, the House version of the omnibus health care bill currently under consideration by Congress would outlaw pay-for-delay. The Senate version does not include this language."
  • ED: "De Beers seems to think this way, too. Because it accounts for 40 percent of world diamond output, its supply decisions have a substantial impact on diamond prices, both now and in the future. It has recently announced that it will limit production to 40 million carats per year, well below the rate of production before the global economic crisis. Its aim in restraining production is to allow future diamond prices to rise at a target rate of about 5 percent per year. Could it be only coincidence that this is almost exactly the current yield on U.S. Treasury bonds?"
  • ED: " When the crisis hit, the koruna depreciated as quickly as it had earlier strengthened, quickly restoring competitiveness. The recession in the Czech Republic was among the mildest in the EU.... Without a devaluation, the only way Latvia could restore competitiveness was through deflation of prices and wages. This strategy, often called "internal devaluation," has been extremely painful. The unemployment rate has soared to 22 percent as prices and wages fall. Meanwhile, unemployment in the Czech Republic has risen only slightly.... The bottom line: During good times, the fixed exchange rate policy of euro area countries and others with pegs to the euro helps promote trade and integration. However, during a boom, a fixed exchange rate makes it hard to avoid dangerous overheating and bubbles. When a crisis comes, a fixed exchange rate makes adjustment slower and more painful. The euro has been a bold experiment, but today, the currency bloc is fighting to remain intact."