Oh please!

This Post video asks “Is Obama now unbeatable?”  I’m sure they are smart enough to answer, “no” (I’m not going to waste my time watching), but to even pose the question that way is Fox-News-stupid (I think we should expand the use of that as a compound adjective.  Obama is unbeatable now like George HW Bush was unbeatable after we won the Gulf War.

We won (?)

If Yglesias, James Fallows, and Dahlia Lithwick are all writing essentially the same thing, I’m quite predisposed to go along.  In this case, the argument is that we should take this opportunity to declare victory in the “war on terror” so we can normalize our national security policy.  I think the easiest approach is just to quote Yglesias quoting Fallows:

James Fallows published a fantastic piece back in September of 2006 on the need for the country to declare victory in the “war on terror” and move away from the post-9/11 dynamic where our national life was so focused on the threat of al-Qaeda terrorism. It was a great idea then, and I think it remains a great idea now, and it’s especially timely since the death of Osama bin Laden affords an opportunity to actually make it happen. As Fallows says today, declaring victory doesn’t mean we need to start ignoring terrorism, it means we’d try to put the risks back into perspective:

Signifying an end to a “global war” does not mean the end of a threat.America faces a daily threat from crime; for the foreseeable future Americans and others will face a continuing threat of terrorist attack; the entire world faces a threat that the thousands of nuclear warheads still in existence could destroy millions, through accidental or deliberate misuse. But we classify all those as threats, requiring our continued vigilance and best efforts to prevent them. Rather than as ongoing, open-ended wars with the consequent distortions that wars can impose on our values, institutions, and public lives.

I’m sold.  Now, so long as Big Steve weighs in and tells me this is a smart approach, I’m behind it 100% (I’m only at 95% right now).

Obama’s “gutsy” call

I have no idea how “gutsy” Obama’s call on getting Bin Laden was, but, wow, it was really something how this was being spun by spokesmen in the main Post story:

Obama made one of the “gutsiest calls” of any president in deciding to go ahead with the raid based on his confidence — but only circumstantial evidence — that bin Laden was indeed living in the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Brennan said. He said there were “absolutely” disagreements among Obama’s advisers about that course of action.

Very clear subtext of Obama being tough and decisive.  He may very well be, but I don’t know that I believe it just because his counter-terrorism adviser says so.  And, hey, if it really was gutsy and decisive, more power to him.  Mostly, though, I was thinking that this is a really good example of how it’s good to be president on secret matters and control the flow of information.  There’s really no one outside Obama’s closest advisers on these matters to question this interpretation– and those close advisers never would.

The Osama effect on Obama?

Still haven’t had much chance to digest all the Osama Bin Laden reporting and commentary, but one idea that immediately occurred to me was how much of a political boost this will be for Obama.  My best guess: a nice short-term boost, but that’s it.  Here’s GWB’s approval (via Steve Benen):

Notice that Saddam bump?  A bump is all it is in a clear overall trend.  I suspect Obama will get a nice bump– perhaps even larger than the Saddam bump, but a year from now, it will likely have had an undetectable impact.

Photo of the day

I’m got a variety of different thoughts on the whole Bin Laden thing, but I do love this photo from the Times:

The law school scam

I know some really smart lawyers, but I also know some really not-so-smart lawyers.  Seems like people are a little to ready to assume that a law degree alone makes somebody smart.  It doesn’t.  For one, if lawyers-to-be were smarter, they wouldn’t fall for what seems like a pretty obvious tuition semi-scam.  From the Times:

To keep her grant, all that Ms. Leumer had to do was maintain a grade-point average of 3.0 or above — a B or better. If she dipped below that number at the end of either the first or the second year, the letter explained, she would lose her scholarship for good…

How hard could a 3.0 be? Really hard, it turned out. That might have been obvious if Golden Gate published a statistic that law schools are loath to share: the number of first-year students who lose their merit scholarships. That figure is not in the literature sent to prospective Golden Gate students or on its Web site.

But it’s a number worth knowing. At Golden Gate and other law schools nationwide, students are graded on a curve, which carefully rations the number of A’s and B’s, as well as C’s and D’s, awarded each semester. That all but ensures that a certain number of students — at Golden Gate, it could be in the realm of 70 students this year — will lose their scholarships and wind up paying full tuition in their second and third years.  [emphasis mine]

Why would a school offer more scholarships than it planned to renew?

The short answer is this: to build the best class that money can buy, and with it, prestige. But these grant programs often succeed at the expense of students, who in many cases figure out the perils of the merit scholarship game far too late.

On the Golden Gate campus recently, a group of first-year students at risk of losing their scholarships were trying to make sense of the system. Most declined to be identified for this article because criticizing the school seemed, at minimum, undiplomatic. But the phrase “bait and switch” came up a lot. Several assumed that they were given what is essentially a discount to get them in the door.

Here’s the thing– is that information in the bolded paragraph actually much of a secret?  I don’t think so.  Shouldn’t these lawyers-to-be have figured out this potential issue.  I imagine they did not want to identified for fearing of looking none too bright for failing to realize this.  I wouldn’t want any of them handling my legal work.

Note to NC Republicans: a job is a job

The N&O’s Rob Christensen gets a little uncharacteristically partisan, and with some good results:

In 2003, when Pillowtex in Kannapolis declared bankruptcy and laid off 7,650 employees, it was the largest layoff in North Carolina history and sent state leaders into a near panic. The [Republican] House bill seems likely to result in twice as many layoffs as Pillowtex. But state leaders seem OK with that.

The Republican legislature says they are laying the groundwork for future job growth by cutting taxes, cutting regulation and reducing the size of government. Let’s hope they are right. But even if they are, we are talking about possible, gradual job growth down the road.

The GOP legislature is in the process of eliminating Real Jobs in the public sector with the hope that down the road their policies will encourage the creation of jobs in the private sector. But right now those are Virtual Jobs. Only time will tell whether trading Real Jobs for Virtual jobs was a good deal for North Carolina.

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