Sunday assorted links

by on February 14, 2016 at 11:38 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Yancey Ward February 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm

It would probably be a good constitutional change to make court appointments term-limited- let’s say 10 years as a nice round number (or maybe less), and/or just cycle the judges through the various branches and levels on a regular basis. I know the writers of the document wanted the courts to be above the political fray, but life-time appointments actually make it worse.

2 Dan Lavatan ✓ Unverifiable February 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Then they have to rule in favor of whichever firm will employ them next.

Ginsberg should take the opportunity to retire, and Obama should appoint an equivalent replacement for both as a package deal. Then we can move to an all bundled reappointment and confirmation system.

3 Nylund February 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm

I think the GOP, assuming they win, was already assuming they’d likely get to choose Ginsburg’s replacement. I don’t think giving Obama the chance to replace both Ginsburg and Scalia makes it easier to swallow the idea that he gets to name Scalia’s replacement. It won’t be viewed as fair, but as doubly-worse.

4 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly February 15, 2016 at 11:55 am

That’s a silly proposal, as the GOP will just confirm the conservative nominee and reject the liberal one. There’s no enforceability, and no trust.

5 Nathan W February 14, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Out of respect for the wisdom of tradition when it comes to justice (sure sure, bring on the contrary instances), I suggest it should a priori be preferable to have

While the Supreme Court should not seek to be non-activist in and of itself, it should not be presumed to derive its integrity and legitimacy from the vagaries of democratic wlil, but rather than they represent some sort of long-term understanding of foundational principles of justice.

I trust people to uphold justice on average in the long run. And for which purpose, since the short-term variance of sentiment regarding justice principles can be very high in response to the vagaries of circumstance, that it would be better to keep the appointment of justice away from, say, a direct election definitely. And I extend the logic that therefore the longer the appointment (including lifetime appointments), the better our average odds of maintaining moderation and incorporating the wisdom of longer term trends in thoughts about justice.

Justice should not bend with the wind. But sometimes people do. The people should have to bend very hard for a very long time before being able to endeavour to bend justice.

Which is altogether different from, say, electing someone who can pass a law.

We would never in a million years give courts the right to WRITE legislation or constitutions, however, because they will be in the position for a very long time and the risk for dictatorship rises in the other direction.

6 Nathan W February 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm

To complete the first sentence … basically that justice should be insulated from short term shifts in opinion.

7 Mark Bahner February 14, 2016 at 10:56 pm

“It would probably be a good constitutional change to make court appointments term-limited- let’s say 10 years as a nice round number (or maybe less), and/or just cycle the judges through the various branches and levels on a regular basis.”

Make the appointments 16 years, and every presidential term nominates one SC judge at the end of year one and the end of year three.

8 Nathan W February 15, 2016 at 1:22 am

If the timing were so predictable, it would then be timed carefully according to an increasingly charade-like production about the practice of democracy, where media and organizations of all stripes would try to play the right tunes at the right times to try to achieve the desired outcome.

Because, due to the predictable timing, the process would then be drawn too explicitly and carefully into electoral calculus.

Justice is not a popularity contest. The longer the turnover, the slower the change … the better. In insulating the institution from short term changes in opinion, we can protect ourselves against a great number of threats, from Nazis to Socialists to some insane attempted corporate takeover into fascist governance, to quite a lot of other things.

Allowing the interpretation of judicial issues to blow with the wind, or even any move in that direction, I think is not a good idea.

Sure, let’s make it easy to update the various rulebooks, but give someone(s) a powerful eraser, and make sure that they never have to worry about any negative consequence for using that eraser as much as they like.

This will stop us from doing stupid things. We can always do them (stupid things) later if the change in views of justice persist for long enough as to be able to hand the eraser onto someone(s) who won’t be inclined to use it in that instance (in which case in that future date it might not be perceived as a stupid thing by so many people).

I can hardly manage anything better than life appointment. If possible I would advocate for two consecutive lifetime appointments for all judges in order to ensure that basic foundational principles regarding justice cannot blow with the wind.

9 TMC February 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm

#3 …. . .-.. .-.. —

10 TMC February 14, 2016 at 12:55 pm

#6 Down the path of Fox News? I wish. Fox’s political contributions are 55% Democratic, and according to Princeton, skew the least from the middle.

11 JWatts February 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm

“Liberals Are Heading Down the Path of Fox News. It’s Time to Knock It Off.”

First, he doesn’t include the 2000 election, which many, many Liberals insist was stolen, even though there’s no evidence of that. A bunch of news services even did an unofficial re-count, using the election rules on the books at the time and Gore still lost.

It’s silly to pretend that Fox News started this. Fox News was a reaction to the Leftward tilt of various other prominent news sources. The NYT’s has been moderately Left for 30 years. And MSNBC has been leaning distinctly to the Left now for over a decade.

So, no the Left isn’t Heading down that path, their already out of sight.

12 JWatts February 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm

…they’re already out of sight.

To be fair, I applaud Kevin Drum for pointing this out. It’s hard to criticize your own side, particularly on its strong suit.

13 IIRC February 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

IIRC, the court ruled that on whether or not the certification date could be extended, yes? To hand down a decision after the certification date had passed would be odd.

14 Nathan W February 14, 2016 at 8:09 pm

I assume that means the people who wrote that law figured 7 days was plenty of time for a recount.

And anyways, I thought it was quite expected for the Supreme Court to do stuff like prioritize important stuff over trivial stuff. Like, decisions which would protect the integrity of democracy and elections as a whole, over some trivial law which included some detail on how many days later the victor would be named.

Seriously though, how long would a recount have taken? It takes about a day to count it the first time. Shouldn’t a day be enough the second time?

15 Boonton February 14, 2016 at 7:59 pm

It’s silly to pretend that Fox News started this. Fox News was a reaction to the Leftward tilt of various other prominent news sources

Errr no. Before Fox was of any importance plenty of ‘left’ outlets were very happy to tilt against the left. For example, the NYT harped Whitewater for years despite nothing ever coming of the endless investigations. Right before Fox started, there was an explosion in new media sources for news (ex. Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, even MSNBC gave prime time shows to right wing nutcases like Savage).

On top of that, most well known right wing commentators and pundits owe their fame to ‘left media’. Pat Buchannan became famous enough on CNN to run for President. George Will, William Safire, William F Buckley all were regulars on the big 3 Network Sunday morning shows.

Here’s the problem with the line that Fox was the ‘solution’ to left wing media bias. If there was a real problem with left wing media bias, Fox would have captured the market by being the non-biased news source. Clearly any aspirations it had to that, if they ever did, were short lived. Instead Fox found its niche with jingoistic, tabloid style news. That’s hardly anything new as talk radio and lower end papers have long known there’s money there. Fox’s ‘innovation’ was perhaps to dress that up as a broadcast network rather than talk radio.

16 TallDave February 14, 2016 at 11:36 pm

There were 14 convictions in the Whitewater fraud.

Fox has been so successful that at some points, it has actually had a larger audience than the other three cable news networks combined.

Pew polling and political donations going back decades has found people in the media and news businesses, for whatever reason, skew way to the left of the American public.

The situation has deteriorated as the parties and press have become more ideological — there are very few conservative Blue Dog Democrats or liberal Republicans anymore, and NYT staff probably went 10:1 for Obama, partly precisely because there are now other more congenial places for conservatives to work.

17 Boonton February 15, 2016 at 6:28 am

And political donations tell us what about content? If you assembled a newspaper staffed by 50-50 even break between GOP and Democratic donors would you know the content would be different?

18 Boonton February 15, 2016 at 6:33 am

14 unimpressive convictions. If you throw tens of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours of prosecutor time at just about anything you’re going to find a few cases.

19 Brett Dunbar February 14, 2016 at 9:55 pm

Manual re-counts don’t take all that long. And after the first recount you don’t get much change. It is possible to conduct multiple re counts on election night.

The procedure is that the ballot papers are sorted into bundles of ten all for the same candidate with a panel of representatives of all the candidates reviewing unclear papers. The bundles are then counted. To recount the tellers go through the bundles looking for missorted papers. Most are picked up in the first re-count. While Florida has a larger population this simply means that you need more tellers. A UK general election usually has virtually complete results by 6 AM on Friday polls having closed at 10PM on Thursday. While the design of US ballot papers might make a manual count slower sorting the papers for the one disputed result should not take all that long.

20 JWatts February 14, 2016 at 10:15 pm

“If there was a real problem with left wing media bias, Fox would have captured the market by being the non-biased news source. ”

Boonton, that’s a good point. If there was a real Left wing media bias, then Fox would have become dominant in the market. It would have ended up with the highest ratings of any cable news channel.

21 JWatts February 14, 2016 at 10:47 pm

Also, I don’t consider Fox a non-biased news source. It leans to the middle Right. It’s just the only TV source in that niche. Whereas, there’s a host of sources that lean to the Left.

You’ll notice that Fox is the only TV source who’s audience leans to the Right of center at all.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/10/21/lets-rank-the-media-from-liberal-to-conservative-based-on-their-audiences/

22 Dain February 14, 2016 at 11:40 pm

It’s broader than the hard news media too. Daily Dot, Death and Taxes et al. all have an obvious left bias too, that they just casually include in many an article that has nothing strictly to do with politics.

That’s what conservatives mean by “liberal media.” It’s the culture industry at large.

23 Boonton February 15, 2016 at 6:23 am

You’ll notice that Fox is the only TV source who’s audience leans to the Right of center –

I’m not sure why this tells us anything about the media source rather than the audience? To me this just says conservatives like hearing their worldviews pampered and rarely challenged, hence Fox is able to grab a huge portion of the conservative eyeball market.

24 Boonton February 15, 2016 at 6:53 am

Also as you explore that list of 15 convictions most are for fraud and bribes connected with an S&L making bad loans. In hindsight, that seems especially weak today after we just had the biggest real estate crash in history. If you started digging thru every bank that you ever had a mortgage with, you could probably easily get together hundreds of cases of loan fraud. That fact that very few such cases were done in response to the crash tells us that Whitewater was more about special treatment for the Clintons by political enemies than actual justice.

25 FZA February 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Reality is biased against partisans, thus they seek to avoid it.

26 Nathan W February 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Fox does spend an awful lot of time covering things that can reflect poorly on any Democrat in the worst possible light, but with some fakish presentation to try to cover up the bias.

And of course, they don’t cover the ones with moderate positions. They want to catch Democrats who do and/or say things which are offensive to the principles of many of their views. I guess they eat that stuff up and it keeps them compliant Republicans, although I also very much recognize Fox as a business entity as well.

27 Dain February 14, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Yea. I notice the “campus hijinks” beat is covered almost exclusively by conservatives, maybe until about yesterday, when some on the left (e.g. Michelle Goldberg) finally think it worth the attention. This is an area where conservatives know they’ve got an advantage (unearthing corporate memos that reveal a plan to squash union formation, not so much…).

28 Boonton February 15, 2016 at 7:08 am

Here’s the difference IMO. Bias isn’t so much about what is covered or what type of person is covering it, it is about whether you are aware of all relevant angles of a story.

It doesn’t really matter that almost everyone on the NYT is pro-choice. Can someone who reads the NYT articulate why pro-lifers oppose abortion? I’m sure they can.

Is the left leaning person unaware of the charges that campus’s have gone overboard with political correctness? Almost certainly not. If, for example, you get your news from Bill Maher, not only will you know that but you’d have a left leaning person agreeing. Quite often you’ll consume casual entertainment where overboard political correctness is mocked by leftists themselves (go back to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall where the couple is cleaning out their apartment and they go thru “Impeach Johnson/Nixon/Ford/Carter” buttons.

On the flip side, it has been well documented that on the right individuals are actually unaware of the other side. They will think unemployment has gone up when it went down, terrorism happens more in the US when it is less, that inflation is high when it is low etc. Donald Trump’s campaign specifically succeeds because conservatives have created a generation that is not only unaware of facts but immune to them.

29 Reality Based February 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

Ted Cruz’s book is a best seller, but the NYT deleted it from their list. That’s just a computational exercise, but their bias infected even that. Other examples are legion.

30 Boonton February 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

There are plenty of right wing books that are on the NYT bestseller list at any given time. What Cruz did was hire a firm to make thousands of individual purchases of his own book from retail stores in an attempt to buy his way onto the list. This is actually quite common in the publishing industry where mass purchases are attempted to be billed as making a book a ‘best seller’ when in fact is simply means one wholesaler has simply placed an order for tens of thousands of copies of a book rather than actual sales to individual readers.

The NYT tries to get to the actual purchases of books by individual readers who visit retail bookstores. That isn’t an easy computation.

See http://wonkette.com/590700/mean-new-york-times-wont-let-ted-cruz-cheat-his-way-onto-bestseller-list for more info.

Nice try, but not all that convincing. You should have known better as Cruz has been called out by fellow republicans for being an exceptionally dishonest person.

31 Boonton February 15, 2016 at 1:13 pm

This is a good example of my argument about bias. The 2nd link on a Google search about Ted Cruz and his ‘best seller’ is NPR. What would someone who relied upon a ‘liberal source’ like NPR know about this issue? They would know that Cruz feels he had a best seller, the NYT feels he didn’t because they were really ‘bulk purchases’. That’s essentially both sides of the story. What more do you want from an ‘unbiased source’?

32 Edward Burke February 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm

#2. Cardiac displacement construed as “love” or sap displacement of cranial matter? Both? (A distinct pity no one at The Telegraph dared cite the expiration dates of “enduring love” that have become a distinguishing feature of romantic relations over the past three decades or so.)

33 dearieme February 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Most of them are far too wordy.

34 randomworker (retired) February 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm

They’re all terrible. But what do I know…

35 meets February 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm

#6 NBA.

We clearly see in that article the limitations of advanced stats. They are an improvement but can still be applied very poorly

36 chuck martel February 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm

1. ” Our results and method may prove useful in developing the first steps toward a biologically informed valuation of property rights. Neural methods may help in the future to design efficient and just compensation schemes for property taken by eminent domain. ”

Whatever is rolling around in the owner’s brain doesn’t have anything to do with establishing the value of property, which is determined by the market. In the case of eminent domain, the governmental unit that wants the property should have to bid against anyone else that wants it.

37 Nathan W February 14, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Well, the value of property on a market is determined according to supply and demand curves, which are basically a series of individual evaluations of what the property is worth.

That’s like being able to accurately draw a demand curve by looking at people’s brains. It’s so incredible it’s almost scary.

Think about it for a minute, and ask yourself whether you hope anyone ever figures out a way to do that. I would rather the market to work in the mysterious way it does than the potential of some scary organization even hypothetically being able to figure out exactly what anything was worth to anything, which could be conducive to corporations (or something related to government, or whatever else you might dream up, which is then therefore plausible) being able to at all times extract maximum surplus from the population.

First rule of negotiation. Don’t let them know what it’s worth to you, or you will get screwed every time.

Progress in such research would be scary. I put all the above in the box of 1-2% probability potential future conspiracy theories if we start going pretty far that way (according to present valuations) sort of thing. But I think that’s a pretty high number for the sort of enslavement potential.

38 prior_test February 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

5. So, picking a Supreme Court justice is sort of like picking a pope in turns of how mortality is figured into the sort of candidate likely to get the nod (undoubtedly from God, if one share’s Scalia’s faith)?

39 JWatts February 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm

The man is dead a day and you can’t resist making snide remarks. A remark that doesn’t even directly relate to your post. You seem to me to be a pretty despicable individual.

40 Nathan W February 14, 2016 at 5:21 pm

The justice was, after all, an ideologue and one of the most powerful people in the most powerful country on the planet. The fact of his death should not be cause to self censor in speaking against things about him that you disagreed with.

I think he dressed is views in sufficiently valid legal opinion so as to not really be able to view him in any specifically negative light. I think we should expect more of a Supreme Court justice, but it seems to me like this is essentially the name of the game in Supreme Court appointments in the USA.

It’s not like he’s saying the guy should rot in hell or something.

Also – consider that if you see it as snide to have referred to Scalia’s faith (or, what, then, was snide about his remark), a pretty relevant thing when you think about dying, that that is sort of insulting to Scalia’s faith, itself more insulting that the original remark which is merely that a Christian would view things as God’s plan.

The fact that you know that prior does not hold the same view does not make it an insult.

Imagine a Muslim Supreme Court justice were to die, and it were deemed PC to never mention his faith. I think it is essentially impossible that a truly devout Muslim could not possible be expected to defend the US Constitution, due to instances of inconsistency, even though I would never assume that this should necessarily imply that they would be unwilling to live under a system with such rules.

I daresay, the fact that you are so sensitive about this suggests that, when it comes to Scalia, you are like Israelis who view people as anti-Semitic if you deign to go so far as to say any thing any time that could paint anything linked in any way to Israel in the remotest negative light by any means of thought or argumentation ever. (Woops, and in so saying, invite precisely such treatment.)

41 Nathan W February 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Not really, because the pope is chosen by people who were appointed by the previous pope.

42 Jess February 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Should we expect Obama pick the new judge from a retirement house now?

43 JWatts February 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

LOL, that would be the logical implication to #5. But I think it’s a flawed analysis. I think that Senators are more likely to vote for someone who leans more to the other side if that person is older.

The better solution is to pick a Supreme Court nominee who’s moderate or leans in the direction of the Senate. This whole issue goes away if Obama picks a centrist to right leaning justice.

44 extramsg February 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

I think what’s clear is that we are as likely to get a new Supreme Court justice this year as 538 is to give us an algorithm for accurately ranking NBA players.

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