Monthly Archives: February 2011

11 Good Charts

Mother Jones, It’s the Inequality, Stupid.

My attention was drawn to this by rc3‘s use of this chart:

Posted in Econ & Money | Leave a comment

Frank Pasquale Has Been Radicalized

One of the finest young(ish) legal scholars in America has been radicalized:

… consider the recent raise in federal taxes for the working poor, compared with Obama-GOP unwillingness to tax those in the top 0.1 or top 0.01% more. Households in the top 0.01% make over $27 million annually, on average. Those in the top 1% captured 67% of all income gains from 2002 to 2007. And yet budgets must be balanced on the backs of teachers and the working poor? Even as the scandal of tax havens, costing taxpayers $100 billion each year, goes unaddressed?

…. Bruce Ackerman has feared a “decline and fall of the American Republic,” given that escalating power struggles between the branches of government could leave “the military as a potential arbiter” (85). If the recent uprisings in North Africa teach anything, it is the critical role of army officials at moments of political turmoil.

As Ackerman has noted, in our military, “by 1996, 67% of the senior officer corps were Republicans, and only 7% were Democrats”—a pattern that had continued at least through 2003. Does anyone think that political skew would have no bearing in case another Bush v. Gore-type dispute degenerated into constitutional crisis? If one ever wanted to prove the insularity of the US academy, one could do worse than compare the gallons of ink spilled on viewpoint diversity on campus and the near-invisibility of the partisan skew of the actual guarantors of order in our society. Even demonstrated cases of political targeting by the US domestic intelligence apparatus have generated little outcry.

… those at the top push for a punitive austerity that promises little more than intensification of our current economic woes.

via Balkinization.

Posted in Econ & Money | 1 Comment

Voldemort Sold FL State Planes. But Was It Legal?

Gov. Voldermort decided to emulate Sarah Palin and sell the Florida state planes. Now it turns out there’s some reason to doubt whether the sale was legal. The Buzz reports on a demand by a Florida State Senate budget honcho for Voldermort to name names, show me “legal authority” for state plane sale.

Some state legislators are also questioning whether Voldermort has the authority to unilaterally refuse federal money for the high-speed rail project given that the state legislature approved the project last year.

It remains unclear if Voldermort simply doesn’t understand concept of bicameralism and presentment and thinks that since he is the CEO he can do what he likes, or if instead he has made a calculated (or instinctual) decision that Florida will respond to Peronist rule.

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Obama’s Rope-a-Dope Strategy

This TalkLeft article articulates something I’ve been worrying about for a while. (See How To Lose An Argument In Order To, Maybe, Win An Election.) The basic idea is that Obama is playing to lose on the budget and the economy, and maybe even social security. The idea is to goad the Republicans into making outrageous demands by signaling preemptive surrender to them.

When the GOP seizes on the red meat being trailed in front of them and enacts their plans, it causes pain.   The plan then is to blame them for all the pain, collect lots of campaign money from Main Street, and get re-elected.

I hope this is wrong, but where is the evidence for that proposition?

The cheerfulish form of this theory is that if you have a weak hand all you can do is get the other side to overplay theirs in order to spark a reaction that will strengthen your hand; i.e. the is just the sort of long game that great n-dimensional chess players engage in.  But it’s not a cheerful process, and in a world of path-dependence lots can go wrong on the way.

Posted in 2012 Election, Econ & Money | 7 Comments

We’ve Hired Susan Bandes

Looks like the cat is out of the bag: Brian Leiter reports, accurately, that leading crimlaw scholar (and Jotwell Criminal Law Section Contributing Editor) Susan Bandes is moving from DePaul to Miami Law. I understand she turned out a chaired offer at another law school in favor of us. Yay!

Here’s Susan Bandes’s bio page.

Posted in Jotwell, U.Miami | Leave a comment

Spot the Difference

Headline on front page of Miami Herald, Sunday February 20, 2011

The curse of negative home equity:

Hundreds of thousands of South Floridians are underwater on their mortgages, which could have profound impact on the region’s economic recovery, or lack of.

Headline on front page of Miami Herald, Monday, February 21, 2011:

Miami boat, art shows during Presidents’ Day weekend point to a brighter economy

As thousands pack this weekend’s boat and art shows, and fill hotels and restaurants in South Florida, all signs point to an economy on the upswing.

“[A]ll signs point to an economy on the upswing”???

It’s hard to see the headline on the fluff piece in today’s paper — and its placement as the lead story top of the fold — as anything other than a corrective for yesterday’s serious journalism which was a solid article and a welcome antidote to the Herald’s generally boosterish coverage of the local businesses that advertise in it.

The actual article today is a perfectly standard feature story on the Boat Show. It’s the unwarranted headline and the ridiculous placement on a day when revolutions continue in the Middle East and the US hurtles towards a government shutdown that make me suspect the editors.

Posted in Econ & Money: Mortgage Mess, The Media | 2 Comments

Interesting Things Online Today

Posted in Linkorama | Leave a comment