Monday, March 30, 2009

Military Commissions as Courts?

I admit, I was prone to err on the side of trusting the previous administration on this issues - that is to say that when they instituted military commissions, I thought the result would be justice, not theater.

And now I admit that the more I hear about the previous administration, the more I am regularly discouraged by what I hear.

Case in Point, Act 4 of the following episode of This American Life, with the experience of a naval lawyer who worked at these commissions: The Inauguration Show

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Pot and the Kettle

I'm not sure what to make of this comment. It strikes me very much as passing the buck backwards in time, blaming a previous administration for not spending money on the things that are important to you. I imagine it happens in every shift of power: "All the expenses we have to pay now are because the other guys didn't do it."

The faulty assumption is "we absolutely have to have this now, so we have to spend all this money immediately since it wasn't spent before now." I'd rather not have the Treasury Secretary calling their spending priorities the fault of the previous administration. Because in the future, we can look back and say this:

"The reason we have this massive debt now is because the previous administration didn't bother paying for everything it spent." This, however, is a real consequence - unavoidable and true regardless of party affiliation or spending priorities.

An interesting analogy I saw in the comments at Econbrowser, to help you fathom what it means when we talk about "trillion dollar deficits for years to come." A million seconds is about 11.7 days. A billion seconds is about 31.7 years. A trillion seconds is 317 centuries. 20 centuries ago, Jesus was just a carpenter who wasn't teaching or gathering disciples. 300 centuries is right around 28,000 BC. Our deficits are about the size of the wealth you'd have if you had $10 for every second of recorded human history. And that's just a single year's deficit.

Monday, March 02, 2009

As with many things in life...

As with many things in life, if something like this bothers you, then you are looking for reasons to be bothered. Life is too short for such things, but it's amazing the trivial things we sometimes let capture our atentions and passions. And like many things, it shows how often our criticisms say more about us than they do about those we intend to point fingers at.