Politics Round-Up August 14 2013 Edition

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The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a knowledge of English can not be a requirement to serve on a jury. A close reading of the state constitution will reveal that it’s the technically correct decision. It’s an interesting example of a court realizing that a law is stupid, but that it does remain the law.

Sean Sullivan considers why Cory Booker will likely be the progressive counterpart to the likes of Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Andrew Sullivan has a round-up of comments about New Jersey’s Senator in waiting.

Weigel is surprised that “that no Democrat ever scored a hit on the guy, who is loathed by some progressives in a way that’s only now being noticed”:

How often do Republicans toss out a conservative for a “gosh, guy, I want to cut deals” moderate? The only progressive argument for Booker, honestly, is that there have been only four African-Americans ever elected to the U.S. Senate, and from only three states, and that the long-term interests of a party that depends on huge minority turnout adding to white liberal turnout are served by promoting nonwhite stars.

Scott Lemieux doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about:

[I]f I’m going to be sold on the idea that he’s some kind of unique threat to the Democratic Party, I’d like someone to name one issue on which he’s to the right of the prohibitive frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Rush Limbaugh makes a very stupid argument about global warming and religion, with the claim that true believers can not come to the conclusion that man has changed the planet.

Because Ted Cruz was born in Canada and has a cuban refugee father (as well as an American mother) there is some speculation that he doesn’t qualify as a natural born citizen. Rand Paul will have none of that, which is probably a smart move. Recent political events (including a victory by a CEO who had to run as a write-in candidate for Mayor of Detroit) indicate that attempts to remove a candidate on a technicality tend to backfire spectacularly.

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Thinkprogress reports a reason for high health care costs: Doctors who fear medical malpractice lawsuits.

New York City mayoral candidate John Liu, a consistent fifth in Democratic primary polls, came out in favor of marijuana legalization. He’s still going to lose due to his poor taste in associates. But playing it safe didn’t work for once-frontrunner Christine Quinn, now compared to Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Matt Yglesias suspects that new progressive favorite Bill Deblasio will be unable to do anything about inequality.

Economic inequality is a serious issue and municipal governance is a serious matter, but the fact is that the two have relatively little to do with each other. All New York City mayoral elections attract disproportionate media attention because so much of the national media is based there. That’s something those of us who live in the rest of the country have learned to deal with. But this disproportionate attention tends not to be paired with any specific focus on what the mayor actually does—which is to say manage city agencies and local regulations within the rather narrow confines of existing state and federal law.

Curbing the most egregious abuses of Wall Street, in other words, isn’t part of the mayor’s job. Even curbing in the most trivial abuses of Wall Street isn’t part of the mayor’s job. The city can’t even really set its own tax policy. Even to the extent that it can tax bank impresarios, it can’t stop them from commuting from New Jersey. The fundamental problems of financial regulation, in other words, need national solutions.

Conversely, the stark inequalities existing in the city are in part a bit of statistical gerrymandering. If you ride the 6 train north from the financial district through the Upper East Side and across the river into the Bronx, you’ll naturally be struck by the immense gap in wealth and income visible along the route. That said, the fact that Manhattan and the Bronx are part of a single amalgamated city is a bit of a historical quirk. Had Greater New York never been assembled, the Bronx as an independent city would not be a particularly inegalitarian place, it would simply be a poor one, situated across a narrow river from a much richer one.

Former Congressman and Obama presidential campaign national co-chairman Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to thirty months in prison.

After Richard Dawkins noted how few Muslims have won the nobel prize, Millman notes that members of one religion have done rather well in the sciences: the Jews.

There’s a discrepancy in the number of job openings to new hirings.

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About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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