99.9 F - Suzanne Vega
So we hit a mere 102 here today -- another new record -- making four consecutive 100 plus degree days, also a record (and a record 11 consecutive days with highs over 95). There is a rumble of thunder in the background and I think I just saw a flash of lightning as the temperature begins to drop markedly here. (Stanley is voicing his disapproval at the thunder as we speak.) This story should give you a sense of the consistency of the heat here. I am now concerned that the worst public utility in the first world will be put to the test and found wanting again. But George Will assures me it's just summer, so I feel better.
- I have been trying to do more reading (of the old fashioned kind) and less web browsing lately in an attempt to recharge the batteries a bit intellectually. I am now reading (after having polished off both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies over the last couple of weeks) America's Great Debate by Fergus Bordewich, which deals with the Compromise of 1850 and the last gasp of 19th Century Senate titans like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun. The book deals with the aftermath of the Mexican-American War and the dispute over how the conquered territories would be admitted to the Union and, if so, whether they would be free or slave states. What is amusing (to me at least) is the unabashed nature of the debate from the southern states, which is all about and only about slavery. There is no euphemism, no reliance on the term "state's rights" -- the issue is slavery and the southerners view slavery as an unequivocal good and one which is constitutionally protected and must continue to be so. So the next time some clown tells you that the Civil War wasn't about slavery, this is a pretty good book to give them. (Once I finish I hope to write further about the book.)
-The more I read the continued dialogue between the folks at Crooked Timber and various libertarian types about coercion in the work place, the more I become convinced that libertarians actually have no notion of what freedom is. Or what coercion is for that matter.
- I think I enjoyed this Richard Posner quote as much as I've enjoyed anything in a while.
- And speaking of goofy, I relish the thought of the right promoting the idea that sexual desire is the enemy of freedom. This seems an utterly winning platform to me.
- The Pennsylvania voter ID law is an outrage and indicative of the willingness of Republicans to subvert the right to vote in order to rule. These are bad fucking people.
- I think the story of Romney's many overseas holdings is just beginning to get legs. I am personally quite curious about how Romney has an IRA worth a putative $100 million. I just don't see any way in the world that this could have been done legally. The Obama campaign should keep pounding away on this issue -- it is a no lose proposition.
The storm now seems to have passed here without doing any damage -- in fact, without seemingly having dropped any rain.
What's going on with all of you?