Kennedy, The Magic 8-Ball Justice

by John Holbo on July 1, 2018

Some readers are failing to appreciate the aptness of my Kennedy-as-Magic-8-Ball analogy. In some cases this may by due to infirm powers of reading or reasoning; in other cases, to ignorance of the law, or of recent legal history. In some cases it may be due to insufficient familiarity with a children’s toy. No matter, I shall explain.

The Magic 8-Ball has 20 possible responses: 10 positive, 5 hazy or non-commital, 5 negative. And that is what Kennedy was. Half the time a rock-ribbed conservative, but half the time either liberal or hazy.

Thus, the following would be one way to keep the Supreme Court above the partisan fray, post-Kennedy, while acknowledging the power of partisanship, and according the sitting President a certain privilege when it comes to determining the make-up of the court. [click to continue…]

Paying for news

by Chris Bertram on July 1, 2018

Well, my World Cup thread was a bit of a damp squib wasn’t it? And all because, as an afterthought, I linked to a piece in the Financial Times which, it turned out, was only easily accessible to subscribers (like me). People take exception to links to pieces behind paywalls. That’s understandable. People are used to the free internet and I’m personally willing to offer anyone who was offended by the link a full refund on their Crooked Timber subscription. But seriously, folks. We have the problem of fake or seriously distorted news right here. Either users are willing to pay for content from major news agencies, newspapers, etc or they are not. If they are not, and if advertising fails because too many people use adblockers, then they won’t be able to afford to meet the costs that their operation involves: overheads, staff salaries, travel, IT costs etc. So then one of two things happens: (a) they go bust or (b) somebody with a lot of spare cash and an interest in influencing opinion pays the bill. That would be members of the 0.1 per cent, or oligarchs, or maybe states. So if we want the quality and variety of information on which functioning democracies rely, rather than the news somebody very rich with a vested interest wants us to read, we’re going to have to find ways to get users and citizens to pay for information. Simple as.

Sunday photoblogging: cranes and tracks

by Chris Bertram on July 1, 2018

Cranes and tracks