Thursday, March 28, 2013

GOP In The House Really Bad Legislators

What positive agenda have they gotten through? Jonathan Bernstein:

Couldn’t write a bill because he was distracted by Fast and Furious and Benghazi? Why not just say that his computer was down or that a dog ate his homework? At least those cliched excuses don’t imply what is really going on here: Republican politicians who believed that the job of a member of Congress is to be outraged, and once they’ve done that, they can pretty much go home.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Frum On Guns

Because it needs to be said:

Weird stories like this, shocking as they are, distract us from the reality of what guns mostly do in America. The New York Times cast light on that daily truth in adisturbing long report this weekend.
Intimate partner homicides account for nearly half the women killed every year, according to federal statistics. More than half of these women are killed with a firearm.
Women often know that the man in their life is dangerous and will seek a protective order against him. One study of urban women found that 20% of murdered women had previously obtained a protective order. Yet there's a big loophole in these protective orders: a judge may tell a man to stay away from a woman. But in the large majority of states, a man under a protective order may still keep his guns. Even in those states that require surrender - California - the requirement is barely enforced.
Which is how we get cases like these:
Deborah Wigg, a 39-year-old accountant in Virginia Beach, obtained a protective order in April 2011 against her husband, Robert Wigg, whom she was in the process of divorcing. In her petition, she described a violent encounter in which Mr. Wigg grabbed her by her hair, threw her down, ripped out a door and threw it at her. He was arrested and charged with assault. She also made clear in the petition that her husband owned a 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun.
She eventually won a full protective order, but Mr. Wigg kept his gun, which he used in his business installing and servicing A.T.M.’s.
Ms. Wigg and her co-workers at an accounting firm openly fretted about the weapon. She agreed that every morning she would call Marty Ridout, a partner at the firm, so he could make sure she was safe.
On the morning of Nov. 8, 2011, Ms. Wigg left Mr. Ridout a voice mail message saying everything was fine.
Around 11 p.m. that night, however, Mr. Wigg, 43, showed up at his wife’s home and began ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door. Ms. Wigg called her parents. Her mother, Adele Brown, told her to hang up and call 911.
But as Ms. Brown and her husband, who lived about a half-mile away, were heading over, Mr. Wigg smashed through the door and into the house. The Browns arrived to find a neighbor bent over their daughter’s bleeding form, screaming, “Debbie, don’t leave me!”
“When we got to her, those beautiful blue eyes were already set,” Ms. Brown said.
Ms. Wigg died of a single shot to the head.
After shooting his wife, Mr. Wigg drove to the Browns’, apparently to kill them as well. He killed himself in their front yard.
When I write about guns, I often hear from gun owners who insist they need weapons to protect their families. That's a laudable impulse. Yet it's very often true that when it comes time for the weapon to be used, it is turned against that family.

Not Important

Infrastructure report card: D+. But at least it evaluates only unimportant stuff, like the quality of our roads, dams, sewers, gas lines, drinking water and other trivialities. We certainly shouldn't invest in fixing it, as this would only create a lot of jobs and ensure we don't have structural problems in the future (remember, infrastructure spending is supply-side spending!). Also, interest rates are at the lowest they'll be for at least a  generation, making the borrowing to pay for infrastructure as cheap as it will ever be for years to come. But the Social Security trust fund dries up in 30 years! What about that?!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hard To Comprehend

Two things:

1) How very, very different the lives of the powerful are from normal people. Nixon is largely causally responsible for thousands upon thousands of deaths, including U.S. soldiers. He did it largely for personal gains. No one will care about this as much as they care about Watergate.

He was not held accountable at the time because of possible disruptions of other powerful peoples' (Johnson and Humphrey) plans. Utterly astounding (not in a good way).

2) What must a person, powerful or otherwise, be like to put personal gain ahead of the lives and well-being of so many people? Really - I honestly can't conceive of it.

Note: Very similar though not identical comments apply to LBJ in starting the war.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Short Attention Spans

When the working paper from Alsenia and Ardagna came out saying cutting government spending would help economic growth, a couple of my conservative friends sent it to me, one with the glib comment that as a liberal, I'd "find a way to ignore it." I wonder who is ignoring it now that has been exposed as a terrible basis for understanding the problems we have been facing for the last five years.