The [Tuesday] Papers
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan once wrote that confirmation hearings are "a vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis. Such hearings serve little educative function, except perhaps to reinforce lessons of cynicism that citizens often glean from government."
As Eric Zorn points out, Kagan has already retreated from that position lest it get in the way of advancing her career.
During her confirmation hearings on the way to becoming the U.S. solicitor general, Kagan said "I am . . . less convinced than I was in 1995 that substantive discussions of legal issues and views, in the context of nomination hearings, provide the great public benefits."
I guess Kagan's judicial philosophy, then, is "Do what I say, not what I do."
As one of Zorn's commenters points out, Kagan stated during her solicitor general hearings that "There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage."
"The pro-forma criticism will come from the right; the more interesting response will be from the left - whether Kagan is progressive enough, whether she endorses a variant of the unitary executive theory held by John Yoo and Dick Cheney, whether her scholarship is up to snuff, whether her views on campaign finance mirror those she was asked to argue for as SG," Atlantic political editor Marc Ambinder writes.
See Glenn Greenwald's case against Kagan as well as his round-up of commentary that you won't ever see in your daily papers while they're busy with the hometown rah-rah.
iPeas in an iPod
This from a SportsCenter-obsessed president who insisted the Secret Service find a way to let him keep his Blackberry.
"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations - none of which I know how to work - information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said at a commencement on Sunday.
He doesn't know how to work an iPod? Who is this guy, Rod Blagojevich?
And what of the Internet-savvy candidate we all heard about?
Well, I've got news for you: That wasn't his doing.
I was on a panel last year that included the Obama campaign's chief technology officer - this write-up saw the, um, bright side to my observations - who not only didn't argue with a single assertion I made about the campaign but pointed out that Obama's website and Internet strategy was badly outmatched by that of Hillary Clinton in the early-going. It wasn't Obama who made his use of the Internet a success, it was some rogue elements that joined the campaign and turned the tech side of things around. Give Obama credit for letting it flourish, but in my questions to the former CTO, it became clear that Obama was pretty detached from that whole side of the campaign.
Beyond that, do we really need a president who took celebritizing his candidacy to new heights lecturing us yet again on how superficial the media is?
And does Obama not realize - beyond how great the iPod, iPad and so forth are - that these are key drivers of our economy and technological advancement that also bodes well for media? Bill Clinton can't send an e-mail either but at least he understood the road to the 21st Century and - with Al Gore's considerable help - assisted in laying the groundwork for that famous Information Superhighway.
My God, you should be celebrating Apple, Mr. President, not denigrating its products.
It Wasn't Televised
"Long gone are the days when the appropriations committees had any input," Rich Miller writes. "Also vanished is the 'budgeteers' system, when appropriations chairmen and experts from each caucus would sit down to hash out the budget's details. Instead, all of the work now is being done by staff at the leaders' absolute direction.
"As a consequence, senators barely had any idea about what they were voting for last week when they approved a budget along party lines. The committee hearing before the vote provided precious few details and instead revolved around partisan bickering over a Democratic maneuver solely designed to embarrass the Republicans. Republicans repeatedly denounced the budget process as far too rushed and wholly untransparent, and they were right.
"This was without a doubt the most top-down, opaque budget ever produced under the Statehouse dome."
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Posted on May 11, 2010
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