Friday Fun Thread: Teenage Kicks

by Ted on June 17, 2005

John Cole has tagged me with his own book meme:

What fiction did you read as a teen/young adult that you have re-read as an adult (or would like to)? What pieces of fiction meant something to you? Put up your list, and pass it on to 2-3 people.

[click to continue…]

Rejoinder to Moravcsik

by Henry on June 17, 2005

“Katia Papagianni”:http://news.ft.com/cms/s/11f7ca46-decc-11d9-92cd-00000e2511c8.html has a great letter in today’s _FT_ responding to the “Andrew Moravcsik”:http://www.princeton.edu/~amoravcs/library/works_well.doc article that I “criticized”:https://crookedtimber.org/2005/06/16/not-frightening-the-horses/ yesterday. Key section:

bq. The European Union constitutional crisis demonstrates, as Prof Moravcsik writes, that debates over institutional reform do not generate an engaged public because citizens respond only to salient ideals and issues. However, EU debates do not only address opaque institutional reforms, but also salient issues that EU citizens care about such as immigration, foreign policy, development and humanitarian assistance, in addition to monetary and competition policy. The fact that European-level politics has not engaged the public so far and has nevertheless progressed successfully does not mean that the public’s engagement is impossible or detrimental to the EU’s future. The EU’s citizens were asked late to join the constitutional process and to participate briefly in an abstract debate as opposed to engaging in meaningful discussions on concrete policy issues over a long period of time. Europeans should not be asked to decide whether they feel European or whether they aspire to a federal Europe. These are not relevant questions. Europeans should rather be asked what types of policies, combing national and EU-level responsibilities, they prefer.

This is exactly right – and what has been missing from the debate so far. The answer isn’t to shroud the processes of the EU still further in technocratic gobbledygook, or to engage in publicity stunts designed to make European citizens ‘identify’ with a process in which they aren’t making the choices. It’s to have real debate on the fundamentally _political_ choices underlying the specifics of EU integration.

Separation of powers

by Ted on June 17, 2005

(via Carpetbagger Report.) So, there was a state-sponsored display of the Ten Commandments in front of the Gibson County Courthouse in Princeton, Indiana. Some citizens brought it to court, arguing that it was unconstitutional, and won.

Indiana Republican Representative John Hostettler introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would “prohibit funds in the Act from being used to enforce the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in the case of Russelburg v. Gibson County.” Says Benen, “In other words, Hostettler would prevent the federal judiciary from enforcing its own court order. Gibson County could refuse to comply with the law and the judge couldn’t send marshals to resolve the problem.”

WHAT HIS FELLOW REPUBLICANS SHOULD HAVE SAID:

“John, I’m sorry. I agree with you on the merits; that Ten Commandments display isn’t hurting anyone. But this amendment isn’t the way to deal with it. We can’t micromanage in this way, picking court orders that we don’t want enforced. Everyone in this room could point to a court order that they wished had gone another way, but we’re not allowed to make those decisions. It’s a blatant violation of the separation of powers, and a terrible precedent to set. I’m sorry, but I can’t support this.”

WHAT THEY ACTUALLY SAID:

“Aye.”

Yes, the amendment passed. 91% of voting Republican representatives supported the amendment, versus 19% of voting Democratic representatives. I really don’t believe that 91% of the House Republican caucus didn’t know better. I don’t understand these people.

In Bed with the Reds

by Henry on June 17, 2005

I’ve been reading “Red State”:http://www.redstate.org over the last few days, which I’ve been told is the smarter, more thoughtful side of Republicanism. So far, I’ve been deeply unimpressed, especially when it comes to their coverage of Guantanamo. In the last couple of days, we’ve had Erick’s “modest proposal”:http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/6/15/211325/756 that everyone in the camp should be killed (but no, he’s joking; what he really means is that they should all be locked up in perpetuity as enemies of America). We’ve had Mark Kilmer’s “argument”:http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/6/16/205423/099 that Senator Durbin’s statement on Guantanamo is just another example of Democrats’ hatred for Bush and Republicans. We’ve had Krempasky’s “Chris Muir gets it”:http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/6/17/121922/392, copying one of the most egregiously offensive cartoons I’ve seen in a long while (news for Krempasky and Muir: being “chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor” so that you urinate and defecate on yourself is not a choice between orange-glazed chicken and rice pilaff). And that’s not to mention Paul J. Cella’s “doozy”:http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/6/14/205620/932 on why we shouldn’t be letting Muslims come to the US (apparently, Muslims just don’t know how to be Americans).

It’d be easy to use this as a cheap way to accuse everyone on the right side of the blogosphere of being apologists for the inhumane treatment of prisoners, religious hatred etc. It’d also be unfair (it’s clear from the comments sections that a number of right-wingers are pretty disturbed at these posts too). But I can’t understand why, say, Sebastian Holsclaw (who’s nobody’s torture apologist) is happy to be associated as a co-blogger with this particular bunch of yahoos. If the last couple of days are anything to go by, there’s not much real difference between Red State and the hatemongers at LGF.

Update: Is “Pejman Yousefzadeh”:http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/6/18/163230/514 offering some veiled advice to his co-bloggers?

bq. Want to deny lunacy a forum? Great. The best thing to do is to grow up, act responsibly, make your honestly held and believed arguments with as much passion and fervor as you believe appropriate to the occasion and understand that if you step over the bounds of decency, the shadows will come out to embrace you while the rest of society watches in justified revulsion.

State robbery

by Chris Bertram on June 17, 2005

Around a million dollars donated in the wake of the Tsunami is being “stolen by the government of Sri Lanka”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4103054.stm , reports the BBC:

bq. British charity Oxfam has had to pay the Sri Lankan government $1m in import duty for vehicles used in tsunami reconstruction work.

bq. Paperwork had kept the 25 four-wheel drive vehicles idle in the capital, Colombo, for a month.

bq. The Sri Lankan government told the BBC News website the aid had been duty-free until the end of April but was now needed to prevent “market distortions”.

Chicagoland summer fun

by Eszter Hargittai on June 17, 2005

For those in Chicagoland or those contemplating a visit, here are some fun goings on over the summer. I still consider myself relatively new in the area so I’m still actively on the lookout for what goes on here these months. I’m very impressed.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve already had the opportunity to go see a Gospel Music Festival, an Art Fair and participate in other outdoor celebrations. Much more is ahead. The free Summer Dance program started at Grant Park this past Wednesday. It runs until the end of August. On Wednesdays they have a DJ. On Thu-Sun they first offer free dance lessons and then have a live band for dances ranging from Polka to Swing, from Bachata to Waltzes. Given that I have been spending increasing amounts of time in dance classes, this is an exciting and fun opportunity. A propos dance, this weekend is the annual Chicago Crystal Ball national dance competition. I’ll be there although only for part of it since I’m hosting friends over the weekend and we’ll be exploring numerous areas of town. No, I won’t be competing at Crystal Ball, but I’ll be cheering on friends who will.

Next weekend (24-26th) will be the Wired Nextfest for all of us interested in the latest gadgets. I think from there I’ll head straight to Grant Park for that evening’s ballroom session.

A bit later in the summer will be the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival also in Grant Park. This event it free as well. They will be wrapping up with Star Wars on Aug 23rd. Sounds fun.

I have found the following resources especially helpful in finding out about goings-on and keeping track. I recommend them as sources of additional amusement: