Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

The president’s speech

Tonight, in my estimation, President Obama delivered a brilliant, spellbinding, and fitting speech about the Tucson shootings. This was the best speech I’ve ever heard him give. It can be divided into three parts – a tribute to the victims, a denunciation of attempts to use the incident to make partisan attacks, and a related call for more civility in politics. In making these points, Obama steered away from what »

U.S. K-12 education — how bad?

We frequently read about how poorly the United States does when it comes to K-12 education. Our educational system is said, based on this or that study, to be lagging behind those of other developed nations, thus placing our economic competitiveness at risk. As with certain other metrics through which the U.S. is sometimes compared unfavorably to other countries, I always wonder whether the comparisons that find our education system »

What respectable liberalism looks like

The Washington Post editorial board parts company with the general run of liberal commentary about the Tucson shooting spree by eschewing attempts to blame a madman’s actions on “a vitriolic political culture laced with violent metaphors. . . .” The Post notes: Politicians should choose their words with care and keep debate civil, but it seems an unsupported leap to blame either the political climate or any particular individual or »

A look at baseball’s latest Hall of Fame selectees

Last week, Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar were voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. I consider both to be legitimate, albeit second-tier, Hall of Famers. The way I see the Hall, anyone in the top ten all time at his position deserves to be selected. We’re talking, after all, about 100 plus years of modern baseball history. For starting pitchers, by the same reasoning, I think anyone in the top »

Obamacare as debt-reduction legislaton

For the past few weeks, Democrats have been arguing against the repeal of Obamacare on the grounds that the program is a debt-reduction measure. The argument is hard to take seriously, so I haven’t addressed it, though I’ve provided links to some who have. But the Dems have been so persistent with this claim that perhaps it’s time to analyze it. I see three problems with defending Obamacare as a »

Has our political discourse taken a “dangerous turn”?

As Scott notes in a post below, “the race is on to place Jared Loughner among conservatives and attribute responsibility for yesterday’s murders to the political opponents of President Obama.” Less irresponsible precincts of the left are making the related argument that, as the first paragraph of the Washington Post’s lead story puts it, the shooting spree has “raised serious concerns that the nation’s heated political discourse has taken a »

A flame that can’t be extingushed and a marriage that should not be saved

When NPR sacked top news executive Ellen Weiss earlier this week, Juan Williams (whom Weiss had sacked) called her the representative of the “very ingrown, incestuous culture” at NPR. He also said her departure is “good news for NPR and people who care about the news.” Unfortunately, “NPR” and “people who care about the news” as other than a vehicle for advancing a political agenda may be, for the most »

We’re the government and we’re here to claim we helped you

Yesterday, President Obama visited the production plant of Thompson Creek, a window manufacturing company in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. The Thompson Creek name is well known to anyone who listens to sports on the radio in the DC area. Today, for example, I heard its ad while listening to a playoff football game on the way home from work. Thompson Creek has grown substantially in the past two »

Rearranging the deck chairs

The appointment of William Daley as President Obama’s chief-of-staff has drawn plenty of comment. It is widely viewed as an important signal that Obama is tacking towards the poiltical center. That may be where Obama is tacking, but I’m not convinced that this is the meaning, or will be the consequence, of the Daley appointment. When it comes to matters of ideology, Obama will continue to be his own chief-of-staff. »

Disowning the constitution

Charles Krauthammer begins his important column about “Constitutionalism” this way: For decades, Democrats and Republicans fought over who owns the American flag. Now they’re fighting over who owns the Constitution. But, as Krauthammer suggests later in his column, what was remarkable this week is that some Democrats, rather than fighting over who owns the Constitution, were publicly disowning it — in some cases symbolically and in others substantively. »

Read it again, John

I thought it was a good idea for the Constitution to be read aloud on the floor of the House of Representatives as that body kicked off its new session. The reading reminded those present of the contents of our fundamental law and symbolized a commitment to adhere to that law. But what seemed like a good idea turned out to be a great one. For instead of good naturedly »

If at first you don’t succeed. . .

President Obama has re-nominated to the federal bench four individuals who were too controversial to be confirmed by the outgoing Senate. The four are Goodwin Liu, Edward Chen, Louis Butler, and John O’Donnell. We have discussed Liu’s radicalism on several occasions. Hans Bader highlights the problems that stood in the way of the confirmation of the four, even by an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate. It’s difficult to see how any of »

NPR exec who fired Juan Williams follows him out the door

NPR announces that an “independent review” of its firing of Juan Williams has been completed and that its Board has taken certain actions in response to the findings of that review. These actions include “appropriate disciplinary action with respect to certain management employees involved in the termination” of Williams. One manager involved in the termination is Vivian Schiller, the CEO. NPR says in its announcement that the Board is “concerned” »

Annals of mindless hyperbole

Glenn Beck claims that raising the debt ceiling would be the beginning of the end of the Republican party. The GOP survived the presidencies of Harding, Hoover, and Nixon, as well as George H.W. Bush’s about face on “new taxes.” I suppose it will survive a vote to prevent the U.S. government from defaulting on its obligations. Allahpundit has this issue nailed: From the myopic standpoint of what’s more likely »

Judge Reinhardt purports to explain himself

Judge Stephen Reinhardt has at last issued a memorandum explaining why he declined to recuse himself from the three-judge panel reviewing Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision striking down California’s Proposition 8, which provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The motion by Proposition 8′s proponents to disqualify Judge Reinhardt argued that his impartiality in the matter might reasonably be questioned because “his »

Jim DeMint says hell no

Sen. Jim DeMint has declared that even with a balanced budget amendment, he will not vote to raise the debt limit because he did not help create the debt problem. DeMint also encourages freshmen Republican members of Congress not to support raising the debt celing for the same reason. From an analytic standpoint, I don’t think DeMint’s position makes much sense. Legislators should support the best practically available response to »

Early fireworks in the new Congress, Part Three

A reader who has first-hand experience from the 1990s playing “chicken” with debt ceiling votes tells me that “there’s no useful political leverage” to be gained from the exercise. He compares threats to withhold raising the debt ceiling with threats to nuke the old Soviet Union – “superficially powerful, but actually too dreadful to seriously consider.” This was my initial thought, and it was probably a good one, whatever Lindsey »