The Hollow Horn

July 30, 2007
  • One pretty solid positive for Fred Thompson: he has spoken out against the growing federalization of criminal law.
  • Is Barack Obama, as this Slate article suggests, “all sizzle and no steak”? Meanwhile, Matthew Yglesias weighs in on the Clinton-Obama foreign policy spat here, and I agree.
  • I am not the only one who thinks Edwards’ advocation of capital gains tax hikes may not be the best way to go about raising the funds our government needs to pay its debts. Tyler Cowen weighs in here.
  • Good news, travelers: David Kopel makes a fairly compelling case that sometimes flying really is better than driving.
  • Foreign Policy asks, “What’s wrong with this foreign policy?”

The Rundown

July 28, 2007
  • CFR’s Peter Beinart uses the ongoing Hillary Obama spat as a jumping point for a pretty good editorial about Pakistan in Time.
  • Reid Wilson writes about the state of the Senate.
  • Things continue to look worse for Alberto Gonzalez, as even more people effectively call him a liar.
  • The NYT gives a handy summary of corruption charges plaguing various lawmakers around the country.
  • Daniel Davies tears the David Kane criticisms of the Lancet study of Iraq deaths that Michelle Malkin has been promoting to shreds at Crooked Timber.
  • Via Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy, a new paper by environmental law professor Arnold Reitze suggesting corn ethanol may not work out as planned. Yeah, you don’t say.

The Rundown

July 26, 2007
  • Marty Lederman makes a pretty convincing case that AG AG’s semantics games about the Terrorist Surveillance Program lack any substance.
  • Hell freezes over: Rudy writes an editorial I more or less agree with. Carbon sequestration is still a little pie-in-the-sky, IMHO, but that’s something of a quibble.
  • Even some of the “loyal Bushies” are uncomfortable with the executive order interpreting the Geneva Conventions. Marty Lederman follows up here.
  • More on postwar Iraq from Matthew Yglesias. This is very well-written.
  • Arlen Spector apparently feels betrayed by Chief Justice Roberts’s decisions this term. So much so that he has pledged to probe said decisions.
  • Brad DeLong posts an interesting story about Herbert Hoover in China.

The Rundown

July 25, 2007
  • Michael Gerson makes a pretty persuasive argument for close US and international attention to the resolution of the ongoing conflict in Uganda.
  • Alan Weber argues, not at all persuasively, that Detroit ought to be embracing stricter fuel standards. I am no lover of inefficient vehicles, but I think the comments showcase a number of critical flaws in his argument.
  • Tyler Cowen makes a provocative, if inconclusive, post questioning whether buying local produce is really all it’s cracked up to be.
  • David Bernstein points to some disturbing news about Hezbollah. As usual, he can’t resist the urge to make an absolutely ridiculous remark, but the content is newsworthy.
  • The Politico suggests that Obama’s campaign may be taking some cues from Ronald Reagan’s.
  • Bad news from the housing market (via TPM Cafe).

The Rundown

July 24, 2007
  • Foreign Policy‘ s Passport blog argues that Condoleezza Rice is well on her way to becoming a Powell-esque failure as Secretary of State.
  • Newt Gingrich goes off on an amusing/frightening rant at an American Spectator breakfast.
  • Anne Applebaum argues that Vladimir Putin benefits politically from doing nothing about corruption and criminality in Russia.
  • More anthropogenic climate change evidence in Nature.
  • The VA is being sued by a group of Iraq veterans claiming that mismanagement and incompetence has prevented them from obtaining medical care.
  • Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon argue in the NYT that the CIA should take charge of the counterterrorism operations that the military has repeatedly bungled.
  • Gene Sperling makes a case that stagnant/declining American funding for scientific research could spark a crisis in the near future.
  • Greg Mankiw posts on a Becker-Posner Blog tip I emailed him, but doesn’t show me any love. Oh well. I got a thank you email at least.

National Security and the Environment

July 23, 2007

The excellent Becker-Posner Blog’s weekly posts this week deal with a favorite topic of mine from my undergrad studies: the intersects between the environment and national security vis-a-vis energy policy. I am inclined to agree with much of what both have to say on the subject. The money quote is probably this one:

A tax on carbon emissions from business and household production would not only help reduce global warming-by how much is still controversial- but it would also lower the world prices of these fuels through reducing the demand for fossil fuels. Lower prices would cut the revenues received by Middle Eastern states from the sale of oil and natural gas.

Greg Mankiw is doubtless pleased. Becker also favors increasing the share of electricity generation from nuclear power, something I also support. This is a less than popular attitude among many environmentalists, but I think it is, for now, the least worst alternative.

Posner is also right to say, however:

A point Becker does not touch on is the importance of international cooperation to deal with environmental problems.

This is really the big issue with global warming. Kyoto didn’t go nearly far enough in establishing meaningful international cooperation, and many signatories are failing to meet their targets even under that weak agreement. I hold out some hope that there still is room for progress, but I fear that the window is closing rapidly on mitigation possibilities, and that within my lifetime, we may be left with an emphasis on difficult and unpleasant adaptation strategies as our primary recourse.

The Rundown

July 23, 2007
  • Your weekly Guantanamo controversy story at the NYT.
  • Matthew Yglesias points to a pretty revealing chart discussing the role of the filibuster in the current Congress.
  • Adam Cohen suggests that the founding fathers would find our fearless leader somewhat appalling.
  • Freakonomics hosts an interesting discussion (“quorum”, if you prefer Stephen Dubner’s somewhat pretentious terminology) about rhino conservation in Africa.
  • More from Mark Kleiman on the defunding option as a means of ending the subpoena v. privilege standoff.