Quick hits

1) Love this open letter from Cracker’s (and Camper Van Beethoven) David Lowery about how pirating i.e., stealing, digital music takes a real toll on artists.  I used to download digital music for free when there weren’t a lot of other options, but ever since the Itunes store has been there, I’ve paid for all my digital music.  Oh, and Cracker is actually one of my very favorite bands:

1a) Love this song

2) Kevin Drum discusses the disturbing fact that Americans think we face more of an existential threat now than we did during the Cold War. Ummm, no.

3) Just talked about Double Jeopardy in class yesterday.  Slate has a terrific series on suggestions to fix the Constitution.  This one says that if you don’t have unanimity for conviction, there should be no retrial.  That fact in itself suggests “reasonable doubt.”  Good point.  Apparently, that’s how military justice already works.

4) Nice piece in the New Yorker making the point that privatization really doesn’t work everywhere and is especially problematic in schools and prisons.

5) Assuming you have the right genes (and most people do) exercise on the day of a test will help you perform better.

6) It really is stupid for the Supreme Court to pile so many important decisions all coming out next Monday.  Some really important decisions will surely get short shrift as a result.

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People suck

That’s the only conclusion that can be drawn after watching HBO’s “One Nation Under Dog.’  What the hell is wrong with all these people who take on the responsibility of a dog and they just they decide they can abandon it somewhere?!  By the millions!  And, not to mention those incredibly horrible people– who make Cruella DeVille look nice– who run puppy mills.  And the fools who buy these dogs at pet stories to perpetuate the horrible system of puppy mills and believe the pet store when it says, no all the other pet stores use puppy mills, but not us.  It was so distressing to learn that only 20% of dogs are rescue dogs.

On the bright side, there’s some amazing people committed to helping these animals, but on the whole, a pretty depressing state of affairs.

There is nothing symmetrical here

Via Milbank about the Montana Republican party:

Over the weekend, the Montana Republican Party proved wrong those of us who believe our political discourse has gone down the toilet. In fact, our political discourse has gone to a place where there isn’t even plumbing.

Of course Milbank does try and leave a hedge of symmetry in his language, but it’s hard to find symmetry for something like this:

Outside the Montana GOP convention in Missoula stood an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” and painted as though it had been shot full of holes, according to the local paper. Inside, a fake birth certificate for “Barack Hussein Obama” was stamped with an expletive referring to bovine droppings. A message in the structure gave fake phone numbers for Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi “For a Good Time.”

Just maybe you noticed the disgusting sexism as well.  I’m sorry, your just not going to find anything close at any state Democratic party convention anywhere.  Sure, some Democrats go too far, but the nutty Republicans are in a class by themselves, and they are actually running state conventions, sadly.

The best evidence that opposition to the mandate is entirely political, and not Constitutional

Earlier this week I quoted extensively from an excellent Kevin Drum post that made the point that nobody ever actually questioned the Constitutionality of the mandate until after the ACA was passed.  I decided yesterday to use the power of Lexis/Nexis to add some empirical evidence to that matter.  Guess how many newspaper stories prior to passage on March 21, 2010 contained the words “Affordable Care Act” and “mandate” and “unconstitutional.”    Occasional Constitutional issues were raised, but they were all about process.  Take out “mandate” and there’s a decent handful of stories, but they all focus on the process of the passage, not the actual content of the law.

As for stories after that period, not suprisingly, we max out Nexis/Lexis at >3000.  But that’s essentially all of them after the ACA was passed.  Interesting that the Republicans didn’t seem to have any Constitutional concerns/qualms about something they  now claim is an obviously Unconstitutional affront to American democracy.   Even in the first couple months of newspaper stories (37, to be precise) after passage the arguments about the mandate never made the intellectually questionable activity/inactivity argument that came to be the heart of the conservative Constitutional case.

So, let’s just beat a dead horse, Republicans have surely convinced themselves now that this is Unconstitutional but doesn’t the fact that they basically never raised Constitutional objections to the individual mandate before the bill’s passage suggest that not even they genuinely questioned it’s Constitutionality.  If the Supreme Court strikes this down it will truly be a sad day for American democracy.

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