Monthly Archives: January 2008

Best Sub-Head of the Day

The day is young, but I declare the sub-head to Radio controlled male contraceptive developed to be the best sub-head of the day.

As the sub-head says, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Posted in Science/Medicine | 1 Comment

Bush Blinks

Like the House, the Senate yesterday also passed a 15-day FISA extension. Bush had said he had to have six years on nuthin' and previously threatened to veto a 30-day extension. But the WashPo says that he'll sign it — I guess that someone over there grasped that unlike three years ago, if you say the sky will fall without the authority the bill gives you and you veto it at the same time, someone might ask an embarrassing question before printing your press release.

I remain very pessimistic about the ability of Senate Democrats to grow spines on this issue, although it is encouraging that weathervane Nelson (D-Fl.) voted for cloture on Monday, and that his DC phone people are saying he'll vote to remove telecom immunity from the bill; this seems something of an about-face from last week's vote to bury the Judiciary Committee version of the bill, but I'll take what I can get.

The bright spot in the story is that prospects on the House side are somewhat better. It helps that key right-wing Democrats are facing some tough primary challenges from progressives. Sometimes, just sometimes, elections help keep people focused on what their constituents want.

Now, about that war…

Posted in Civil Liberties | Leave a comment

FISA Short Course

Sen. Feingold demonstrates how he explains problems with FISA to constituents in a 30-second demo.

Meanwhile, the House passed a 15 day extension of the current (awful) version of FISA. And then it went into recess. Which is actually good, as it puts the Senate GOP on the spot and will probably spike some of their worst parliamentary delay tactics.

Posted in Civil Liberties | Leave a comment

Election Returns

McCain wins over Romney, Rudy! crashes, Huckabee is reduced to “other”.

Look for Rudy! to endorse McCain tomorrow. The chance of a brokered convention just went down — but the intra-party dirt will really start to fly now.

Clinton crushed Obama but gets no delegates.

Both Amendment 1 (cutting property taxes) and Initiative 3 (more slot machines) passed. Sigh.

Will anyone remember this prediction a year from now?

A study done by Coral Gables-based Washington Economics Group for the pro-slots organization Yes for a Greater Miami-Dade said more than 6,400 jobs could be created by the machines in their first year of operation. The study projects $26 million in tax revenues will go to the county and the cities of Miami and Miami Gardens in the first year.

I doubt they'll see that kind of money, although I'll not bet against gamblers' addictions, but I know there's no way they'll see a net increase in jobs anywhere near that size (they may displace a few, though).

Posted in Florida, Politics: US: 2008 Elections | Leave a comment

Would Telco Immunity Be a Takings Clause Violation?

Prof. Anthony Sebok has a really interesting article up at Findlaw: in Is It Constitutional for the Senate to Retroactively Immunize From Civil Liability the Telecoms That Provided the Government with Information About Customers' Communications? he argues that the proposal to give retroactive immunity to telecom companies who illegally wiretapped their customers may be an unconstitutional uncompensated taking as regards plaintiffs in currently pending claims.

Without doing some research, I don't know the law well enough in this area to form an opinion, but it's intriguing and I'd welcome comments from those who know the area.

Posted in Law: Constitutional Law | Leave a comment

Voting Today

Haven't voted yet, but this is how I'm leaning:

Presidential beauty contest: John Edwards.

Several times I've thought of voting tactically for Obama since he's my favorite of the two leading candidates. But he has done just enough progressive-bashing, and his health plan has a big enough hole that I think I'm sticking with voting for Edwards.

State Amendment 1 (starve localities, decimate services, and discriminate against young people and immigrants from out of state by further limiting property tax increase on housing appreciation): NO!

County proposition 1 (technical change on election rules to save millions of dollars): Yes

County proposition 2 (elect the county property assessor): No?

This is the one vote I'm least certain about — I don't know who is behind it, or what they hope to achieve. Nor does this seem the sort of post all that well suited to election, even if other counties do it.

Country proposition 3 (2nd try at legalizing slot machine gambling at dog races & frontons): NO!

On balance I think we don't need to feed gambling addictions; the claims of jobs and revenue from out-of-state tourists are bogus; the claim that revenue will help schools is also belied by experience of lottery money being offset by decreased spending. And it's been sad to see teachers and cops pressed into service arguing for dog track gambling.

Posted in Florida | 2 Comments

Good Lottery Numbers

The lottery is a tax on stupidity, since the expected value of a ticket is so low. So I don't imagine many readers of this blog buy lottery tickets.

But if you are betting, may I suggest these numbers: 84, 60, 53, 51, 43, 36 and 32.

Those would be Bush's poll ratings around the time of each State of the Union address.

Posted in Politics: US | 4 Comments