It was a long wait, but my calculator finally shows the result that I’ve wanted to see for a long, long time.
Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Several interesting quotes here.
In response to being “born again:”
…I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.
I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s [sic] best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.
I think that, particularly as somebody who’s now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there’s an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.
On faith’s role in policy decisions:
…you generally will not see me spending a lot of time talking about it [faith] on the stump.
Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I’m a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root ion this country.
As I said before, in my own public policy, I’m very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.
Now, that’s different form [sic] a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it’s perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.
A standard line in my stump speech during this campaign is that my politics are informed by a belief that we’re all connected. That if there’s a child on the South Side of Chicago that can’t read, that makes a difference in my life even if it’s not my own child. If there’s a senior citizen in downstate Illinois that’s struggling to pay for their medicine and having to chose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer even if it’s not my grandparent. And if there’s an Arab American family that’s being rounded up by John Ashcroft without the benefit of due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same. I think sometimes Democrats have made the mistake of shying away from a conversation about values for fear that they sacrifice the important value of tolerance. And I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive.
Obama’s win has filled me with a sense of optimism that I have never in my life felt from politics. And so I present to you a link to some wonderful photos of our next president: The Big Picture – Obama (thanks boingBoing!)
And Brilliant at Breakfast shares some photos “that seem to capture an entire era in a moment” (thanks grow-a-brain!) (warning: a couple of famous and disturbing photos from the 60s in there — if you just want to see the Obama photo, head on over to Yes we can (hold babies)).
If anyone has a source for that Obama picture, I’d love to know and give proper credit. Edit: Photo thanks to Chris Carlson, AP (more from that day here).
One of the Republican’s planks in their platform is to reduce government size.
Yet, whenever any kind of crisis occurs, their solution is to create a new government agency. After 9/11, we got the [useless] Department of Homeland Security. Nevermind that we already had the FBI, CIA, and NSA.
In response to our current mortgage and financial crisis, John McCain has proposed a new agency, the Mortgage and Financial Institutions trust (MFI). He argues that it will proactively spot institutions in danger and save them before they fail.
I argue that creating this agency is extremely reactionary. The major financial institutions that have failed or are failing (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG) have been around for a very long time and have weathered the economic crises of the past. What brought them down was their own hubris, leveraging 30x or more of their assets against extremely risky mortgages during an obvious economic bubble.
What could the MFI have possibly done to stem the bleeding without the benefit of hindsight?
If a mortgage crisis like this happens again, maybe the MFI will recognize the signs and take steps to avert it. But what is more likely is that a new bubble will form in a different market and unethical business people will create new types of volatile, vaguely legal securities, and the MFI will be powerless to stop it. And our Republican Overlords will create another new agency to deal with the latest flavor-of-the-month economic disaster.