Friday, January 30, 2009

A Good Day for the GOP

From the AP:

WASHINGTON – Michael Steele was elected Republican National Committee chairman on Friday, defeating the incumbent party chief and three other challengers over six rounds of voting to become the first black to lead the GOP. The former Maryland lieutenant governor takes over a beleaguered GOP as Republicans seek to rebound from back-to-back defeats in national elections that gave Democrats control of Congress and the White House.

Aside from a being a “historic first” for the Republican Party, Steele is a first-rate communicator with a rare understanding of the extent and type of modernization in message that the party needs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Take Two

As you probably know, Chief Justice Roberts and President Obama did a do-over of the oath at the White House on Wednesday after they flubbed the text a bit at the inauguration ceremonies a day earlier.  The mistake by itself doesn’t interest me that much –as many news stories have pointed out, it wasn’t the first error in the taking of the oath in Presidential history.  What does interest me, however, is the question of who could (strictly in theory, of course) possibly have standing to bring a suit asserting that Obama is not properly the President of the United States.  Who could possibly have the personalized injury required for standing under Article III (let’s set prudential standing aside for now)?

The only name I could come up with?  That formerly Amtrak-ridin’ man of the people himself, now-Vice President Joe Biden.  If Obama isn’t Prez, he’s entitled to the position.

Any alternative theories/persons?

Monday, January 19, 2009

I’ll Never Complain About Decisions of the WV Supreme Court Again

Ok, of course I will.  But still, I can’t recall having seen a decision quite as bad as this come down from our top court.  Via the AP:

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru's top court has ruled that workers cannot be fired for being drunk on the job, a decision that was criticized by the government on Wednesday for setting a dangerous precedent.

The Constitutional Tribunal ordered that Pablo Cayo be given his job back as a janitor for the municipality of Chorrillos, which fired him for being intoxicated at work.

The firing was excessive because even though Cayo was drunk, he did not offend or hurt anybody, Fernando Calle, one of the justices, said on Wednesday

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oratory is Back

One of the positive aspects of Barack Obama’s ascension to the Presidency is the renewed attention and emphasis being given to  political oratorical skills.  There’s a good (if a little too fawning over Obama for my taste) piece on oratory in today’s Washington Post.  The author covers some linguistic details about why Obama and other strong political orators are effective, but also points out that strong presentation has more than once masked weak or pernicious substance.

And yes, I think the GOP will probably need to field a strong orator in 2012 to have a good shot at holding Obama to one term.  That would be a break with recent trends for Republicans:  The last GOP nominee for President who was consistently effective as a speaker was (contain your surprise) Ronald Reagan.

Friday, January 16, 2009


As we prepare to witness another presidential inauguration, Hulu is presenting some footage from past editions.  The oldest item in the collection shows some clips from the inauguration of President McKinley. That’s President William McKinley, inaugurated in 1901:


(Sorry about the layout problems; click the video to see it in its full glory.)

Substantive blogging to resume tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Great Homage to Brother Ray

This gave me a much needed laugh today:


Update:  The reason that there’s now no sound is that YouTube now mutes the sound of some videos with soundtracks that draw copyright complaints.  To hell with it: I’m leaving it up, in the hope that the music companies will one day come to their senses.