Political Animal


ONLINE NEWSPAPERS….A DIFFERENT APPROACH….This is something very cool: the Newseum, an online museum of news. Click on “Today’s Front Pages” and you get a display of front pages from around the world, updated daily. Click on a front page and you get a larger view that allows you to read the headlines, plus links to both the newspaper’s website and a PDF of the front page if you want to read one of the articles. There’s also an alphabetical list of newspapers by region if you don’t want to wait for the thumbnails to load.

This is a great way to scan newspapers, and really useful if you want to see what the dead-tree layout looks like (story placement is often quite different from the website). Highly recommended.

WARNING: The site loads pretty slowly even on my cable modem connection. If you’re on dial-up, you might want to skip it.


KEEPING AND BEARING ARMS….A QUESTION….A couple of days ago Glenn Reynolds said this:

The wrongfulness in the World War Two internments, after all, wasn’t that they happened, but that they were unjustified. Had significant numbers of American citizens of Japanese descent actually been working for the enemy, the internments would have been a regrettable necessity rather than an outrageous injustice.

But Glenn misses the real problem: those Japanese-Americans didn’t have enough guns. Maybe if they had been armed they would have fought back instead of meekly shuffling off to the camps! That would have taught us all a salutary lesson against tyrannical and unjustified government action, wouldn’t it? FDR would have backed down, the panic would have passed, and we wouldn’t have this blot on our history.

Maybe the pro-gun folks have a point after all….

POSTSCRIPT: On a (slightly) more serious note, everyone should keep in mind that back in 1942 there was plenty of apparent evidence that the Japanese were using Issei and Nisei as spies in America. There always is, and it’s only in hindsight that we realize we’ve overreacted. We fail to learn from history when we convince ourselves that past dangers were somehow less real ? and our reaction therefore less justified ? than today’s dangers.

BONDS, MORE BONDS!….It’s true: California

BONDS, MORE BONDS!….It’s true: California has no constitutional requirement to have a balanced budget. Devra points me here, where we’re told:

The State Constitution requires that the Governor submit a budget to the Legislature by January 10. It provides for a balanced budget in that, if the proposed expenditures for the budget year exceed available resources, the Governor is required to recommend the sources for the additional funding.


Although there is no constitutional requirement for passage of a balanced budget, Government Code Section 13337.5 requires that projected expenditures shall not exceed projected revenues.

So Gray Davis has to propose a balanced budget, but the legislature doesn’t have to pass it. If they felt like it, they could simply add an amendment to the budget bill stating that Government Code Section 13337.5 is suspended for the year.

This is really cool. I ask questions about the California budget and other bloggers step up with the answers. I wish I could improve my tennis game that easily.


TAXING TIMES FOR SINGLE PEOPLE….My sister is always complaining about this, so here’s one more problem with the Bush tax plan: it does nothing for single people. My sister is unmarried and has no children, so neither the marriage penalty reform nor the child tax credit do her any good. Her income is moderate, so the rate cuts barely affect her, and she owns no stocks, so the dividend tax elimination brings her no joy.

This is actually a bipartisan complaint: both parties spend almost limitless time competing to tell everyone about how pro-family they are, but the unmentioned losers are all the single people who aren’t numerous enough or organized enough to make themselves heard. When will someone start sticking up for the Sex and the City crowd?