Saturday, January 26, 2013

SAR #13026

Those most enthusiastic about hard work generally don't to do any.

Discussion: Does the Electoral College make sense in today's society? The Constitution leaves how a state arrives at and apportions its electoral votes up to the individual states - so it has always been open to mischief. Would changing from a state-by-state 'winner take all ' system (except for three states) to a congressional district-based system be 'undemocratic', more democratic, or less democratic? What about apportioning based on direct vote within a state? What about a national direct vote? What the hell is 'democracy' anyway?

Guilt By Association: Will all the publicity about Boeing's problems with lithium batteries dampen enthusiasm for electric and hybrid cars?

Growing Pains: Unemployment among the under-25's in Greece and Spain now exceeds 55%, more than twice the euro-zone average. And the worst is yet to come. Let's hope it doesn't arrive as “European Spring” with extreme events and social unrest.

One To Watch: A US Court of Appeals has ruled that recess appointments are constitutional only if both the vacancy and the appointment occur between the end of one Senate Session and the beginning of another, with 'session' defined as in “we are now in the 113th Congress, 1st Session. Which means presidents have been doing Bad Things for over a hundred years. Judicial activism at its finest.

Wait, Wait... Insurers, mumbling vague threats about chaos and unpreparedness, insist the government delay implementing the health insurance exchange due this fall. They say they are concerned that it “would not be in the President's best interest.” Or theirs.

Just Rewards: The only former US official to go to jail over the torture committed during the Bush era is the whistleblower who confirmed reports about the CIA torture program.

Progressively: Here's yet another subject on which the Republicans are way out of step with the citizenry: 55% of us think that implementing Obamacare should be a top priority and another 31% think it should be a priority. Only 11%, mostly Republican governors, disagree.

Consider the Source: Former this and that Newt Gingrich claims that the AR-15 military-style rifle is not an assault weapon. Now the AK-47, there's an assault weapon.

Get Out Of Jail Indictment Criticism Free: Using the famous "all the other guys did it" defense, UBS Chairman Axel Weber suggests that there should be a one-size fits all settlement for everybody involved in rigging the world's basic interest rates for years. Of course, banks that have already paid up would get a rebate...

Accounts Differ: December's big fall in new house sales either (a) Wasn't Pretty or (b) Doesn’t Change Story of Housing Recovery or (c) All of the above.

Confirmed: A person with power and authority is more likely to believe he or she has a better moral compass than those with lesser status. They see the world in black and white, while mere mortals tend towards shades of gray. That goes a long way towards explaining politicians, popes and mom.

Porn O'Graph: Income and outflow; read the caption.

The Parting Shot:



rjs said...

Accounts Differ...but they're all's my take:
this report allows for a large margin of error which renders the widely watched and reported monthly data nearly useless...the census reports "Sales of new single-family houses in December 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000...7.3 percent (±15.3%)* below the revised November rate of 398,000";

virtually all reports on this data focus on just the annualized number and the monthly change without mentioning the large margin of error...the actual census estimate for homes sold in december was a much less impressive 26,000, with 15,000 of those in the South, and 5,000 in the West...census takes that rough estimate of 26,000 and plugs it into a program which compares it to other recent decembers and computes what annual sales would be if that december sales level were continued through the entire year; so when they say "sales were (±15.3%)* below the revised November rate of 398,000" they mean they are 90% confident that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new home sales would fall someplace between 337,106 and 458,894, or that it's fairly likely that the monthly change in new home sales was somewhere between a gain of 8.0% and a decline of 22.6% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate...the comparison to last December's home sales is no more useful: "(December 2012's seasonally adjusted annual rate) is 8.8 percent (±24.8%)* above the December 2011 estimate of 339,000" that's almost a range of 50%..

Anonymous said...

"What the hell is 'democracy' anyway?"

"democracy" is the Elite corrupting and controlling all political entities, Federal, State, Municipal, County and all other political institutions which have any power to thwart their interests. One of the great hopes of the opponents to the Elite was that certain non-Federal officials would act against the Elite. But this has not happened. All States except Vermont and maybe some others seem to have been corrupted by the Elite.

Any rational observer of the last thirty years knows that the Federal government has been either destroying or usurping State, Municipal, County powers. The Elite would prefer one central spot to corrupt rather than have to corrupt 50 State Legislatures, and even more Counties and Municipalities.
The Elite's objective is totally counter to Tip O'Neil's famous statement, "All politics are local." Their aim, rapidly being accomplished, is to make all politics Central.

So, if one is against the Elite, any diminishment of non-Federal power is a bad thing. Thus the rush to trash the Constitution, employing, at this time, a Harvard educated Constitutional Lawyer. One must study a thing in order to destroy it.

OkieLawyer said...

Re: One to Watch

Back in the old days, we recognized a principle of law called "custom and usage of trade" as a basis for legally binding contracts. Given that no court has found the President's power to make a recess appointment unconstitutional means that either:

a) such a precedent already exists; or

b) there is some custom that has already been recognized by legal scholars and judges that such appointments can be made in this way.

I have a hard time believing this is a "case of first impression" before the court.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

OkieLawyer - I wondered about long established precedence. Seems like having done things this way for over a hundred years would give it acceptability as a matter of law. I suppose the Supremes could rule it unconstitutional, but even then I see no way to apply such a ruling retroactively (couldn't stop with just last year or just Obama or just since whatever, whenever.

Going forward might be a different matter.

OkieLawyer said...

Re: "...but even then I see no way to apply such a ruling retroactively...."

I could see potential challenges to rulings where the extra appointees voted differently than the already established board members. For instance, business interests will argue "but for these unconstitutional appointments, I would have won my case against my employee" or some other labor dispute. It is possible it could undo individual outcomes.