Necessary Measures

Let the national Government be armed with a positive & compleat authority in all cases where uniform measures are necessary. 

James Madison
letter to  Edmund Randolph (1787)

Where we find that the legislators, in the light of the testimony and facts before them, have a rational basis for finding a chosen regulatory scheme necessary to the protection of commerce, our investigation is at an end.

Justice Thomas Clark
writing for the unanimous Supreme Court in Katzenbach v. McClung (1964)

This week I’m continuing to experiment with the format of the Sift. In particular, I’m combining the weekly summary with the Nuggets (which used to be called Short Notes).

This week everybody was talking about … the Supreme Court

Some days the Court seemed like the only thing to talk about. (Not true. Even on Thursday, ObamaCare decision day, I clearly remember my wife saying, “What should we do about lunch?”)

I look on the Sift as serving two purposes for its readers. Most weeks, it makes you aware of facts and ideas that you might have missed while you were busy living your life or doing some other silly thing. But it also sometimes covers issues that you hear too much about. This week, that’s the Court, whose decisions have been good/bad up/down right/left … who can keep track?

Here’s the short version: The end-of-term flurry of decisions were mostly OK. Yes, the Court missed an opportunity to reconsider Citizens United. But these two articles explain why the ObamaCare and Arizona decisions were as good as I could have reasonably expected.

  • What the Court Decided About ObamaCare. If the Court had just followed its own precedents, the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act would have been a non-issue. But politics got into it, so the decision was 5-4, and the decision was more strained and nuanced than it needed to be. Still, in the end ObamaCare gets to go forward and 30 million people are going to get health insurance who wouldn’t otherwise have it.
  • What the Court Decided About ImmigrationFlacks and fund-raisers tried to spin this in a variety of directions, but when you read the decision it’s clear that the Arizona immigration law went down. The immigrant-haters lost.

… but I also wrote about

  • I Was Undocumented in Arizona. As luck would have it, I happened to be in Phoenix when the Arizona decision came out. Part of the reason I was there was to protest S. B. 1070 and the treatment of undocumented immigrants in general. But it was ironic that (because I had left my driver’s license back home in a laundry hamper) I was undocumented myself for a whole week. Fortunately, I had the foresight to be born white.

… and you might also find this stuff interesting

Right-wingers are now vowing to stop eating Oreos. I wonder why.

Mississippi came within hours of legislating out of business the last abortion clinic in the state, but yesterday a federal injunction stopped the new law from taking effect.

After a 6-month investigation, Fortune magazine tells a very different version of the Fast & Furious gun-walking story:

the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.

Exxon’s CEO now admits global warming is happening, but doesn’t think it’s a big deal. We’ll “adapt” to changing temperatures, just like the dinosaurs did. The article does not include any comments from polar bears.

Surprising no one, Anderson Cooper announced that he’s gay.

Cracked.com continues to do useful journalism: The 6 Creepiest Lies the Food Industry is Feeding You.

I love whiteboard animations. This one gives a powerful Marxist critique of what’s been going on in the world economy.

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Comments

  • macduff40  On July 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I did indeed find the interesting stuff’ interesting. Especially the article at cracked.com about food, chicken in particular
    thanks for sharing

  • xine  On July 5, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Why do I get higher quality, more interesting, and more relevant journalism from cracked.com and The Daily Show than I do from “media outlets”?!

    • weeklysift  On July 8, 2012 at 7:17 am

      I remember Joseph Campbell talking about religions that go “from golden priests with wooden chalices to wooden priests with golden chalices”. I think mainstream journalism has made a similar transition. The rules and standards of journalism were created to codify the practices of golden reporters who told the reader what s/he needed to know. But now those rules and standards are ends in themselves — golden chalices — and nobody thinks about the reader/viewer any more.

      The Cracked food article is a good example. It’s not “objective”. No olive-oil-industry or meat-packers-association spokesmen are quoted. I’m sure they’d have some great obfuscating facts and figures from the professors they fund at the University of Wherever. But their voices have been suppressed because the writer made a judgment about what is true and what you need to know. Today a “journalist” couldn’t get that past his editor.

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