« October 24, 2010 - October 30, 2010 | Main | November 7, 2010 - November 13, 2010 »

November 5, 2010

angry iowan douchbags

In case you (like me) did not think that the results of the Midterms were scary enough, let's look to the state of Iowa, where conservatives engineered the ouster of three Supreme Court justices who had voted to overturn a ban on gay marriage.  Adam Serwer on why you're terrified
Of course the entire point of an independent judiciary is that the law guides rulings, not what is popular.  This is precisely why electing judges is a bad idea.  Banning same-sex marriage isn't rooted in the Constitution -- indeed it's a straightforward violation of the equal protection clause.  But as with laws legalizing slavery and racial discrimination, cultural currents deeply affect how judges view the law.  Judges are elected in 38 states, a system that enhances the possibility of capricious and arbitrary interpretations of the law by forcing judges to consider whether or not a particular ruling will force them off the bench.

After a while you get to the point where you honestly could care less about the will of the people.  Sometimes they want good things, but sometimes they want bad things, and the judiciary is the referee.  Judges are there to rule on the law, and they are not there to reflect the will of the people.

Which makes angry Iowan voters basically the equivalent of the douchebags who beat up the umpires at their kid's Little League games.

Posted by mrbrent at 7:41 AM

November 3, 2010

can't quit the election

OK, I take it all back.  The results of the elections were grim.  I didn't really believe it until I saw the sad Obama face.  I even listened to the press conference in which Obama made the sad face and did not think that he sounded so sad!  But dude looks sad, so it must be brutal out there.  But I will take heart from the caption on the dead tree edition:
President Obama, at a news conference on Wednesday, sounded conciliatory after the Republican victories but not contrite.

Conciliatory but contrite!  To the barricades, but not contritely!

Meanwhile, I wrote about Election Night (and the American Idol Experience) for the Awl, so give them traffic.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:50 AM

election 10 had results?

And as far as what I've seen of the results so far (after no media last night and ten minutes on borrowed Internet this morning), if the narrative ends up being, "GOP takes House, though not as dominant as predicted," then I'd say that is both fair and accurate.

A sad day for me, someone who derives pleasure from mocking and deriding public servants who are unqualified for office because they are dumb: while some real good dumb ones won (Rand Paul, Ron Johnson), some of perhaps the dumbest ever did not make the cut.  So I give myself a small boo-hoo.

And John Boehner as House Majority is something that both I and the Republican base are seriously looking forward to — a grassroots neophyte to excape that can escape "insider" label.  Sure hope that dude likes tea.

[Update:]  Let's make that actually very dominant in the House, but underperforming in Senate races, and to some extent, gubernatorial races.  But in the House?  Hoo boy.  List of the dead.

And Boehner is (or will be) Speaker of the House, of course.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:53 AM

election 10

Hey, sorry I missed the "If you don't vote, don't bitch" post that I've done every year since Pavement broke up — I've got some travel scheduled that is keeping me away from the greater parts of the media for the day.  Time for a new meme, anyway, because I'm personally moving past the point where I imagine any direct correlation between voting and governance.  Oh, they bump into each other every once in a while, in a shadowy parking garage, but that's about it.  Maybe next year it'll be more like, "Vote, if only for the moral highground," or, "Offset one stupid person: vote."  Don't think cynicism ever left, but it's certainly giving me bedroom eyes.

Though I am happy to report that the JetBlue terminal yesterday morning had "Love Stinks" by J. Geils Band on as Muzak.  That was awesome.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:44 AM

November 1, 2010

debt collectors!

This NYT story on the robosigners used by collection agencies dovetails nicely with this BB post on a specific debt collector in the Erie, PA area:
The Pennsylvania Attorney General has brought suit against the Unicredit Debt Resolution Center in Erie, PA.  According to the suit, Unicredit dressed its employees in fake sheriff's deputies uniforms to lure debtors out of their homes with unenforceable orders, and took them to a fake courtroom where another employee pretending to be a judge told them they could go to jail if they didn't pay up.

These seem like Andy Rooney-level complaints — cue "off my lawn" meme — but the point of this is that the debt collectors are cheating.  They are impersonating law officers, they are committing fraud in court filings.  I'm not arguing that the indebted (hey, I'm one too!) should skate, but they should not be taken advantage of because of their indebted circumstances.  And companies that commit fraud should be held accountable.  (Not to mention forego harassment as a viable collection tool.)

Basically: this should be an us vs. them issue.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:32 PM

rally for sanity

I got a chance to watch about half of the Stewart/Colbert rally/enormous gathering of people, and I have to say I was impressed.  First of all for the turnout, which was very heartening, and second for the content.  As a day-long comedy act, it was ambitious as hell.  They managed to keep the running gag of Colbert's fear versus Stewart's reasonability fresh throughout, as a narrative peg, and the guests chosen were nice and random and laugh out loud funny.  I wish I could've watched the whole thing, honestly.  It was a whole lot more transfixing than that day I spent watching Live Aid however many years ago.

I also read David Carr this morning — his "nuanced argument about choice of targets," as he puts it — and I'm not as down on it as some of the Stewart faithful.  Carr points out that the greater point of Stewart's speech, that the media is somehow to blame for shrillness, was a case of attacking the messenger.  A fair point, especially to be made by a member of the media.  But in Stewart's defense, I think he painted himself into a corner.  By assiduously ensuring that the rally was non-partisan, the only point he could make was the curse on both your houses.  And if you opt for a definition of "media" as "opinion media", then the point is valid.  And if you realize that entire media outlets are now just opinion media masquerading as news, then the point is valid indeed.  I don't think Carr is off the reservation, but I do not agree one hundred percent.

I certainly wished that the rally could have been overtly political, targeting the fear-mongering candidates and office-holders instead of their media water-carriers.  But it could not, not the way that it was couched.  So they beat up on the media more than they should've, because they couldn't say that Mitch McConnell saying that the only purpose of the GOP is to unseat President Obama is the most shrill, irresponsible thing to say for a man whose job is supposedly to govern.

Also, two hundred fifty thousand is a lot of freaking people.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:38 AM