Thursday, 29 November 2007

C-L: seemingly random "Oxford lawyer indicted"

Ole Miss booster and multi-millionaire class-action lawyer Dickie Scruggs and a number of his associates were indicted yesterday on federal charges stemming from allegations Scruggs attempted to bribe a Lafayette County judge into steering additional attorney’s fees his way in an insurance lawsuit. Scruggs in recent years has set himself up as an unofficial and unelected fourth branch of Mississippi government, using the court system to both influence public policy and enrich his firm with contingency work for the state attorney general’s office, as the C-L story indicates:

Scruggs, the brother-in-law of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, is best known for his handling of mass litigation on behalf of the state of Mississippi, first involving asbestos and later involving tobacco.

His success in winning Mississippi’s landmark tobacco settlement led to his portrayal in the film The Insider, starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino.

Then-Attorney General Mike Moore, who portrayed himself in the movie, hired Scruggs to handle the litigation on the state’s behalf – a move later criticized by some because Scruggs and other lawyers received millions in legal fees.

More recently, Scruggs has handled litigation against State Farm Insurance Co. over its handling of Katrina claims.

C-L columnist Sid Salter further explains how this scandal might affect the future careers of both Lott and Moore, Lott’s presumed heir apparent:

Exactly how does one divorce Dickie Scruggs’ historical status as Mike Moore’s largest campaign contributor and Moore’s award of the state’s lucrative tobacco litigation to Scruggs from a discussion of Mike Moore’s political future? It’s the same as ignoring the fact that Scruggs is Trent Lott’s brother-in-law.

Scruggs decided to make himself a major player in Mississippi politics by making huge campaign contributions, loans to candidates, starting and funding PACs to take down candidates he didn’t like and to keep trial lawyer-friendly candidates in power in the state House.

Nothing wrong with that. The business and medical community do the same thing and take their lumps for it. But it is what it is.

The next sob story will be that Dickie’s indictment is about Bush administration persecution of trial lawyers and a rehash of Paul Minor’s problems.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

High def, cheap

Today’s Woot is the Pinnacle HD Pro Stick; I can attest that I have one of these and it’s pretty cool. Presumably Elgato’s EyeTV, which works really well on my MacBook, is bundled with the Mac version—the PC software is pretty lame, in my experience, but maybe they’ve figured out the crashing problems it had. It also works under Linux with the right patches—not sure if they’ve made it to the latest Linux kernels yet or not.

So, check to see if you can get some HD television over the air, and if you can then pick up one of these babies. If you miss the Woot deal, you can get it (or the more Mac-happy Elgato model that’s basically the same, but lacks an antenna and includes the full version of EyeTV) at instead.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Houston Nutt will be the next coach at Ole Miss. I figured there’d be a much longer process to fill the job; maybe I was projecting from my experiences onto others’. Now hopefully Nutt can get things back on the right track, we don’t lose many recruits and the kids who can go to the NFL stay, and we can go from there.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Monkeying around with political science

GWU political science professors David Park, John Sides, and Lee Sigelman have joined the great unwashed masses of political science professors in the blogosphere, sensing a dearth of blogging on American and comparative public opinion and mass political behavior. Welcome to the party!

Trentless in Tillatoba

The Strom Thurmond fan club in the Senate is losing its most prominent member; according to media reports, Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott is resigning from office to pursue other interests. Presumably he won’t be replacing Ed Orgeron as head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, so I have no clue what those interests might be.

Lott, always considerate of others, apparently decided not to wait out the next five weeks just to shaft Mississippi taxpayers with the cost of a special election to replace him—if he waited until January 1, an interim appointee could serve until November 2008, but otherwise the election must be held within the next 90 days (or possibly the next 100 days, the code isn’t entirely clear), according to the state election code. Hopefully Gov. Haley Barbour will be able to schedule the election to correspond with the presidential/congressional primary already scheduled for March 11th and save some money, but if Lott resigns effective today that may not be possible.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Quoted for truth, Ed Orgeron edition

Orson Swindle on the aftermath of O-for-8’s firing:

This leaves the pesky question of who will take the Ole Miss job. Exquisitely timed as always, Ole Miss has fired a coach just in time to compete against Texas A&M, Michigan, Nebraska, and god knows what other larger, more monied programs will fire their coaches in the next ten minutes–not to mention the vacancies gaping after the guys who fill those positions leave their current positions.

Now I have to find a new tagline for the blog. Here’s a bittersweet final tell ‘em ‘bout it, Joe-Joe! for the road.

Back to square zero

Rick Cleveland 1, Ed Orgeron 0. I guess Boone and Khayat think they can turn things around faster with someone else running the show; I’m not that convinced, but maybe they’ve got an ace up their sleeves.

To me, the quasi-obvious candidate is Mike DuBose, who’s quietly turned around the Millsaps football program in what many people have perceived as a stepping-stone job back to I-A. If Mike Price had seen more consistent success at UTEP, he might be on the board as well.

Friday, 23 November 2007

If you build it, they will come (if there's parking and rental cars at the stations)

Megan McArdle asks “why is America’s high-speed rail so dreadful?”

I’ll one-up McArdle: why is America’s passenger rail, Acela or not, so dreadful? My answer is that it’s not integrated at all into the broader transportation system—in transportation planning parlance, there’s a lack of intermodal connections.

If I fly from New Orleans to Memphis or Chicago, I can park my car at the airport. When I get there, I can rent a car, or in Chicago I can get on the “L.” If I ride the train… none of the above, although if you wander the streets of Chicago for a few blocks you eventually would get to an “L” station. The only reason the Acela works on the NEC is because Washington, New York, and Boston all have effective mass transit networks that connect the center-city stations to other modes (air, car rental, or parking) in the suburbs.

To make high speed rail—or even higher speed rail—workable in America, it’s going to require that intermodal infrastructure to be in place. Which means, for practical purposes, the sensible course of action is to build the stations where the infrastructure is already there—at airports, which already have rental car locations and parking garages, along with transfers to and from air carriers. If that’s not practical, then convenient connection options between airports and rail are a must.

Update: More on this theme from Tyler Cowen and Stephen Karlson, the latter of whom reminds us that many of the barriers to high-speed operation of existing rail lines are political rather than economic.

Ian Smith hagiography

I’m pretty sure the last place I’d have expected to see apparent praise for a white supremacist politician like former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith would be at Samizdata. Then again, I’m not used to reading much praise of Smith contemporaries like Ross Barnett, Lester Maddox, and George Wallace from recent writers either, not spending much time surfing the websites of the neo-Confederate fringe.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Pogue reviews Kindle

In Thursday’s New York Times, columnist David Pogue gives a pretty favorable review to’s new e-book reader, the Kindle. Certainly the idea of having a tablet on which I can carry around all the journals and books in my office is pretty darn appealing—if the content were there, for either Amazon’s offering or Sony’s Reader. Thus far, though, the offerings seem to be targeted more to bookworms than people who read hundreds of pages a week because they have to.

I guess a mix of Google Scholar, Google Books, an e-Reader, and affordable access to content—I’m not going to pay good money to read articles and books that I’m entitled to free or inexpensive access to already as an academic researcher—combined with the convenient access to content in Kindle is what I’m looking for. Maybe Amazon can deliver that for academics in the future; until then, I’ll probably be taking a pass.

Monday, 19 November 2007

It's like the 1960s all over again in Mississippi

First it was Noxubee County, now it’s Wilkinson County’s turn to keep the civil rights division of the Justice Department in business:

Three Wilkinson County officials will take the Fifth Amendment if asked to testify in a bizarre election challenge that involves claims of voting irregularities, intimidation and racial overtones in the Democratic primary, an attorney said.

Sheriff Reginald Jackson, Circuit Clerk Mon Cree Allen and Supervisor Richard Hollins went to court to challenge their re-election losses in the Aug. 7 primary.

What makes the case unusual is that the three incumbents wanted a court to decide the matter, but it now appears they don’t want to participate in the hearings that began last week. ...

The incumbents were reportedly losing the Democratic primary when the polls closed. But they were declared winners after paper ballots were counted by a small group of people, including the sheriff’s sister, Easter Prater, the chair of the county’s Democratic Executive Committee.

That’s when accusations began to surface that someone stuffed the ballot boxes.

“We have made allegations of massive fraud regarding the paper ballots,” Piazza told The Associated Press on Saturday. “And now these folks have announced in open court that they are taking the Fifth Amendment.” ...

In a disturbing twist to the story, [Kirk] Smith, the only white candidate in the debacle, has been the victim of a series of tragedies since the primary, Piazza said. Smith’s wife, Donna, was arrested in a courtroom when she disputed the results. She was cleared of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace charges and is suing the deputy, Piazza said. Also, vandals damaged Smith’s construction equipment and his home burned just days later.

“It was definitely an arson,” Smith told the AP.

Wilkinson County is in the extreme southwest corner of the state and has population of about 10,000 — about 70 percent black and 30 percent white.

This is not the first time whites in Mississippi have claimed racial intimidation during an election. A federal judge ruled in June that the Noxubee County Democratic Party in eastern Mississippi violated whites’ voting rights. That was the first time the 1965 Voting Rights Act was used on behalf of whites.

Maybe there’s something in the water in Mississippi’s black belts that causes everyone in power there, white or black, to play dirty tricks with elections.

þ: Rick Hasen.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Our long local nightmare is over

It appears that our two-teen Uptown robbery spree has come to an end, at least until these twerps make bail.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Streetcar to Riverbend by Christmas?

We may be dodging streetcars in the 14th Ward sooner than we’d thought, if RTA‘s plans come to fruition:

If an aggressive plan being pursued by the Regional Transit Authority succeeds—and odds are it will—tourists and residents might get an unexpected Christmas gift. They’ll be able to ride the streetcar the entire length of St. Charles Avenue.

Fred Basha, the RTA‘s director of infrastructure, said Thursday that he’s convinced the streetcar line’s Calliope Street substation can generate enough power to move historic green Perley Thomas cars all the way from the Central Business District to South Carrollton Avenue. At the moment, service ends at Napoleon Avenue, about halfway along the St. Charles route.

The plan would not affect the rest of the streetcar route, along South Carrollton to South Claiborne Avenue, which would remain offline.

If the RTA can overcome three other obstacles, service along the length of the avenue could resume before Christmas Eve, Basha said.

The obstacles: The RTA has to have workers paint the poles that support the electrified system of overhead wires, which rainy weather could delay. Operators who were laid off after Hurricane Katrina must be rehired. And the state has to certify that the portion of the line between Napoleon and Carrollton is safe to use.

“There’s also some testing of that portion of the line that needs to be done, but I don’t expect that to be a problem,” Basha said. “It’s aggressive, but I think we can have it operational before Christmas Eve.”

The transit authority has seemed to be showing some renewed interest in fixing the section of the streetcar route around these parts in recent weeks. And getting the walking distance down to 7/10 of a mile may be enough for me to leave the car at home.

Juxtaposition of the day

Deputy police chief says law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear in New Orleans:

Standing in front of dozens of civic leaders from towns both big and small, New Orleans Deputy Police Chief John Bryson cut to the core of his presentation on crime Thursday.

“If you use drugs, buy drugs, you are going to die in this city,” he said to a wide-eyed group of middle-age men and women.

“You are going to get your butts shot off,” he added with dramatic pause. “But otherwise, you have nothing to worry about.”

On the other hand:

New Orleans police were called to at least four armed robberies in about a 45-minute time span Thursday night and at least two more earlier in the week, police said.

Investigations were still ongoing and police did not have any suspects or know whether the Thursday night incidents were connected, said officer Sheresse Harper. ...

Police sources said that in addition to the four robberies reported by Harper, there were at least three others Thursday night in the city. They were in the 600 block of Soniat Street, the 5200 block of Laurel Street and the 3600 block of Constance Street, the sources said.

The suspects are estimated to be 14 or 15 years old, sources said.

One officer said the robbers appeared to be cruising the area, especially between Tchoupitoulas Street and St. Charles Avenue, looking for crimes of opportunity, like people walking from their cars to their front doors. Sometimes they stole cars and used them less than 15 minutes later in the next heist, the officer said.

So, we may not get our butts shot off, but our asses may certainly be robbed at gunpoint. Forgive me if I’m not going to be joining Bryson’s cheerleading team anytime soon.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Marketing 618

For your amusement, here’s a link to my flyer for my public opinion and voting behavior class in the spring. Enrollment is currently at 14/25; hopefully I can get it to the max going into the semester, so it stabilizes around 20–22 once the drop period passes. Southern politics in the spring is already maxxed out at 35; the 8 am American politics class is lagging well behind, but I’m not sure if freshmen have registered yet (early MWF classes in general don’t have great enrollments, it seems).

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Plumbing the depths of low turnout

Not one, not two, but possibly three separate special elections will be held to replace Bobby Jindal in Congress. That’s in addition to the presidential primary already scheduled for February, and up to four potential election dates in the second half of the year. I suppose we can live without representation in Congress for up to four months…

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Fame, of a sort

ICPSR apparently has a new brochure they’re sending out to potential donors to the Warren Miller Scholars Fund, featuring a lengthy quote from yours truly. It’s always a real honor to be mentioned alongside one of the giants who laid the groundwork for modern public opinion and voting research, the basic concepts from whose work (along with that of his collaborators like Philip Converse and others who worked in the same era like V.O. Key and Anthony Downs) permeate pretty much everything I do as a teacher and a scholar, and it’s always a big challenge to measure up to that comparison.

In retrospect, maybe that’s the quote I should have given them for the brochure. Live and learn.

The fragmentation of the Christian Right

James Joyner at my occasional alternative haunt, OTB, discusses Mike Huckabee’s failure to gain much traction on the campaign trail with the Christian right’s leaders—who have seemed to prefer candidates like Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani—despite his impeccable Christian credentials, a topic we ended up discussing in part during Friday’s southern politics class (as sort of an offshoot of our discussion about what the off-year elections mean for the GOP in the south).

I think much of Huckabee’s problem dates back to a conscious decision by the evangelical movement around 30 years ago. In 1976, evangelical Christians came out for “one of their own”—Jimmy Carter—but four years of Carter’s rule convinced evangelicals that having a fellow devout Christian in the White House was much less important than the policies the president would pursue, and thus they defected to Ronald Reagan, a divorced man whose level of religious commitment was barely discernible. Evangelicals have since voted for George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and George W. Bush, all three of whom cannot really be described as evangelicals themselves, even as Democrats have presented Southern Baptist candidates like Al Gore and Bill Clinton. In short, evangelicals learned from the Carter experience that voting instrumentally on the basis of policy was more important than voting for “the man” on the basis of his religious convictions. And, as the evangelical movement has aged and fragmented (and some leaders, such as Jerry Falwell have died off), there’s no single power broker who can sway enough votes to a candidate like Huckabee to matter much.

Perhaps if Huckabee can exceed expectations in Iowa he might have a shot at picking up more endorsements from the Christian right, but as long as he is mired in the lower tier of the GOP field and evangelicals remain satisfied with the policy commitments—to the extent they’ve even made policy commitments—of the more viable (and certainly less evangelical) candidates like Giuliani, Thompson, McCain, and Romney, I don’t see much movement happening for Huckabee.

Thursday, 8 November 2007


One has to wonder what the logic is in vetoing a bill that passed originally with a veto-proof majority. Undoubtedly the $23 billion water resources authorization bill is laden with—a conservative estimate here—at least $20 billion in unneeded pork spending, but only the second thing you should get in front of when a politician is angling for it is free money for his or her district—the first thing, of course, being a camera.

Besides which, given the Democrats’ rate of progress on appropriations bills (proving if nothing else that appropriations laziness is a bipartisan affliction), I doubt we’ll ever see any of this money appropriated anyway.

I’m sure the Porkbusters are apoplectic—so apoplectic, in fact, they’ve neglected to update their website in four months. Anticipatory apoplexy?

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Bizarre football news of the day

Since when do college football players issue press releases? More eye-popping:

Even after missing two games, Hardy still leads the Southeastern Conference in tackles for a loss per game and sacks.

That may say more about the general suckitude of SEC defenses this year than Greg Hardy’s talent, but following in the footsteps of a legend like Patrick Willis as a freshman is hardly a small feat either.

The SEC is pretty wacky this year to begin with, considering the consensus best team in the league, LSU, keeps squeaking by teams it has no apparent business beating based on the team’s on-field performance. (At least the paper tigers in other conferences which have flirted with the top of the rankings have been exposed, from Boston College to South Florida.) And I don’t even pretend to comprehend what’s going on in Lexington and (gasp) Starkville.

The great anti-war hero

Well, if you thought Ron Paul truly believed in ending the “illegal war in Iraq” and going after the “war criminals” at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue… you thought wrong, since he’s one of the 167 House members who voted to drop fellow moonbat-courting presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich’s impeachment resolution against Dick Cheney into the memory hole. Maybe you can get your campaign contribution from Monday back, but somehow I doubt it.

More thoughts on the Cheney impeachment vote from Viking Pundit, who—like many others—focuses on the hypocrisy on the other side of the aisle. To quote the late, great Phil Hartman on NewsRadio: “A debate? How totally whack that would be, yo!”

Update: More on this theme from Prof. Karlson and Rick Moran.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Blaming the messenger

Let’s play spot the problem with this article about election problems in Mississippi:

Candidates in some of Hinds County’s split precincts were worried today that mistakes made by poll workers could impact election results.

In several split precincts, poll workers sometimes called up the incorrect ballot on voting machines for some voters, election officials and candidates said.

Hinds County Elections Commissioner Connie Cochran said she would not be surprised if election results are challenged because of the problem.

The problem was confined to split precincts, which cover more than one legislative district. The precincts that reported problems were 37, 81 and 93.

“It’s the same problem they had back in August,” Precinct 81 voter Bill Dilday said. “I don’t understand why the election commission cannot get it right.”

Here’s the question: why did the state legislature decide to split the precincts when setting House districts in Hinds County in the first place?

Monday, 5 November 2007

Hydropower on the Mississippi?

I’m not sure which bit of information from this article struck me more: that the technology may now be available to harness significant power from the Mississippi, or that the river is 200 feet deep here in New Orleans. (Then again, even with the Atchafalaya diversion, the laws of physics would dictate that a narrower river would require that it would also need to be deeper downstream.)

Minor redesign

Readers visiting via the front page will have noticed a little bit of a redesign: I’ve integrated my Google Reader shared items into the right sidebar a bit better, and added my Twitter feed, as well as rearranging a few things, the end result of which is probably a bit more appealing to repeat visitors than the old layout. Overall, I think it’s an aesthetic improvement, but I could be wrong, and feedback is welcome.

I also changed the default fonts around a bit; if I get really bored, I may add downloadable font face support (as described here) for at least the free DejaVu Sans fallback fonts—I’m not going to draw Microsoft’s wrath by putting a copy of Calibri up on my website, although presumably many of my readers already have it one way or another. Not that downloadable fonts work in any of the common browsers yet anyway.

Two months too many

Marc Ambinder hypothesizes that the GOP presidential contenders might be duking it out until March. I suppose that’s a little more plausible than the media fantasies that there will be a brokered convention or even that either major party’s delegate counts actually matter—estimates thereof are duly reported after each primary and caucus, despite all modern races being settled in practice weeks before any candidate had a first-ballot majority—but not much.

Not making the cut

On the rumor blog, someone came up with a new game for the November “no interview” blahs: list the three jobs you most wanted that you applied for this year that you wanted but didn’t get interviews for. Post your contributions there, not here.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

The Mussharraf self-coup

Steven Taylor has the latest on Pervez Musharraf’s increasingly authoritarian attempts to hold onto power in Pakistan, which—as Taylor points out—hardly seem to be directed at the Islamist extremists he seems to believe are an existential threat to Pakistani society. Indeed, given the sordid history of support by the Pakistani security forces for Islamist guerrillas fighting Pakistan’s proxy wars in Indian-controlled Kashmir and pre-9/11 Afghanistan, ties that do not seem to have been fully extinguished, continued army control of the government could in the end strengthen the extremist groups.

That said, I’m not exactly sure what Radley Balko is getting at in this post when he claims that events in Pakistan indicate “why ‘spreading democracy’ is such a foolish foreign policy objective.” It is not all clear that a democratic Pakistan would be any less of an effective ally of the United States in its conflict with al Qaeda and the Taliban—while, presumably, the U.S. would have to respect local sensibilities more in terms of military operations in the border regions, it’s not like Musharraf’s regime has been a particularly effective ally in that regard either. A democratic Pakistan that incorporates nonviolent Islamists in the government could actually serve to delegitimize terrorists and their extremist allies and increase popular support for building an effective state in the lawless border regions.

And, if the point is that we wouldn’t be in Afghanistan still if we weren’t committed to “spreading democracy,” I think that’s hogwash. Even if the goals of the Afghan mission were simply confined to obliterating al Qaeda and their Taliban allies, the ineffective Pakistani government would be an obstacle no matter what form of government we decided to impose in Afghanistan. And if we’re in Afghanistan to obliterate the old government anyway, I can’t think of any good reason to go against our national principles to prop up some Cold War-style authoritarian regime that we’d have to support indefinitely as a client state to ensure that the Taliban and their buddies didn’t return to power. Restoring the old order wouldn’t have actually fixed anything.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Pat Buchanan 2K8 can beat Hillary? Maybe in Babka's fantasies

Jim Babka, who if I recall correctly was once upon a time one of those Libertarian Party activists who turned my campaign contributions into about bupkiss, takes to the pages of Positive Liberty to advance the thesis that Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who can win in November of next year. Commenter AMW presents the more compelling argument:

Alternative Hypothesis: Every politician represents a basket of goods to the voters, and while most voters can find at least one good in Dr. Paul’s basket that they approve strongly of, few can find enough to justify voting for him. The left may be anti-war, but I’m guessing they’ll prefer the candidate who advocates univeral [sic] healthcare, more spending on schools and a tough stance on the drug war, even if she’ll only make marginal changes to the Iraq strategy. And the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers at Red State et al. would sooner trade in their AM talk-shows for NPR than give a “surrender monkey” like Paul the satisfaction of their vote, minimal government advocate or no.

I think the other thing that supporters of Paul are missing here is that not only are presidential candidates “baskets of goods,” they’re also strategic actors. The amount of daylight between the loophole-ridden Democratic withdrawal promises (arguably, every single American solider in Iraq is already engaged in one of counterterrorism actions, support of Iraqi forces, humanitarian projects, or stabilization operations—things that the leading Democrats all promise will continue) and the positions of the leading GOP contenders is already small, and given the progress—or lack thereof—in Iraq, any GOP—or Democratic—contender who secures the nomination can either take the tack of “the Iraqis are in control, so it’s time to bring troops home” or “the Iraqis have spent the last 9–12 months squabbling while the surge was giving them time to figure stuff out, and there’s no progress, so it’s time to bring troops home.”

2008 will be fought on energy policy, health care, trade, border security and immigration, and the foreign policy crisis of the week—which, dollars to donuts, won’t be Iraq by the time Labor Day 2008 rolls around. I have no doubt that whoever the eventual Republican nominee is will be far better positioned to capture the median voter on those issues than Paul is—America isn’t buying the Great Libertarian Offer, even when served with a side dose of Buchananite populism.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Observation of the day

Is it just me, or is it increasingly the case that Crooked Timber is simply a collection of daily rants, often unsupported by any meaningful evidence except links to Wikipedia articles, against libertarian bloggers (some of which‡ mysteriously disappear later into the ether) by whiny European leftists? You’d think that a bunch of left-leaning academics could come up with something better to offer their readers than content that could have been written by second-tier Daily Kos diarists.

Case in point: this John Quiggin screed that takes a shotgun approach to going after apostate libertarians who never much cared for the Libertarian Party and champions The Presidential Candidate Who Shall Not Be Named as some sort of paragon of libertarianism (well, except for the whole anti-free trade, anti-open borders, anti-gay marriage thing… basically he’s Pat Buchanan with an M.D. and more support from hot chicks). Quiggin also thinks Nixon destroyed an electoral movement that had its day in the sun twenty years before 1968,† but that’s neither here nor there.

Then again, what the hell do I know; I’m the only person in my precinct* who voted for the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate last month, so clearly I’m some sort of idiot to begin with.

Update: Quiggin’s screed also mischaracterizes Cato’s position on the War in Iraq. I’m beside myself with surprise as to how such a blunder could have made it into his post.

Observant readers will note that this is a post of the essential type that it complains about, absent the gratuitous Wikipedia links. Whether this is by accident or design is left to the reader to determine.

‡ The articles, not the libertarian bloggers.
† George Wallace was from Dixie, and was a Democrat, but that doesn’t make him a “Dixiecrat,” and contra Kevin Phillips—and Quiggin—Nixon didn’t win in 1968 by coopting segregationists, who by and large supported Wallace. Phillips’ “southern strategy” was, in point of fact, a failure when the GOP attempted to use it in 1970. Read and understand.
* Unless someone else voted absentee or during early voting for Horne too; all the stats available show is that nobody voted for Horne on election day (it’s a direct transcript of the voting machine tape), but all the early and absentee votes are aggregated separately.

In with the new, out with the old

Well, it turns out I’m not teaching Congress after all in the spring; instead, for a variety of reasons too boring to go much into (mostly having to do with distribution requirements within the political science major), the king of the schedule and I decided that I should teach POLA 618, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, instead.

A book list will be forthcoming. Hopefully I can intercept things before the bookstore orders a bazillion copies of Unorthodox Lawmaking et al.

Fellow travellers

David Weigel at Hit and Run isn’t quite sure why Ron Paul attracts a lot of young supporters. Perhaps there’s a giant red flag here:

Jacob Bofferding, a student at Iowa State University, said he decided to work for Paul after seeing him on a televised debate.

“For Ron Paul to stand up there and say, ‘people hate us because we intervene in their lives’ and for (Rudy) Giuliani to say ‘that’s ridiculous,’ that blew my mind,” said Bofferding.

“Our imperialistic foreign policy is the biggest threat to this country, not groups of terrorists that have no state sponsor,” Bofferding said. “The first thing you have to do is stop subsidizing oppressive regimes in the Middle East.”

This is Noam Chomsky 101, and Chomsky has rock-star status among the perpetually-aggrieved college student community, despite being one of those people over 30 they’re not supposed to trust. That Paul (or Kucinich or Gravel on the left) would have a similar appeal saying the exact same things shouldn’t be much of a surprise.