I’ll be somewhat off the grind for the next few weeks. Here’s some links I’d recommend in the meantime:
– Aaron Bady on both Libya and talking about Libya. The first part, about the work commenting and having an opinion on Libya does in the public sphere and especially the blogosphere – “where your name is your capital, and you’re trying to make it grow” – is spot on.
– Ryan Avent takes apart Tim Pawlenty’s views on “fiat money.” Short take – anti-Fed gold-bug influenced retrenchment is now mainstream GOP.
– Robert Kuttner on Treasury blowing a hole in Dodd-Frank. Treasury is looking to expand exemptions out the door, before Dodd-Frank is even up and running.
– With Notably Rare Exceptions is the best phrase ever.
– Video interview with Dorian Warren a political science professor at Columbia University and Roosevelt Institute fellow, discusses the gender-bias lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Big deal for future class-action lawsuits, as well as the future course the law takes with economics.
Serious question: Why didn’t Obama hit the ground running with judges? There’s a huge number of open seats. Considering he was the law professor President and all that, I don’t get it.
– Dissent Magazine, Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools, in case you missed it, is an amazing piece of journalism for a couple of reasons, even beyond the relevance for the Washington D.C. “incorrect-to-correct” scandal with high-stakes testing USA Today reported. First, the differential power under extreme inequality comes into focus, where public policy is geared towards the influence of select billionaires. (Per Walzer, inequality in the economic sphere creates inequality of power and influence throughout the public and policy spheres.)
Second, it shows how big foundations wanting to achieve very targeted goals corrupt the normal checks and balances of scientific research. I’ve been told that you can’t understand the problems here until you understand how the Gates’ funding of malaria studies prevents effective peer review and criticism among professionals, which the Dissent article covers.
In November 2008, Bill and Melinda gathered about one hundred prominent figures in education at their home outside Seattle to announce that the small schools project hadn’t produced strong results. They didn’t mention that, instead, it had produced many gut-wrenching sagas of school disruption, conflict, students and teachers jumping ship en masse, and plummeting attendance, test scores, and graduation rates. No matter, the power couple had a new plan: performance-based teacher pay, data collection, national standards and tests, and school “turnaround”…
Reminds me so much of the book Anti-Politics Machine by James Ferguson (that link is to a great online review). As the “development” fails it reifies and expands the power of the same group of experts and expertise that now will find yet another development program to try and implement while ignoring the political life – of poverty, incarceration, and isolation – that surrounds failing schools.
– Jack Balkin writes something that I wish wasn’t true, but I now believe it is:
In 2006, Sandy Levinson and I predicted that the next president, whether Democratic or Republican, would ratify and continue many of President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism policies. The reason, we explained, had less to do with the specific events of September 11th, and more to do with the fact that the United States was in the process of expanding the National Security State created after World War II into something we called the National Surveillance State, featuring huge investments in electronic surveillance and various end runs around traditional Bill of Rights protections and expectations about procedure. These end runs included public private cooperation in surveillance and exchange of information, expansion of the state secrets doctrine, expansion of administrative warrants and national security letters, a system of preventive detention, expanded use of military prisons, extraordinary rendition to other countries, and aggressive interrogation techniques outside of those countenanced by the traditional laws of war….
The reasons for the creation of the national surveillance state were multiple; they concerned the rise of digital networks, changes in the technology of warfare, and the concomitant rise of networks of non-state actors as serious threats to national security….
The choice we face today, therefore, is not whether we will have a National Surveillance State, but the kind of National Surveillance State we will have– one that does its best to protect privacy, civil liberties and internationally recognized human rights in changing conditions, or one that debilitates or eliminates these protections and guarantees, and brings us ever closer to emergency government as a normal condition of politics….
My view…is that Obama has played the same role with respect to the National Surveillance State that Eisenhower played with respect to the New Deal and the administrative state, and Nixon played with respect to the Great Society and the welfare state. Each President established a bi-partisan consensus and gave bi-partisan legitimation to certain features of national state building.
Important post. I fear liberals need to go to “Plan B”, building up a movement of lawyers, judges and jurisprudence theory and realizing this is a long battle to curtail power.