What the shutdown means: Unnecessary pain.


Congress has a job. A big part of that job involves passing a budget to fund the government. Congress didn’t do it’s job, so there is no budget and hence, as of midnight, the government is shut down. What does that mean? Pain. [Read more...]

The ‘debt limit’ Kobayashi Maru


The legal absurdity of a “debt ceiling” means that, no matter what, some law must be broken. If Congress does not increase — or, better yet, abolish — the debt ceiling, then either the government will break the law by borrowing money it is forbidden to borrow or else the government will break the law by not spending money it is constitutionally mandated to spend. Either way, Congress is demanding that the executive branch break the law. [Read more...]

Another proof of bad faith: The inconsistency of ‘blacktracking’


After their political nemesis President George W. Bush announced his support for the Do Not Call list, all those liberal politicians and liberal bloggers who had previously supported the idea … still supported the idea. They still insisted it was in accord with their principles and their values and they stuck with those principles and values. They applauded Bush for his support, welcomed his support, and worked with him to make the registry a reality. [Read more...]

The problem isn’t always identifying the problem

With every mass shooting that forces us all, yet again, to think of the gravity and severity of this problem, both sides become increasingly frustrated with the other’s stubborn refusal to swing around to embrace their preferred solution. Our opposite responses make compromise impossible. Or, in a sense, they make the status quo a perpetual, inevitable form of compromise. We say fewer guns, they say more guns. So here we are. [Read more...]

Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves

DeLong’s apology notes that he hadn’t just misread Sullivan — he had misread the public as a whole. Contra H.L. Mencken, he had actually underestimated the American public’s capacity for goodness and intelligence. Skepticism is necessary. Cynicism leads us astray. Be wise as serpents, but innocent as doves. [Read more...]

On ‘the wrong side of history’


Instead of worrying about whether or not we might one day be regarded as “on the wrong side of history,” we should concern ourselves with whether or not we are, today, on the right side in history. And the important thing to remember about being on the right side in history is that it’s not always — or usually — the same thing as the winning side. [Read more...]

GOP congressman calls for legalization of marijuana


That’s why it was so startling to hear one right-wing Republican member of Congress tell his constituents that there is no such thing as voter fraud or Medicare fraud or welfare fraud. Even more surprisingly, this conservative congressman called for the legalization of marijuana and prostitution, and for the immediate release of Bradley Manning. … [Read more...]

The bad faith of climate-deniers cannot be denied

Either this Alaskan permafrost is melting due to climate change, or else it is deliberately choosing to melt as part of the design -- the grand "game plan" of a "global warming fraud" intended to produce the big government secretly desired by the malicious Arctic soil.

If ice and dirt are not capable of willfully acting in bad faith, then the House Republican’s claim that “global warming is a total fraud and it is being designed” cannot be true. Unless inanimate objects are capable of fraud and deliberate dishonesty, the bad faith in this dispute cannot lie on the side of those claiming the reality of climate change. If dirt is not purposeful and evil, then the bad faith must lie on the other side. [Read more...]