September 22, 2007

Back when rock and roll wasn't a niche music, and was still spoken of in the present tense, this is how performers entertained us:

September 20, 2007

To no one's surprise, the arbitration panel hearing Floyd Landis' appeal of the drug "testing" that stripped him of the official designation as 2006 Tour de France champion upheld the ruling today, by a 2-1 margin.

Reading between the lines of the ruling, it's clear the panelists were deeply uncomfortable with the standards of evidence in use by the French lab, even agreeing with the cycling champ that the initial positive test that Landis "failed" was not credible. The whole ruling reads like one of those Rehnquist Court decisions upholding the death penalty, even though the defendant can be shown to be innocent, the police had planted evidence, etc., on the grounds that said evidence was never argued before the trial court. And the controversy concerning Greg LaMond and the crank phone call, which was the highlight of the prosecution's case-in-chief, received the minimal consideration that it deserved.

Anyways, kudos to Landis for fighting the good fight, and to Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times for exposing the whole sordid business of the drug testing racket to the light of day. This may well turn out to be the opening salvo in a much larger war, like the Curt Flood case, that the athletes shall win in the long run.
More on the Belichick Tapes, here. There's no doubt the $500,000 fine was deserved after this story.

September 19, 2007

With the filibuster being the GOP weapon of choice in the Senate, this is probably a good time to put its abolition on the agenda for the next Congress. On paper, it shouldn't be difficult, since a bare majority of the Senate votes on its rules before it ever convenes, and the filibuster has traditionally been a conservatising influence on legislation. I know there are some with sugar-plum fantasies that the Democrats will pick up 6+ seats in 2008, even nine seats if Republicans continue to remain satisfied with the bang-up job their doing in Iraq, but more likely there still won't be enough votes to overcome Republican obstructionism when the issue is, say, healthcare or getting a progressive judiciary confirmed. We have to start thinking about what our agenda is going to be in post-Bush era on the morrow, and not just pretend that getting more Democrats elected is the End Game.
Now here's a worthy netroots target for 2008: Max Baucus. As the New Republic blogs over his decision to deny Congressional representation to the voters of D.C.:
(Baucus') explanation for his vote against DC receiving a vote in the House of Representatives (with Utah receiving one as well to maintain presumed partisan balance), is really one for the ages:
Baucus said in a written statement that he opposed the bill because Montana has only one House vote. "If we were to expand the House, Montana's voice would become less influential," he said.
Now, my back-of-the-envelope calculation--and I hope readers will feel free to correct it if it's wrong--finds that Montana's single House vote currently makes up 0.2299 percent of the total House vote. If the House were expanded from 435 members to 437, Montana's share would drop to 0.2288 percent. Yes, Baucus felt obligated to vote against any federal representation for residents of the District of Columbia, because it would reduce the relative clout of his states' residents (in the House only, the Senate would be unaffected) by one-thousandth of one percent.
Contrary to popular netroots mythology, Montana is not that red a state, and has not even historically been a particularly red state. All but two of the Senators it has elected in its history have been Democrats, it voted for Clinton in 1992 (and almost went for Dukakis in 1988), and routinely has been the most liberal of the Rocky Mountain states, although Colorado has probably passed it for that distinction in recent years. Tester and Schweitzer have shown that a progressive Democrat can win there today, so there's no need for the rest of us to assume that Baucus is the best we can get out of Big Sky.* [link via Matt Yglesias)

*Baucus has always been a Luxury Box Democrat, dating back to his first election to the Senate, when he defeated an incumbent, Paul Hatfield, over his support for the Panama Canal Treaty the previous year.
Angry Young Man: The guy who got tasered at the John Kerry Q&A the other day was, how should I gently put this, a blogger-in-training.

September 18, 2007

Shorter Roger L. Simon:
O.J. Made Me Want to Nuke Iran.
And of course, props to Mr. Beard for perfecting the format. When I have more time, I'll post about how the assasination and funeral of Princess Diana ("How Dodi Changed My Life") shaped my political ideology.

September 16, 2007

One area where Atrios has been consistently prescient is the emerging housing bubble, and what should be done about it. Here, he links to a dialogue about a potential legislative fix to the 1978 bankruptcy law, which was drafted long before adjustable rate mortgages became de rigueur among homeowners, that's well worth reading. My understanding is that it concerns the power of the bankruptcy court to modify loans in the Chapter 13 context, but I suppose Congress could also extend the practice to Chapter 7 cases as well, provided the debtor is current on the mortgage at the time of filing. The 2005 BARF act made the practice more difficult as well, so that law will need to be revisited as well if Congress really hopes to make a dent in the problem.
Lacks the fuzz guitar that made the original recording so priceless, but still a gem from the mid-60's: