The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Archive for September, 2008

Old News

Posted by brightcoast on September 30, 2008

I was watching Pelosi’s speech before the bailout vote, and the thought occurred to me, why didn’t Obama tap her for the VP slot? Thoughts?

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It’s Official

Posted by brightcoast on September 30, 2008

Motions has gone to crap, for the most part. I get that it’s main purpose is for entertainment, but with all of the important issues, they devote an entire 2-3 pages, including part of the front page, to a story about legalizing marijuana. I mean come on, are we in high school? The best “issue” we can come up with for our first issue of the school year (as far as I know), front page, month until the election, is to legalize marijuana. And the best argument in favor of it is that the current policies aren’t working to deter, and the main lobbyists against it are law enforcement. Really? That’s your argument, that law enforcement officers thinks it’s a bad idea. Would you rather take their job and deal with all the doped up criminals running around? Have you seen the show Jail? Can you really say that there are no major problems that would result from legalizing marijuana? How about all of the people who don’t use it now only because it is illegal that will get addicted? Will you pay for their treatment? I’m not saying there aren’t strong arguments in favor of de-penalization, but these are not among them.

And how about this, in an article endorsing Palin, the writer lists among the VP-candidate’s qualities that she is “articulate.” Apparently she hasn’t been keeping up with the news lately.

Overall, aside from the chuckle I got from Ms. Lacy’s article about the Trolley and some of my fellow 3Ls’ alternative career paths, I would file this edition under the letdown category.

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A “Holistic” Approach to Endangered Species Protection

Posted by brightcoast on September 30, 2008

An interesting article and intelligent approach is being proposed to protect 48 speciesin Hawaii. The most logical aspect is that proposal seeks to use the same plan/resources to target a specific habitat including the species. This seems much more efficient than the current ad hoc system we have now.

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“Gotcha?”

Posted by brightcoast on September 30, 2008

Is this a Christian Science Monitor affiliate criticizing the McCain-Palin ticket– or at least related to their media presence? I can’t quite tell…

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Nature’s Inalienable Constitutional Rights

Posted by brightcoast on September 30, 2008

An interesting article about Ecuador’s new Constitution can be found here.

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Emptying Oceans

Posted by brightcoast on September 30, 2008

Interesting little blurb here with a one minute video contrasting the ocean as experienced in 1958 to 2008.

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A little background on Paulson’s Plan

Posted by progressivethink on September 29, 2008

Check it out here..

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770 Point Drop in the Dow

Posted by progressivethink on September 29, 2008

Well here we go; this is what happens when politicians don’t act.  The market fell 770 points after the failure of the bailout bill in congress.  The bailout bill failure, which would have authorized 700 billion in money to buy distressed mortgage securities, resulted in a loss of 1.4 trillion today.  So by not authorizing the bill, we actually already spent the 700 billion.  The market is down 4.2 Trillion for the year in fact.  While there were issues with the bill (notably the lack of a provision allowing bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgages), the longer we wait, the more risk of financial meltdown we incur.

Instead a bunch of libertarians on the Republican side are stuck in some laissez faire 1800’s mindset, with the belief that government should not intervene in the markets.  Socialism, they scream.. its unamerican!  Well, i’m pretty sure in the next month or so that this meltdown will start to affect the constituents in middle america.  Then people won’t be complaining about using government largesse to save the economy, protect jobs and allow us to continue the American way of life.  Let me paint a little picture… Banks are currently hoarding cash, as they need liquidity to cover losses in the mortgage securities.  This is filtering down into the greater economy as they no longer want to lend money to businesses as well as for home and car loans.  What short term loans they do make will be at very high interest rates. This is already occurring as we speak.  Once businesses cannot get short term credit, they will be unable to take out loans to pay payroll, or invest in their business.  This will force them to begin laying off employees – directly hitting the average American.

The contagion has now spread globally, with Asian and European markets taking a nosedive.  We began to see the effects in Europe as Fortis (a large Belgian institution) was partially nationalized, and a B&B a British bank collapsed and was taken over by the FSA.  It’s going to be a long road ahead; Congress MUST act.

Posted in Uncategorized | 28 Comments »

In the Driver’s Seat

Posted by demkid on September 29, 2008

It’s been a rough last couple of weeks for Senator McCain, and this is really starting to show now in the polls.  I was seriously bored by his debate performance, and I think lots of undecided voters were as well.  Even though it may have been a close debate substance-wise, Senator Obama came across as much more likeable and engaging, and he was able to tie issues together well and clearly get his points across.  McCain was extremely rigid at times, and it’s been widely reported how he didn’t look at his opponent.  I think this resulted in Obama winning the debate in both snapshot and day-after polls here, here, and here

I think it’s going to be tough now for McCain to make a significant move, unless Palin somehow does extremely well in her debate this week.  Intrade Market Odds are now right where they were immediately after the Democratic National Convention…Obama is now favored about 62-37.  There have also been some surprising state polls out, including ones that give Senator Obama the edge in North Carolina.  I seriously doubt he can win a state like NC, but these polls show a significantly weakened state for the McCain campaign.  In just a little over a week, Obama has opened up some daylight in this race, and with the economic situation as it is, more undecideds will be moving away from the status quo.

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Bailout Plan Fails

Posted by brightcoast on September 29, 2008

Well, at least we won’t have another USA PATRIOT Act situation, hopefully. Hopefully more time will lead to a better deal.

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The First Amendment and the Taxman

Posted by brightcoast on September 29, 2008

At first glance, this article seems to make sense. Why shouldn’t churches be able to express political preferences and support candidates? I mean everyone is entitled to exercise their freedom of speech. However, this is the bargain that they must except if they want to maintain their tax exempt status. You can’t have it both ways. A 501(c)(3) status means that the government, in effect, supports the good work that you are doing to the extent that they will not charge you taxes to encourage your behavior. Thus, allowing you to express/support certain political causes (beyond what’s allowed in the code/relevant statutes) would be akin to the government sanctioning your political speech. Or, if the preferences came out during the application process, it could raise the potential problems of groups only getting approved because of their political leaning. So you can’t have it both ways, you either get the privilege of not paying taxes while being able to simultaneously practice your religion (or other qualifying activity) or you get to exercise your freedom of speech while contributing to the bailout fund.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Fact Checking from the First Debate

Posted by brightcoast on September 26, 2008

You can find an initial summary of fact checking here.

ETA:

Overall I think the debate went as well as both candidates could expect. I was particularly impressed with the intellectual level of argument proffered, particular by Obama. It was so refreshing to see two people running for national office who could actually articulate their supposed positions on things. Unlike the most recent nonsense offered on national news– I mean really, how sad is it that this is actually representative?

Anyway. I appreciate that Obama actually brought up healthcare and education, you know, issues that actually affect those of us unable to send all 7 of our children to private school.

The debate also made me question the big deal about the issue of earmarks. I understand that it’s controversial to bypass the budgeting process, but if these are legitimate projects that need to be expedited, I don’t necessarily see the problem. The people can demonstrate their outrage by failing to re-elect the incumbent who proposed the project if they truly care enough to do something. Obviously the infamous “bridge to nowhere” is evidence of earmarking gone awry, but can are there seriously no worthwhile projects being proposed to the extent that they can all be characterized as waste?

I’m glad that the candidates were able to articulate their positions, and most importantly where they differ. I think the choice is clear to the American public. I can only hope we won’t get stuck with more of the same. Just for fun.

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Debate Night in America

Posted by demkid on September 26, 2008

Well, Senator McCain finally decided that he could take a few hours away from the ultra-important work he’s doing to singlehandedly save our country from economic ruin, and so tonight’s first debate is on!  I’m hearing that this debate could be the most-watched in history, surpassing the 80M viewership of a 1980 debate between Carter and Reagan.  I’ll definitely be watching, and in my opinion, what could make the experience more entertaining than participating in a drinking game?  For some ideas, you can go here and here.  Or, just make up your own, my friends!

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Suspending John McCain

Posted by demkid on September 25, 2008

So let me get this straight…we had an imminent deal this morning on the 700B bailout, and after this afternoon’s White House meeting, we’re apparently much further from it.  How is John McCain, who “suspended” his campaign (oh, by the way, he still had ads on this morning) helping in this process, exactly?  It seems to me like he’s just fueling the fire of contentious partisan politics and serving as a distraction in the negotiation process. 

I thought you went to Washington to get important work done, John.  You’ve really proven to be the savior so far, right?  Now, you’re continuing to say that you can’t spend half a day down in Mississippi explaining to the American People how you’d be the best person to lead the country through tough economic times?  The voters want a President who can get things done while connecting with them in a meaningful way.  They’ve been denied that the past 8 years, and more of the same just isn’t going to work.

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Presidential Candidates & the Environment

Posted by brightcoast on September 25, 2008

You can find an analysis here for all the candidates, and I mean all. At first blush, from an enviro standpoint, it seems like Nader is actually the most creative in terms of making an impact.

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