Open Thread for Friday, February 6, 2015

Just in case any of you are actually paying attention at this time on a Friday, which seems doubtful:

The latest on the apparent murder-suicide at USC — I’m a little surprised at the slow pace at which info is coming out. For instance, we still don’t have a name of the second person — the presumed shooter — who died.

The burgeoning Bryan Williams scandal — What makes people say stupid stuff like that? Is there something in their heads that tells them the truth just isn’t impressive enough? I don’t get it. You’d think being the best-known anchor in the nation, or the best-known woman in politics, would be enough. But NOOoooo…

ISIS Claims U.S. Captive Died in Jordanian Airstrike — Don’t know yet whether it’s true.

Hiring, Wages Up; Market Nears Full Health — That’s what the WSJ says the numbers say. But does it feel like “full health” to you? Not to me…

… or whatever else y’all want to talk about…



16 thoughts on “Open Thread for Friday, February 6, 2015

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Brian Williams, Bryan Caskey

    I spoke with John Monk, who was not surprised at how slowly USC (and SLED) is releasing information. He seemed to think it was SOP, regrettably.
    I want to know:
    1. Why was the loudspeaker alert system not used?
    2. Why is there no reverse 911 to university landline phones?
    3. Why are emergency procedures not posted in all classrooms, and regular drills, like fire drills, held?
    4. Why did the Child Development Center just not pick up its afterschool kids and take them, say, to Hand Middle School? A lot of those kids’ parents work for USC and were locked-down. Instead, at least one little kid was waiting 30 minutes for rescue.

    1. Juan Caruso

      Excellent questions for USC’s trustees (who govern all USC campuses) and are appointed by and/or comprised of career POLITICANS (people skilled in maximizing influence).

      We need to elect more people actually skilled in real-world experience commensurate with today’s challenges. Legal advice can always be supplied by legal advisors. There is our answer.

  2. Lynn Teague

    Interesting that there have been no responses. I guess you’re right about Friday night. Well, to break the ice, I think it would be great to see the JMSC become an independent panel of experts. I don’t say that because I question the intentions of any of the former or current members, but it would provide at least one stage in the process of selecting a judge that isn’t controlled from the same institutional basis.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Or we could just do the ol’ reliable of: executive appoints, senate confirms, and judges have lifetime appointments. Even the feds haven’t been able to screw up that system too badly.

      1. Brad Warthen

        Yes, I thin that’s the way to go. Judges have so much power over the political branches once in office, it seems to me the political branches should share the responsibility of choosing them. Nice balance that way.

        Yes, the system’s pretty much gone nuts since Roe v. Wade, but it’s still the best system I’ve seen.

        I wouldn’t want to remove it from an “institutional basis ,” as Lynn says, because in believe in institutions — well-known, obvious, transparent institutions.

        Just to check — we can all agree that direct election by the general public is the WORST possible system, right? Just checking, because sometimes people DO put that one forward…

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Thank you! This discussion on on electing judges reminded me about a point that someone else (much smarter than me) made. Here’s the quote:

          “What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of “political pressure” against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work up here–reading text and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text–the public pretty much left us alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text, as we did, for example, five days ago in declaring unconstitutional invocations and benedictions at public high school graduation ceremonies, if, as I say, our pronouncement of constitutional law rests primarily on value judgments, then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different. The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school–maybe better. If, indeed, the “liberties” protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement their values instead of ours. Not only that, but confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee’s commitment to support or oppose them. Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidentally committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward.”


          1. M.Prince

            While I agree that judges should be appointed and not elected, Justice Scalia’s remarks above (taken from his dissent in “Planned Parenthood vs. Casey” from 1992) effectively favor a sclerotic jurisprudence over a living Constitution. His view is conservative-to-the-core, saying in effect that tradition trumps and shall forever do so as far as the courts are concerned, insofar as the Constitution says nothing explicit to the contrary. In truth, however, his argument here is built on an intellectual conceit that is, contrary to his own view in the matter, not found in the law itself but rather in his own philosophical preferences and prejudices – in short, the very “value judgments” he derides.

  3. bud

    It’s time to play our monthly game of economic denial. That right wing favorite sport that pits facts against the irrational hatred of everything that may show our Democratic president in a positive light.

    First the righties dismissed the declining unemployment rate with argument that folks were leaving the workforce discouraged. Then when the U6 number dropped we had the labor participation rate as the ready scapegoat. With that also on the rise we turn to stagnant wages as the REAL problem. With the latest round of good economic news showing an increase in wages I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for GOP spin machine to come up with the latest excuse. I guess Brad’s idiotic “it just doesn’t fell like full health” screed will have to do for now.

  4. Harry Harris

    The same people who complain publicly that ours just doesn’t seem to feel like a well-functioning economy want to stonewall efforts to increase the rate of middle-class and working-poor earnings. They often try to mask the fact that almost all wealth and income improvement since the 1980’s has accrued to the top 10% and spectacularly to the top 1% of wealth-holders. Could favorable treatment of non-wage income and cronyism among the highest earners and wealth-holders be holding back the “trickle” promised to citizens if they would just trust the “job creators” to create companies instead of just buying them and merging their competitors out of the way?
    Brad’s comment reminds me of the climate change deniers who yell “See there!!” whenever there’s a cold snap or snow event in their neighborhood while the sea levels keep rising, the glaciers vanish, and ocean currents continue to go wild.

  5. Brad Warthen

    Ah, but you’re putting a partisan spin on it. I don’t care which party holds the White House, and I don’t hold the president responsible for the economy.

    I just make observations as to what I’m seeing…

    Based on my PERSONAL experience, things are definitely not as good as before the crash (which happened, of course, under the previous administration — not that it matters). But it’s not just me; I’m looking around me, and I still see a lot of people more squeezed than they were…

  6. Juan Caruso

    Robert Ariail’s cartoon is super, as usual!

    The fact that such an obvious conflict of interest causes minimal public alarm and has yet embarrass SC’s attorneys has been rightly unconscionable. Waty to say it, Robert!

  7. bud

    Presidents do matter when it comes to the performance of the economy. Spending and tax priorities have a significant impact.

  8. M.Prince

    Since our glorious blog master often bemoans the lack of focus on foreign affairs in national public debate while championing the senior senator from Seneca’s efforts to push that topic into the forefront, I offer this (Graham comments begin at the 9min45secon mark):

    If the fatuously preachy and rambling pastiche of cliches offered up by the senator constitutes the best of US strategic thinking, then we are in very bad way. Luckily, it doesn’t. And lest someone conclude this is merely an assessment from the limp-wristed left, I commend to your attention an analysis of these same comments in the following from The American Conservative:

    The senator’s stump speech about “values” and “freedom” may go over well back at home among the wanna-be Bravehearts, but overseas it comes across as simultaneously silly and alarmist.


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