Bloggers are chewing on the Supreme Court's reversal of the Arthur Andersen conviction; they're also discussing whether a MoveOn advertisement is anti-Catholic and poring over a conservative journal's list of harmful books.
Arthur Andersen vindicated?: Accounting firm Arthur Andersen was convicted in 2002 for obstruction of justice for shredding documents related to the Enron scandal; subsequently, the firm disbanded. The Supreme Court overturned this conviction yesterday. Forbes' Dan Ackman explains: "The question for the jury was whether Andersen's document destruction was corrupt. The trial court refused to require that the jury find the company had acted 'dishonestly' and allowed the jury to convict if it found that Andersen had simply 'impede[d] an investigation.' This was a crime with the wrong left out, the Supreme Court ruled."
Noting that Rush Limbaugh has called the company "vindicated," ThinkProgress, the blog of the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan think tank, sneers, "Alas, poor global accounting firm, you hapless victim of fate. Though you pocketed $27 million for signing off on Enron's cooked books, and though your so-called vindication was due only to a 'legal technicality,' you'll always be innocent in Rush's eyes." Others ponder the larger implications. "I think that many events have vindicated those who warned that the worst consequences of Enron would come not from that company's collapse, but from the political reaction to it," writesEconLog's Arnold Kling, who lost money indirectly as a result of the Andersen conviction. Claiming that the Andersen conviction impeded efforts to make the financial services industry more transparent, Ideoblog's law professor Larry Ribstein fulminates, "[T]his is yet another nail in the coffin of the misbegotten idea that corporate criminal liability is the way to better markets." And a commenter at the liberal Drudge Retort is enjoying bittersweet victory: "Much as I hate to see this corporation get away with aiding and abetting Kennyboy Lay and the biggest scam in history (well, until the whole WMD thing), a 9-0 decision is a pretty big bitchslap for the Ashcroft Justice Department."
Read more about the Arthur Andersen ruling.
MovingOn: The National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative think tank, has condemned as "anti-Catholic bigotry" an advertisement funded by liberal PAC MoveOn. It shows Pope Benedict in front of the Supreme Court and states, "God already has a job. … He does not need one on the Supreme Court." Dismissing the ad as "typically ineffective," Pandagon's liberal Jesse Taylor writes, "I'd be inclined to believe that this was hearkening back to virulent anti-Catholic bigotry if he hadn't, oh, authored a policy in an election year asking American pro-choice politicians to be denied communion."
The conservative MOC's Blog asserts, "When I first read this I laughed at how the Left could be so moronic as to suggest that a protestant president somehow wants the Roman Pontiff of the Church to run the courts. Then again, this is the same group that ran the Bush/Hitler comparison ad, as well as the Frist/Constitutional Option Star Wars ad, so given the record, I wasn't so shocked in the end." On Fraternitas Vitae, W. Buczek claims, "It is people who change, not God, and it is that immutability, expressed through the church, that frustrates liberalism to no end. It is this consistency of Catholicism that leads to its demonization by groups such as MoveOn.org."
Read more about MoveOn vs. the pope.
Worst. Books. Ever.: Conservative weekly Human Events has published a list of what conservative intellectuals believe to be the 10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries. No surprises among the top three: The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, and Quotations From Chairman Mao.
On TheAgitator, libertarian Radley Balko smirks, "[N]ot only is each 'harmful' book linked to Amazon.com, it's linked with the Human Events Amazon associates tag, meaning that while these books may be evil, Human Events obviously has no qualms about making a buck or two from disseminating the ideas inside them. Conservative Kevin's bent politics concedes, "I'd say I happily agree with nine of them. I don't know about The Feminine Mystique. … [I]t may have had an overall positive effect on suffrage."
Some liberals are trying to fight books with books. Volsunga commenter Hugo Schwyzer notes,"[I]f we lefties ever believed in banning books, we could come up with our own counter list. We could start with the works of William F. Buckley, Leo Strauss, Friedrich Hayek, and above all … anything by Ayn Rand." Others are astonished that Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed got an honorable mention. "[H]ate the man's politics, but that book was about a horribly designed automobile that was killing an inordinate number of its drivers—in other words, what the fuck is the problem?" wonders Sam at Insulted, a group blog that seeks to combat extremism on the left and right.