Not gonna make the cut

So who CAN Obama nominate that would get GOP approval?

Love the Bachmann dig.

HT: Joe My God

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California dreaming, of meltdown

So California voters aren’t interested in the state remaining solvent.

Curious.  John Cole observes:

You are a state DOMINATED by Democrats, yet plague us all with the craziest Republicans in the country in Congress, you are lagging behind Iowa in terms of civil rights, and you consistently refuse to outvote the smattering of fanatical anti-tax Republicans who show up to vote down any ballot initiative to balance your budget. Can anyone give me reasons I should feel sympathy?

He shouldn’t.

Megan McArdle notes:

There is a surprisingly sizeable blogger contingent arguing that we have to bail them out because however regrettable the events that lead here, we now have no choice. But actually, we do have a choice: we could let them go bankrupt. And we probably should.

When a state is hell bent on being ungovernable, maybe we should just all sit back and watch for a while?  Eventually things will get bad enough they write a new state Constitution and fix things.

Not adding up

A great review of the Honda Insight from the Times UK.

In a Prius the electric motor can, though almost never does, power the car on its own. In the Honda the electric motor is designed to “assist” the petrol engine, providing more get-up-and-go when the need arises. The net result is this: in a Prius the transformation from electricity to petrol is subtle. In the Honda there are all sorts of jerks and clunks.

And for what? For sure, you could get 60 or more mpg if you were careful. And that’s not bad for a spacious five-door hatchback. But for the same money

you could have a Golf diesel, which

will be even more economical. And hasn’t been built out of rice paper to keep costs down.

I cannot see how making a car with two motors costs the same in terms of resources as making a car with one.

The nickel for the battery has to come from somewhere. Canada, usually. It has to be shipped to Japan, not on a sailing boat, I presume. And then it must be converted, not in a tree house, into a battery, and then that battery must be transported, not on an ox cart, to the Insight production plant in Suzuka. And then the finished car has to be shipped, not by Thor Heyerdahl, to Britain, where it can be transported, not by wind, to the home of a man with a beard who thinks he’s doing the world a favour.

Why doesn’t he just buy a Range Rover, which is made from local components, just down the road? No, really — weird-beards buy locally produced meat and vegetables for eco-reasons. So why not apply the same logic to cars?

At this point you will probably dismiss what I’m saying as the rantings of a petrolhead, and think that I have my head in the sand.

That’s not true. While I have yet to be convinced that man’s 3% contribution to the planet’s greenhouse gases affects the climate, I do recognise that oil is a finite resource and that as it becomes more scarce, the political ramifications could well be dire. I therefore absolutely accept the urgent need for alternative fuels.

But let me be clear that hybrid cars are designed solely to milk the guilt genes of the smug and the foolish.

I’ve taken just a few bits from a significantly longer piece that you really owe it to yourself to read in full.

Hat tip to Timothy Sandefur

A conservative on the court

A good review of how modesty and humility measure up on the Roberts’ court.

When Antonin Scalia joined the Court, in 1986, he brought a new gladiatorial spirit to oral arguments, and in subsequent years the Justices have often used their questions as much for campaign speeches as for requests for information. Roberts, though, has taken this practice to an extreme, and now, even more than the effervescent Scalia, it is the Chief Justice, with his slight Midwestern twang, who dominates the Court’s public sessions.

Roberts’s hard-edged performance at oral argument offers more than just a rhetorical contrast to the rendering of himself that he presented at his confirmation hearing. “Judges are like umpires,” Roberts said at the time. “Umpires don’t make the rules. They apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.” His jurisprudence as Chief Justice, Roberts said, would be characterized by “modesty and humility.” After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.