The Madman Theory and the threat of default

I don’t think they’re acting. I think they’re actually inspired, like Strangelove himself, by “a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead.” Congressional Republicans like Ted Yoho, Joe Barton and Rand Paul seem to find calamity terribly exciting. And economic calamity is the only excitement left now that Iraq and Afghanistan have sapped all the fun out of starting wars. [Read more...]

A post-mortem on post-election post-mortems


Hand-in-hand with the Republican Party’s brief period of post-election introspection came a parallel process among the establishment institutions of white evangelicalism. They, too, briefly recognized the election as a sign that they were swimming against a demographic tide that spelled their impending obsolescence. The white evangelical post-mortems were eerily similar to those of the political party to which they had bound themselves. [Read more...]

The longer the shutdown goes, the more it costs us all

And October is Shut Down Funding for Childhood Cancer Research and Try to Repeal Law That Gives Children With Cancer Health Insurance Month.

The first day of the government shut-down was a bit like a nationwide snow-day. Hundreds of thousands of people lost one day’s pay, and a bunch of stuff was inconveniently closed, but no big deal, right? The problem is that the economic cost multiplies the longer the shutdown lasts. [Read more...]

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...]