Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the only GOP senator who has not said how she would vote on Alito's nomination, agreed. "I find it regrettable that there are those who are trying to resurrect a filibuster even as there is clearly nothing in the record that constitutes extraordinary circumstances," she said. [Emph. added]
The way Snowe is talking, you'd think "extraordinary circumstances" was a clause written into the Constitution (like "probable cause" or "high crimes and misdemeanors") instead of a banal fudge-phrase sealing a temporary deal among a few Senators a few months ago. ... And why should their deal bind anyone who isn't a party to it? ... P.S.: I'm not convinced Alito isn't the best we're likely to get under the circumstances, but filibustering a Supreme Court nominee--in essence, requiring a supermajority before you fill a lifetime, unelected office with vast, uncheckable power--seems more defensible than the average, everyday minority obstructionism. It's an honorable course Democrats might choose to take. ... P.P.S.: It's also honorable to stage a vote even if you know you're going to lose! ... 7:29 P.M.
Bob Wright and new blogginghead Matt Yglesias worry that the Bushies, in tacit concert with hard-line Israelis, will blow [V] the dialectical opportunity for peace presented by Hamas' election victory. ... What I don't understand is why (as both Wright and Yglesias seem to assume) it would help if the United States now struck a "moderate" hopeful tone, giving Hamas "leeway" in order to "draw [them] in" to the peace process. Isn't that plodding State Department thinking--we send them a positive signal, they respond, etc? If we moved to be nicer to Hamas, it seems more likely that this would be the kiss of death--e.g. it would guarantee that they would become allergic to any moderation. If they're going to change, they need to do it themselves, after assessing their position in honest opposition to their enemies (Israel, and us) in a way that lets them take credit for standing up to them. By talking tough now, Bush doesn't foreclose that possibility--he enhances it, no? Today, confrontation. Manana, aufhebung! ... P.S.: Scott MacMillan makes an intriguing point about the way in which Hamas' very religiosity may allow it to compromise on territory. But I suspect they are a ways away from settling for the "Islamicization of individuals," the so-called "de-territorialized ummah." ... 3:38 P.M.
Here's what kf's cut-rate private eye (alert reader G) dug up on XM satellite radio's Meritocratic Poster Boy Luke Russert! I'd say it will only help him with his target demographic groups. ... Next time I splurge and hire a shamus from Craigslist. ... 2:20 P.M.
Let 144 Flowers Not Bloom: According to Shanghai Daily, the Chinese government has ordered 144 auto manufacturers to "shut down production," rather than let them fight it out and see which ones survive. Now that's industrial policy. In theory the Chinese should pay a price for this anti-market selection. ... P.S.: Some of China's early vehicle exports do seem to be junk, although you'd think that sort of gross defect will be weeded out in the international marketplace, at least if Chinese companies want to sell cars. ... 10:41 P.M.
BrokeBangle Hype: BMW's boasting about record sales, but it sure looks to me like sales of the franchise-making 3 series are flat, flat, flat, despite the introduction of a brand new model embodying big-talker Chris Bangle's latest visionary breakthrough. Shouldn't sales have surged? What if they now collapse, like second-year purchases of the Bangled-up fake-Gehry Z4? ... Customers may be failing to appreciate the new cars' place in the broad sweep of the "biggest single aesthetic undertaking in human history!" Instead, they're just looking at the cars. Philistines! ... 7:27 P.M.
TODAY IN SLATE
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Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive
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“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse
Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.
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The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.