Friday, June 29, 2012

No commentary required 6/29/12

Now that I've at least partially recovered from my obsession about the SCOTUS health care ruling, here are a couple of other stories that caught my eye.

I don't know why Peggy Noonan bugs me so much. Write it off to my own particular brand of neurosis. But I do love me a good Noonan smack-down. And Paul Waldman delivers.
When he began his still-brilliant show a few years ago, Stephen Colbert said, "Anyone can read the news to you. I promise to feel the news at you." And there's nobody who feels the news quite like Peggy Noonan, America's most unintentionally hilarious columnist. Pretty much every time she writes a column or goes on television, Noonan can be counted on to tell us about a feeling out there in the land. It's seldom a powerful feeling; instead, it's more often a stirring, an inchoate emotion still in the process of crystallizing. It might be a yearning, or an unease, or a doubt or a fear, but it lingers just out of our perception until Peggy Noonan comes along and perceives it for us.

On a couple of occasions, I have quoted this article by James Fallows about the basis of our democracy being not just rules - but norms. His fellow-writer at The Atlantic -  Ta-Nehisi Coates - has also written a response here and here. A short summary would not do Mr. Coates' thoughts justice. But to give you an idea of what he's exploring, here's a quote from the first link.
...I wonder at the strength and nature of our democratic norms. Was there ever a time where our representatives seriously placed loyalty to democracy over partisan interests? And granting that there was, what was that compromise, that sacrifice, premised on? What undergirded our democratic virtue? Was it the promise that, in a country explicitly understood as constructed for the white man, the majority could never sink as low as the cursed minority? If we grant that the past few decades have been a particularly trying time for our democracy, is it mere coincidence that this happens just as African-American power begins to morph into reality?
The Supreme Court ruling was not the only good news for President Obama this week. Although you wouldn't know if from the media, his polling numbers have seen significant improvement this week. Even Gallup's daily tracking poll today is at Obama 48 Romney 43 (Obama +5). And Nate Silver's model projects Obama's chance of winning at 67.8% - the highest its been so far. At this point on the electoral map, Silver has 303 electoral votes at 60% or better for Obama. And Florida, which had been trending towards Romney, is now a 50/50 tie.

If I was to have written a separate article on this story, I would have simply titled it "Duh."
The Justice Department declared Friday that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to withhold information about a bungled gun-tracking operation from Congress does not constitute a crime and he won’t be prosecuted for contempt of Congress...

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, the department said that it will not bring the congressional contempt citation against Holder to a federal grand jury and that it will take no other action to prosecute the attorney general.
So Rep. Issa and his friends had their little day in the sun (overshadowed, or course, by the SCOTUS ruling) and now the grown-ups are saying "enough!" Good for them.

Finally here are my two photos of the week...because I'm a sucka for adorable kids and dogs.